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This past week has been a roller coaster weather wise. Warm versus cold. I like in between. The hummingbirds have been needing lots of energy.
I fill my feeders twice a day. When I say fill, I don’t ever fill completely as it may spoil.
So I put around a cup and a half in my feeders. They go through it fast. I have six to eight sitting on one feeder. So cute to watch. Do all of you keep up on the kinds of nests birds build? Lately, I certainly know how to detect a sparrow nests. They have been so difficult to keep out of my bluebird houses.
I finally have a wren here on the front porch. I hope she builds here. I detest them on the trails as they destroy the bluebird nests and use those houses. Robin nests are mostly mud and grass.
They are very well erected. They are real engineers, unless they build in trees and the wind catches the nest. Tree Swallows, which are a protected species, prefer nest boxes (bluebird boxes), and you can also attach a box to a dead tree for the.
The ideal setting for these insect eaters is on the edge of a field near a lake, pond or river. Barn swallows build a mud nest that is attached to a sill or rafter. They are called that because they do dwell in many barns. Purple Martins, of course, live in large apartment type houses and eat many insects. I love my Purple Martins.
You may also use gourds. They are fun to watch, listen to, and just plain nice to have around. Screech owls prefer abandoned woodpecker holes at the edge of a field. The will readily take to boxes lined with an inch or two of wood chips.
If you clean the box out in late spring after the young owls have fledged, you may attract a second tenant, a kestrel. Trees isolated from larger tracts of woods have a less chance of squirrels taking over the box. Wren houses can be small, and their opening should be the size of a quarter. Bluebird boxes are a little larger and taller, and their entrance hold should be 1 1/2 inches.
You can add sparrow spookers to the entrance or hang above to try and deter the House Sparrows.
If you are serious about keeping predators away, you can baffle the pole. We add a entrance hole guard of about 3/4 inch thick which will help with raccoons reaching in. For Purple Martins, you will always want to purchase a house with half moon shaped entrances. This is will prevent Starlings, but not sparrows. I allow a couple of sparrows to share the apartment house and this will make everyone happy. Always check your birdhouses for wasps. Birds will not use a house infested with paper wasps. I don’t blame them. I have had two houses infested with small ants. I have to remove everything and spray them and leave them open.
House Sparrows and Starlings introduced from Europe, must be discouraged. They will bully and kill cavity nesting birds. Since house sparrows and starlings are not protected by law, you may destroy their nests. But remember to be careful of other species, as they are protected by law. I hope you are enjoying your spring and summer.
Until next time, good birdwatching.