Entice native birds -- including chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens (like this House Wren) -- to your garden with a birdhouse, or nestbox. Here’s the complicated part: you need to determine the size of the entrance hole. And that depends on the bird you want to attract. A smaller hole, around 1-1/4 to 1-3/8 inches, will keep out non-native House Sparrows and European Starlings, while allowing in nuthatches and chickadees. You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for “your” birds. And if you have a nestbox with a hole that’s too big, you could add an adapter, although some birds are averse to such additions. Give native birds the edge!
Right Birdhouse, Right Bird
Adapted from a script by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Songs of Black-capped Chickadee and House Wren]
Hear that? We’re hearing native birds: a House Wren [House Wren song], Black-capped Chickadee [Black-capped Chickadee song], and Red-breasted Nuthatch [Red-breasted Nuthatch call]. One of these birds might make its home in your yard, if you put up the right kind of birdhouse. But where do you start?
[More Black-capped Chickadee]
Well, if you make a birdhouse. (I’ll tell you where to get the plans in a moment--) here’s the important part: grab a ruler and mark off 1-1/8 inches. No more, no less, exactly one and one-eighth inches. That’s the size of entrance hole that will let the chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens in, and keep non-native birds out.
If you purchase a birdhouse and the entrance hole is too big, use an adapter to reduce the size. You can also line the hole with a hard material, such as a strip of metal, to keep avian carpenters from making the hole bigger.
Offering the right birdhouse will encourage native birds to nest in your garden. And keeping the entrance hole to that magical 1-1/8 inch will make it impossible for other birds to commandeer the box. [More House Wren]
We’ll help you find plans for natural birdhouses for native birds. Begin at our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann. [Red-breasted Nuthatch]
Calls and songs of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of House Wren and Black-capped Chickadee and call of Red-breasted Nuthatch by recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2009 Tune In to Nature.org Revised for May 2009
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