What Critters Will Use a Box?
I have built a number of nest boxes. With a small lot and not many large trees (and no dead ones), nest boxes are a way for me to create actual habitat space in a way that I can't manufacture by planting great plants. Of the boxes I have constructed, some were for birds, some for bees, some for white squirrels. Nary a white squirrel has graced a nest box, of course, but we have had some gray squirrels, and some other things.
It just so happens that the dimensions recommended for squirrel nesting boxes are a useful size for a number of other wonderful creatures, like kestrels and small owls. One of our first nest boxes got an awful lot of attention from the songbird population when it attracted the red variant of an Eastern Screech Owl.
The picture is misleading. I swear the guy is 40% head. Makes a little poof-ball with feet when he's out on a branch. Four of them would easily fit in the box. His regular diet includes small rodents, earthworms, insects... and songbirds. Apparently very fond of European Starlings, not that I witnessed a successful capture of one while he was with us. This little guy stayed with us for about a month before moving on to a less peopled location.
Barely distinguishable through the access hole of this box is the ear of a common opossum. He stayed for quite a while--a couple of weeks--before moving on to other pastures. Just this week, we saw another opossum, on top of the same box--looking too big to fit inside and miserably wet (cold, rainy day).
We have hosted two successful litters of squirrels in the box above, but it came crashing down the other night--probably the weight of that opossum!--so I'll be forced to rebuild. If you would like to add some nesting boxes to your property, for either birds or squirrels, check out this link right
Happy habitat building!