Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois


a. honey_bee_worker.jpgHoneybees, native to Europe, are kept in man-made hives constructed of stacked wooden boxes or in woven straw or wicker domes called skeps.

Mason_Bee.jpgleafcutter_bee_adult.jpgb. Leaf cutter bees and orchard mason bees lay their eggs in holes in logs. They will nest in logs or blocks of wood with holes drilled in them.

c. Purple Martins nest in colonies of multiple compartment nest boxes or hanging gourds on top of a tall pole.

Bat01Cropped.jpgd. Bats will roost in wooden boxes that are open at the bottom and mounted high on a building. They will enter through the bottom and cling to the inside walls of the box.


e. Bluebirds will readily build their nests in wooden nest boxes that are placed on poles in open fields. A box with a steeply sloping top is less susceptible to predation by house cats.

house_wren.jpgf. House Wrens will build their nests in any kind of nest box, either on a post or hanging from a chain. Smaller hanging boxes with small entrance holes are often provided for them as most other species will not use them.

AMB167D.pngg. Wood ducks will nest in large wooden nest boxes placed near the water. Wood duck nest boxes have an oval hole, wider than tall.

toad.jpgh. Toads will rest in toad houses that are often similar to an upside-down flower pot with an entrance hole near the ground.

RobinCropped.jpgi. Robins will build their nests on wooden shelves.


j. White-footed mice will build their nests in wooden nest boxes that are meant for small birds.

osprey.jpgk. Ospreys will build there nests on platforms ontall poles, usually placed over the water







Animal Homes Made by Humans

Carolyn Nixon


Many animals, including insects, birds, and mammals, will use homes constructed for them by humans.  If nesting places for these species are limited, people can construct artificial nest boxes or platforms.  If these are close enough in design to the real thing, the animal may accept it.  Conservationists construct nest boxes to help increase reproduction by a species.  Many people put nest boxes up around their homes because they like to attract animals.  If the animals are beneficial to humans, such as bees who pollinate flowers or Purple Martins who consume large numbers of insects, people construct homes to gain benefits from them.  See if you can match the animal on the left with at least one home on the right.  Some types of homes can be used by more than one type of animal, and some of the animals may use more than one type of home. Write the letter of matching animals on the blank lines under each image of an animal home.

Answers for animal/home match




4—e, f






10—j, e, f



13—f, j

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Image Credits

• Philip Nixon: honey bee, leaf cutter bee

• USDA photo: mason bee

• Michael Jeffords: toad, American Robin,

white-footed mouse, Osprey

• Rhetta Jack: bat

• PGC Photo/Joe Kosack: House Wren, Eastern


• Dover Clipart: Purple Martin, Wood Duck

• Carie Nixon: all nest box drawings

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