Sunday, April 15, 2007

They're Back

I finally got chickadees back into at least one of my bird houses. How cool. It seems to be true what they say about cleaning old nests out of bird houses. If you don't, next year's birds think the bird house is already occupied and look elsewhere.

As I mentioned here before, the first year I put the chickadee houses up, a pair moved into the one on the chestnut tree on the south side of the house. I cleaned the box out after they left and we had new birds move in for a few years.

Then, for some reason, I stopped cleaning out the boxes. No more chickadees.

I finally decided to clean out both houses earlier this year. We'd seen chickadees in the back yard and were hoping some would occupy the boxes but didn't see any indication of interest...until yesterday morning.

I saw a small bird fly into the box on the apple tree. Then I saw it dart out a few seconds later. Shortly after that he was in and out again. He was so quick I couldn't get a good look and couldn't even tell if he was building a nest or feeding the female. I wasn't sure it was even a chickadee as it looked too small and I couldn't see the colors.

This morning I finally got a good look. It was a chickadee.

This is the first time I believe I've seen any birds move into in the apple tree box. I've seen them checking it out before, but never moved in. They usually prefer the chestnut tree box.

This is fun because chickadees are friendly birds.


At 11:02 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I am glad to hear the chickadees are nesting in your birdhouse. No birds have found ours yet, although the bird feeders are attracting lots of birds. Chickadees are fun to hear sing.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yes. They're fun birds all the way around. Years ago I was out watering the vegetable garden with a water wand. We had a pair of chickadees nesting in our chestnut tree house. One of them flew out and over to me and landed on the water wand I was holding. He looked up at me, flapped his wings for a second and flew away.

They seem pretty people oriented.

As far as your bird houses, make sure you have them built for the right birds and at the right height. These chickadee houses are the only ones we've ever had birds occupy and it was always chickadees.

I've put up a couple for other birds- a more generic variety- and never had them used. Could have been, though, that I had attached to our house. Maybe they didn't like that close a proximity to humans?

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bat boxes go well on houses/barns under the eaves.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Fred said...

That's something I keep telling myself I'll try but never get around to. I figured more bats would keep the misquitos under control.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Ooops. That's spelled mOsquitos.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Bat Guano is also good for the garden soil. I think Kate has them at the Garden Gate in Arcata.

We moved one of the bird houses further away from the house.

I bought them at the Fortuna Farmer's Market the last couple of years. One is a barn with a red roof and the other is a log cabin. They are probably more decorative than built for function, but are interesting addtions to the garden.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yes, probably more for ornamental purposes, but I guess you never know.

Happy Dog Kennels, over on Jacobs Ave. in Eureka, has what seems to be a home made ornamental type bird house on the front lawn. It's kind of a log cabin type thing made out of twigs.

I would never think birds would want to nest in it since it's in such an exposed location. It's right out in the open on a pole maybe five feet high so people can walk right up to it.

But, I believe it was last year, I saw a dead baby bird on the ground beneath that birdhouse. So young it didn't have much in the way of feathers. I don't know if it fell, or was pushed, out of that birdhouse.

I'll have to take a closer look next time I'm there and see if I can see a nest inside it.

One thing about the ornamental type bird houses: They usually don't have a way to open them up to clean them out. Cleaning them out seems to bring back the birds.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Our pooch loves Happy Dog. They are great folks, too.

We have had some birds hit the windows recently, probably because they see their reflection in the glass and think it's another bird.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yep. The dogs there are quite happy.

Some people put colored sticker things on their windows so the birds see there's something there. Don't know how well they work.

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to loan you my .22 rifle to rid your property of these nusiance pests that eat ahd sh*t on your property. That is, unless you're planning to eat them or their eggs.


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