A few years ago I installed some ducting to vent the warm moist air from the cloths dryer outside of the house. This worked incredibly well for about three weeks. Then a pair of Striated Pardalotes moved into the end of the vent and set up house. They managed to raise three sets of chicks in the vent before I finally worked out how to move them on without causing a problem I couldn't sleep with.
The solution was to build a nesting box out of the same materials the vent was constructed from. The nesting box was positioned conveniently nearby to the dryer vent but also out of reach of the domestic animals and the weather. Then, in between batches of chicks, I block the vent with a grill. The Pardalotes found their new abode within 15 minutes of discovering the old one was decommissioned. As a result the Pardalotes have now raised between 2 and 4 chicks every spring for the last couple of years and I can use my dryer without fear of harming the local fawner.
This instructable covers how I built my Pardalote Nesting Box, Tube, Thing from 90mm Storm Water pipe. The results have been very satisfying. The project was very low cost and quite easy to build. On at least three occasions now, I have been able to watch a clutch of Pardalote chicks take flight and leave the nest for the very first time. An incredibly satisfying event every time.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
The parts cost around $10 to purchase. There were no special tools required beyond normal workshop tools. No chemicals, solvents or glues are required.
Step 2: Construction
This isn't supposed to be difficult and the dimensions are by no means exact. So please just have a crack at it and see how you go.
The final product is a tube, closed at one end, open at the other via a 90° bend, all mounted on a base plate. The base plate is necessary to provide stability for the nesting tube, once the birds move in or if there is winds strong enough to move the tube. There is no need to glue it all together as the press fittings of the PVC pipe provides plenty of adhesion. Furthermore, being able to reconfigure or clean the nesting tube will be simplified if it can be disassembled after a few seasons of use.
Step 3: Installation
My nesting tube sits on top of the hot water service on the veranda. This is approximately 2m above the ground and well out of the way of the cat. The elbow and blank ends are rotated and positioned such that the prevailing winds do not blow into the tube and access to the tube is easy for chicks as they are learning to fly.
The original duct work that the Pardalotes squatted in is nearby, so when the vent was blocked and the birds found they couldn't get in, there was an alternative already waiting for them only a couple of metres away. It took them less than 15 minutes to accept the change of quarters.
Having found the new abode the Pardalotes set about dragging in all the nesting materials they needed and then raised two sets of chicks. The family of Pardalotes that returns every spring is normally at least 4 adults and may be as many as 8 birds by the end of the nesting cycle.
Step 4: Footnotes
I've built quite a few nesting boxes around our property and none of them has been anywhere as successful as the PVC tube. The boxes get used regularly. However the wildlife that moves in never seems to have read the same books I have. So we have possums in the bird boxes, spiders in the bat boxes, bees in the wooden Pardalote box and Pardalotes in the cloths drier vent. (well not now but we used to).
If I am very lucky I might get some parrots in the parrot box. They certainly give it very close inspection every year.
I think the lesson is, give it a crack, don't have high expectations, you'll be pleased whatever the outcome.