Garden Center Newsletter
By Pat Dumas
Getting the garden together in the spring isn’t complete until life flies into it. Hanging a bird house and having birds whisk in and out of your yard, busy with nesting and the feeding of young, is a pleasure and a joy to watch. When choosing bird houses, there are a few simple things to look for.
nesters who build architecturally magnificent nests in the crotches of tree branches and shrubs.
With the disappearance of farms, the wooden post and rail fence went away as well, leaving the open field-friendly bluebirds scrambling for homes they would normally find in the decaying fence posts. Rural lands have turned to developments, and the old decrepit trees which housed birds and other wildlife in rotting stumps are now cut down quickly in favor of manicured lawns and vistas— their charm left for the woodpile.
nesters to find other options-- like under your roof or in your hanging flower baskets.
In 1890, a wealthy drug manufacturer in the US thought he was doing Americans a favor by trying to import every bird mentioned by Shakespeare into New York City’s Central Park. This poetic fancy turned disastrous. It brought the invasive, yet melodic Starling to our shores. This aggressive bird is a true survivor—winning the fight for holes in trees over our native birds. Occasionally, they have been known to bring down planes when they swarm. Offering a selection of bird boxes for our winged friends really helps native birds get a fair shot. The size of the hole is important. Keeping the holes under 2 inches prevents invasive home wreckers like Starlings and House Sparrows from taking over.
If you have a dog, offer your nesting birds some extra nesting material. They love soft dog hair, straw, Easter basket filler, and even human hair. Imagine the kids seeing a wonderful heap of trash sticking out of your bird box that includes April’s Easter fixings, and even their own hair. Things that you throw away become treasures to birds that have an eye out for soft nest linings, and binding materials that help keep the nest together. A good way to offer this material is to stuff it in a hanging wire suet feeder so the birds can pull it out when they need it.