Adding Heated Bird Baths is the Trick for Winter
This question appeared in our in box today. We thought the response might be useful to others who cant seem to attract nesting birds.
“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,