• Best Bird Tips,  Nest Tips

    Seven Tips: How to Handle Unwanted Bird Nests on Your House

    A bird has built a nest in an undesirable spot on your house, front porch, window ledge, back door or really any inconvenient place close to your house, now what?

    We’ve all been there.  One morning you walk out your front door and see a bird darting back and forth, carrying twigs and grass.   When you return home, there is a full-blown nest right above your front door.  At first it can be quite charming,  however several days pass and you are attacked by a protective mama bird, or you just generally don’t enjoy all the shall we say “droppings” left behind. Whatever the reason, there are some do’s and don’ts of managing the inconvenient nesting situation.

    First, the good news. The nesting period is not forever, and some species may only be a matter of weeks.  The nesting cycle for most songbirds is around 4 weeks total, from laying of the egg to chicks leaving the nest.

    1. IDENTIFY.  First things first, start by identifying which feathered friend has taken up residence on your porch.  NestWatch has a great tool for identifying the type of bird who has built the nest, so you know what you’re dealing with.
    2. PROTECT. Native birds’ nests are protected.  Believe it or not, there is actually a law in place (Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918) to protect birds and their nest nationwide. If in question, we always suggest you check with your local wildlife authority.  Doing this will also give you a better idea of their nesting cycle so you can keep an eye out.
    3. DO NOT DISTURB. Once a bird has laid eggs in the nest, you’re out of luck.  Do not touch or remove the nest.  Try not to use the area around the nest until the young have fledged to ensure that the parents will not abandon their nest. If this is not possible, try to minimize your presence around the nest; many yard birds are tolerant of occasional disturbances.
    4. REMOVE (SOMETIMES).  Keep an eye out for nest activity. After the brood has fledged and moved on, its safe to remove to nest.  We suggest using gloves, as bird droppings or the nest may have harmful contaminants. Most birds only nest once a year, however birds like the American Robin, Eastern Bluebirds, House Wrens, American Goldfinch and Northern Cardinals can produce several broods a year.   This makes it important to identify the type of bird.  For songbirds with multiple broods in a season If the nest is in a safe location and not too terribly troublesome, please leave it be if at all possible.
    5. PREPLAN. Start thinking ahead on how you’d like to discourage them from nesting in the same spot next year.
      1. Hang a Wind Chime:  Birds aren’t particularly keen on the movement and sound of the wind chimes, especially if they’re made from metal or shiny materials.  This will act as a natural deterrent if placed close enough to the undesired nesting spot.
      2. Mount a Light:  Nothing disturbs my sleep quite like light and birds aren’t too different.  Flashes of bright light will deter birds from nesting in a particular area as the variation between light and shadow may signal danger.
      3. Install Bird Spikes:  This is our least favorite option and should only be used if the nesting spot is physically dangerous for future broods.  These rods are dull and will not harm the birds, but there are certainly more preferred options than this.
    6. PROVIDE.  Giving birds a suitable place to build a house is the best way to relocate a nest going forward.  If you know which type of bird was in the undesired nest, you can select a birdhouse that fits that particular birds needs.  If you are ever unsure, we are always more than happy to help point you in the right direction!  [email protected]
    7. ENJOY.  Nature is one of our greatest gifts.  While a nest may not be in the most ideal location, savor the moment.  Try to keep in mind that new feathered friends are on the way.  The joy they bring far outweighs any short-term nest location inconvenience.

     

     

  • Bird Houses,  Purple Martin Houses

    Barn Swallows and Purple Martins are on the Way!

    With holidays behind us and the fanfare gone- What’s the next event looking forward? Noticing there was still daylight at 6:00 PM, it’s a natural signal that migrations will be underway soon and the swallows will be first. The early birds are purple martins and their cousins too- Barn Swallows!

     

    Scouts begin arriving over the Gulf of Mexico and most southern states about mid-January. Migrations will follow via the same fly-way and before you know it, they’ll be here! Martins’ breeding season is fairly short (unlike resident bluebirds who can have up to 3 clutches per season) so preparation is the key to attracting these most desirable birds. Actually, this holds true for for attracting hummingbirds, barn swallows, orioles and any migratory birds. Have your birdhouses and feeders (nest cups too) ready to go before scouts’ arrival!

    New Vinyl Purple Martin HousesNew for 2024, these exquisite Purple Martin Houses are US made of durable vinyl (that looks like wood) with stackable floors available for easy expansion. Crescent entries help deter starlings while porches offer plenty of perch space. Timeless architecture in crisp black & white will remain classic in all landscapes. Although rack & gourd systems are extremely popular among Martins and their landlords, our new vinyl Martin homes offer something a bit more classic with all of the great features that benefit Martin families… and you can bet martins will be happy to call them home. When set in a desirable habitat, scouts will let the families know of these excellent accommodations!

    In the eastern US, purple martins depend solely on man-made housing. Be it gourds, aluminum, wood or vinyl, martins will take to most housing if habitat is ideal. Way back in colonial days, Native Americans first started using gourds to attract purple martins (the largest of the swallow family). A main advantage was and still is natural insect control along with the sweetest of songs. This is also why barn swallows are extremely advantageous to have around your property.

    Both species are very family-oriented and will return to the same nesting spots (with kids in tow) year after year. But hosting martins takes more than just putting up a Martin house. A vigilant approach is required for successful fledges and returning families. Non-native birds such as European Starlings and House Sparrows are enemy #1 to both martins and barn swallows. In fact, they’re brutal to all of our native cavity-nesting birds- including bluebirds. Simple territorial issues will wreak havoc on our nesting birds.  Both starlings and house sparrows will overtake Martin houses, kill nestlings and even kill adult martins. They’ve been well known for decimating our birdhouse occupants and wiping out populations in some areas.

    Monitoring your Martin house is extremely important. Starlings and sparrows (if in the area) will predate martins to claim territory so they must be deterred for martins’ breeding season. Whether you agree or not, these non-native birds are about the only ones where it’s not only legal- but encouraged to dispose of both invasive species.

    Other helpful hints for attracting martins include ditching any chemicals in your yard because insects are their main diet. Installing a baffle or predator guard on your matin pole also deters any curious climber from reaching eggs. Habitat is key with very open spaces, preferably near water. Martin houses should be installed at least 30 ft. from your home and taller than any nearby trees which require a 40 ft. clearing at minimum.

    Check out these Purple Martin Groups on social media, whether Martin novice or seasoned landlord, the popularity of hosting martins has exploded over the years. Anything purple-martin related can be found, mistakes others may have experienced great advice, interesting images and facts… in just a few clicks!
    • PMCA (Purple Martin Conservation Association)
    • Purple Martin Landlords and Wannabes
    • Purple Martin Fanatics
    • Purple Martin Files
    • Purple Martin Group
    Your state may also have their own Purple Martin Society. Most important- have your Martin House up & ready to go prior to scouts’ arrival.

    Oh yeah… Martins adore white feathers for nest construction! If you see the birds, toss a few feathers in the air and they’ll dive-bomb to retrieve. Scatter a few on the ground near your new Martin house too. Offering white feathers with some nesting material will be appealing to mom and dad. A standard suet cage work’s well. Simply hang it so that martins will see your welcoming offer.

    Happy birding and here’s to longer daylight hours!!

  • Bird Houses,  Unique Birdhouses

    Unique Birdhouse-Feeder Gifts: Shop Now!

    2020 Holiday Shipping is No Laughing Matter.

    Be Wise… Shop Now for unique birdhouse gifts, bird feeders and cool birdbaths for real lasting joy!

    Holiday Shipping is No Laughing Matter
    Snowy owl yawning, which makes it look like it’s laughing.

    Online shopping has taken on new heights since spring and the pandemic. Aren’t you just sick to death of hearing about it?  But carriers have been inundated with volume so this holiday (unlike past years) definitely raises some concerns.

    For the most part, USPS, UPS and FedEx are doing a great job all things considered. But since everything is relative, there’s always a small percentage of issues with either a wrong delivery address, damage & breakage or just plain loss. And this really stinks if it just happens to be your holiday birdhouse gift to someone special.

    The struggle is real!
    So this year, we’re literally begging folks to shop early. Not only for the best selection from a small boutique of curated birding and garden gifts, but also for the very best level of customer service should any possible issues arise with your shipment.

    And those possibilities are quite real… frustrating, stressful, time consuming and just plain aggravating because the shipper has no control over such issues 🙁  It takes time, diligence, major persistence and sometimes even re-sending the birdhouse or bird feeder again. If you wait until December 10th to order your gift, there’s simply not enough time to rectify any issues should one arise.

    The little ditty below offers an idea of where things stand with holiday birdhouse and bird feeder gifts and anything else you may be planning to order online)!

    The best birdhouse gifts for holiday start right here,
    For all those on your list may they be far or near.

    Last spring folks dabbled in backyard birding, garden and yard,
    It became addictive- but ya can’t decide? So opt for a gift card.

    Fab birdhouses and feeders mostly handmade,
    Recycled or poly won’t crack, chip or fade.

    Birdbaths in all styles, curated yard art so fun,
    With covid concerns at stores maybe best not to run?

    Find a whimsical, vintage, mod, rustic birdhouse and more,
    Farmhouse & chic’s popular, their gift will make spirits soar.

    Give presents of presence but please order soon,
    Should you want it for holiday and not in June!

    For a bit of motivation, nab 10% off through October 25th.
    Use promo code 10-now.
    Some restrictions may apply.