Farm Drum 14: Birdhouse
“The prosperity of other industries is not the basis of prosperity in agriculture, but the prosperity of agriculture is the basis of prosperity in other industries… Immense manufacturing plants and great transportation companies are dependent upon agriculture for business and prosperity. Great standing armies and formidable navies may protect the farmers in common with other people of a nation, but their support comes from tillers of the soil.” — Nahum J. Bachelder, National Grange President, 1908
Birds can be a farmer’s best friends, for the hordes of insects they catch. Offer them shelter, and they will help lighten your days. First decide which birds you want to attract. Robins and phoebes don’t nest in enclosed bird houses, but prefer a sheltered platform or shelf—a corner with a roof out of the weather. Wrens, bluebirds, tree swallows and other small songbirds like enclosed bird houses. Wrens choose nest boxes close to shrub cover, while bluebirds and tree swallows like fairly open areas with few trees and shrubs, such as fencerows.
There a few simple keys to building. Be particular about the entrance hole. 1 ½ inches is maximum for swallows and bluebirds; wrens will still nest there, but cowbirds and other larger birds can’t intrude. Use untreated lumber, preferably rough cedar. Add hinges and a screendoor latch to the roof so it can be opened and the last occupant’s nest cleaned out and doused with a weak bleach solution. Don’t add a perch or ledge, that encourages predators. If you have hot summers, face the entrance hole to the north or east to keep the birds from overheating. Drill small drainage holes in the bottom, and ventilation holes near the top. And birds are territorial: no more than one house per tree for the same species, no more than four bird houses per acre for any small species such as wrens or chickadees, and one shelter per acre for larger birds such as robins. And don’t put bird houses near bird feeders. If you have trouble with predators, mount bird houses on metal poles rather than nailing them to trees or hanging them from limbs. — PH
There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away. — anon
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. — anon