Reproductive Success of Nestbox-Using Birds is Influenced by the Type of Pole the Nestbox is Mounted On

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ms. Elizabeth Schanhals, Spring Lake High School
Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, Hope College

Document Type


Event Date



Nest boxes have become a significant part of the preservation of the eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis. At the J.H. Campbell Complex of Consumer’s Energy in West Olive, MI, the nest boxes are either mounted on smooth, cylindrical metal poles, U-shaped perforated metal poles, or chain link metal fences. Predators include snakes, other birds, raccoons, and mice. My hypothesis was that there would be higher survival rates (found by # fledged / # eggs) for the nest boxes mounted on cylindrical metal poles, because it made it more difficult for a predator to climb, and the fence and the U­shaped poles, both easier to climb, would have lower survival rates. Eastern Bluebirds, Black­capped Chickadees, Tree Swallows, and House Wrens all use the nest boxes, but tests were done without regard to species type. For the year 2011, the cylindrical metal poles yielded next boxes with a 49% survival rate for the eggs and the chain link fence yielded 40%. This 9% difference was found significant with a p value of .02 by the t­test, meaning there is only a 2% chance it is due to chance and chance alone. Comparisons between the U­shaped metal and cylindrical metal were insignificant (p=.48), as well as comparisons between the U­shaped metal and fence (p=.77). This could be due to the small sample size; few boxes were mounted the U­shaped metal. My results confirmed my initial hypothesis in part. Further research should be done for other years’ data to see if a pattern emerges.

This document is currently not available here.