Rediscovering Projects Past: Utilising Volunteers to Monitor and Assess Forgotten Nest Boxes

We are very exited to announce that we have been successful in securing funding for a volunteer based initiative that will survey and assess forgotten nest boxes across National Parks in Victoria, and provide species occupation data, and repair or removal of broken boxes.

This project has been funded by a grant from the Parks Victoria Volunteering Innovation Fund and we are partnering with our friends at Ecology & Restoration Australia, who will manage the field based surveys and data collection.

Broken nest boxes can be a hazard to both wildlife and humans (c) Jo Isaac

Nest boxes are a common conservation tool across Australia, installed primarily to support native hollow-using fauna, particularly in areas where natural tree hollows are limited. Nest boxes are installed by a variety of groups and individuals, such as ‘Friends of…’ groups, school groups and others, and a many are installed in various National Parks across Victoria.

However, ongoing monitoring of installed nest boxes, to determine by occupation by target or other species, and any maintenance issues, is often challenging due to lack of both financial resources and personnel.

In 2020, a published survey determined that there are more than 10,000 nest boxes installed across Australia, and, for various reasons, nearly a third of these boxes are not monitored (Macak 2020). 

Additionally, nest boxes have a finite lifespan in-situ of usually around 10 years, and maintenance issues such as broken attachments and infestation by pests such as European Honeybees can influence their effectiveness (Lindenmayer et al. 2009).

Nest boxes can be a useful conservation tool, but do require maintenance to extend their utility in the field (c) Eco Warriors Australia 2022

This project will utilise volunteers to monitor at least 500 nest boxes previously installed on Parks Victoria managed land. If appropriate, other unmonitored wildlife structures, such as glider/koala poles or rope bridges will also be surveyed and assessed.

Utilising volunteers to monitor and maintain existing created habitat, such as nest boxes, is an innovative and new idea, and will also work to take the pressure off Parks Victoria staff to monitor and maintain existing nest boxes installed by other groups.

The project will also offer volunteers a unique opportunity to observe and collect data on native species utilising nest boxes.

If you’d like to volunteer for this project – please get in touch via our Contact page!


Lindenmayer, D. B., Welsh, A., Donnelly, C., Crane, M., Michael, D., Macgregor, C., … & Gibbons, P. (2009). Are nest boxes a viable alternative source of cavities for hollow-dependent animals? Long-term monitoring of nest box occupancy, pest use and attrition. Biological Conservation142(1), 33-42.

Macak, P. V. (2020). Nest boxes for wildlife in Victoria: an overview of nest box distribution and use. Victorian Naturalist, The137(1), 4-14.

2 replies on “Rediscovering Projects Past: Utilising Volunteers to Monitor and Assess Forgotten Nest Boxes”

Toni Keelingsays:

This is wonderful committed planning and action. Brilliant. Would be there like a shot but not possible. Thank you.

Thanks so much Toni – sorry for the delayed response! Eco Warriors Team

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