Garden, house or wild birds by their nature will nest in trees and hedgerows, but there are a few varieties that will nest in cavities of old buildings or trees. They will adopt to the circumstances that they are given and make their homes in these crevices, provided that it offers an degree of shelter and safety from the elements and predation. Whether we are living in urban or suburban areas, we can still do this exercise and it will help in a number of ways to attract these wild birds to our area. Birds in their own right are naturally curious and will be attracted to these for several reasons. They will be on the lookout for an appropriate nesting location from very early spring, so it’s important that we have these little birdhouses erected in good time. Timber or wood makes the best birdhouses for backgardens as other material like plastic or metal may heat up a little in hot weather and cause the young chicks some distress.
In some countries, wild life and bird conservation groups do a great job in going out and about and erecting these bird houses in specific locations. They do these for a number of reasons, mainly to do a count of specific species, to give a helping hand to a particular variety and doing some research of wild birds in general. In my own country the government recently introduced a scheme, whereby farmers received a small payment for erecting both bird and bat houses in their lands. It is part of an ongoing campaign to conserve dwindling numbers and help with their well being, where ever they can. This is where we can also help out in this area and again, it does’nt cost the earth to erect a few of these nesting boxes or birdhouses, in our backyards or backgardens.
Best time to put up a birdhouse;
If this is our first time with this exercise, the optimum times for erecting these nesting boxes is early spring, but we can put these up at any time esentially. In the springtime is when all activity begins in the bird world and its the time of the year when most birds will be looking for a place to nest and lay their eggs. The reason that anytime of the year is good to erect these houses is, the birds will have checked out these over time and will have been familiarising themselves with their location.
Best position for birdhouses;
Naturally the higher off the ground we can locate these boxes the better, for obvious reasons, cats especially being the main predators and other critters like squirrels, weasels and stoats etc. Depending on the country we live in and the climate that we have, we need to plan these placements properly and carefully. They should be facing north, so as to avoid the midday hot sun and they should also be faced in the opposite direction of the prevailing winds, for similar reasons. Another idea that we might consider and that is to locate these boxes somewhere we could could view these from our sitting rooms or kitchens. The object of this exercise is to be able to enjoy all that bird activity as they flutter in and out both at the nest building time and later on, the feeding of their chicks. One small tip for these birdhouses is, to have the birdbox blend into the sorroundings as much as possible, so that it does’nt look so intrusive to outsiders.
Cleaning out a birdhouse;
This is a very important task that has to be completed after the chicks have fledged the nest. This is primarily for hygienic reasons and also so as not to attract other unwanted critters like mice, insects, mites and bird lice. They would be attracted by the smells and activity that went on earlier in these birdhouses, so it is imperative that we do this job as soon as possible. There is a trap-door type opening in every bird house and this makes this task much easier. The old nesting material will also have to be disposed of also as this would deter new occupiers from returning. We need to ensure that the inside is cleaned out thoroughly and it may even attract the original birds back later that year, as often is the case, birds do have a second brood.
Types of birdhouses available;
There are hundreds of these birdhouse available at our local hardware stores, garden centres also stock these and failing that, we can always purchase these online. There are birdhouse project plans online, available to download, which is something that might take our fancy. If we are anyway handy with a hammer and saw, its not very difficult to make one of these by ourselves. It does’nt require a great deal of expertise and only a small amount of materials are required for this exercise.
However, if we are thinking of buying these birdboxes online, I would advise on the practical, standard type of birdhouse, for the reasons that we have outlined above. This again of course, is contingent on our budget, as we all know that there are really expensive, top of the range, designer type birdhouses available and they look spectacular in their own right. But the reality is, birds will leave droppings and so on, in or around the vicinity of these receptacles, so cleaning of these has to taken into consideration at all times.
I hope you have enjoyed this short overview of how to erect birdhouses and select the best locations for these boxes. On this website, we have previously covered details of how to attract wild birds with bird feeders and birdbaths to our backgardens, so this is another method that may be useful in our quest to have wild birds flying about in our backyards. As usual, do join in the conversation by using the comments box down below and we will reply in due course.
Happy birding to all,
Cheers Phil Browne.
Everyone likes birds.
What wild creature is more accessible
to our eyes and ears,
as close to us
and everyone in the world,
as universal as a bird?
— David Attenborough.