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!
Aside from gatherings and bar-b-ques, Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the freedom we take for granted. Pause for a minute today and think about all those who’ve sacrificed for that freedom we enjoy.
Pretty much free to do as we please on our own property, gardening, birds and outdoor living spaces are bigger (and better) than ever! Decorative birdhouses not only offer refuge for birds, they can spruce up the landscape and turn a boring spot exciting. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of nesting birds, watching them fledge can be thrilling.
Please, please, do not offer a house with a huge gaping entry as it will attract the wrong birds. Are we bird snobs? Heck no, all the usual suspects gather at our place. By “wrong birds” we’re talking the less desirable, non-native species who threaten our native cavity nesters like bluebirds, tree swallows, purple martins and others. These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and European starlings and English house sparrows threaten their existence daily.
Ask any martin or bluebird landlord about the horrors of these invasive birds, they actively trap starlings and house sparrows in order for blues and martins to thrive… its the only way, and yes it is legal. If you do a quick search on either of these non-native species, you’ll find blood-curdling stories and some very disturbing images of the havoc they wreak on bluebirds, martins and others. We won’t go into detail here as you’ll see for yourself. And the mess? For heaven’s sake, there’s no nastier bird out there than a starling! This is why several manufactures offer traps specifically for these two species. Sparrow and starling traps are quite popular among anyone hosting a martin colony or bluebirds!
With an innate sense to reproduce, they kill and maim to access nesting space. So this is where freedom to put up any old decorative birdhouses comes into play. If you have one of those cute styles from the fair, or something a bit whimsical from the craft store- it’s perfectly okay. Just be sure the entry is proportional for the birds you’d like to attract. No gaping huge holes as they entice starlings to nest. The entry should never be at the very bottom of the house either, it makes nestlings easy prey for a slew of predators.
Yes the holiday weekend is a time to reflect on freedom, please give native songbirds the freedom to nest and raise their young in peace. Because enough predators already exist, and real-estate is scarce out there, offer proper housing for nesting and don’t encourage these non-native birds to your place!
It’s got to be the grandaddy of all houses… as far as aesthetics anyway! Standing almost five feet tall and two feet wide, this dovecote birdhouse is a most impressive site when situated in the landscape. It takes some room, we refer to it as “estate size” because its grandeur commands more than just any old spot.
Martins may take to it if a scout finds its surroundings suitable with plenty of open area and a good distance from trees. Having a pond, lake or nearby stream is also a plus for them. No doubt somebody will be roosting during cold nights prior to spring nesting season, and really, could you blame them? If I were a bird, I’d not only know who to poop on, I’d claim these sweet digs for my own!
The dovecotes also come with a stunning aged patina roof, but the real beauty in these homes is the meticulous construction using vinyl/PVC. You see there’s no wood at all, nothing to rot or deteriorate over time. The material won’t mildew either, and it never requires painting, just a damp cloth with some soap to remove environmental build-up. Heck, you can even take the garden hose to these birdhouses and feeders for a thorough cleaning should the desire strike!
So maybe this one’s a little too big for the average lot? No worries, they come incrementally sized down to a six-or eight-inch diameter, perfect for chickadees, titmice, bluebirds and other friendly fliers. Your resident birds would be happy to call this residence home and the recipient will absolutely be wowed!
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