Birdhouses and Batboxes for PARC
Thank you for helping to kickstart conservation at PARC! While it is a new property, we’ve already done a few things like clearing invasive species and trash removal, but we’re looking to expand by providing habitats for local wildlife, including bird and bat species that are excellent pest insect controllers!
This project is a great way to discuss woodworking, conservation, animal wildlife and a host of other topics with your Scouts! And it will be a lasting contribution from your unit to PARC on its opening to the public!
Listed below are two sections with further information on how to construct a bird house and/or a bat box. Please ensure that you follow any painting / staining guidance in these sections as putting on the improper finish will reduce the likelihood that a bird or bat will want to roost in them. Please also DO NOT label them with your unit number or other signifiers. After taking delivery of your birdhouse or batbox, we will add uniform labels to the habitats to ensure that any labels or paints will not drive away birds and bats.
Delivery to PARC
(PLEASE WAIT UNTIL PARC IS OPEN BEFORE DROPPING OFF BIRDHOUSES AND BATBOXES! Look for an announcement in the Trailblazer and on our website.)
After completing your birdhouse and/or batbox, please deliver them to PARC by August 20th, 2021 to ensure that they will be hung for the PARC OPEN HOUSE event on Saturday September 18th, 2021. This will give us ample time to label them, install them, and put the birdhouse / batbox coordinates on a map of the property so you can find your birdhouse / batbox at the PARC OPEN HOUSE!
Note: Birdhouses and Batboxes can be delivered after the 8/20 date including up to the PARC OPEN HOUSE, but getting them to us by August 20th, 2021 will ensure they’ll be ready by the OPEN HOUSE event.
Why are birdhouses important?
- Bird houses provide a safe shelter for birds to build their nests, a protective cover from the weather and predators. During cold season, they can give visiting birds a place to rest and recuperate from the elements.
- Since birds eat pest such as cabbage maggot, caterpillars, cutworms, mosquitoes and potato beetle, having birds as your neighbor means additional helping hands to remove these pests from a property.
- Birds can help to control weeds at their most critical stage – the seed period. This prevents the spread of weeds after frost, hence increasing the productivity of native plants.
How to Make a Birdhouse
Of the 2 projects (birdhouses and batboxes), this is the simpler project and so it is ideal for both Cubs and Scouts BSA youth to assist with creating birdhouses. Birdhouses come in all shapes and sizes, however we are mounting these birdhouses in the woods for smaller birds such as wrens and chickadees, and so simple bird houses such as the one shown below will work very well for this purpose. The birdhouses should either be finished with a light stain or linseed oil on the outside of the birdhouse, not the inside. As shown below, please do not cut a hole with a diameter any larger than 1 1/8” as the entrance.
There are a number of designs out there, but a simple one like the one shown below is ideal because it is made mostly from one 1”x6”x4’ board.
Other birdhouses can be purchased pre-assembled. The one below is very similar to the design above.
Why are batboxes (aka bat houses) important?
- Bat houses are particularly helpful in providing alternative roosting habitat for bats that are excluded from homes. In turn, this reduces the chance of human contact with bats.
- Installing a bat house on a property can provide a safe environment for bats, while protecting the property from pest insects, like mosquitoes, moths, and beetles.
- Bat houses give females a safe, warm place to raise their young. Since most female bats only have one pup each year, bat populations grow very slowly. Additionally, due to habitat loss and degradation, it is becoming harder for bats to locate natural roost sites to raise their young. By installing a bat house, you can provide mothers and their pups with a safe home.
- These artificial roost sites provide clean homes for bats that are free of White-nose syndrome. A greater presence of bats means fewer pesticides are needed, therefore reducing the amount of chemicals released into the environment.
How to Make a Batbox
First, it should be noted that constructing a batbox is more involved than a birdhouse. There are more materials and more cutting and assembly required than a birdhouse. However, this is a perfect opportunity for a unit to work on a batbox together, perhaps with older Scouts. Below are several options for a batbox, but keep in mind, regardless of which option you choose, you must use a medium-to-dark stain and you must use natural wood (no chemicals).
Here is a link to widely-used design for constructing a bat box from scratch: Bat Box Design.
KIT FOR ASSEMBLY
There are also batbox kits that can be purchased at various online retail sites.
Other batboxes can be purchased pre-assembled. Here are several that we recommend due to the size of the box and the color stain used on the batbox: