Playing Naturalist

blue bird1 225x300 Playing Naturalist As always at this time of year I am overly eager to begin spending more time out of doors, but since the weather isn’t cooperating yet, I spent most of today playing naturalist at work, and elimiating the avian housing crisis in the reforestation areas and grasslands that I’m responsible for. Every few years the bird and bat houses we built and placed warp and rot, so February is official “housing boom” month, and I’m making sure that all forty of our houses are in tip top shape, and cleaned out for new residents!

Thus far I’ve only had to replace four bluebird houses and one bat house on site, but we relocated a few bluebird houses for good measure to discourage the sparrows from moving in again like they did last year. Sparrows, as I’ve discovered, have a tendency to use Bluebird Boxes that are too close to areas where there are birdfeeders, or easy handouts, and have been plaguing the Bluebird houses near our storm water retention ponds. Unfortunately, while they clean up the cracked corn and bread left by visitors for the Swans and ducks they’ve bumped the Bluebirds out of a few houses, and need evicting this year. The nest box pictured above was one of the ones that needed moving due to the amount of interest the Sparrows are showing it already!

I have yet to see any bluebirds in Maryland, but I’ve heard a few of their songs in the area from those apparently trying to beat the spring rush up here and grab their favorite house. By the end of the day today all the houses will be clean and ready, so short of hanging tiny “Remax” shingles on the rooves, I have done my part to set the birds up for success this season. Hopefully in two months Ill have a few picture of the boxes packed with babies!

If you are going to put Bluebird houses around your home or garden, I recommend saving yourself some money this year by building one yourself from one of these plans suggested by the North American Bluebird Society for their proven success in attracting Bluebirds.   In my experience the fancier the birdhouses, the more likely it is that Sparrows or Starlings will nest in it, so keep it simple this spring, and help boost the Bluebird population.

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