Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of cleaning nest boxes on box use and nesting success of house wrens Troglodytes aedon near Big Horn, Wyoming, USA

Published source details

Johnson L.S. (1996) Removal of old nest material from the nesting sites of house wrens: effects on nest site attractiveness and ectoparasite loads. Journal of Field Ornithology, 67, 212-221

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 1993-4 in woodland patches in Wyoming, USA (Johnson 1996), found that house wrens Troglodytes aedon showed no preference for cleaned nest boxes over controls with old nests in (46% of 59 pairs used cleaned boxes, 54% used controls). However, only 27% of heavily soiled boxes (with thick layers of dried faeces in) were used if they contained old nests, compared to 68% of used boxes which were only lightly soiled. There were no differences in reproductive output or blow fly infestations between nest box types. Forty (in 1993) or 50 (1994) pairs of boxes, one cleaned and one with an old nest in, were erected less than two metres apart across the study area.