Around Halloween it’s usually a bat topic that makes an appropriate blog post. But this display found floating on a social network was just too good to pass up! It may have been hand made, because we can’t find it for sale online anywhere. How original, and if you happen to be a dog lover… it’s just awesome!
None of this has to do with birding… but it’s where I grew up.
With Sandy’s recent and vast rage on the east coast, social network’s news is more relevant… as my home town was hit hard, yes this was the storm of the century. Someone renamed Sandy (as she just sounded too friendly) to Sandra because she wasn’t so friendly… South Jersey was pummeled, especially the barrier islands.
Thankfully friends fared well with the exception of the usual inconveniences; no power, no phones, no cable, closed roads, etc. The beach appears to be on Atlantic Avenue now (yes, the monopoly game) and there’s much cleanup ahead. Large portions of the boardwalk were seen floating down the streets too. It’s rather difficult looking at photos of destruction of the place you grew up – yet alone being there through the storm. Our hearts go out to all those affected, and all the four-legged, and winged ones who suffered as well 🙁
It’s usually spring when most folks think of putting up a birdhouse, or elementary school teachers ponder projects utilizing birdhouse kits. Truth be told… now is an excellent time for a birdhouse kit project!
As days grow shorter and temperatures dip, most migratory birds are well on their way to southern wintering grounds. But the hard-core resident birds who brave harsh winters would really do best if they had a place to call home too. Installing a new house not only provides a roosting spot on cold nights, but protection from wind & rain, and from predators as well.
Fall is the time to clean out old nests and repair birdhouses if needed. These are high ticket real estate spots for birds during winter. Several birds will huddle together in a birdhouse to stay warm through body heat, and bluebirds especially have been known to do this. Finding a place to roost at night for a bird, is like crawling under your covers at bed time for you. That content, peaceful, and safe feeling you get which allows for your bodies’ rest… it’s universal, with mammals, felines, canines, and even birds! It’s plain instinct.
Another way to help birds through winter is by creating a brush pile in a corner of your yard. These piles give birds a helping hand with protection from the elements and from predators, as they can enter the cover and move about through the small spaces. Generally, larger limbs go on the bottom, with smaller branches or twigs piled on top. And the leaves… oh those messy fall leaves – save them for the brush pile! They contain insects that birds will forage on for the next few months (or until it freezes) depending on your locale. They also add cover and shelter to the brush pile.
Of course heated birdbaths and stocked feeders will keep resident birds at your residence through the coldest weather if the sources are consistent. Home made suet is fairly easy to make and inexpensive, and a real favorite for most birds during cold weather. But the main thing is to put up the vacancy sign, and let birds know they’ve got some swell roosting spots at your place. Fun birdhouse kits are a great way to do that!
By the way, the kit shown above requires no nails or glue. The panels slide together like a puzzle, and it can be stained or painted any way you like. Hey, camouflage is a pretty popular pattern in nature!
Please help house the birds!
Who doesn’t like cool stuff, and why would you be here unless you’re into birds? We really love backyard birding, almost fanatical about it! But the cool stuff has to work… for the birds. Be it nesting in spring, roosting at night, trouble-free feeders, misters that don’t leak, or solid heaters for baths in winter… it has to work well!
Our website, The Birdhouse Chick, affords us this really neat aspect: to live vicariously through buying and product sourcing. But when combined with a fanatical birding hobby, this can be dangerous! We’re sort of known for unique birdhouses, and I promise… the sources are wide and varied! Working with smaller companies and individual artisans, we’ve met some great folks along the way too.
Some of the prerequisites for new items are; Would we use it, is the quality there, and is it good for the birds? The useability just has to be there, real stuff versus fluff. All bird houses must have clean-outs, drainage, ventilation, proportional entrance and floor space, ample distance from entrance to floor, and it still has to be cool enough to want one in our own yard! But uniqueness may at times override functionality, and that’s not good for birds. Twenty five years of experience certainly helps, but who are we to say? If it’s questionable, then it’s likely not a good fit for the website.
One local artist crafts some pretty cool houses and feeders. The boathouse shown here has been a staple for the past few years because it’s unique and totally functional. While picking up some more the other day, Frank’s new creation had been erected in front of his shop (photo above). I liked it immediately, but started thinking about the feeder placement between nest boxes. Hmmmm, how safe is that for nestlings? Might this design attract dreaded starlings or house sparrows? They’re a major threat to most songbirds. One could always omit the birdseed, but then what’s the point? See what I mean… fanatical!
We were all birding beginners at one time or another, and like all things, learning comes from experience or research. But we also want to entice more people to the exciting hobby of birding, for themselves and the birds. Thus the continuous search for unique birdhouses and feeders that are fun and functional. So the jury’s still out on that feeder/house combo, but it sure is cool!