We humans take pride in our homes. The all-important roof over our head that meets our basic need for security. It keeps us warm, dry and safe. Without this shelter we would be exposed to the elements ...the blistering heat, the freezing cold, the driving winds and the drenching rain. We also provide for the needs of our various pets, but all too often fail to relate to the needs of wildlife. We assume that they are alright out there in the bush, however only one-third of pre-European bushland remains, with the other two-thirds cleared for agriculture, pasture and urban development.
Some species may prefer their hollow to be horizontal, rather than vertical (e.g. kookaburra and lorikeet). Others may require hollows directly on the ground, partially buried, or partially to totally submerged (e.g. reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish). Platforms may be required for birds of prey (e.g. owls, falcons).
Being eaten is part of the natural process. Native predators should not be excluded from habitat/nest boxes unless they are a threat to an endangered species or unbalancing the natural process (e.g. goannas, kookaburras and snakes).
The location of the box can be critical. A north-east to south-east aspect appears to be preferred by most species. Boxes should be at a height to meet the species needs and out of reach of human hands in order to avoid vandalism and potential predators (e.g. cats). They should be given protection from weather, including wind, rain, cold and direct heat from the sun.
To establish a feeling of security, the box must be firmly mounted. The use of a strap, wire or chain around the tree has the potential to affect the future growth and health of the tree. Attaching the box with galvanised self-drilling screws will have a less harmful effect on the tree (e.g. type 17 - 14G x 100mm long hex head or bugle head batten screw). Note: Do not leave screws in the tree if the box is removed.
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