Monday, April 9, 2012

Bird house vacancies. South Burlington, VT-Bird nest box

For Rent: clean spacious, good view, near farmers market. Available for a song: Bird Houses (Bird nest boxes)

Bed Bath & Breakfast. Our South Burlington, VT  backyard is a full service bird-only B&B.   

  (Sorry Ms. Chipmunk)

* Author's note: Even birds want a clean litter free environment in which to live.

Renovated this year.

The original House Wren nest box was many years old. The last few years the occupants sang and sang and sang and sang.  

May/June 2012 update: Wrens have moved in and are housekeeping.

                                  Other Vacancies

Chickadee nest box on the apple tree.

Flicker nest box.

Bat house on backside was un-successful-probably not enough sun exposure.

Flycatcher nest box.

Though a nuthatch has decided the extra space might fit the bill this year.

May update: Nuthatch nesting in flycatcher nest box.

Pileated Woodpecker nest box. Hanging this box and then filling it with wood chips reminded me of when I was on the fire dept. and on top of the ladder of the ladder truck holding a heavy 2 1/2 inch nozzle and hose-line.

Hairy Woodpecker nest box.

April 2014 update: Nuthatch nested in this Hairy woodpecker box-we have a non discriminatory clause in our bird box rental agreements! 

I can hear the chicks when the adult bird enters the box. 

Downy Woodpecker nest box.

Screech Owl nest boxes.

Eagle Owl flying toward a camera - in slow motion.

Great Blue Heron (1 minute You Tube) clip.

Though not shown here, on June 10 I spotted a Great Crested Flycatcher bringing leaf material into an old nesting box near those shown above. The old box entrance hole has been chewed considerably probably by squirrels-it is now the size of a baseball. Will replace this nest box with a new flycatcher nest box after nesting season.

Nuthatch bird nest box. They prefer a tree bark lined outer surface. Brief occupancy last year, however apparently the furniture was too lackluster-no partner, no romance, no chicks.

Robin nesting platform

May/June Update: Robin is nesting in the robin platform.
 Three baby robins hatched.
June 25 First fledgling left the nest.
June 25 another robin building a new nest in the tree in the center of the yard.

 Carolina Wren nest box. A Carolina wren visited us many times this winter so I decided it was time to set up some appropriate housing.

This customized dwelling (and the ornamental one below) I did not build. I obtained them from the Re-use center and have this one hanging in my cellar for inspiration to build more bird nest boxes.

                                                                   Ornamental bird nest box


Read the story here

How to build bird house nest boxes.

How to build a PVC Tube Chickadee nest box. 

Building a bird Roost Box

Experimental nest tubes

Chittenden county birding hot spots (Green Mtn Audubon Society)
Bird blog by Brian Pfeiffer

                                  BACKYARD BED & BATH

Improvised birdbath watering station and entertainment station.

Soft Bedding- gratis our dogs!

                                                      Bedding close to the bedroom

Soft nesting material

HoJo Suet Feeder.

Jan 2014 Bird Feeding Update: Fuel up backyard birds; its going to get cold out.
Making homemade suet today. Preparing for cold weather. Fun altering ingredients, trying out different recipes. Whats your favorite homemade suet mix? My ingredients selection: Lard, unsalted all natural peanut butter (both melted in microwave), Bobs Red Mill Coarse Cornmeal (Whole Grain), Bobs Red Mill Rolled Oats-Gluten Free, Chick Starter (Non medicated) -for protein, fiber, fat and other nutrients.

Total of 21 feeders in place. Feeding homemade suet, Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Mixed nut/fruit/seed. Threw in some butternuts for the squirrels, and laid out some carrots for the rabbits also.  One feeder is dedicated to peanuts for the nut loving birds like the nuthatches and woodpeckers.

Thx to a photo I saw on a birding site of a Grouse feeding on a feeder hung just above the ground, - I placed one of my feeders likewise in hopes of attracting some Grouse or Turkeys.

Mason bees are very gentle-seldom sting. They are much better pollinators than honeybees on a bee to bee comparison. (Also less weather finicky). Unlike honey bees (European imports), Mason bees are native. This is one of six mason blocks I have built and installed in our yard.

MASON BEES:  docile, excellent pollinator, and native Vermont bee. 
Solitary Mason Bees Growing a Greener World. (Video)
Mason bees Micro Documentary. (Video)
Handbook for beekeepers. (170 pages)
Why bees are disappearing  (TED Talk - video)
How to build a mason bee block Audubon - Bring on the Bees
How to construct a wood mason bee house. Penn State Extension
Crown Bees bee company.  Web site has lots of Mason bee info and items for sale. They even buy mason bees. And if you sign up for their newsletter you get periodic timely info. on caring for your mason bees and other mason bee tips.

Ladybug House

Note: Dryer lint can be bad for nesting birds. From Cornell, scroll 2 bottom:

See how to build a roost box
Birds only nest during spring and summer—their breeding season. But during the rest of the year, cavity-nesting birds often use these same boxes for shelter at night, particularly in winter. Sometimes more than a dozen birds will pile into a single box to conserve heat. But nest boxes are far from ideal for overnight roosting. They are usually too small for a group. Plus most birds need to perch or cling while roosting, but nest boxes have no perching surfaces inside.You can help your backyard birds keep warm overnight with a specially designed roost box. Any backyard favorites that typically nest in boxes—bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and small woodpeckers—may seek refuge in it.

Plantings in our backyard to attract birds include

Trees- apple (common, mcintosh, and two other types) ,  crapapple, prunus cherry (Evans Bali), cedar hedge (cardinals favorite I think), multiple birch-(heritage, white, and other), red pine, maple, oak, hazlenut, serviceberry, pine, balsam,black-cherry, hemlock, elm, blue spruce, mountain ash, Bradley Pear,

and others.
Bushes- snowberry, white (snowball) hydrangea, quince, azalea, Elderberry, ChokeBerry (black and red), bridal veil, American holly, blue rose of sharon, fireball rose of sharon,  yellow forsythia, and others.
Flowers- rugosa roses, purple lilac hedge, single pink lilac, peony, hostas, purple iris, yellow iris, orange day lilies, large (plate size flowers) hibiscus, blackeyed susies, misc. assorted wildflowers, tulips, daffodils, crocus,  fernleaf bleeding heart, and others.
Misc.- Wild ferns, blackberry and raspberry plants, and trellised grape vine, small and highberry blueberries, asparagus, rhbuarb, milkweeds, and others.

                                                                                            Designs by May
You'd have to ask my Mom how to make this one!


December 8, 2013 - I have set out about half of my regimen of bird feeders. Only seed, nut and fruit feeders so far, no suet feeders yet. 

To view any of my 14 different bird species photo postings in my SB Backyard birds series, click on the Table of Contents tab on the top of this blog, next, page down to All things Vermont, Birds... then click on the bird posting of your choice. 

How to build a Screech Owl bird box

National Wildlife Foundation: 5 tips for nesting box success. 
Californian tree nests: Inspired by birds, built for people

Bernie publishes essays and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter and maintain a litter free environment through caring, community, and contribution in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.   

Winter Bird Lines

Winter Wanted Ad: Seeking mini wood-stoves for bird cottages.
There was a bird named Druet, who didn't care much for suet. His friends and parents chided his poor diet, to which he responded don't snub grub(s) till you try it. Then winter came, which brought frozen entrees, so he had to eat suet, though he still attested theres not much to it. (being the meat eater he was).

     The table is set; peanuts, homemade suet, B.Sunflower seeds, 18 stations-log, tube, tray, wire. Wlcm all. Hot coffee for me. Good morning,Chickadees, Bluejays, Cardinals, Titmouse, Hairy & Downy Woodpeckers, Nuthatch -red and white, Sparrow, Dove, REDPOLLS 

So many Redpolls, and me not able to speak french!

Got Birds? 22 bird feeders and one water dripper in place. Yup, got birds.

Feeding wild birds is like trick or treat, lots of costumes and you can't tell if some are repeat visitors.

     Chickadee just showed up with two reuseable shopping bags. Got to give her credit, at least she recognizes reuseable is better than plastic. Can't wait till she tries to fly with all that carry on luggage.

     While waiting his turn at a bird feeder, one fiesty young male bird told me that no matter how tough a bird you are, (window) strikes are a real pane. Not only that but they hurt too.

     Fly by hawk just passed up a 7 course meal. Guess it figured there were just too many and the doves are probably high calorie/fat content anyway.

Have acquired near permanent Red Eye and a dirty chin after viewing so many Redpolls.

     Tea kettle is whistling. Time for Tea for me and time to refill the birds water dripper with water-they are not tea tottlers.

     Nuthatch takes one peanut, flys away to stash it, then returns for another, while the squirell looks up with envy.

     Juncos favorite book: Fifty Shades of Grey, the abbreviated version on Twitter. Erotic Tweets and tweeters.

Getting to know the birds better- On a nickname basis.
 Redpolls = Red top or Bibbers.
 Mourning Doves = Chicken Catetori
Sparrows nickame = Jack
Cardinal = Fireball. (Sorry Rudolph)
Downy Woodpecker = Pillow stuffer

     Birds fly high. Think about that and the possible ramifications. Are there mid air sobriety checkpoints? What happens to repeat offenders? Do they lose their wings or just get them clipped? If they crash into a wall, do they forever-more fly with Jonathan Livingston Seagull? Do they get frequent flyer miles for not flying high?

     I told a bird I dream of flying without wings. The bird responded he dreams of drinking out of the bird bath that does not smell and taste like bird feet.

     Male Cardinal landed on my shoulder, hopped sidways and up close to my ear and whispered a bird joke. Or at least he tried to. He blushed really really red before he could get half way through it. I guess he has off-colored humor.

     Birds occasionally peer into and stick their beak into a hole of my Mason Bee boxes. Imagine what that must be like for the hibernating Mason to bee. Fortunately they are in the egg or larvae stage at this point and the hole is plugged with mud. Should the bird poke past the mud partition the male to bee eggs would be the first to go as the Female-destined eggs are laid in the back of the nest, and male eggs towards the front.
     Add to that the male dies after mating. SO for males, if you think birds are scary, wait till after you meet up with a female Mason bee.

     Getting near dusk. Birds are becoming scarce at the feeders, though there seems to be quite a gathering of them at the grape vine. A little post meal vino, or maybe some hot toddys to get through the cold night. That explains why the dogs bark at night - Bird partying at the Grape & Grain.

Other Vermont flower, critter, and birds, postings: