Build a Nest Box

Photo: JJ Harrison

Build a Nest Box

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Nest boxes replicate natural shelters such as tree hollows. They are fun, easy and cheap to make, and will provide a secure home for many years to come.

Brushtail Possums, Sugar Gliders and many bird species such as Kookaburras and Cockatoos will use a nest box as they sleep in tree hollows if they can find them. Ringtail Possums build a nest of sticks called a “drey”, but will occasionally use a nest box, too.

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife funded the installation of nest boxes in Plenty Gorge Park, Victoria for animals such as Feathertail Gliders, Sugar Gliders, and vulnerable Brush-tailed Phascogales.

Nest Box Tips

  • Use untreated wood. Animals may chew it and chemicals can harm them
  • Arrange timber so that growth rings radiate away from the centre of the box. Subsequent “warping” will force the box together rather than apart
  • The box should have drainage holes in the bottom and ventilation holes toward the top but not in the roof, or water will leak in
  • Place the entrance hole near the top so that the bottom remains dark
  • Add “toe holds” inside the box so young can climb out
  • The lid of your box must slope from the back of the box to the entrance with an overhang of at least 25 mm. Use hinges so you can clean it out after breeding season
  • Choose your position carefully. The best place for your box is in a sheltered location, so think about which side of your house takes the brunt of cold wind and driving rain. Position your box at least 3 m above the ground
  • If you attach your nest box to a tree, use wire that is covered with a piece of garden hose to protect the tree from damage
  • Choose a spot with a branch on the opposite side of the tree to rest the wire on
  • Cover the bottom of the box with wood shavings or shredded bark
  • Keep an eye on your nest box and make sure that pest species such as Common Mynas haven’t moved in. If you find that is the case, empty the box and close the entrance hole for a while
  • Put your new nest box up in late winter or early spring. This is the time that early breeders like rosellas are looking for a place to raise their young

Different Buddies like Different Nest Boxes

The size of the animal matters when it comes to finding the right real estate. The entrance hole should be just big enough for the residents to get in. You can also add a stick under the entrance hole to help buddies on their way in and out of the box, if you like.

Give Possums a New Home – Out of your Roof!

A nest box may be part of the solution if you have a resident Brushtail Possum in your roof.  At night, when your possum is out, place a bright light in the roof to discourage it from coming back and seal all access holes to your roof. Place the new nest box nearby so your possum can find shelter when it finds your roof locked up.

The measurements below are in millimeters and are the minimum guidelines for the dimensions of the boxes.

  • Ringtail Possum Nest Box: A 400, B 240, C 200, D 70
  • Brushtail Possum Nest Box: A 500, B 250, C 290, D 100-120
  • Rosella Nest Box: A 400, B 240, C 200, D 70
  • Treecreeper Nest Box: A 400, B 190, C 170, D 45-50
  • Sugar Glider Nest Box: A 400, B 240, C 200, D 32-35

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care… and take a few simple steps. Backyard Buddies are the native plants and animals that share our urban areas, waterways, backyards and parks.  Backyard Buddies are also the people who value native wildlife and want to protect it.

Find out more about your buddies

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