Our first crop of babies didn't make it. Blame it on incomplete predator protection. Our old house protected against snakes, squirrels and raccoons. We did not have protection in place against starlings or house sparrows (both invasive species), which will also make a meal on baby birds.

Obviously, we do now.

And we have a new nest spot. Mom and Dad have taken over a nest box in the front yard which is nestled into the branches of a spruce tree. It is also on a post with a predator guard, but does not have the "depth" protection on the entrance hole that it really could use. This feature is designed to extend the length of the 1 1/2" hole so that bigger, larger birds can't reach in to prey on babies or eggs. It is possible to add that feature even after egg laying, so I'm going to have to see just how disruptive that is to the parents and give it a shot.

Loss of habitat is probably the biggest reason for reduction in songbird population. This habitat loss is evident in the suburbs of America and also in reduced winter habitats of migrating songbirds. Campaigns, some of them by individuals with a personal passion, have had quite an impact on raising awareness for the need for nesting boxes, particularly for the Eastern Bluebird. One of the primary losses has been dead or dying trees which provide cavities for all kinds of critters. As homeowners, we really don't want those dead trees in a position to damage our homes. Likewise, we may not want a big, messy "snag" of shrubs with sticker vines in it gracing our yards. Both of these are prime songbird real estate, however.

And this is why we need to put up good nest boxes/birdhouses. There are a number of places you can buy from--Duncraft is one I have used (just got a predator entrance protector from them). Another option, which gives a little money to Audubon when you purchase through them, is WoodLink.  Finally, a reader favorite, is Wild Birds Unlimited--they have a great variety. In addition to nest boxes, you can build a loosely-constructed brush pile in an out-of-the-way corner, as recommended as part of the Backyard Habitat program from National Wildlife Federation. This will help those ground-nesting birds gain some protection from predators--especially neighborhood cats.

One last resource for bluebird lovers--Sialis. Scary amount of research. Not for the faint of heart. But if you wish to really make bluebirds at home, it is a great resource.

Thanks for reading--
Silly White Squirrel

Silly White Squirrel

Our Daylily Addiction

Our Daylily Addiction