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Platform Designs and Birds that Nest on Platforms

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     Covered Platform for Mourning Doves, Robins, Phoebes and Blue Jays               Open Platform for Robins, Phoebes, Mourning Doves & Bluejays

 

    Covered Platform for Eastern, Say's and Black Phoebes                Covered Platform For Robins, Phoebes and Blue Jays

 


Robins, Phoebes, Mourning Doves and Blue Jays build nests on various building ledges and will readily nest on platforms.  

Phoebes nest on ledges in barns and other open buildings.  

Some literature recommends platforms for Song Sparrows and earlier literature included Catbirds and Thrashers as platform nesters.    

Carolina Wrens and House Finches will nest on both platforms and in nest boxes.

 

Robin in Nest, Cammera Studies of Wild Birds, Chester A. Reed, 1911

Robin in Nest, Chester A. Reed

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a square platform 2 feet on each side for Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks.

Robins, Phoebes, Mourning Doves and Blue Jays build nests on various building ledges and will readily nest on platforms.  

Phoebes nest on ledges in barns and other open buildings.  

Some literature recommends platforms for Song Sparrows  
 

Earlier literature included Catbirds and Thrashers as platform nesters.

Carolina Wrens and House Finches will nest on both platforms and in nest boxes.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a square platform 2 feet on each side for Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks.

A USGS research center web site borrowing an older version of an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation brochure included

Black Phoebe, Mrs. F.T. Bicknell, Western Birds, Harriet Williams Myers, 1922

Black Phoebe, Mrs. F.T. Bicknell

 
Catbirds and Thrashers as users of platforms.  It stated: "These birds will use the nesting platform when natural nesting sites are unavailable. The platforms should be placed in partial shade along main branches of trees or under the eaves of a shed or porch roof."

In 1993, Catbirds and Thrashers were deleted from the ODWC brochure because of a lack of documentation.

Gilbert H. Trafton, the author of "Bird Friends", 1916, recommended that platforms for Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, and Song Sparrows should be open on all four sides and placed in shrubs.

The book also provided the platform dimensions in the table below.

Robin Nest in a railroad trestle bridge (in use),  Birds of Ohio, WL Dawson, 1903

Robin Nest in a railroad trestle
bridge (in use), W.L. Dawson

 

Floor

Height

Mount Height

Song Sparrow

6" X 6"

6"

1' - 3'

Brown Thrasher

7" X 9"

8"

1' - 3'

Catbirds

6" X 8"

8"

3' - 10'

Platform Dimensions  

 

They might nest in platforms mounted near the ground on walls behind shrubbery or under eaves and on fence lines covered with vines. Maybe gazebo type structures mounted in bushes.  If they are to be open on all four sides, then corner posts must support roofs - maybe just two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

North American Field Guides

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cliff Swallows usually attach their mud pellet nests in colonies on cliffs, under bridges, often over water where insects emerge and sometimes under eaves.

 
 
Cliff Swallow nests above the Missouri River near Great Falls, MT   C. Scudieri   &  J. Tingerthal

Cliff Swallow nests above the Missouri River near Great Falls, MT   C. Scudieri   &  J. Tingerthal
  
 

 

Say's Phoebe

 

 

Black Phoebe

 

 

House Finch
 


 
Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

 

 

Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow

 

While narrow ledges may entice Cliff Swallows to build their mud nests, as can be seen in the photograph, they are not necessary.  Roofs may be more a more attractive feature.

Barn Swallows usually attach their mud pellet nests to vertical surfaces under a ceiling in open barns and sheds with open doors or outside under eaves.

 
barn s nest wld.jpg (12492 bytes)

Barn Swallow Nest, W.L. Dawson

Some Fish and Wildlife brochures and various books recommend open platforms for Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows.  Most often they attach to the side of an inside ceiling rafter, sometimes under outside eaves.  Open nest shelves may attract barn swallows, if mounted under building eaves. 

An ODWC brochure and some other sources also mention Cliff Swallows as possible users of nesting platforms.  It said Cliff Swallows can be provided a narrow shelf under an overhanging roof where they can construct their mud nests.

However, according to a department biologist: "given their strong colonial tendencies it is unlikely that they would use a single platform hung from a house - it would have to be a whole series of platforms hung from a bridge or the eave of a barn." 

Insects and water are probably the primary factor.   Chances are, if Cliff Swallows or Barn Swallows are going to build under a bridge, eave, or in a barn, they can do so just fine without help, unless there is a lack of suitable structures.

The awning sheltering a Barn Swallow nest in the photograph to the right is on a building with no eaves and was installed to attract birds. Note there is no platform shelf, only a roof and side.   The Cliff and Barn Swallow Models are the same as the Dove and Phoebe Models with the platform replaced with two inch wide strips.

See platforms
 

Barn Swallow nest, T. Mulvey

Barn Swallow nest

Barn Swallow Ledge with Gable Roof

 

Barn Swallow Ledge
 

 

Kingbird nesting on a post, Cammera Studies of Wild Birds, Chester A. Reed, 1911

Kingbird nesting on a post, Chester A. Reed

 

 

 Red-tailed Hawk

 

 

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

 

 

 Osprey

Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks sometimes build their huge nests on well placed platforms. If you want to try to attract an Osprey to a platform, double the size of the Hawk and Owl platform and support them all very well.

 

2' x 2' Platform for Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls          18 Birds that Nest on Platforms

 

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