Nest boxes have been widely used across the world to provide shelter for animal species, often to restore areas following the loss of natural tree hollows. While the microclimates of installed nest boxes have been studied, limited attention has been paid to whether microclimate is influenced by nest box size, shape and entrance dimensions. In this study the temperature and humidity patterns were recorded within six nest box designs that were exposed to direct sunshine. All were constructed of 19 mm plywood but varied in length by a factor of 2X, in volume by 3.5X and in entrance areas by 5X. All next boxes behaved the same thermally, closely following ambient during the night, but during the day they heated to 5 °C warmer than ambient by mid-afternoon. Fluctuations in humidity varied, with small nest boxes with large entrances being closer to ambient humidity than those with small entrances or large volumes. Overall, nest box size and shape had no detectable influence on the internal temperature fluctuations, but did to a slight extent on humidity patterns. Construction material and nest box placement are the likely drivers of the temperature and humidity patterns within nest boxes, and need to be the focus of efforts to keep nest boxes habitable when deployed, and designs should be selected on the basis of the target animal's preferences for size and shape.
Influence of design on the microclimate in nest boxes exposed to direct sunshine
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Murray V. Ellis; Influence of design on the microclimate in nest boxes exposed to direct sunshine. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2016; 38 (1): 95–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2016.007
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