Below is a click-through list of all products Bird Man Mel mentions in his Attracting Hummingbirds Facebook Live seminar! Your local Wild Bird Suppler Store or Garden Center most likely carries a large variety of these products. Let us help you locate a store near you! Call us at 1-800-269-4450
© NestWatch / The Cornell Lab of Ornithology / https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/dealing-with-predators/
|Species||Nesting Habitat||Box Height||Hole Size||Minimum Spacing|
|American Kestrel||Pastures, fields, meadows, or orchards with mowed or grazed vegetation; place boxes on lone trees in fields, on trees along edges of woodlots, and on farm buildings. Facing south or east||10-30 feet||3″ diameter||1/2 mile|
|Ash-throated Flycatcher||Chaparral, mesquite thickets, oak scrub, dry plains spotted with trees or cacti, deserts, and open deciduous and riparian woodlands||3-20 feet||1 3/4″ round||200 feet|
|Barn Owl||Prefers open areas like fields, deserts and marshes which are in close proximity to hollow trees, cliffs, riverbanks, or man-made structures, including barns, bridges and other accessible sites, and which support healthy rodent populations||8-25 feet||3 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ elliptical||100 feet|
|Black-capped Chickadee||Forests, woodlots, and yards with mature hardwood trees, forest edges, meadows; area should receive 40-60% sunlight, hole should face away from prevailing wind; 1″ wood shavings can be placed in box||5-15 feet||1 1/8″ round||650 feet|
|Brown-headed Nuthatch||Open stands of pine-hardwood forests, clearings scattered with dead trees, forest edges, burned areas, cypress swamps||5-10 feet||1″ round||1 box per 6 acres|
|Carolina Chickadee||Forests, woodlots, and yards with mature hardwood trees, forest edges, meadows; area should receive 40-60% sunlight, hole should face away from prevailing wind. Unlike other chickadees, Carolina Chickadee does not do much excavating, so wood chips are not necessary.||4-15 feet||1 1/8″ round||30 feet|
|Carolina Wren||Forests with thick underbrush, forest edges, woodland clearings, open forests, shrub lands, suburban gardens, parks, backyards; near trees or tall shrubs||3-6 feet||1 1/2″ round, or 2 1/2″ x 5″ slot||330 feet|
|Chestnut-backed Chickadee||Coniferous forests, mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, forest edges, woodlands, thickets, burned areas, often near streams; hole should face away from prevailing wind; 1″ wood shavings can be placed in box||5-15 feet||1 1/8″ round||160 feet|
|Common Goldeneye||Breeding habitat is limited to aquatic areas with dead trees, in boreal, deciduous, aspen and montane woods; favor calm, large, clear lakes without much vegetation or fish. Please several inches of wood shavings in the box in early spring.||6-30 feet||3 1/4″ high x 4 1/4″ wide||2/3 mile|
|Eastern Bluebird||Open field or lawn; orchards; open, rural country with scattered trees and low or sparse ground cover; entrance hole should face open field, preferring east, north, south, and then west-facing directions||3-6 feet||1 1/2″ diameter (round), or 2 1/4″ high x 1 3/8″ wide (oval)||300 feet|
|Eastern Screech-Owl||Forests, parks, woodland clearings, forest edges, wooded stream edges, under a tree limb. Add 2″-3″ of wood shavings||10-30 feet||3″ round||100 feet|
|European Starling||Habitat generalists, nesting in areas ranging from rural and agricultural to suburban and urban areas, but they avoid heavily wooded, mountainous, and arid regions||providing nest boxes is discouraged for this species in the U.S.||can squeeze through holes with 1 9/16″ diameter||5 feet|
|Great Crested Flycatcher||Deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, forest edges, woodlots, orchards, parks, on post or tree at forest edge||3-20 feet||1 3/4″ round||1 box per 6 acres|
|Hooded Merganser||Quiet, shallow, clear water pools surrounded by or near the edge of deciduous woods: small forest pools, ponds, swamps; add 3″ of wood shavings; add ladder under inside of entrance hole for young to climb out||6-25 feet||3″ high by 4″ wide horizontal oval||100 feet|
|House Sparrow||Agricultural, suburban, and urban areas; tend to avoid woodlands, forests, grasslands, and deserts||providing nest boxes is discouraged for this species in the U.S.||can fit through holes with 1 1/4″ diameter||variable|
|House Wren||Variety of habitats, farmland, openings, open forests, forest edges, shrub lands, suburban gardens, parks, backyards; near trees or tall shrubs||5-10 feet||1″ round||100 feet|
|Mountain Bluebird||Open field or lawn; orchards; open, rural country with scattered trees and low or sparse ground cover; will also use deciduous and coniferous forest edges; entrance hole should face open field, preferring east, north, south, and then west-facing directions||4-6 feet||1 9/16″ diameter||300 feet|
|Mountain Chickadee||Coniferous forests, forest edges, woodland clearings; hole should face away from prevailing wind; 1″ wood shavings can be placed in box||5-15 feet||1 1/8″ round||1 box per 10 acres|
|Northern Flicker||Pastures, groves, woodlots, orchards, fields, meadows, woodland clearings, forest edges, urban parks, on pole or tree at forest edge or along fence rows bordering crop fields; south or east facing; box should be completely filled with wood chips or shavings||6-12 feet||2 1/2″ round||330 feet|
|Prothonotary Warbler||Lowland hardwood forests subject to flooding, stagnant water, swamps, ponds, marshes, streams, flooded river valleys, wet bottomlands; box should be over or near water||4-12 feet||1 1/4″ round||235 feet|
|Purple Martin||Broad open areas (meadows, fields, farmland, swamps, ponds, lakes, rivers) with unobstructed space for foraging on flying insects; there should be no trees or buildings within 40 feet of the martin pole in any direction; houses should be painted white||10-15 feet||2 1/8″ round or 3″ wide x 1 3/16″ high crescent||10 feet|
|Red-breasted Nuthatch||Mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, shrub lands, swamps, farmlands, suburban parks; hole should face away from prevailing wind; 1″ wood shavings can be placed in box||5-15 feet||1 1/4″ round||150 feet|
|Tree Swallow||Open fields near water, expansive open areas, marshes, meadows, wooded swamps; on a post in open areas near tree or fence, east facing||5-6 feet||1 3/8″ round||35 feet|
|Tufted Titmouse||Deciduous forest, thick timber stands, woodland clearings, forest edges, woodlots, riparian and mesquite habitats; hole should face away from prevailing wind||5-15 feet||1 1/4″ round||580 feet|
|Violet-green Swallow||Open or broken deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, wooded canyons, edges of dense forest||9-15 feet||1 3/8″ round||30 feet|
|Western Bluebird||open field or lawn; orchards; open, rural country with scattered trees and low or sparse ground cover; will also use deciduous and coniferous forest edges; entrance hole should face open field, preferring east, north, south, and then west-facing directions||4-6 feet||1 1/2″ diameter||215 feet|
|Western Screech-Owl||Lower elevations, forests, parks, woodland clearings, forest edges, deserts, wooded stream edges, under a tree limb, south or east facing. Add 2″-3″ of wood shavings||10-30 feet||3″ round||1,000 feet|
|White-breasted Nuthatch||Deciduous woodlands, mature forests, woodlots, near open areas, forest edges, orchards, often near water; hole should face away from prevailing wind; 1″ wood shavings can be placed in box||5-20 feet||1 1/4″ round||1,040 feet|
|Wood Duck||Forested wetlands or near marshes, swamps, and beaver ponds; boxes can be installed on posts or poles in water, at least 3 feet above the high water mark, facing south or west. If installing on land, choose a site within 100 feet of water with no branches near the entrance hole and with a predator guard. Place 4 inches of wood shaving in box floor. Box should have fledgling ladder inside entrance hole to enable young to climb out.||6-30 feet||4″ wide, 3″ high||600 feet|
Purple Martins (Progne subis) are the largest of the swallow family who have been known to even be seen on radar as large groups take flight. Martins east of the Rocky Mountains solely dependent on human-provided housing. Martins started using gourds originally provided by Native Americans as housing dating back to the colonial times. They have shown an affinity to nesting in natural gourds, man-made gourds, and aluminum houses.
Martins will return to the same breeding site year after year so if you have lost your Martins there is a good reason why. Make sure you control House Sparrows and European Starling populations in and around your colony. Like many birds, the Purple Martin does have a relatively short time you may enjoy their song each year so preparation is paramount in having a successful season.
Summer activity around the feeding station is like watching an animated movie. Adults fly down with their young for lessons in getting food and water, flitting from one antic juvenile to the next in a rapid-fire exhibition of maneuvers. Now you can experience the frenzy with your own bird. Using the diagrams and instructions below, turn a simple piece of paper into a complex pattern of folds for flapping.
THE BLUEBIRDER’S TEN COMMANDMENTS
I. Place houses at least 300 feet apart, because bluebirds are territorial.
II. Keep the bluebird houses in open habitat. It’s the environment they prefer.
III. Control the House Sparrow, or it will eliminate the bluebird and Tree Swallow.
IV. Add a second bluebird house 21 feet (7 paces) from the first house, at every 300-foot setting. This will allow the valuable Tree Swallow to also nest on your bluebird trail.
V. Control the most threatening parasite, the blowfly larva.
If you don’t, you may end up fledging very few, if any, baby birds. Change their nests when babies are from seven to 10-days old (only one change per brood needed.)
VI. Attach a predator guard to your bluebird houses. This will protect the bluebirds from predators and other enemies.
VII. Avoid handling the bluebird and/or Tree Swallow young after they are 14 days or older. They may fledge prematurely, which could cause their death.
VIII. Monitor your bluebird trail at least once every week.
IX. Remove the old bluebird and/or Tree Swallow nests on your first nest check after the young have fledged.
X. Keep accurate field records. This is the first step toward achieving greater success on your bluebird trail.
© 1995 Andrew M. Troyer – Bring Back the Bluebirds
Having trouble with your nestling bluebirds? This troubleshooting chart may be the tool you need.
Thanks for joining Bird Man Mel for his Bluebirds and Tree Swallows Seminar! As promised, when you mention this seminar you can take 10% off your purchase! Offer good through 3/28/2020 in-store at Songbird Station. We are offering curb-side pick up so give us a call at 573-446-5941 or send us a message on Facebook and we will be happy to have your order ready! We are currently allowing a maximum capacity of 10 people for in-store shopping.
Products and specials from the seminar:
Are you looking for an online shopping experience?
Visit www.SongbirdEssentials.com or www.GoldCrestDistributing.com
Are you not located in Central Missouri?
We highly encourage you to visit YOUR local Birding Store. Give our main office a call at 888-985-2473 and our customer service team will be thrilled to help you find the best birding retailer in your area.
By: Mel Toellner
As this issue of the Songbird Station Newsletter arrives in mailboxes, our thoughts will be turning to the upcoming holiday season. For many of us the days ahead will include snow. What a beautiful contrast the crimson red Northern Cardinal gives against pure white, fresh snow. Can you think of anything more enjoyable to put you in the holiday spirit? No wonder it is often referred to as the Winter Holiday Bird.
How many images of the Northern Cardinal do you use as holiday decorations? Is one of your favorite ornaments a Cardinal? What about the tablecloth, outside doormat, holiday wreath, gift wrapping paper? Notice in November and December every time you see the image of a Cardinal as you do your holiday shopping.
While the Cardinal may best be known for its flash of color in garden and woodland, have you ever found one of its feathers on the ground? Blue Jays and Robins shed their feathers like so much fall foliage, but Cardinals just might be the greatest protectors of the princely robes in the feathered kingdom.
As one of the most recognized songbirds in North America, Cardinals also could be known for their virtues; they are monogamous and remain together throughout the year. They aid in pest control, feeding on such insects as potato beetles, cotton boll weevils and the cucumber beetle. And they may be economically valuable because of their weed seed consumption, eating at least one hundred kinds in the wild.
At your feeder, Cardinals prefer black oil sunflower or safflower seeds. They roll the seed around with their tongue until it is sideways in their strong, cone-shaped bill. Then they crack it open and eject the hull before swallowing. Cardinals approach the feeder with an attitude, as if aware of their royal heritage. They do not suffer the chatter of neighboring Sparrows nor the infighting of house finches, but dine with their mate in majestic splendor.
During the winter, the male Cardinal tries to dominate at the feeder, but his mate usually ignores him and goes right on eating. In the spring, however, male Cardinals have the delightful habit of feeding hulled seeds to the female as part of their courtship. It often occurs at feeders and is endearing to watch. He hops over to her, tilts his head sideways and places the tidbit in her bill.
Year round you’ll have the most success attracting Cardinals by providing seed in a feeder with a larger flat perching area. A ground feeder or a hanging tray feeder filled with black oil sunflower and perhaps a little safflower and or peanuts is sure to be a Cardinal favorite. Keep your Cardinals healthy by using a feeder like the Songbird Essentials Small Ground Feeder that includes an easy to clean metal mesh bottom. If you own a tube feeder, you’ll want to attach a seed tray or a seed hoop to give Cardinals a flat spot to land and feed. Another sure way to attract Cardinals (and other desired songbirds) is to provide heated water in a birdbath or saucer. My new favorite is the SE995 Songbird Spa that can be mounted 3 ways. I use mine with the deck clamp in winter and ground legs in spring and summer.
Males are bright red crested and have a black throat and face. Females are a duller reddish brown. Adults of both sexes have a bright red bill, but the bills of juveniles are brown.
Want to add brilliant holiday color to your landscape? Follow our Cardinal tips and you’ll enjoy colorful Cardinal Holiday cheer out your windows! Enjoy! The below poem sums it up best.
The Cardinal in My Tree
By: Mrs. Dennis Getz (DeMotte, IN)
Pretty little red bird singing in my tree, I wish that I could tell you of the joy you bring to me. I know that God has sent you by my window to be near, to lift my broken spirits and to brighten them with cheer. Thank you, God, for red birds and all the gifts You give, to tell us of Your glory and remind us that You Live!
By: Tristan Palmgren
Winter is a special season for birding everywhere. Birds are not only (usually – there are some exceptions, like male goldfinches, who lose their bright gold coloring) easier to spot against the snowy foliage, but their behavior changes in dramatic fashion. As naturally-appearing nuts and seeds dwindle, and the energy demands of survival increase, your birds will frequent your feeders and birdbaths more often. That means that winter is a great time to attract new birds to your backyard. They will be out and looking for new sources of food. As birds are creatures of habit, they will continue returning to your feeders even as the seasons change and other food becomes more plentiful.
Let’s consider some things you can do to make our part of the world more welcoming for birds. One of the biggest and best things you can do for your yard is provide fresh, liquid water – ideally with a De-Icer or in a heated bird bath. Maintaining a liquid-water bird bath is not as much of a challenge as you might think. This is a subject important enough to have its own segment in this newsletter. See the article “Winter Birdbaths” for more details.
Missouri’s winter and year-round birds will need many more calories to survive and thrive than they did over the summer. That means their preferred food sources will change. Energy is paramount. And the highest-energy, highest-calorie foods that we have are the suet cakes. Pine Tree Farms High Energy Suet is Songbird Station’s best-selling winter food. Suet appeals most to clinging birds like titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, and bluebirds will all delight in suet cakes, especially if they’re catered to. In addition to High-Energy Suet, Pine Tree Farms makes a variety of specialty suet cakes. Some are formulated to be more attractive to specific birds – insect suet, for example, will draw in more bluebirds. Other cakes are made for different purposes, such as hot pepper suet, which will keep pesky squirrels, raccoons, and deer away from your feeders.
As you observe your birds this winter, you may notice that they appear larger and fluffier than before. This is not necessarily because they’re bulking up or storing extra fat. Birds keep themselves insulated from the cold by fluffing their feathers to add more layers of air between them. The multiple layers of feathers and air keep their body heat efficiently trapped. Feathers and fluff alone won’t keep them through the coldest Missouri winters, though. At night and during snowstorms, they’ll be looking for shelter to roost.
You can help them out by providing roosting space. Nest boxes left over from last nesting season are not ideal roosting spaces because their entrance portals are at their tops. While this is a feature during summer, in winter this allows heat to escape into the world. Dedicated roosting boxes are similar to nest boxes, but have their entrance portals at the bottom of the box to allow heat to stay trapped atop, and generally have a built-in ladder or other platform to allow birds access to the warmer top of the box.
Not all nest boxes can be reasonably converted to roosting houses. One recent addition to the Songbird Station catalog is designed to do double-duty. The Songbird Essentials Convertible Roosting House has a detachable front cover that can be flipped depending on the season: entrance portal on top for summer, bottom for winter, and a removable internal ladder. Alternatively, Songbird Essentials’ dried grass roosting pockets not only provide birds with shelter and space, but look fantastic on trees.