What To Put In A Birdhouse




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Have you ever thought about attracting birds to your yard and observing them as they build nests and raise their young? Birdhouses are a great way to do just that! But what should you put inside a birdhouse to make it appealing to these feathered creatures? Surprisingly, the answer is nothing. That’s right – it’s best to keep birdhouses bare, without any birdseed or nesting materials. The reason behind this is that putting food inside can attract predators and pests, spoil quickly, and disturb nesting families. Instead, focus on creating an inviting environment in your yard that provides an abundance of food for birds, such as hanging bird feeders filled with mixed seed, mealworms, fruits, suet, and nuts. Additionally, offer them a variety of nesting materials nearby, such as grass and plant clippings, piles of pine needles, a twig pile, a suet cage with cotton fibers or clean pet fur, and even a small depression with water for mud. Don’t forget to clean out the birdhouses regularly to prevent diseases or parasites. By leaving them empty and clean while providing ample food and nesting choices, you’ll be providing the best possible sanctuary for our feathered friends.

Why Birdhouses are Important

Birdhouses are a fantastic addition to any yard as they serve multiple purposes. Not only do they provide a safe and cozy home for birds, but they also allow you to observe the fascinating process of nesting and raising young. By putting up birdhouses, you are creating a welcoming environment for these feathered friends, bringing nature and beauty right to your doorstep.

Attracting Birds

One of the main benefits of having birdhouses in your yard is the ability to attract a variety of bird species. Birds are naturally drawn to safe and secure spaces where they can build their nests and raise their young. By providing birdhouses, you are offering them the perfect shelter they need.

When choosing birdhouses, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of different bird species. Some birds prefer houses with small entrances, while others need larger ones. By accommodating their preferences, you increase the chances of attracting a wider range of bird species to your yard.

Observing Nesting and Raising Young

Having birdhouses in your yard allows you to witness the incredible process of nesting and raising young. It is a rewarding and educational experience for people of all ages.

Birds meticulously build their nests using various materials found in their surroundings. You can observe their gathering of twigs, grass, leaves, and feathers as they construct their cozy nests inside the birdhouses. The sight of birds busily going back and forth, bringing materials and arranging their nests, is truly captivating.

Once the nests are complete, you have a front-row seat to witness the magical moments of the birds caring for their eggs and later their hatchlings. It is a joy to watch the parents tirelessly bringing food to their hungry chicks and seeing the babies grow and eventually leave the nest. Birdhouses provide an intimate and rare opportunity to witness the wonders of nature up close.

What Not to Put in a Birdhouse

While it might seem tempting to provide birdseed or nesting materials inside the birdhouse, it is advisable to avoid doing so. Birdseed can attract unwanted predators and pests, spoil quickly, and disturb nesting families. Birds are excellent foragers and prefer to search for food in their natural environment.

Similarly, nesting materials should be avoided inside birdhouses. Birds have their specific preferences when it comes to building their nests. By leaving the choice of materials to them, you are allowing them to create a nest that suits their needs and instincts best.

Creating an Abundant Food Source

Instead of filling birdhouses with food, it is more beneficial to create an environment in your yard that provides an abundance of food for birds. This not only attracts them but also ensures they have a readily available supply of nourishment.

Hanging Bird Feeders

Hanging bird feeders in your yard is a wonderful way to offer a variety of foods to feathered visitors. Different bird species have different preferences, so it’s a good idea to have multiple feeders with varying types of bird feed. This provides a diverse menu for the birds and increases the chances of attracting a wider range of species.

Offering Mixed Seed

A great option for bird feeders is offering mixed seed. This blend typically consists of different types of seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn. Mixed seeds appeal to a wide variety of birds, and you can observe them picking and choosing their favorites.

Providing Mealworms

Birds, especially insect-eating species, greatly appreciate a tasty treat of mealworms. These wiggly creatures are a fantastic source of protein and provide a well-rounded diet for nestlings as well. Offering mealworms in small dishes or specialized mealworm feeders can attract a whole new range of bird species to your yard.

Fruits for Birds

Some birds are fruit lovers and enjoy the sweetness and nutrients they provide. Hanging feeders filled with fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, or berries can entice fruit-loving birds to visit your yard. This addition adds variety to their diet and creates an attractive and colorful display.

Offering Suet

Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat mixed with various seeds, nuts, and fruits. It is a favorite among many bird species, especially during colder months when extra calories are needed to keep warm. Providing suet in specially designed feeders or suet cages allows birds to enjoy this rich and nutritious food source.

Providing Nuts

Nuts are a great source of energy for birds, particularly in the winter. You can create a designated area in your yard where you scatter nuts, or you can place them in feeders specifically designed for nut consumption. Nuthatches, woodpeckers, and jays are among the species that enjoy nuts.

Providing Nesting Choices

Birds are quite particular when it comes to selecting the materials they use for nesting. They have their preferences and will search for specific items to construct their cozy nests. By providing a range of nesting choices nearby the birdhouses, you increase the chances of attracting nesting bird families.

Leaving Grass and Plant Clippings

Leaving grass and plant clippings in an accessible area of your yard offers a convenient supply of nesting materials for birds. They can easily pick and choose the pieces they need to create their cozy nests.

Piles of Pine Needles

Birds such as robins and finches are especially fond of pine needles. Creating piles of pine needles in your yard gives them an easily accessible source to gather materials for their nests. Plus, it adds a natural and rustic touch to your landscape.

Creating a Twig Pile

Twigs are essential building materials for many bird species. By creating a designated area with a pile of twigs, you provide birds with a readily available supply for their nest construction. It is fascinating to watch them carefully select and collect just the right twigs for their homes.

Using a Suet Cage with Cotton Fibers or Clean Pet Fur

Some birds, such as chickadees and titmice, appreciate soft fibers when building their nests. You can attach a suet cage filled with cotton fibers or clean pet fur near the birdhouses. Birds will happily take these soft materials to line their nests, providing extra comfort and insulation for their eggs and chicks.

Creating a Small Depression with Water for Mud

Certain bird species require mud to build their nests, as it helps to hold the structure together. By creating a small depression filled with water, you can provide them with a mud source. Birds will use the water to moisten the soil and create the perfect consistency for their mud-based nests.

Importance of Regular Cleaning

Regularly cleaning birdhouses is crucial to maintaining the health and well-being of nesting birds. Dirty and neglected birdhouses can become breeding grounds for diseases and parasites, which can harm the birds and their hatchlings.

Preventing Diseases and Parasites

Birdhouses can become contaminated with bacteria, fungi, and parasites over time. Dirty nesting materials and leftover food can attract pests that can harm the birds. Regular cleaning helps prevent the spread of diseases and ensures a safe and healthy environment for the feathered occupants.

Best Times for Cleaning

The best times to clean birdhouses are late summer, after the breeding season, and early spring, before the new nesting season begins. After the breeding season, nests are typically empty, and it is safe to remove any existing materials. Cleaning in early spring prepares the birdhouses for the upcoming nesting season.

Using a Bleach and Water solution for Scrubbing

When cleaning birdhouses, it is essential to use a mild bleach and water solution for scrubbing. This helps disinfect the interior and kill any bacteria or parasites that may be present. Rinse the birdhouse thoroughly after cleaning, ensuring that no bleach residue remains.

The Best Approach for Birdhouses

To best support birds through the use of birdhouses, it is important to follow a few key guidelines.

Leave Birdhouses Empty

Birdhouses are most effective when left empty. As mentioned before, birds have their preferences and requirements when it comes to nest building. By leaving the birdhouses empty, you allow them the freedom to choose materials and create a nest that suits their needs perfectly.

Clean and Maintain

Regularly cleaning and maintaining birdhouses is essential for the health and safety of nesting birds. By keeping them clean, you provide a fresh and safe environment for birds to raise their young. Remember to clean the birdhouses after the breeding season and before the new nesting season begins.

Provide Abundant Food and Nesting Choices in Yard

While birdhouses provide shelter and nesting opportunities, it is equally important to create an environment that offers an abundance of food and nesting material choices. Hanging bird feeders, offering mixed seed, mealworms, fruits, suet, nuts, and providing various nesting material options in your yard will attract birds and make it a haven for them.

In conclusion, birdhouses play a vital role in attracting birds to your yard, giving you the opportunity to observe nesting and raising young. Avoid putting birdseed or nesting materials inside the birdhouses, and instead, focus on creating an environment with abundant food sources and nesting material choices. Regular cleaning ensures the health and safety of the nesting birds, and leaving birdhouses empty and clean is the best approach. By following these guidelines, you can create a welcoming and bird-friendly haven in your yard.

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