Course Bird Community
Every creature in the world has a preference for where to live and what to live in. Needless to say, that includes the birds.
*Around 30 of our 41 birdhouses are placed at the edges of open areas, looking outward from the treelines. That’s the preferred habitats for our top customers, Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. Both also like the boxes placed low, 3-5 feet from the ground (that’s a bonus for us — we don’t need a ladder to check them).
*Just about all of these houses include some kind of “predator protection,” like those metal plates or skirts you see (baffles), or the wire cages and extenders stretching out from the entrance holes. “Predators” for these birdhouses mean many things: squirrels, chipmunks, mice, flying squirrels, raccoons, (maybe) a snake or two . . . all of them have a taste for bird eggs and nestlings, unfortunately. Almost all of that predation happens at night, when we’re not around. So our predator protection guards against . . . whatever it can. When eggs or babes disappear or are found dead in a box, we usually don’t know for sure what was responsible. So, in advance and proactively, we do what we must.
*Why are many of the boxes paired up, two of them posted within 10-20 feet of one another? Bluebirds and Tree Swallows tolerate each other nesting close by, but won’t allow another of its own species to nest nearby. So “pairing” like this, per birder guidelines, is meant to help them co-exist and not fight with their own kind for territory.
*A note for anybody who has a birdhouse or three in your yard (that’s many of you): If you care about your nesting birds and you do only one thing to help them, it’s this — you have to help protect against House Sparrows. These non-native species are very aggressive and destructive to other cavity-nesting birds — a truism among birders is that “if you have a choice of having birdhouses with House Sparrows in them or having no birdhouses at all, go with ‘no birdhouses at all.’ ” That’s how seriously every birder should take this. It’s a lot of information, and it’s important, so please go to this link or others to read about guarding against House Sparrows: http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm
The rest of the boxes:
These are the “hopefuls,” placed in different habitats from the ones already mentioned, trying to attract more-elusive cavity-nesters. They’re meant for some woodpeckers, one flavor of owl, nuthatches, titmice, and a few others, including Kestrel (falcon).
These are the bonus boxes that are less-visible out there (and who they’re meant for):
-3rd hole cartpath, halfway down the steep hill, high in a tree, BIG box (Eastern Screech Owl! Haven’t had one of them use it yet).
-8th hole, deep in the woods left of the green, high in a tree (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! Put up in 2019; no luck yet).
-Between 11th-12th holes, right of cartpath halfway down hill, tiny green box hanging from a branch (House Wren or Black-capped Chickadee! Successful every year).
-12th hole, high in a tree on the right halfway down from tee to green (Downy Woodpecker! Not yet!).
-13th hole, right of the cartpath deep in the woods, high on a tree (White-breasted Nuthatch! A nice success in 2016; none since).
-13th hole, right of the forward tees deeper in the woods (Northern Flicker! Waiting).
-16h hole, high in the “wedding tree” near the 5th green, BIG box (American Kestrel! If successful, this would be our finest moment; it hasn’t happened, but Kestrels are in the neighborhood).