Date: April 4, 2018
Source: Lund University
Ten-day-old baby birds are able to maintain their regular body temperature despite nest box temperatures of 50C° or above. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden can now show that nestlings pay a high price for regulating their body temperature: they grow less. Therefore, the recommendation when putting up a nest box should be to avoid hot, south-facing locations and choosing a spot in the shade.
The study examined how baby blue tits are affected by higher temperatures in the nest. The results show that growth suffers when they are forced to expend a large amount of their energy on maintaining a normal body temperature in a hot nest box.
"We have studied baby blue tits, but our results are likely to apply to other small hole-nesting birds in similar environments and climates," explains Fredrik Andreasson, biologist at Lund University.
He has some practical advice for those putting up a nest box:
"Don't place it in a south-facing position, as that is where it will be hottest. If possible, you should choose a place in the shade."