Blue Water Healthy Living

Life is for the Birds

By Marion Webber

This article is brought to you by: D&M Tree Services
2787 Barth Rd, Kimball, 48074, Tel: 810-987-2888/

What could be better than bird watching in the spring? Bird watching has become a hobby for millions of people around the world! It’s also a “healthy hobby.” It gets you out walking and socializing with like-minded people. Even if you enjoy sitting home and watching birds, it can be a relaxing time to just sit and enjoy!

Time for spring cleaning in the Bird Houses! If you haven’t done it yet, you may want to do it soon. The birds at my house are already picking their lodging for the spring! Most bird houses are made with either a hinged top, or a slide out bottom to clean the houses out. Empty out last year’s nests, and wipe the box down with hot soapy water, or a mild bleach solution, to clean debris from your wood feeders. Hang them back up and soon you will have a new brood of baby birds.

Putting up new bird houses should be done as soon as possible in early spring, fall or winter since some birds nest very early, especially birds that raise multiple broods each season. There really is no bad time to put up a birdhouse. If you miss out on the earliest nesting birds, you may still have visitors, since birds species nest at different times. Birds also use the houses for protection from predators, cold temperatures and poor weather both before and after the nesting season. If you add a bird house later in the spring the birds may still investigate and have a brood later in the year. Similarly, many birds will restart their efforts if poor weather, predators or brood parasites destroy a first nest. A bird house that may not have been avail able earlier can be the perfect option for renewing a nest.

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Aged wood makes for a great bird house. Most cavity-nesting birds prefer weathered natural wood; it mimics tree trunks where they would otherwise nest. Using lumber at least 3/4- inch thick helps insulate the box from hot or cold weather. Rough, raw wood on the inside of the box gives babies a foothold to scramble up to the opening. Also, slanted roofs will allow rainwater to run off easily. Make sure it extends over the entry. Be sure there is proper ventilation for the birdhouse. It can get extremely hot inside if the sun hits directly on your birdhouse. Making a couple of slits or small holes next to the roof will allow air to get in.

Where you place a new bird feeder is a very important decision for your birds. You will want to position a bird house carefully so it is sheltered from inclement weather. Place it so it does not sway, wiggle or move as birds enter and exit, which can discourage wary or overprotective parents. Privacy is also important for the birds. Be sure where they nest is not where there is alot of foot traffic. I had one feeder that was close to our deck, and when the little ones hatched, the mother would not let me sit on the porch. She would continuously chirp very loudly until I left. She made her point quite clear! Having a bird bath or water source near the bird house is also important. Planting flowers will be beneficial to birds, both in the summer (when they gather insects) and in the fall (when they gather seeds). Birds also like berry-bushes, evergreens and other shrubs and trees that offer both food and shelter.

Bird watching is one of the fastest growing hobbies! Get outside this year, and make bird watching part of your blue water healthy living!

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