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Room with a View

Duchess Sanctuary takes on its next wildlife project—installing bird nest boxes around the sanctuary

  • One of the new nest boxes, set up and ready for a tenant! Dave Pauli/HSUS

  • One of the new nest boxes, set up and ready for a tenant! Dave Pauli/HSUS

  • One of the new nest boxes, set up and ready for a tenant! Dave Pauli/HSUS

  • All of the nest boxes lined up before being posted around the sanctuary. Dave Pauli/HSUS

  • One of the new nest boxes, set up and ready for a tenant! Dave Pauli/HSUS/p>

Each year at Duchess Sanctuary we undertake a wildlife project to ensure we are living in harmony with our wild neighbors. Our mission is to not only provide sanctuary to the nearly 200 horses who call Duchess home but to also ensure we are providing a safe space for the many wild creatures who choose to live here on our 1120 acre property. To that end, this year, in cooperation with the HSUS Wildlife Innovation and Response Team—headed by Dave Pauli— we installed several bird nest boxes.

The nest boxes are part of a larger program to reduce the number of ticks that the horses and humans have to deal with, especially in the spring. Ticks can spread disease and negatively impact the health of immune compromised horses. We’d prefer not to use chemicals or insecticides as a control measure, and they would be ineffective on such a large piece of land in any case.

So we’re inviting our feathered friends to move in! More nesting sites will attract more birds to the property, and those extra beaks can be put to work devouring ticks and other insects. Thirteen smaller nest boxes were installed in various locations we hope species such as bluebirds and tree swallows will appreciate.

Two larger nest boxes sized for raptors will provide ample accommodation for kestrels, which we see often on the property. The kestrels prefer to dine on mice and other rodents so we are happy to invite them to stay as long as they’d like, rent free.

In addition to the owl boxes we put up last year, we can now say that Duchess Sanctuary offers spectacular accommodations for 17 bird families in all. If you are interested in helping wildlife at the sanctuary, learn more about volunteering or make a donation today.

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