“Do you have an idea how I can get the birds to use my bird houses? I have a small yard and only one tree that I can put the bird house in, that the cats can’t get to them. ( Can I put more than one in the tree and hope they will use them. ( I would like them to be used and as well as looks) But they don’t seem to use it. Last year one pair of birds (chickadees I think) did use the house and I was so excited and loved watching them make their nest and feed the young, I thought they would come again this year, but they didn’t. I cleaned the house and actually only saw a chickadee one time this year ( I assumed it was the one that came last year) the bird love for me to feed them and they drink the hummingbird nectar. I even bought a cotton nesting ball, but have not seen any birds even use it. Any ideas will be a great help. I don’t know why the chickadee is not coming around this year.”
Thanks for visiting!
Although they say not to crowd houses together, chickadees will usually nest in hanging houses that are in close proximity to each other… mine seem to anyway! Not sure how large the tree is, but maybe one nest box on each side would do the trick?
Nesting season is through for this year, but your chickadees (or other birds) may use the house for roosting on cold nights.
Not much success with my cotton nesting ball either, I think they’re woven too tightly!
A better mix is using decorative mosses (Spanish and sphagnum sheet moss) feathers, and pet hair if you have access.
You can pick apart the nest ball as well and add this material to the mix.
Put these in a standard suet cage, or mesh produce bag from the grocery store. Don’t pack too tightly, so that air can flow through and allow for drying after rain. Hang from a branch where birds will see it. Early spring is the best time to offer the materials… before nesting begins.
You can try adding some dried grass clippings to your house, in hopes of enticing chickadees to roost.
They will hang around for the winter, especially if you’re feeding them.
Offering fresh water is the absolute best way to keep birds around, even if it’s just a plant saucer… keep the water fresh and they will come!
Not sure where you’re located, but heated bird baths in winter are truly a God-send for birds!
They need to bathe in order for feathers to work properly!
Also, if the cats are outdoors, they may be inhibiting chickadees’ desire to nest, simply because they’re uncomfortable seeing the cats in the yard.
I’ve found over the years, persistence is the key with attracting wild birds! After years of trying, I finally have bluebirds who nest every year 🙂
Hope this helps… I think there’s a new blog post here!
Thanks again & happy birding!
Take good care,
Usually by April spring has already sprung here in North Georgia, but 2013 is quite the contrary. This should be the scene, when heated bird baths are removed for storage and birdbath drippers take their place. Not so – not yet anyway 🙁
Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the birds (a daily ritual)… my hands were actually numb! Wet, windy and downright freezing cold, birds were puffed up like little balls, trapping air pockets between feathers to stay warm. It’s really tough on the insect-eating birds because there’s no insects yet! Migrations are under way, but landscapes are not very accommodating at this point. What was it- like 15 inches of snow in IL last week…. uuggh, it’s enough of winter already, hummingbird feeders went up last week for Pete’s sake! They just don’t go with heated bird baths.
Later that day a friend told me it was a record-breaking temperature, the highest low temp for GA on record since the 1880’s. Well today was beautiful, with projections in the 70’s and 80’s for the next few weeks. Maybe it’s a sign that spring is finally here to stay? Let’s hope so! And if it’s not, this birdie may be heading further south real soon!
One fairly common sight during winter in colder locales (which most folks probably don’t even notice) is the unused, out of commission, over-turned bird bath. The scene is saddening. Obviously folks do this to keep them from freezing and cracking, but this is actually when birds need water most! Sure they can eat snow, (not ice though) but it takes their tiny bodies lots of energy to convert that snow to water. Calories=Energy=Warmth.
When temperatures freeze, shallow pools and puddles are the first thing to ice over, and many feathered friends may have become accustomed and dependent on these water sources. Not only for drinking, but bathing in winter is critical too! Feathers must be clean and oiled to work properly, for flying sure, but for insulation as well. Clean feathers are able to trap air pockets which help keep birds warm in frigid weather. It’s one of the innate, ingenious mechanisms they use to survive. You know… when you see them all puffed up and round looking, that’s air pockets between their feathers.
Offering a fresh water source (especially in winter) is an absolute, sure-fire way to keep birds around your place. It’s part of the reason our bluebirds brave cold winters here in the North Georgia mountains. Heated bird baths are an investment in your wildlife habitat. Just unplug for use year round and it’s likely one of the best investments in backyard birding. If a heated bath isn’t within budget, opt for a simple heater you can add to your existing bath… or even a shallow pan of water. Deeper plant saucers make great bird baths, and many of the heaters today are safe with resin and plastics. If your container is more than 2-3 inches deep, consider placing a large rock in the center for birds to land and perch safely.
Here’s one of our own baths turned heated bath for winter. It’s actually a poly-resin planter that looks like rock. It sits on a tree stump and blends nicely with the landscape. Birds love it because it’s shaded in summer, and offers somewhat of an escape from predators in the surrounding tree. They also like it because the water stays clean… that’s important! If you’re going to offer a water source, be sure to maintain it by keeping water fresh.
Help resident birds in your neck of the woods with heated bird baths this winter… betcha they stick around through spring and summer too!