Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Provide artificial nesting sites for pigeons

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

Two replicated studies from the USA and the Netherlands found high use rates and high nesting success of pigeons and doves using artificial nests.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated study in 1945-6 in garden habitats in Ohio, USA (Calhoun 1948), found that 63% of 31 mourning dove Zenaida macroura (formerly Zenaidura macroura) nesting attempts in artificial nests were successful. It was not possible to compare this success with natural nests, because the author was not confident they had found all unsuccessful natural nests. Nests consisted of cones of black or green roofing paper 17.8 cm at the widest and 5.1 cm deep. This study also examines nest use by American robins Turdus migratorius, and the effect of different coloured nests in ‘Use differently-coloured artificial nests’.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated study in 1988-2000 in Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands (Potters 2009), found that stock pigeons Columba oenas used nest boxes provided in mixed agricultural habitats, laying an average of 118 eggs laid/year with 52% hatching and 84% of chicks fledging (an average of 52 chicks/year). Boxes were 20 x 20 x 50 cm, with an 8 x 8 cm entrance hole and placed 3-5 m above the ground in trees, 20-30 m apart. Jackdaws Corvus monedula also used the nest boxes, but were removed from 1995 onwards.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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