clinging to the front of that nestbox on the side of my garage. I put that box up three years ago, and it has attracted attention from swallows for the past two summers. Last summer I was sure the swallows were nesting in it, but when I went to clean it earlier this spring I found that the box was empty. (This means either that the swallows did not nest or that I should give them their security deposit back.)
YES, THAT'S A CHICKADEE
As of today, however, the box is definitely the object of attention by nesting birds. Not surprisingly my new tenants are chickadees, as these little birds seem to accept nestboxes a lot more readily than other birds do.
I've written recently about nestboxes for chickadees. But this photo illustrates some points that are worth emphasizing: The box is tall, with the hole near the top. It has a bit of a roof to prevent rain from getting in. The entrance hole is fairly small. There's no perch. (You can see from the photo that the bird doesn't need one.) You can't see this but it also has proper drainage and ventilation and can easily be opened for cleaning. I'm also very proud to say that the box was made locally, from wood harvested on a woodlot certified as well-managed by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Aside from providing a properly designed box, another way to help nesting chickadees and other seed-eating birds is to continue filling your bird feeders regularly through the entire nesting season. Most authorities agree that the best seed for chickadees and many other birds is black sunflower seed, because of its high fat content and easy-to-open shell.
Also, please try very hard to not use pesticides, as most birds, including chickadees and hummingbirds, feed insects to their young.