Bluebird Nestbox Baffles
Let’s talk about baffles on your nestbox poles! This is a LONG post, but packed full of information!
* Information credits on the bottom.
A – Predator baffles will help guard the pole mounted nestbox against snakes, raccoons, cats, squirrels, mice, rats and other climbing predators as long as they cannot jump to the box from nearby trees, branches, and shrubs. The slicker the stovepipe the better.
Q- Why are baffles needed?
A- Every pole supporting a bird house should have a predator baffle on it. Otherwise, pole-climbing predators, such as snakes, cats, raccoons or squirrels can make an easy meal of your birds, their eggs, or their young nestlings. Never place a nest box on a fence, tree, or any structure that you can not predator proof. A free standing pole is no exception.
Q- What materials can I use to make a stovepipe baffle?
A – Galvanized stove or vent/duct pipe. We recommend using 6″ to 8″ diameter (wider is better) x 24″ long. Both can be purchased at Big Box home improvement stores, usually in the plumbing section near heat registers and furnace filters. Use only galvanized stove pipe as a black matte finish will probably rust. We don’t recommend the kind with rivets (unless they are blind/pop rivets). We suggest using stove pipe with a straight, vertical seam or snap together pipes.
1. Use tin snips (offset are best) to cut a hardware cloth circle that is 1″ bigger all around than the stovepipe.
2. Cut a small hole or “X” in the middle of the circle (the diameter of your mounting pipe – usually 1/2 to 1 inch.)
3. Put the hardware cloth circle over the top of the stovepipe. Then bend the edges down one inch all around so it fits tightly INSIDE the stovepipe. use 1/4 to 1/2 inch hardware cloth.
4. Use tin snips to cut three tabs in the top of the stovepipe. Bend these tabs over the hardware cloth.
5. Bolt the two strips of hanger iron (or a hose clamp) securely on either side of the mounting pipe, and bend them to support the hardware cloth. Duct tape wrapped around the pole helps hold the hanger iron in place.
6. Double check that there are no gaps that would allow snakes to squeeze through. You can take a slotted screwdriver and use it to pry the hardware cloth up against the stovepipe sides.
7. Slip the assembled baffle over the pole until it rests on the hanger iron bracket. The top of the baffle needs to be at least four feet off the ground. The baffle should wobble a little to discourage climbing predators. The baffle should hang an inch max from the bottom of the nestbox.
8. Charlie Zepp uses Azek to screw into the top of the baffle for his design.
* You can purchase them online also, but they are painted with black matte finish. I found a link on amazon that is reasonable here:
Songbird Essentials Predator Defeater Raccoon and Squirrel Baffle, 24″ to 30 ” Tall and 6″ to 8″ Diameter https://a.co/d/8sRcB5h
*Information for this page were used with permission from Bet Zimmerman, the North American Bluebird Society, and Ron Kingston for educational purposes.
* If you are in a prevalent rat snake area, consider making your baffle 8”x60”
Heather Harris, OBS trustee and founder of Bluebirds Across Ohio