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Homes For Your Wild Birds


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Homes for Your Wild Birds

Wild birdhouses and nesting boxes are in many ways the bird lover's equivalent of the gardener's hanging baskets and window boxes. They add style and beauty as well as function to any backyard or window. In the case of the birder, they also keep the objects of our fascination nearby.

There are many wild birds that prefer hollowed logs, tree limbs and/or shelves (sometimes in a sheltered eave of your house). These birds are rightly called "cavity-nesting" birds. Many cavity nesters also welcome a nesting box or birdhouse provided by you. These birds include bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, wrens, woodpeckers, Purple Martins, some owls, swallows and wood ducks.

Birds that nest in birdhouses may also have preference as to where you decide to place their home. Finding out the location and height preferences of whatever particular bird you wish to attract will go a long way to being successful.

For instance, bluebirds like open areas with a natural perch nearby (a tree limb, a fence, a small shrub, etc.). If you mount more than one bluebird house on your property, you should leave at least 100 feet distance between them. It is always wise to check what will attract the bird you wish to invite to nest.




Purple Martins prefer their bird houses to be high in the air, 8 x 20 feet high. Special poles with the ability to be raised or lowered using a pulley or winch system - for the convenience of inspection and cleaning out nests of other birds such as sparrows - are desirable for housing these very beneficial, mosquito-eating birds. And unlike the bluebird, Purple Martins don't mind having close neighbors, so you can mount their apartment nearby. Martin houses may consist of a "gourd-tree" or a house with several compartments. If predators such as owls are a problem, you can usually buy purple martin bird houses with a "predator guard."




Song of the Wren

 Carolina and Berwick's wrens seem to have no particular preference to their nest location. They have been seen in many unusual places. However, the House Wren rarely builds in open areas and prefers nesting cavities - even birdhouse cavities.

When building a nest, the male will bring his twigs and nest-building material to the birdhouse. After filling it haphazardly, he will then begin building a nest in another location - even perhaps several locations. The female selects the final location and the family begins. Watching wren activity brings much pleasure (and a chuckle) as they are very expressive - both body and song. If you're going to mount a wren bird house, you may want to buy more than one to observe their unique nesting habits.



When purchasing or building a birdhouse, you need to also give consideration as to the size of the entrance hole. The holes need to be large enough for the bird to enter; however, not so large that predators can enter the box and harm their young.










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