bob_G

Bird house question

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Serious question. I'm an avid bird watcher.  A while back we came into some real nice, Audubon approved bird houses. I took my time and strategically placed them all around the yard. We feed birds year round and have loads of birds. Only problem, the birds won't go near the houses.

And help from you fellow birders is appreciated.

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No matter what kind of birdhouse I put up, I wind up with English sparrows nesting in them.   Had goldfinches one year, but either the English sparrows took over the nest, or they took over after the goldfinches were done.   You must not have any English Sparrows where you are, because they nest EVERYWHERE in on or around my house.

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Bob --

 

Are the openings south-facing? Most birds don't want direct sun. Turn the entrances north or toward shade. Are there natural perches nearby--trees or bushes? Most birds like a little cover to land in going in and out of nests. How close are the boxes to one another? Bluebirds for instance are pretty territorial. Can't recall without resorting to goog, but you need some serious yardage between poles/houses. Swallows are a little more more neighborly. As Ditchbag asks, what kind of houses are you using? The diameter of the opening is fairly key; a quarter of an inch either way can mean the difference between bluebirds and trashbirds.

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Ive got some wren houses. Ive got 3 pairs of Carolina wrens at my feeders all day. I measured the entrance and they run between 1-1/8"-1-1/4". So the houses should work wrens, chickadees and nuthatches. A new bluebird house, though ive never seen a bluebird in my yard. Also a well made generic house. Placed all the houses among shrubs or tree limbs. Birds are flying around them all day, just refuse to use them.

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Keep bird houses away from feeders at least 5/6 ‘ off the ground 

secure them solid to something like tree trunk or pole . 

Depending on the type of bird some like oprn nest and wont go in birdhouses

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9 mins ago, shark lobster said:

Keep bird houses away from feeders at least 5/6 ‘ off the ground 

secure them solid to something like tree trunk or pole . 

Depending on the type of bird some like oprn nest and wont go in birdhouses

Chuck,

The wren houses are new, made of cedar. No paint. All are either securely attached to trees and one on the side of my home near a cedar tree. Anywhere from 10-15' above ground. The others are on metal poles I drove into the ground, under a magnolia and dogwood tree.  The bluebird is on an island next to another shrub.

I'd like to get the wrens and chickadees to nest, but at this point I'll take any birds I can get. 

 

 

 

 

 

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You hole sizes are right to keep the pesky English sparrows at bay. But it's complex problem. I have had to experiment from year to year in my placement. Once you get it right they seem to return. I also put out nesting material to help the cause (you can buy these balls of cotton at some bird shops). I also trim my springer spaniel outside (!) It's early so don't give up hope, Chickadees are the most apt to investigate new holes.   Don't be shy about moving them around; nature's laws are often unfathomable but for trial and error.

Good luck!

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Also cats and squirrels are a concern for birdhouses. 

I have had bluebirds in my other house. They are very cool birds. 

This house I cannot get them to show. 

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Bob.....would having Charlie running loose in your yard be perceived as a threat to the young chicks by the parents?  So much so, that the parents would not nest in the yard?

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Wrens are funny. I had one nest in my unused grill outside my bedroom window. The male sang all morning from first light. Not a pretty song either. Still, I missed him when he suddenly went silent. My boy had failed to take a bag of trash off the porch. Coons came, sniffed out the nest a few feet away.

I used to often get them in hanging plants on the front porch. I've also seen them in mailboxes. 

Don't know the trick to getting them in boxes but maybe try a box real close to the house, even right near a walkway. They almost seem to prefer it.

 

Chickadees really like tree holes. 99% nests I ever saw were tree holes, often really small, thin rotten trees.

The one artificial nest I found was in a water tank vent pipe (candycane). Just the size of a rotten sapling. 

 

Bluebirds need wide open space. They won't use a box next to a clump of bushes. Big yards and pastures are best. They like company. Several boxes are better.

 

Bare in mind, it's late. Chickadees and wrens are early nesters, bluebirds are claiming territory. They already have their first nest or soon will. You may get second nesters or later nesting species. 

Also if you have lots of gnarly scrub oak, pitch pine, dead white pine or old apple trees, cavity nesters don't need to nest in your boxes.

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