It is spring and you’re thinking about a bird house and a backyard of colorful and sweet sounding feathered creatures. Me, too. But before you get started it’s a good idea to think it out. That’s why I contacted Dennis Forshee at Wild Bird Centers on Youree Drive in Shreveport. He is a wealth of information.
There are three species of birds that I considered: Blue Birds, Purple Martins and a smaller bird such as Chickadees or Wrens. Each species has specific needs.
Blue Birds: are usually not found in town because the blue bird houses are usually taken by house sparrows, who prefer to live near humans and are often seen eating french fries in the parking lows of fast food places. Outlying neighborhoods or rural areas are much better suited for bluebirds. There are ready made blue bird houses for people like me who cannot saw a straight line.
But if you build your own, make sure that the hole is only one and one half inches in diameter. If the hole is larger, the bigger birds will take over and throw the young out. It should be on a fence post 4-6 feet off the ground and should have a “predator protector” on the pole to prevent animals such as raccoons and squirrels from getting to the birds.
Dennis also said that the pole should be greased to keep fire ants from climbing the pole to devour the young. He also advised that any other birds the same size of the blue bird or smaller, such as a Downy Woodpecker may claim the home first. That would be fine with me.
An even smaller species of bird that I find very pretty is a Chickadee or a Wren. There are very tiny houses that are available the smaller guys, some as cute as a cottage or as simple as a hanging gourd with a hole in it. A small wren made a nest in one of my Mom’s hanging fern and raised a family. The possibilities are endless.
Purple Martins: They are a social species and love to hang out together. I’d certainly go for a ready made Purple Martin “Hotel” before building my own. Kits are readily available and some even look like mansions. Although they do eat mosquitoes, they’d much prefer a plump moth. A purple Martin house would provide plenty of wonder and entertainment for children…and me.
Speaking of eating mosquitoes, would you consider a Bat house. Yes, I’m serious and I want one. They are night feeders and make a dent in the mosquito population. Yum! Of course, Dennis says Wild Bird Centers does indeed carry Bat houses. One is for a colony of up to three hundred and another for a colony of six hundred. He says they are a social creature that love to hang out. And they are incredibly capable of folding up to a nice, tidy size. Could we learn something from this?
Happy Bird (and Bat) Watching!!!
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