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


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Clean nest boxes to increase occupancy or reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Clean nest boxes to increase occupancy or reproductive success

    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.


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