Wildlife Conservation:

Artificial Bird Nests

Artificial nests increase the populations of many birds that  have difficulty finding suitable nesting habitat. The Scarlet Macaws for example, normally depend on large cavities formed in huge trees, many of which have fallen to the chainsaw.  Unfortunately, many of the bird couples lose their opportunity to reproduce, as they do not have access to habitat with the appropriate nesting characteristics. Artificial nest boxes provide a safe space for pairs of macaws and other species, and contribute to the recovery of  pollinating and seed-dispersing birds.

Photo courtesy of National Audobon Society

Photo: Installation of our first nest for a macaw in a Jacaranda sp. / By: Hugo Santa Cruz

In March 2019 we installed fourteen nests;  five nests for Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao), one for hawks, one for warblers, two for tanagers, one for owls, one for falcons, one for woodpeckers, two nests for flycatchers, and one for wrens.

The nests for macaws are made of fiberglass and have been successfully tested in conservation programs (Vaughan, 2003). The smaller nests were manufactured according to the manual: Birdhouse Book – Building of the Audubon Society (2013).

The nests designed for specific species sometimes attracted other bird occupants, yet the results were optimal by fulfilling the purpose of our objectives.

As of September 2020, we observed that  64% of the nests (9 of 14) have been successful. Thanks to these nest boxes installed in the Santuario Macao, several species have been able to reproduce, including parrots, flycatchers, thrushes, woodpeckers and woodcreepers. Even a kinkajou (Potos flavus) has been recorded residing in one of the nests destined for macaws, and a Bird Eating Snake (Psuestes poecilonotus) was observed hunting in some of the smaller nests.

Two of the five nests for the macaws were invaded by bees (Apis melifera), which indicates that the swarming season March and April are not good months to install artificial nests. We have begun to use permitrine  to avoid the invasion of bees (Efstathion & Kern, 2016).

Evidence of Success
Photos 1 and 2: White-crowned Parrot  and Golden-naped Woodpecker nesting on our nest boxes. By: Hugo Santa Cruz
Photo 3: Bird-eating snake visiting one of the nests. By: Eva Troëng-Monge

Reasons for installing bird nests

  1. They provide the birds with safer places for breeding and shelter, reducing nest predation. 

  2. They facilitate the recovery of endangered species.

  3. Birds are highly beneficial as insect and rodent control.

  4. They facilitate scientific studies of  life cycles and behavior of birds as bioindicators.

  5. Brings specimens closer for birdwatching and photography.

6.. There are studies that consider that listening to the songs of birds is beneficial for health.

  1. They need  less care than any plant we have in our garden.

  2. Boosting biodiversity benefits us all, even in economic terms.

  3. Education and environmental awareness help value and respect nature and our environment.


Help Us Expand This Program!

Our current restoration proposal involves  placing nest boxes along the biological corridor that links Carara National Park and  Cangreja National Park.

We would love to fund and install:

– 15 fiberglass nests for macaws (Ara macao). Price per nest installed: 250 USD

– 15 wooden nest boxes for pollinating birds, seed dispersers and raptors. Average price per nest installed: $ 70

Matching funds are available!

GOAL: 4800 USD

Join us,

Familia de Santuario Macao 

Join Us,
Familia de Santuario Macao