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Birdhouses 101: Everything You Need to Know

Birdhouses 101: Everything You Need to Know

The sweetest sound you can hear outdoors is the cheerful chirping of wild birds. The most beautiful sight in the open air is the multi-colored birds flying nonchalantly, performing their daring stunts in the air. When they hang in your yard or garden, you have your own entertainment that cannot be left behind by any concert or air show. Thus began the activity of bird watching. But how can one attract this wonderful pastime into one’s own free air? Read and you will be educated.

As with most living things, one of the basic needs of birds is shelter that protects them from the elements and predators. Once these free-flying birds find a birdhouse to their liking, your sky show will begin.

The best time to put up a birdhouse is well before the breeding season. That, surprisingly, will be late summer or very early fall. Migrating birds scout birdhouses on their way south for the winter and, amazingly, will find their favorite birdhouses in the spring when they return. There are such aviaries that do not migrate. For these types of homes, put up early in the winter are not too late.

The best birdhouses are made of wood. If metal is to be used, aluminum is the best choice and should be hung in the shade to prevent the house from overheating. Good birdhouses will provide drainage at the bottom for rainwater and small holes at the top for ventilation.

Birdhouses should be constructed without perches at the entrance to deter predators such as squirrels, cats and larger birds. An overhang over the entrance will help keep the birdhouse cool and inviting.

The location of the birdhouse is also very important. Some birds prefer wooded, shady areas, while others prefer grassy areas. However, the recommended location would be in a sunny, open space away from nearby trees to prevent tree-climbing predators. A thoughtful touch is to plant berry bushes near the birdhouses to provide those midnight snacks.

Spacing between birdhouses should be considered. Keeping birdhouses 5-30 feet off the ground will help deter predators, and spacing them at least 25 feet apart will help resolve territorial issues among birds.

By following these few tips, you will insure that you will have tenants who will come and entertain you for many days and find your bird watching hours very rewarding.


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