Lucy's Warbler Nest Box Project

The Lucy's warbler, also known as the "desert warbler" is one of only 2 warbler species known to nest in tree cavities. This tiny, inconspicuous bird nests in the driest areas of any U.S. warbler species. They begin arriving in late February and early March to the Arizona deserts in search of nesting sites in a variety of trees such as mesquites, acacia and hackberries along washes as well as urban areas. There is indication that they have a preference for our native velvet mesquite. However, due to heavy pruning, urban encroachment, etc, these warblers are having more difficulty finding appropriate nesting sites.

In 2016, the Tucson Audubon, seeing the opportunity to have a positive impact on the species, set out to learn more about lucy's warblers' nesting habits and experiment with nest box designs to see if there may be a particular design these warblers will readily use. The nest box option that demonstrated the most success was a small, triangular-shaped box with openings on 2 sides.

We offer the Tucson Audubon nest box design in our shop.

Setting up a Lucy's warbler box is easy to do and is a great way to #SaveTheSongbirds right in your own backyard so we encourage you to get involved! Each lucy's warbler box comes with complete instructions on placement in mesquite and other trees. The nesting boxes may also be placed on a pole, near or inside the canopy of a tree.

Tucson Audubon's warbler nesting box program is an ongoing project and data monitoring continues. Therefore, we encourage you to register your nest box at Tucson Audubon Lucy's Warbler project website.

Additional Information:

Tucson Audubon Society - Lucy's Warbler

All About Birds - Lucy's Warbler

NestWatch at Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Photos by Paula Redinger