A year ago (seriously, 16 April 2011) Frank and I attended a free workshop put on by our local council where we made 2 nest boxes – one for a sugar glider (a small gliding possum) and one for a Rosella or other small parrot.
At the end of the 1/2-day workshop we had our boxes. They were primered and put together, all we needed to do was a few finishing touches and then just hang the boxes in a tree.
Unfortunately, Frank decided our gum tree wasn’t big enough to hold a box so the whole project faltered. Now it’s 2012 and the gum tree is deemed sturdy enough (it has been filling out) and so I went to work on finishing the boxes. The first step was to paint them. I painted them a dark brown (Mission Brown) in an outdoor solargard paint. It’s the right paint to use but I selected it because it was sitting under the house. It’s the same paint we used for our back stairs.
I then drilled 5 – 5mm holes in the bottom of each for drainage (there are reports of drowned birds). Next I stapled gutter-guard on the inside of both boxes. This is to allow the baby sugar gliders to crawl out. I actually put some on the outside of the sugar glider box in case they need it to get in as well as out (better safe than sorry). I put some on the parrot box because it could always be taken over by a possum.
The two boxes are both the same size. Approximate dimensions are: 450 mm high, 235 mm wide, 235 mm deep with an overhang on the sloped roof of about 40 mm. The hole in the parrot box is on the front and is 75mm in diameter (above left). The hole in the sugar glider box is on the back of the box (next to the tree trunk) and is 30mm in diameter (above right). The strap used to hang it from the tree is made from an old fire hose. If you use rope or wire the suggestion is to wrap that in a length of garden hose to prevent damage to the host tree trunk.
Today Frank put the finishing touches on the boxes by affixing a “perch” to the front of the parrot box and filling both with some wood shavings.
All that was left was to hoist the 2 boxes into the trees. Easy peasy! Very easy for me as I stood on the ground offering no end of “helpful” advice.
Up went the parrot box. With just a slight delay when it was confirmed that the angle of the tree and the positioning of the branches wasn’t going to result in a perfect fit. After a bit of my helpful advice, Frank attached a bungy cord to the bottom of the parrot box to help hold it in place. Drilling holes in the side of the box while standing on the top of the ladder (to attach screws that the bungy cord could hook to) only added to the excitement of the day.
And then came the sugar glider box.
After a one year delay, we have two beautiful nest boxes in our 2 beautiful trees. We can watch birds come and go (when they do) from the parrot box which is straight out our back windows, but turned so we can’t see into the hole (just the way the tree grew). To see the sugar glider box we have to trek down to the chook run and look up. I’m optimistic something will find the parrot box but that sugar glider box is a bit specific for me to place too high of hopes on it being used. Still, I now watch and wait….