There wasn’t much difference than the great snow of 2016, but like rain in Southern California, snowfall in Atlanta is disastrous. The main difference is grocery stores sell out like it’s the blizzard of the century! A panic ensues when the mention of white fluffy stuff is forecast, folks get crazed while grocery store shelves become barren.
Now if you happen to be a crazy bird-lady (or man), the concern becomes stockpiling bird food! Seed, suet, meal worms, peanuts and the ingredients for bluebird banquet- which many other birds will partake. Yellow cornmeal, whole wheat flour, peanut butter and lard… find the easy recipe on our website under birding resources.
Wild birds are pretty resourceful, after all, they’ve been getting by for far longer than we’ve been feeding them. But in the dead of winter when natural food sources are scarce and what little remaining ones are covered by snow or ice, it really does help to offer up some good chow!
The heated baths see lots of activity simply because birds require water all the time and eating snow sucks. It burns too many calories trying to convert snow to liquid. Not fair when they spend all day at the feeders getting calories for energy just to sustain overnight.
Shelter becomes most critical as well, and decorative bird houses just might serve as the perfect nightly accommodations! Whether solo like the downy woodpecker who claims the Gilbertson nest box each night, or the family of Eastern bluebirds who huddle together for warmth, leaving your bird houses out through winter definitely helps feathered friends thrive.
So offer up some good food, (not the cheap stuff loaded with fillers) at least one consistent fresh water source and shelter (yes, even decorative bird houses serve as refuge when it’s freezing) to help your birds through rough winter weather.
And this great image (seems credit was lost along the way?) floating around on Pinterest captions “nesting bluebirds” but these guys are most definitely roosting, huddled close for body heat in what appears to be a natural cavity or hollowed out log. It’s clear by the age and sheer number of birds. Keep warm little guys!
It’s a Spring Thing… rebirth, new growth and spring cleaning. While setting out a few new Boston ferns on the porch, the old ones lingered as winter shelter for birds. Upon inspection prior to tossing the plants, a nest with 5 tiny eggs. Hark… a Carolina wren decided to take up residence and rear her little ones in this not so decorative birdhouse. Rather unsightly after enduring through winter, the fern was moved a few feet to the end of the porch. Would she find it and continue to brood? Since most birds are pretty smart, chances were strong.
Because Carolina wrens are known to nest in the craziest places, it’s a good idea (and highly recommended) to check old outdoor potted plants before tossing. Knick-nacks on the porch like baskets pots or vases should be checked for nest activity prior to cleaning, moving or discarding them as these sweet songbirds seem to prefer a closeness to their hosts.
Fretting and watching for signs of mama, the plant was inspected a few days later to find the babies had hatched… success! Now it’s only a matter of days before the not so decorative birds’ home can be discarded. Not all birds use houses, and because nests are highly camouflaged in trees and shrubs, it’s a good idea to hold off pruning and major spring clean-up until fall.
Offering safe places to nest for those who are cavity dwellers helps species thrive.Wooden bird houses are always a good bet, as are vinyl and ceramic. Metal is questionable as afternoon sun could bake nestlings if not protected by shade. Ventilation and drainage are important factors in keeping babies dry and comfy too.
Cool birdhouses like this moss and wicker number are handmade of materials birds already know, it’s perfect on the porch or any protected area for a natural yet whimsical touch. Wooden houses needn’t be boring either, just properly sized with bird-friendly features and sturdiness to raise the kids. Happy Spring!
Looking for a really special gift, one that’s going to last a lifetime? For any gardener or nature lover on your list, a dovecote birdhouse in the landscape is absolutely dreamy!
Aside from the curb appeal, they help birds thrive through frigid winter weather by offering cozy roosting spots. There’s feeders too, in gazebo and large capacity styles. One will definitely see more winged activity at a feeder, but said feeder must be maintained; filled and cleaned regularly.
When it comes to feeding seed, we like using sunflower hearts or a no-waste mix. These leave far less ground mess below feeders, and anything that does fall to the ground is quickly consumed because it’s the good stuff! Say feeders are great but there’s squirrels mucking about in the yard? No worries there!
While most baffles are black or green, cone shape and possibly not too slick looking… here’s a new one especially for the vinyl dovecote houses and feeders! White, slender and unobtrusive, pesky squirrels and even raccoons are not getting passed this one! Made for a true 4×4 post, they work beautifully with the vinyl post covers.
Why would anyone use a baffle on a birdhouse? Predators! Help keep eggs and nestlings safe from any critter who might shimmy on up the post as eggs are quite a tasty treat for many furry ones! Our bluebird houses always have baffles installed to protect nests.
Wild birds actually tell us about the environment. It is through Citizen Science groups like Cornell and Audubon, that changing bird ranges are tracked and documented. The cumulative information submitted by ordinary folks like you and me give scientists a true picture of the ever-changing world around us. Not just hear-say, but actual statistics that tell the real story!
Should you have any doubts on this, just take a look at the scenario below, a quick video produced by Defenders of Wildlife a few years back. And should you have any doubt about giving a dovecote birdhouse this holiday season – rest assured it will be the most awesome gift ever… and they ship for free too!