Nest boxes are a critical aspect of wildlife conservation and are built especially for animals to nest in. They are usually made for particular species of birds, but some mammals such as possums may also use them.
Tree hollows are part of the natural ecosystem and are a valuable resource for our native wildlife. Research has been documented to show that Australia has about 300 vertebrate species that use tree hollows for various purposes, such as:
Among these are arboreal and terrestrial mammals, birds (nearly 90 per cent of parrots) and more than half of Australia’s microbat population. The most significant number of hollow-bearing trees come from Eucalypt forests. The hollow formation is dependent on the species of tree and its history.
Generally, suitable hollows take at least 100 years to form in Eucalypts. The problem arises where hollow-bearing trees are often depleted by clearing the land, making way for urban development. This is where artificial (man-made) boxes can substitute for tree hollows, providing Australia’s fauna with nesting, shelter and roosting and protection from predators.
One species that has adapted well to the artificial nest boxes is the lorikeet although, birds, possums, gliders, bats and reptiles accept the artificial nest boxes in urban development areas. Some of the benefits of the artificial nest are:
Artificial nest boxes have been a great success overseas for many years; however, only recently have they been accepted as a valuable conservation tool in Australia.