Easy Telescoping Nest Poles with photos

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SebastianL's picture
Easy Telescoping Nest Poles with photos

 Some years ago after years of using a very heavy Hop Hornbeam nest pole which was always quite scary and Herculean to lift and lower (both for humans and chicks), we  came up with a new design that seems quite ideal.

We used two lengths of galvanized chain link pole of different diameters as available at Home Depot and other places for each box pole set. We were aiming for a 12 foot box height since we had had success with that height before. Adjust pole length purchases  if you are looking for a shorter or taller ultimate height.

 We used a 10 foot base pole  1 7/8" diameter and an 8 foot upper pole of 1 5/8" diameter. We buried approximately three feet,in the ground and tamped it well while backfilling.This burial depth has been suffuicient for stability in our sandy soils. The 1 7/8"diameter is a bit harder to find and we souced from a fence company.

The  upper pole is small enough in diameter to just telescope inside the lower. We drilled a hole through both poles and used a small diameter 1/4" hitch pin to secure.them, when extended ,with an overlap of about 10 inches or so .We also  drilled holes at top of upper pole to attach box to. In addition we put an easily purchased cap on the end of the top pole. Actually to be completely truthful, a machinist friend did all the drilling which helped a lot.

 Luckily I already had 10 foot lengths of the lower pipe on hand ,otherwise set-up is a bit pricey  ($60-$100) especially if you pay someone to drill the holes!   They should last forever ( for all practical purposes). You just need a small stepladder or even a bucket to stand on to inspect/clean/band nests after telescoping down.one box had a handy rock near it to stand on. Be careful of your fingers as you lower or raise poles. An assistant is ideal. If you aim for  a 10' box height you can probably reach the box from the ground quite easily. It is also handy to mark the  top pole joint with a sharpie before lowering so you can easily see the right height to raise it to again

After installing pole and box, it is simple to,use a large pipe wrench to fine tune box orientation by twisting lower pole I have set one box so I can get a perfect view in the distance of the box entrance as I have my afternoon tea.

After some years of use, the only problems I have had is on a pole that was sunk to shallow ledge.Rain accumulated in the lower pole and in the winter the lower pole froze and cracked slightly. Not enough to cause problems, but it made me consider if it would work to have the "female" pole be the upper one instead. I also considered using electrical tape to temporarily seal the joint area ovet the winter.

I also have wondered if junk basketball hoop poles might be re-purposed. They tend to have a telescopic feature.

Sebastian Lousada



AKP-Matthew's picture

Thanks so much for sharing this, Sebastian! Such a simple but elegant option for folks that don't want to lug stepladders into the field to clean their boxes every winter. We appreciate you sharing your experience and expertise with the rest of our partners.

AKP Staff