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Attract Nesting Birds With The Right Type Of Birdhouse
by Lee Dobbins
Birds add activity and color to your garden, and what better way to enjoy them then to provide them with birdhouses where they can nest and raise their young. This adds a unique dimension to your outdoor living as you can watch the adults bring back food and anxiously await for the day when the little ones will fly off on their own.
But hanging a birdhouse in your yard has more value than just to entertain you. In modern times man has encroached on the native habitat of many nesting birds and some of these birds have nowhere to build their nests. In fact, some species have declined significantly since the 1950s due to man's zest to build strip malls and apartment buildings in the space where forests once stood.
The birds hardest hit by this are cavity nesting birds - birds which build their nests inside hollows or cavities. These are the birds that you can most help by hanging a birdhouse in your yard and include the Downey Woodpecker, the Chickadee, the Plain Titmouse, the House Wren, and the Red Breasted Nuthatch.
Depending on which type of bird you want to attract you want to hang your birdhouse at a different height. Believe it or not, birds a very particular about this. If you want to attract the Titmouse, Red Breasted Nuthatch or Downey Woodpecker then you want to be sure that the birdhouse is time between 5 and 15 feet high. The House Wren, on the other hand, doesn't like their nest to be quite so high and you want to keep that between 5 and 10 feet. The Chickadee, will go a little lower and you can hang his between 4 and 15 feet. Generally, if you hang the birdhouse between 5 and 10 feet in height you have a chance of attracting any one of these birds.
In addition to hanging one or more birdhouses, you can also attract birds into your yard by putting a bird feeder and a birdbath. Then they might happen across the birdhouse while they are feeding and think it's a great place to build a nest.
Birdhouses can be hung on trees and fences on poles or anywhere else so you can imagine. Typically, you want the birdhouse to be stable so the way most people hang them is to screw them from the back into a tree or other solid post. If you can get a birdhouse that comes on a metal pole that can be good for your birds because that makes it harder for squirrels and raccoons to get up into the baby birds. You want to keep the birdhouse away from your own house or other areas of activity since most birds will find it too busy to nest there.
Since birds start building a nest in the spring you want to make sure you have the house out well before they are looking for new accommodations. So plan to hang it around February or March so you can be ready for your new bird family.
If you are planning on using the birdhouse year after year, you want to clean it out after each nesting season. It's pretty easy to tell when the birds are done nesting as there will be no activity around the birdhouse. When baby birds are in there you will see the mother flying in with food quite frequently. If you think the nest is empty go over and tap on the box and if you hear nothing it's okay to take it down and clean out.
Don't use a harsh chemicals when cleaning your birdhouse, simply brush it out and maybe use water to wipe it down. Be sure it is dried out and store it away for the winter. Then, in the following February you can hang it up to get ready for the next years nesting season!