ZooAmerica Conservation News: March 2022
Nest Box Cleanouts
It’s the time of year to get a jump-start on spring cleaning. And, that’s what we are doing at ZooAmerica, as March is when we clean out the 25 Bluebird and 35 Kestrel nest boxes. The boxes are placed on various farm properties in the general Hershey area, with the majority on lands owned by the Milton Hershey School.
This month, we will remove last year’s nests from the Bluebird boxes, close to the time when they would be setting up their nesting territories for the coming spring. We can identify which bird species used the box from the type of nest that we will remove. For example, Tree Swallows use many Bluebird boxes. Kestrels don’t build nests but simply lay their eggs on whatever substrate is found within the nest cavity.
We will remove the old substrate from our Kestrel boxes and replace it with four inches of fresh pine shavings. This action must be done very close to when Kestrels would be preparing to nest. Otherwise, Starlings may remove all of the shavings to build their own nest of dried grass before the Kestrels show up.