What should nest boxes be mounted on?
  • You've determined the best spots at your project site for boxes, spots where
    competition from other species and exposure to nest predators should be low.
  • This page (Pole Options) and the next (Mounting Boxes on Poles) should help
    you put your boxes up.  
  • In our opinion metal poles make the best box supports, and we'll present
    two metal pole options: steel pipe and conduit/rebar.
  • Please note, we don't recommend wooden poles or snow-fence poles.  Wooden
    poles are easy for predators to climb and can rot.  Snow-fence poles are also
    easy to climb and generally too short, allowing predators to jump to boxes.

Pole Option 1:  Steel Pipe.
  • We have used steel pipe for many years and are quite satisfied.
  • Material needed: 1/2" interior diameter steel pipe cut to 8-1/2' lengths.  
  • Most building supply or hardware stores will cut pipe to size if bought there.
  • Galvanized finish or black painted finish are equally okay.

  • We dig a hole roughly 2-1/2' deep, which leaves 6' of pole above ground.
  • Then we backfill with dirt, using rocks to keep the pole from tipping.

Pole Option 2:  Conduit/Rebar.
  • We have not used this system ourselves but are including it on the
    recommendation of others.  
  • Conduit/rebar poles are not as strong as steel pipe, but are cheaper and much
    easier to put up and take down.

  • Materials needed:
  • 4' or 5' pieces of steel reinforcing bars (rebar) (below left).
  • 1/2" metal electrical conduit tubing (below left) cut to 6'.
  • Most conduit is thin-walled and easily cut by hacksaw.
  • 1/2" conduit couplers (below right).
  • Attention: One coupler set-screw must be replaced by a longer screw (lower
    screw in picture).

  • Drive rebar about half its length into the ground.  No digging required.
  • If you are lucky, and have deep, rock-free soil, you can use a portable drill with
    suitably sized wood auger bit to create the hole.

  • Attach conduit coupler short screw end firmly to conduit (see below).

  • Slip conduit over rebar, coupler end first, until coupler contacts the ground.

  • Tighten the long coupler screw very firmly onto rebar.  This prevents the conduit
    pole (and nest box) from pivoting around.

  • If done right both pole options provide adequate support for nest boxes, but we
    still prefer steel pipe.  After all you never know what extra weight the pole may
    need to hold.  Photo below of a young Bald Eagle perched on a Tree Swallow
    box in Alaska, taken by Tim van Nus.

Click here for Next Step: Mounting Nest Boxes on Poles.

Pole Options for Nest Boxes
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