Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Use differently-coloured artificial nests

How is the evidence assessed?

Study locations

Key messages

A replicated study from the USA found that two species showed different colour preferences for nest boxes, but that in each case, the preferred colour had lower nesting success than the less preferred colour.


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 American robins Turdus migratorius made more nesting attempts in 62 green nests (16) than 59 black nests (eight), but there were an equal number of successes (four successful attempts in each: 25% success in green nests vs. 50% success in black). Mourning doves Zenaida macroura (formerly Zenaidura macroura) made 18 nesting attempts in 59 black nests compared to nine in 62 green nests, but there were four successful attempts in each colour (i.e. 22% success for black nests and 44% for green). The use of the nests (cones of black or green roofing paper 17.8 cm at the widest and 5.1 cm deep) by both species is discussed further in ‘Provide artificial nest sites’.

    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?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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