Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birdhouses, Nesting and Early Spring Cleaning

At a recent community club meeting, my friend explained she was buying an Owl Box to install in a tree near their home at 15-18 feet above the ground, just about at “deck level.” They had enjoyed screech owls raising a family in their backyard for several years running, and decided to encourage them to nest where it would be easier to follow their progress.

Plenty of people enjoy watching, feeding and learning about birds. Birding offers an easy opportunity to connect with feathered inhabitants of the natural world and to enjoy their songs, beauty and behavior. Use a simple field guide to find out what species are visiting the backyard. Wild birds need food, water and shelter, so to attract them to the backyard, supply these requirements. More than 60 million Americans of all ages put out bird feeders to attract birds, but an even more laid-back way to participate is to install a bird house.

Different styles of bird houses attract different types of birds, and each needs to be sited correctly. For example, robins like an open shelf under an eave and avoid closed-in boxes. Bluebirds nest in birdhouses about five feet above the ground and like a clear meadow area (think open lawn) where they can hunt for food and watch out for predators. Install a new bird house in late winter to give avian couples a chance to find it before spring. Hopefully a pair will move in and raise a family this spring.

Birds prefer to build fresh nests each spring. Once a year in late winter is the time to check and clean last year’s bird house before the nesting season.  Many birdhouses have a hinged wall for easier cleaning.
1.    Wear rubber gloves
2.    Open the hinged floor, wall or roof of the bird house wall and dump out the old nest
3.    Scrub out the inside with a 10 percent bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) using a brush to get into all the corners
4.    Dry out in the sun
5.    Reinstall

Good luck attracting some feathered friends! An interesting site I came across is Cornell’s Nest Watch  http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/nest/home/index . This site includes a Nest Cam and shows hatching eggs.

No comments:

Post a Comment