Dovecote: A shelter with nest holes for domesticated pigeons. Pigeons…huh?
The term actually stems from England, where folks domesticated and kept (and maybe still do?) pigeons. Large housing with multiple nesting sites were used for shelter. Can’t say I know of anyone currently who domesticates and keeps pigeons as pets… but hey, all things are possible!
A modern day dovecote birdhouse like these shown here are appealing to some of our native cavity nesters. Purple Martins use a type of multi compartment house, as will tree swallows. Bluebirds… nope. Chickadees and titmice may nest in these accommodations, woodpeckers and nuthatches-probably not. Cardinals, robins and jays don’t use houses for nesting, they use shelves, mature trees and shrubs, and some odd spots like a light fixture on a porch, (robins anyway).
The strange thing is, European starlings and house sparrows will definitely take up residence… and Europe is from where this type of bird house originated. But, these birds are considered less desirable, in fact hated by some! Sparrow traps are even popular among bluebird and martin landlords. Some may cringe at this, as sparrows are the only birds they’re able to attract. They do have a nice song, but they’re really not sparrows… they’re finches, Weaver Finches to be exact.
Our native songbirds like bluebirds and tree swallows were at one time in severe decline due to sparrow and starling’s increased populations. And man, they’re downright mean birds! That might sound silly, but by natural instinct for territory and dominance, sparrows and starlings will kill adult and babies of both bluebirds and tree swallows… and anything else it wants to overtake a nesting cavity. Pecking them to death, and removing eggs from nests are two of the biggest ways they succeed.
If you admire the dovecote style birdhouse (and many do) please don’t let sparrows take hold. Their nests are easily identifiable, a dome shaped mess of a nest, with grasses, trash, strings and the occasional , “I don’t know what that is?” Remove sparrow nests immediately, and if they start building again-remove the nest again. Eventually they should give up.
These stunning birdhouses will grace the landscape with elegance for many seasons. Although they look like wood, the body is actually vinyl/PVC, and won’t deteriorate, won’t fade, warp, crack or split! These fine English Dovecote Birdhouses are crafted in the USA and built to last!
For more info on cavity nesting birds, egg and nest identification, and to validate the this information, please visit www.Sialis.org. A wealth of information may be found, including suet recipes, great photos, resources, and much more!