Housing Success

Housing Success

House with new predator guard.

Last year, we lost some bluebirds to predators. I was not about to let that happen again. The first thing I did was to modify the existing birdhouse with a predator guard at the hole. The second thing I did was to build a few nest boxes with plans I had found at

Hilton Pond.org

.

The old, now modified nest box is hosting a very noisy family of Carolina Chickadees at present. Not twenty feet away, one of the new nestboxes is filled with Tufted Titmice! I had not imagined that both houses would be occupied at the same time. I thought I was just giving them options. Silly me. I am only aware of one "argument" between the chickadees and the titmice, but they seem to have resolved their differences, as both are feeding their babies at regular intervals.

The plastic predator guard on the first house is designed to prevent (primarily) larger birds from reaching into the house and grabbing the young. This goes for squirrels, too. The target species have no difficulty with access--sometimes zooming straight in without a pause--while larger birds like bluejays can't get in at all. [Yes, bluejays will eat baby birds.]

Titmouse butt disappearing into house.

The second house uses two defeating mechanisms. The first is the deep entry hole--in this case, a piece of black walnut branch that has been mounted to the front of the box and drilled before construction. The second is an extra deep box. Nest boxes take the place of natural cavities in trees (trees that in suburbia are usually taken down because of the threat to homes, cars or other man-made stuff), and these cavities are usually larger than the average bluebird house you would purchase at a big box, having been vacated by the larger birds or mammals that created them.

When I first put up the two boxes made like this one, a pair of titmice were scoping the place out and found the other of this pair on a power pole under a tulip poplar. I don't know if it was the male or female, but whoever it was stuck their head in the entry and got VERY excited, flapping its wings in the begging manner of a young bird and practically squealing. It was very gratifying to have my handiwork so appreciated, I assure you! Why they chose the house pictured (which faces a cemetery) instead of the one sheltered by the tulip poplar, I can't tell you. Just glad one of them got pressed into service!

The final bit of protection that you might find necessary is in this last picture of the first bird house--a baffle. This protects a house from snakes or squirrels or other creatures that can climb and might reach into the house for a snack. With the plastic predator guard in place, only a snake would still be a threat--so the baffle is probably not being challenged, as I have yet to see a snake on our tiny urban lot. But I already had it, so there you go.

As a side note--about 15 feet from this birdhouse is a suet feeder. It had recently run out (being constantly hit by the starlings), and a new cake of "woodpecker" flavor suet was dropped in on Saturday. Since then, the male chickadee has made regular trips from the suet back to the nest.

Happy Habitat Building!

Agricultural Heritage

Agricultural Heritage

Rocky Delights

Rocky Delights