Winter Homes for the Birds
Bless your heart, you have taken pity on the poor freezing birds and put out a birdhouse for shelter during the winter! But you say the birds aren’t moving in? Hm. Well, the rent is free so that can’t be the problem. However there ARE legitimate reasons that the birds may be reluctant to set up housekeeping in your birdhouse.
As they say in real estate, it’s all about “Location, location, location”! Different bird species are attracted to different locations. For instance, wrens like their house to hang from a small tree in an open yard. Bluebirds like their house to face an open field, whereas chickadees prefer their homes to be surrounded by trees and shrubs. Do some research on line and find out what kind of location the birds you often see in your landscape might prefer.
*Most birds prefer houses made of wood, with the exception of the purple martin who likes homes made of aluminum or dried gourds.
*The house should have ventilation around the top and drainage holes in the bottom.
*Make sure the door (entrance hole) is just big enough. Wrens just need a hole about 1 1/8” which also keeps out unwanted company since no other birds can fit in a hole that size! Chickadees need about 1 ¼” size hole and for blue birds will need an inch and a half.
*Height matters! Chickadees look for houses 4-8 feet above a thicket, while bluebirds like it higher – 5-8 feet. House wrens prefer homes 6-10 feet above ground and hanging from a tree.
*They like to have food near their homes (don’t we all?) so put bird feeders nearby, too – preferably where squirrels cannot get to it. The squirrels’ presence will threaten the birds, plus they’ll gobble up all the bird food! Have some water nearby as well – something simple with just a couple inches of water will work great – just make sure you keep it fresh.