Like any creature in the animal world, birds seek food, shelter, and safety. When it comes to shelter, bird houses (also spelled “birdhouses”) take center stage. Each type of bird has its’ own preference of what the ideal home should look like. For example, purple martins live in groups. So, purple martin houses have several individual units together in one building, like an apartment building. Many other birds prefer the single unit, like the one pictured above.
In addition, your birds also need shelter and protection from birds of prey. The bushes and shrub in your yard in proximity to bird houses and feeders, is essential for their safety. We cannot understate the importance of landscaping to both attract birds, and to protect them. Here is where gardeners’ skills can be utilized to your feathery friend’s advantage. Different birds like different kinds of shelter. A variety of thick shrubs, and medium to large trees with lots of branches, are useful it gets a wider range of backyard birds to take up residence.
As a homeowner and gardener, look for trees and shrubs that are aesthetically pleasing to your landscaping plans. Select shrubs and plants that provide shelter, and are a source of food. Many fruit trees offer both and may fit towards the back corner of your yard. Add berry bushes, if you have the space.
Birds will select one of three places for their homes:
It is also important to have an abundance of nest-building material around the yard. This can be natural materials like straws, branches, and twigs. It can also include manmade materials like yarn and string. Place the material in an open area and the birds will find them.
Some birds build their nest with mud to hold the nest together. Look around your yard. If there is no source for mud, make a small supply in an open and accessible place. Don’t worry. If it’s there, the birds will find it.
Birdhouses are fun to have in your backyard. Cavity-dwelling birds will make them home. But don’t expect birds like robins to call it home. Only cavity dwellers like wrens and bluebirds will take up residence.
When putting up a birdhouse, the hole is best placed facing south. From this direction, there is normally less wind and rain entering the hole.
Did you know? Cavity nesting birds do not need perches. As a matter of fact, a perch will only benefit predators.