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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effect of cleaning nest boxes on box use and nesting success of eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis on Clemson University 'campus', South Carolina, USA

Published source details

Gowaty P.A. & Plissner J.H. (1997) Breeding dispersal of eastern bluebirds depends on nesting success but not on removal of old nests: an experimental study. Journal of Field Ornithology, 68, 323-330


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Clean nest boxes to increase occupancy or reproductive success Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in mixed farmland in South Carolina, USA (Gowaty & Plissner 1997), found that, in 1988, eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis were more likely to reuse nest boxes cleaned after the season’s first breeding attempt, compared to control (uncleaned) boxes (72% of 12 cleaned boxes reused vs. 57% of 12 controls). However, there were no differences in nesting success or overall number of nesting attempts between cleaned and control boxes (44% nesting success, 1.7 fledglings/second clutch and 24 nesting attempts for cleaned boxes vs. 50% success, 2.1 fledglings/second clutch and 26 attempts in control boxes), or in the likelihood of nest boxes being reused in 1989 (92% of 12 cleaned boxes used vs. 75% of controls). Alternative nest boxes were erected 200 m from previously used boxes, with 50% of new and 50% of old boxes being cleaned.