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Find the right bird house for your yard
Bird watching is one of the most popular hobbies in the country, and
rightfully so. It's fun, exciting and filled with adventure for the whole
family. One of the best ways to start viewing the everyday lives of birds
right in your own backyard is by installing a bird house. Bird houses provide
these fascinating creatures with a space to nest, and armed with a little
information, you can find or build a house specially suited for the types of
birds you wish to attract. Different birds prefer houses of varying sizes,
placement options and habitats, so you'll need to answer these questions
before you get started:
Size, Placement, Common Features and Tips
There are several factors to consider when purchasing or building a bird house. The most important include the dimensions of the house, its placement above the ground and the size of the entrance hole. Birds are picky about their nesting spaces and they are often protective of their territories, which can span hundreds of acres. Some birds like to be near water while others prefer to be near the forest. Still others tend to nest in wide open spaces.
Size: Various species of birds require different nesting accommodations. For example, a chickadee may prefer a house that is 4" wide, 8" -- 10" high and 4" deep with a 1-1/8" round entrance hole. A Northern Flicker, on the other hand, might prefer a house that is 7" wide, 16" -- 18" high, 7" deep with a 2-1/2" entrance hole. So, it is important that you look at what size house a particular bird prefers before purchasing or building a bird house for them.
Placement: Another important factor when selecting a bird house is placement. Again, this will be determined by the type of birds you wish to attract. Some birds prefer to be higher up on a tree trunk, while some seek out nesting areas closer to the ground or near water. Birds are choosy about their habitat, so it is important to determine whether the placement of your bird house will be suitable for that type of bird.
Another aspect of proper placement is protecting birds from predators such as squirrels, cats, snakes, raccoons and even other birds. There are several steps you can take to minimize threats. One thing you can do is make sure the bird house does not have a perch. A perch allows other birds or cats to trap the nesting birds in the house and harass them. Here are a few other helpful tips:
Common Features: There are a multitude of features that make a bird
house suitable for nesting. The unit should be durable, well ventilated and
easily accessible for cleaning. Wood is widely regarded as the most
appropriate material for a bird house. It's durable and breathable yet still
provides insulation. Other suitable materials include pottery, plastic, gourds
and aluminum (for Purple Martins only). Using metal as a building material
should be avoided because it gets hot in the summer heat. It is also important
to make sure that there are plenty of drainage holes in the floor, because no
matter how well-built a bird house is, rainwater will get in through the
entrance hole and need to be drained. Here are a few things to keep in mind
when building or selecting a bird house.
Tips: There are a number of ways to increase the effectiveness of your
bird house in attracting specific bird species. For proper planning and
placement, follow these simple suggestions and get the results you want.
|Type of Bird||Ideal Placement|
Ventilation Holes: These holes should be placed near the top of the house; they offer ventilation during warmer months.
Drainage Holes: Drainage holes are several small holes in the floor of the bird house that prevent flooding when rainwater gets into the house.
Materials: Bird houses can be made from several materials including wood, plastic, pottery, gourds and aluminum (Purple Martins only). Wood is considered to be a preferred material because it insulates well, offers ventilation and is durable in a variety of conditions.
Finish: Bird houses may be finished or unfinished. Painting the exterior allows you to add a sense of style as well as function. Painted exteriors with light colors reflect heat, keeping the interior cool for birds in warmer months. Light colors also keep predators away.
The Home Depot also has a wide selection of bird feeders, seed, feed and more for all your bird watching needs.
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