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Friday, April 3, 2015

A pesticide-free, organic gardening idea

Living out in the countryside I would like to have chickens to eat bugs in the yard but don't want the responsibility of caring for them as I plan to travel around a bit this summer with The Glampette. I also don't want to ever use any pesticides that can harm the beneficial insects or tiny toads, frogs, and snakes that live in the yard. That got me to thinking the next best pest-control option is to attract more wild birds to protect the organic vegetable garden I'll soon be planting. Last year it suffered damage by caterpillars and grasshoppers in late summer. And soon the mosquitos will be back in full force. Hmmm. What to do? A birdhouse? A feeder? A birdbath?

Have I mentioned lately that Fred is pretty amazing? After discussing my pest-control ideas with him he went down to his workshop, took three cedar boards, and made 5 custom birdhouses. . . In one afternoon. Not only that, he also hung them around the yard. All in the same day! One side releases using a pin at the top and a single hinge on the underside (which has small holes drilled for ventilation) which will allow them to be cleaned between seasons by popping the wall open. We added some custom made pine shavings to entice our feathered friends into staying.

The weather has been gloomy and raining but that hasn't stopped the birds from coming out.

After inspecting the house on the post the same Bluebird took a peek at one of the other houses in a tree. I hope he comes back with a mate because Bluebirds eat lots of bugs!

While Fred researched building birdhouses (designs, dimensions, and materials) I Googled "birds that eat bugs" and "birdhouse entrance size" to learn the importance of the entrance hole sizes (different birds like different sizes and as little as an 1/8" can make them move in or move on), how high up the holes should be on the face of the house, to perch or not perch, and where and how to hang the houses.

No house in this picture but I happened to get a shot of a beautiful male Cardinal to share. They don't use houses for nesting preferring to build their own in shrubs and trees.

You can't see much of him but a Blue Jay also stopped to take a peek at a house this morning. They also build their own nests but I read you can build an 8"x8" platform and they'll build their own nest on top of it.

After the Eastern Bluebird stopped by a Black-capped Chickadee came to take a peek and try out the perch. I read some birds won't nest in a box with a perch because Blue Jays will come stand on the perch, reach inside the hole, and eat their babies!

My neighbor also warned that yellow jackets may move in so keep an eye out for them.

Spring is definitely in the air. Today I learned something about the birds, not the bees.

"Look!" I exclaimed to Fred, "Those Robins are fighting" as I took pictures of a pair that seemed to be battling in the yard. He took one look out the window and informed me they were mating. LOL.

So, we've had a few lookers but so far no takers. I'll keep you posted if any tenants move in. If not we'll try moving the boxes around a bit, as in space them further apart around the property, and most likely move some a bit higher.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave any birdhouse tips you may want to share!

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