Spring is in the air…finally!
After what feels like a long and very cold winter, it’s finally beginning to feel like spring, even though my garden is still covered with snow.
But the birds are getting ready for spring now. The White-throated Sparrows are singing their “Old Sam Peabody” song so much that I laugh as the neighbors walk by whistling that song. I wonder if they realize that it the birds who’ve put that song in their heads?
Today I watched a male Chickadee perched atop my birdhouse (which is still covered in snow, too) as he puffed out his chest and sang “Chicadee, dee, dee, dee, dee” over and over again.
Pretty soon he was rewarded when his mate came in to check out his potential choice of housing. Apparently she likes it, because she kept going back inside.
Now is the time to make sure your bird houses are clean and ready to go. Take a good look at your houses. Most of them are built so that you can take either the roof or the floor off so that you can clean them out. Some have sliding sides, but most houses have some type of access.
Empty out last year’s nests, and wipe the box down with a mild bleach solution. Replace the roof (or floor) and hang the box back up because soon it will become home to a new brood of baby birds.
Remove the old nest carefully and take a good look at it. Can you tell who built the nest? You can learn so much about your backyard birds by looking at their nests.
For example, Chickadees make a very neat nest with moss and lichen (and even dog hair) woven in. House Wrens, on the other hand, build a very messy nest that often look like just a pile of sticks, often with ribbon, plastic bags, and other trash woven in.
Check out Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds Nests to learn which birds have nested in your bird houses. This is a great activity to do with your children or grandchildren to teach them about the different birds that make their homes in your wildlife garden.
What birds nest in your wildlife garden?