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Nests; Windbreaks, shelterbelts, etc.; Cavity-nesting birds


A study of nest box use from November through August by birds in Minnesota farmstead shelterbelts was initiated subsequent to a two-year study showing that cavity-dependent species were absent from shelterbelts during winter and spring. The purpose of the study was to determine use of nest boxes by birds in shelterbelts otherwise devoid of cavities for roosting and nesting purposes. Fifteen of 22 boxes (68%) were used as nest sites in spring and summer by house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) and black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus). Neither nested In the shelterbelts before the nest boxes were available. Red-breasted nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) roosted in nest boxes during winter but had not been found in shelterbelts during the previous 2 years. A lack of snags or artificial cavities apparently limits densities and distributions of several cavity-dependent species in farmstead shelterbelts. Thus, provision of nest boxes and retention of snags in shelterbelts should be an important management consideration for landowners in intensively-farmed regions of the Midwest.

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