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Placing birdhouses along your property has many benefits to both you and the birds. Although any birdhouses will likely attract birds, selecting the correct size and placing them in the right locations will help you attract specific species. To help increase the benefits, add birdbaths for a water source, dense shrubbery and several bird feeders.
Many birds use dense shrubs, crotches of tree branches or other covered, protected areas to build their nests in, but some require specific-sized cavities for shelter and to rear their young. As man-made developments continue to take away natural habitat, these cavities are becoming less common in nature, fueling the need for man-made cavities, also known as birdhouses. Putting up birdhouses is a small but vital step in recreating suitable nesting areas for native bird species.
Habitat loss isn't the only factor working against native species; they also have to compete with invasive species. Two of the most common invasive bird species in the United States are the European starling and the house sparrow. Invasive species effectively out-compete for nesting cavities, forcing native species to find suitable homes far away or, sadly, to not have nesting cavities at all. Putting up properly sized birdhouses around your property can help encourage native species to remain in the area.
Birding and Enjoyment
Birding is a favorite hobby for many people, even if it just means enjoying the birds in your yard while sipping coffee on your deck. Placing appropriate birdhouses throughout your property will encourage many different species to visit your yard, giving you the opportunity to enjoy their colors, antics and songs. When you place birdhouses on your property and your yard comes alive with birds, you're helping to preserve the ecosystem. Birds are vital in insect control and spreading the seeds of native plants. Decorated birdhouses that are still natural and not too vivid can add beauty to your yard, as well.
A few features are necessary for a safe birdhouse. Look for birdhouses that are made of untreated wood; cedar, pine and fir are excellent choices. Measure the entrance hole to make sure it's the appropriate size for the bird species you are wishing to attract. For example, 1 1/2 inches is the best diameter for bluebirds because it is too small of a hole for starlings or other, larger species. Well-constructed birdhouses will have a sloped roof to help shed rainfall, thick wood sides for insulation, a removable top or side for cleaning and drainage holes to help keep the inside clean.
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