This winter saw our first ever Black-capped Chickadees. One came and checked out our Tree Swallow/Bluebird box a week ago, so it seems they are interested in nesting here. We live out in the open surrounded by industrial crops. We have a few trees in the yard area, but they are not close together, but also a tree line with somewhat small trees. This is about a 100 feet from the house.
We know we have House Wrens come every summer, but never figured out where they have nested. They've never showed an interest in the Tree Swallow/Bluebird box. This was placed between the house and tree line. It was investigated by Tree Swallows, but never used.
Where would the best place be to put a Chickadee box in our yard? Close to the house or further out? Near trees or not?
We are pretty excited, we finally have a Kestrel pair that claimed the nesting box put up for them. I hope we can get some other birds to nest in one of our boxes.
My chickadee box stands alone, about 6' from a fence. Every year they build a nest in April but they appear to be sterile. By June, the wrens kick them out and build a nest, some successful, some not. I also have a box on a tree, I've been hoping for a nuthatch, but the Dees have never shown any interest in it.
I think Sialis.org has some information on nesting (other than bluebirds). I may have read there that wrens prefer houses on fence rows. Mine have nested in this box and in a box on the side of the garage.
Just my opinion, But, I never put boxes up " On Tree's" or " Close to trees" , And usually always put a pvc pipe on the pole before putting it in the ground, It's amazing how many critters would love to be able to get to the box ( Snakes, Squirrels, chipmunks, Ect.) I have had many birds nest here, Including chickadees, But, Had to learn the hard way about trying to keep the nesting box safe. ~ all's good now though. ~ Many birds do like to have tress/shrubs around to go to when they feel threatend going in and out of there box, So mine are about 7 ft. from shrubs/trees. ~ This , with the pvc pipe, makes it hard for preditors like squirrels and snakes to get onto the box, keeping the birds safer. I've had chickadees nest in bluebird houses.
Thanks for the replies. Sialis has a lot of info there. I was wondering what to do if the House wrens would be here, but the site had instructions for a "wren guard".
For our Kestrel box, my husband wrapped metal flashing around the pole. We had noticed this around the boxes the county has along the road, so plan on doing this for any nesting boxes we put up.
I've never tried metal flashing, But, I've heard it mentioned quite a few times. I use pvc pipe because it's a lot wider then the pole, But, Anything high and slick should work. ~ Your so lucky to have kestrals ( Love these birds) But would make me a bit nervous having them around the other birds.
I've had wrens nest in all kinds of places, They seem to like gourds, And of course any normal size birdhouse ...
Wren nesting in gourd
Wren has a nest in one of the Bluebird boxes ~ She wasn't happy about the doves on the top of her house ( She's to the left side)
That was an interesting thread Mrs Ed. Some funny pictures.
About our Kestrels, they've not put any kind of dent in our bird population. The bigger birds- Robins, Red-wingeds and Meadowlarks will often perch within ten feet of the Kestrels. The other birds feed merrily, oblivious to any concern and the Kestrels don't go after them at all. Even when I yell out the window about all those widely available House sparrows, the Kestrels ignore me. I suppose if they start going after HOSP, they would go after other birds. They are hunting for rodents at this time.
Oh, but we have had a sudden drop in the Starling population. Poof! I found out why on this site... http://www.universityaffairs.ca/where-kestrels-hold-sway-starlings-run-away.aspx
"Although starlings have few natural predators in the area, they are petrified of kestrels, a small type of falcon that can snatch a starling in mid-air. Professor Steensma says starlings are so scared of this predator that they’ll flee even at the sight of a kestrel shadow. In areas where kestrels are present, starlings are scarce."
IRIS, that photo is so cute with the Mourning Doves on top. :)
Last year we had a Bluebird box in the border of one of our hayfields and the Chickadees built a nest. All seemed to be fine until the Bluebirds decided to take over the box and built their nest on top of the Dee nest. I felt so sorry for the Dee's but removed their nest and the Blues started laying eggs in the nest they had built on top. A few days later a House Wren showed up and proceeded to destroy the Blue's eggs and eventually the Bluebirds abandoned the nest. I've never had trouble with the House Wrens in the past but this year I plan on using a Wren guard as soon as the first egg is laid. I noticed today the Bluebirds were starting a nest in that box so we will see how it goes.
By Golly, I've Chickadee's eggs for the first time! Yesterday, I opened the bird house door to take a peek at the inside. I was anticipating for Blue Bird eggs. And look what I found inside, my sweet chickadee!!! Today, I took a brief look. I could not see the inside but I can feel for tiny eggs deep in the nest pocket. The eggs are so small, it's about the size of the tip of my pinkies. There are 4-6 of them. I didn't want to scare the parent birds who maybe perching nearby and watched my every move. So I quickly moved away. Marna, this maybe an opportunity for me to set up the birdcam.
No, this one is in the front yard. I took a few more pictures this evening to share, but I'm having uploading pics. difficulty. When I work out the bugs. I'll share more pics. Look as if Spring has arrived there for you too Marna. Thanks Iris.
The chickadee box was put up a couple days ago in the south yard. We've been seeing two Chickadees in the yard, so hopefully soon they'll check out the box. The wren guard is already made to be quickly installed at the right time.
About our Kestrels, only the female has been in sight for the last several days. She is often seen perched on the nesting box.
I almost wish we had more trees. Robins, House Finches, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Gracks, and HOSP are all busy right now. The Brown Thrashers arrived today, so they'll soon look for a spot. The Chipping Sparrows are singing, but no nest building activity yet. And we still have Juncos and Amer. Tree Sparrows hanging around.
The Kestrels seem to finally have settled down and the Chickadees went off elsewhere. We did have determined Tree Swallows trying to get into the Chickadee box with the Chickadee sized hole. Quite a funny sight until they finally found "their" box on the other side of the house. The Mrs. has been quite busy the last few days. And thankfully, the sound of the mowers didn't scare them off. I am always concerned with first time nesters in our yard.
Well, those Tree Swallows had a successful brood of six young which left the nest on Wednesday. They left mite free!!! I read a tip to put a handful of wood ash with the shavings and I was tickled to see that it worked. Our Barn Swallows had mites last year, so we knew what they look like.
We were blessed to have Mama Tree Swallow that hatched last year, so she was brown yet. It is so nice to be able to tell the difference between the Mr. and Mrs.
The Kestrels were not so successful. After about a week or more of not seeing any around, my husband looked into the box yesterday and found one cracked egg. It was not pecked open, but had a single crack. There was nothing else in the box to show there had been any feeding in there.
Now back to our Chickadee box.
Today a male and female Bluebird showed interest, but like the Tree Swallows, cannot fit! Sigh... We had not yet cleaned out the Swallow box, so have done that quickly. It is air drying in the sun after scrubbing with bleach. We will put it up before we leave to go shopping.
I know nothing about Bluebirds, but enjoy most all birds. We learn so much by observing the nesting birds we have here. The Swallows were very approachable within reason, so it allowed for some nice photos.
This will mean a big fight next year, but learned Bluebirds and Tree Swallows can nest close together. So we will put up two boxes where the one is now. We had already planned on placing more boxes around our property in the pasture.
The Chickadee box was only used by perching Robins, Red-wingeds, etc. But also we had to recently evict wasps. I thought I read some place there is a way to prevent this. Vaseline on the interior walls maybe?? That would be icky to get off when cleaning out the box.
Oh, where the Chickadees went, we do not know. :) The latest plan is to probably remove the Chickadee box- move it elsewhere and (yes, we're thinking huge!) build a Chimney Swift tower in that south yard.
Congrats on the successful half dozen Swallow fledglings Chillybean. I'm glad to learn some ways in which we can help keeping the mites population down for our birds' sake. Wasps are a different story. I don't know what to do about them.
The Swallow baby--such sweet looking little one! Thanks for sharing.