Attracting Birds, Bird Watching, Nesting  |  March 30, 2020

REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR FAVORITE CAVITY-NESTING BIRDS

© 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

Attracting Birds, Purple Martins  |  March 25, 2020

Tips for Attracting Purple Martins

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.

 

View Purple Martin Tips Brochure

Attracting Birds, Bird Baths, Bird Food and Feeders, Bird Houses and Nesting, Bird Species  |  October 13, 2019

Clean Up Your Act

By: Kevin Alferman

Keeping feeders clean is an ongoing part of feeding the birds and will keep the feeders looking good and minimize the spread of disease. They should be cleaned as needed, but you should plan to clean them at least every two to three months. If you notice sick or diseased birds visiting the feeders, it’s time for a cleaning to stop it from spreading. If the seed gets wet and moldy in your feeder, be sure to disinfect the feeders as the mold can be harmful to birds. The cleaning task is typically an outdoor activity, so your schedule should include cleaning in November before it gets too cold, then again in February when it starts to warm up. A 10% bleach or vinegar solution is best for cleaning because it effectively disinfects the feeders. Be sure the feeders are thoroughly dry before refilling as these solutions are non-toxic once they dry out. Fill up a large container like a trash can, with the solution and submerge your feeders. If you have the time this is a good method to clean all of your feeders at once. Let each feeder soak for a few minutes as the scrubbing will be easier. The Songbird Essentials birdbath and feeder cleaning brushes are specifically designed with long sturdy bristles to clean all of the nooks and crannies. Use one of our many shapes and sizes of bristled bottle brushes to clean tube feeders. While you’re at it, dump out the birdbath and disinfect it too. Be sure and dump as much water out of the feeders and baths as you can and place them in the sun to dry. For stubborn cleaning jobs use a product like Poop-Off that is specially designed to remove bird droppings. Remember to pick up a bottle of Birdbath Protector that helps minimize algae growth and mineral and sludge deposits.

Bird Bath Brush
Poop-Off Bird 32 oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 oz Birdbath Protector
Best Long Brush

Attracting Birds  |  March 12, 2019

Attract Nesting Birds to Your Yard

nesting material wreath

Many North American birds nest in “cavities” (holes in trees and fence posts). Although some birds, such as woodpeckers, can chisel their own holes with their heavy, sharp bills, other cavity-nesters must find suitable holes for nesting.

Unfortunately, suitable nest cavities can be hard to find in much of North America.

One way to solve the nest-site shortage is to provide artificial cavities, also known as birdhouses or nest boxes.

More than 50 species of birds (including Bluebirds, Kestrels, Owls, Titmice, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Wrens, Tree Swallows, and Woodpeckers) will use nest boxes.

Nest Boxes have helped boost populations of many cavity-nesting bird species whose numbers were declining. For example, both Wood Ducks and Eastern Bluebirds recently have made dramatic comebacks.

A Nest Box on your property will provide a valuable home for birds and enjoyable bird watching for you. We will help you figure out which birds you can attract to your yard and what’s the best way and place to mount your nesting boxes.

By attracting Nesting birds, you’ll enjoy the sight of parents and young in your yard.

TIP: if you DO add a nest box or two to your yard, offer your feathered friends some nesting material!

We have the only nesting material available that contains a mixture of five natural-colored materials preferred by North American Nesting Birds! Feathers, String, Cotton, Hemp, and Aspen fiber all included.

Because it contains all of the above, Nesting Material attracts many more birds than cotton only mixtures. Birds and consumers love it!