May 30, 2019


South-East NB - This spring, the Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development Group (PCSDG) in collaboration with the Cap-Pelé and Beaubassin watershed group, Vision H2O installed more than 20 nestboxes for tree swallows that were manufactured by Louis- Émile Cormier, naturalist of Cocagne.


plan hirondelles

Every year, it’s recommended to clean out the inside of your tree swallows nest boxes to remove the old nests. Tree swallows nest in tree cavities and they often use nest boxes in early spring. These birds are in our region in mid-April and leave in early July. It is always fascinating to observe them.

Here are some tips for having more success with your nest boxes. Details can make all the difference.

1- Selecting a site and placement.

-It’s very important to choose open areas with not too many trees, buildings, and free of clutter in front of the entrance.

-A site preferably near the water.

-A warm and sunny spot (facing south).

-Try to avoid forested areas (to avoid squirrels).

- Avoid installing near bird feeders and installing them too close to each other to avoid disturbances.

2- For the nest box, you must:

-Have a 1 ½ "diameter hole size for the entrance.

-Choose a box with EASY ACCESS FOR MAINTENANCE with a door to clean the interior each year.

-Drill holes underneath to evacuate water and ventilation slots.

-Use screws rather than nails (if you want to move or open your box).

-Preferably install it on a pole or stake rather than a tree with a minimum height of 1.5 m.

- Minimum dimensions for a nest box are 5 ½" wide x 8 ½" high x 4" deep. Do not choose a nest box too small.

-Do not install the wooden support stick below the hole. (Birds are able to enter without a perch and encourage predators). An additional piece surrounding the entrance can serve as protection against predators and prevent squirrels from widening the entrance.

-Use wooden materials (cedar will last longer). Metal and plastic are not recommended.

- Use a non-toxic wood preservative. Avoid black paint (which could cause the mortality of chicks because the temperature could be too hot).

A nest may contain parasites and accumulation of feces. It is for this reason that the old nest must be removed each year. At the same time, you can check the success of your nesting boxes and move them as needed if there is no success after a few years. With an entrance hole 1 ½ " in diameter, black-capped chickadee and Eastern bluebird may also use it.

Did you know that one swallow can consume about 1000 mosquitoes a day? These birds will reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.

The population of insectivorous birds is declining. The installation of artificial nest boxes creates habitats. Deadwood is sometimes hard to find and birds will spend less energy searching for shelters and nesting sites. To make their life easier, you can provide dry straw as nesting material.

If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact Louis-Émile Cormier who sells and installs these nest boxes, 576-7262. In addition, he takes care to clean them every year and gives a report on the success of the nest boxes.

Thanks to Vision H2O and Louis-Émile Cormier and Stuart Tingley who work tirelessly for nature.
Vision H2o