Liven Up Your Lawn and Garden with
Love the sound of birds in early morning
and evening hours? Encourage your feathered friends
to stay in your yard and garden by giving them places to
live. Not only will you have more songs to listen to
but you'll decrease the insect population, too.
Each year humans destroy thousands of acres of
natural bird habitat to build shopping centers and parking
lots. Cavity-nesting birds are most affected by this
encroachment. Increasing populations of starlings, sparrows
and cats make safe nesting sites harder to find. The addition
of bird houses on our property allows us to do our part to restore
the natural balance for our feathered friends.
Birds are particular about their little
homes. Though a few varieites will live anywhere they
can find a bit of shelter from rain and wind, some species are
particular and must be catered to.
Bird House Kits
An ideal gift for bird lovers or a good project for children is a
bird house kit. These kits come with precut, predrilled cedar
or wood material and are readily made into functional and/or
decorative bird houses. Little experience or skill is
required for these kits which are often built for specific species
There is lots of room for creativity with such
kits and children especially will love watching bird families move
into the homes built for them and can follow the nesting and
observe the baby birds as they grow throughout the season.
Most kits will have one removable panel for cleaning and it is
important to carefully follow directions for painting and
decorating the kit bird house to insure you are not using any
products toxic to birds.
Martin Bird Houses
Martins like open areas next to water and detest dense, thick
vegetation under their bird house as it can hides
predators. Martin houses are traditionally white and are
mounted quite high on poles or rooftops. Tops are often
hinged and fastened with a hook and eye so boxes can be checked and
Unlike most birds, Purple Marins are communal
and prefer residing in a colory. Multiple houses of more than
24 holes are ideal for nesting of martins but before buying or
building a three or four deck multi-compartent house for your
martins make sure there is adequate in-hyouse
ventilation. The larger the martin bird house, the more
sturdy the construction materials must be.
Purple Martins depend almost entirely on
man-made nest boxes but will not inhabit a bird house that does not
meet their needs for community, location, color or
surroundings. If your martin house has no guests, more
than likely you need to relocate it.
Gourd Bird Houses
Gourd bird houses are
nature’s own birdhouse. There is little to write down about
building gourd bird houses. Just drill an appropriate size hole
through the top of the neck of the gourd and pass a piece of thick
wire through the holes, entwining the wires at the top to create a
hanger for the birdhouse. If you wish other birds than purple
martins to reside, attach the birdhouse to a pole so it does not
swings in the breeze. Since gourds can actually be molded or shaped
as they are grown, the creative possibilities of gourd bird houses
are abundant. With careful handcrafting, you may soon find exotic
bird species nesting in your backyard.
Wren Bird Houses
Wrens bubbling call and
fervent energy make them one of the most pleasant backyard birds.
House wrens readily nest in solidly supported birdhouses placed
in-between five to ten feet above the ground. The protection of
thick vegetation or trees is attractive to wrens. Wren house plans
also dictate that these boxes should be built of good wood that
will last several years in the outdoors. These plans further state
that you may paint only the external surfaces using darker hues
like brown or green color.
Wrens are dreadfully territorial and almost any
other nesting bird in its territory is threatening. Wrens often
claim all nest cavities anywhere near its own, and if other birds
occupy these cavities, punctured eggs or dead nestlings are the
common outcome. This appalling behavior of house wrens may distress
some bird enthusiasts who discover “wren mayhem” in their bluebird
boxes. For that reason, wren house plans specifically caution that
when setting up wren birdhouses, one needs to ensure that natural
cavities or nest boxes of other exotics or endangered species are
not present within its vicinity.
Blue Bird House
selection of a proper habitat for mounting bluebird houses is
crucial. These birds thrive in open areas with few scattered trees.
Bluebirds rarely nest in wooded areas and urban areas. Instead they
prefer dwelling along the outer fringes of a forest or in an open
clearing. Bluebirds will nest in birdhouses perched at almost any
height, but very low placement increases the risks of predators,
whereas very high placement attracts house sparrows which are much
more aggressive and will attack blue birds. Ideal height for
blue birds seems to be about 7 feet from the ground. Blue
birds nest as solitary pairs but prefer nests close to other pairs
so adding 2-3 nesting boxes in each general location is