Nest Box Program

Our Nest Box Program helps native birds.

What are cavity nesting birds?

nestbox1.gifThe majority of birds build their nest amidst the branches of trees or shrubs or hidden in

taller grasses on the ground. Certain species prefer to nest in hollow cavities. These birds

are called "cavity nesters".

Woodpeckers can make their own nest holes by excavating them in dead trees, which are known as 'snags'. However, there are many other cavity nesting birds such as chickadees, bluebirds and house wrens, that cannot make their own holes. These birds rely on old woodpecker holes and natural cavities in dying trees for nesting sites.

Why build nest boxes for cavity nesting birds?

Unfortunately, the number of these natural nest sites have been steadily declining over the years. Many forests and farms where tree snags are common have been developed to make way for homes, businesses, schools and shopping centers. Land managers commonly remove dead trees because there are considered "eyesores" or hazards.

The reduction in the number of available nesting sites has increased competition among birds for the remaining sites. In addition, two non-native birds, the European House

Sparrow and the European Starling were accidentally released in the United States decades ago. These non-native birds are very aggressive and out-compete native birds for nesting cavities. Putting up nest boxes helps increase bird nesting success and balance the loss of natural habitat.

What nest boxes are used at the Village Links ?

Nest boxes are bird houses that are specifically tailored for the cavity nesting birds. The size of the opening and the dimensions of the box have been calculated to fit the size of the bird and its nest. For example, the standard songbird box is sized to fit a number of small birds, but the entrance is too small for the aggressive European Starling. In addition to the size of the nest box, it is important to place the box in the proper habitat for the bird species that will use it.

nestbox2.gif nestbox3.jpg  nestbox4.gif  nestbox5.jpg 
Bluebird populations have declined 90% in the last 50 years. These birds are now fairly common at the golf course since they began nesting in our man-made nest boxes in 1995. The female will lay 5 or 6 eggs. The female incubates her eggs in a nest box left of 12 tee.   The recently hatched young wait for their parents to feed them a meal of insects. Bluebirds feed their young several times an hour.


Tree Swallows readily accept man-made nest boxes that are placed near water. During the summer months, they feed on flying insects exclusively, including mosquitoes, gnats and moths.

Since the nest box program began in 1992, 2,712 birds have been fledged. A special thanks to nest box volunteer Lori Carlson, who has been monitoring nest boxes at the golf course for the past 18 seasons.

Year # Boxes Tree Swallow Chickadee Wren Bluebird Wood Duck Annual Total
1992 12 32 0 0 0 0 32
1993 30 42 6 5 0 10 68
1994 32 59 10 10 0 10 89
1995 32 50 12 5 10 32 109
1996 46 50 10 10 9 58 137
1997 55 49 10 10 10 0 79
1998 50 60 0 10 18 33 121
1999 50 45 0 25 19 0 89
2000 50 41 20 25 34 0 120
2001 50 75 5 5 47 3 135
2002 50 79 16 0 52 2 149
2003 50 80 5 15 45 0 145
2004 50 78 10 24 38 8 158
2005 50 113 15 10 24 7 169
2006 56 148 5 25 31 0 209
2007 58 122 12 21 28 3 186
2008 60 142 14 14 43 18 231
2009 60 124 10 12 72 31 249
2010 60 132 8 17 65 15 237
 
Total 60 1521 168 248 545 215 2712
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The Village Links of Glen Ellyn features a top-rated 7,200 yard championship 18-hole course that has hosted several top tournaments and 45 USGA and PGA Tour Qualifyings. Extensive practice facilities, a large PGA golf professional staff, and gracious clubhouse hospitality, complete one of the Chicago area's most popular golf complexes.
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