Texas Wildlife Exemption: Nesting Boxes Bluebird, Songbird Management
In general, land can be managed for many different wildlife species under the wildlife tax exemption, but not all animals will thrive on a given parcel of land. The ecoregion where the property is found as well as the size of the property and the plants found there, in addition to the individual requirements of wildlife, will dictate the wildlife species that can effectively be managed.
Habitat control, erosion control, predator control, providing supplemental water, providing supplemental food, providing shelter and making census counts are approved wildlife management activities for the wildlife tax exemption. For land to qualify under wildlife management use, the landowner must implement at least three of these seven approved practices. Bird management is a great choice for smaller properties.
Bluebird, Songbird Management for the Wildlife Exemption
Birds can include game birds as well as non-game species. Doves, quail, bluebirds, wrens and the whole group collectively known as songbirds can be targeted through proper habitat management. The eastern bluebird is perhaps one of the better known songbirds in Texas. The male has a bright blue back, reddish chest and a white belly. The female bluebird is not as colorful in appearance. These cavity nesting birds feed on insects. The eastern bluebird is a species often associated with habitat edge. It likes areas where forested or wooded areasa and open, pasturelands come together.
Supplemental shelter can be used as a qualifying practice for the wildlife exemption, so what better way to help bluebirds and all cavity nesting birds that to install bird nesting boxes on your property? It’s both simple and effective. To help reproductin in bluebirds and other cavity nesters, the box commonly referred to as a “bluebird box” will help a variety of songbird species, such as the Carolina chickadee, tufted tit mouse and the Bewick’s wren. Nest boxes will not help birds that nest on the ground or on the limbs of trees, so it will be important to maintain nesting habitat for these species through other methods.
Wildlife Management Practice: Nest Boxes
Bluebird houses should be placed about four to five feet above the ground. For optimal results,landowners can install predator guards, although properly constructed bluebird houses limit most predators. The boxes should have the entrance hole situated in a northerly, easterly or northeasterly direction to keep sunlight from shining directly in the hole during the afternoon. This will result in the overheating the box, the bluebird and its eggs. The nesting box should be placed in the open and spaced approximately 100 yards apart for bluebirds. In forested areas, the boxes can be situated about 60 yards apart for a variety of cavity nesting birds.
It is recommended that all bird nesting boxes be cleaned at least once a year. This can be done prior to the nesting season, during the winter. Any repairs can also be made at that time. Nesting season for eastern bluebirds and most other cavity nesting sonbirds Texas takes place from March through August. In short, nesting boxes are an excellent way to provide supplemental shelter for cavity nesting birds on a property. Not only will it help wildlife found in the area, but the practice can be one of the three approved management practices that helps a property qualify for the wildlife tax exemption.
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