By Steve Patterson of Glaucomys.org
Photographs by Mark Bloomer and Steve Patterson
[For Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) take one inch off all dimensions. Access hole must be exactly 1.25 in. (3.175 cm). Place in deciduous or mixed forest.]
- Ensure access hole size is no larger than specified. You may wish to install a sheet metal occluder around entrance to prevent hole enlargement by unwanted species. No sharp edges!
- Run a bead of water-based siliconized caulking along length of top where it meets backing board to prevent water infiltration. Drill (4) 1/4" (6.35mm) holes near corners of bottom and (2) 1/4" (6.35mm) holes on each side near bottom for ventilation purposes.
- Use natural (untreated) softwood. Thickness - 3/4" (19mm) to 1" (25mm). DO NOT stain or paint interior or exterior. DO NOT use plywood or chipboard.
- If the wood you use is smooth-planed, roughen exterior with rasp or coarse sandpaper for better "gripability".
- Though not absolutely necessary, it is advisable to provide a hinged access door for cleaning purposes. Clean ONLY during January or February, as box will be vacant during this period. Front or side door access is preferred over top door access. Only adults should do the cleaning, and always wear leather gardening gloves when performing a clean-out! Some other animals you might find using this nesting box are: birds, tree frogs, spiders, hornets, bumblebees & mice.
Place nesting boxes in your oldest stands of coniferous (preferred) or mixed forest. Min./Max. placement height is 10'/26' (3m/8m). Place so that access hole faces opposite prevailing wind. Preferably, place so that mammalian predators cannot reach box via limbs of other trees. Install near water (marsh, creek, etc.) or in mesic (wet) forest areas where possible. Install several boxes per 1/4 hectare, as flying squirrels need to have alternate nesting sites available to them for predator or parasite avoidance purposes.
Monitor occasionally for occupancy by rapping tree trunk and watching access hole. If you find a flying squirrel has taken up residence, leave it alone. If you bother it enough, it will leave.
You can attract Northern Flying Squirrels by placing acorns or other nuts, after dark, on a board (feeding platform) attached to a tree trunk about 5 feet from the ground. Cast indirect light on the feeding platform (the squirrels won't mind) and keep an eye out for them. Happy squirrelin'!
*Note - before beginning construction of this nesting box, do your research and confirm which species of flying squirrel inhabits your geographic region!