In most parts of the US, old man winter is starting to give way to at least small peeks of Spring. That means your back yard visitors are looking (or will soon be looking) for places to nest and raise their young. You can help them in ways you’ve maybe not thought of. Here are my spring nesting tips to help make your back yard a preferred spot for nesting birds.
In no particular order they are:
- If you have nest boxes, make sure they are cleaned out from last year before you put them back up.
- Put up at least two different kinds of boxes. I have a small box that only chickadees can get in and a bluebird box. This keeps the starlings or bluebirds from bullying the chickadees.
- When you finish brushing your cat or dog, maybe you can put the hair out in the yard so it can be gathered for nest building.
- I strongly recommend you use baffles on your nest box poles if you have squirrels or raccoons. In twelve years of birding, I’ve never had a squirrel be able to get into a nest box.
- Take a good look at any trees you have that may have grown and allowed squirrels access from the air to your nest boxes and trim them back or relocate the box.
- Be careful using any herbicides around any fencing you have. Especially if you have mossy rocks back there. Chickadees will use the moss to build their nests and you wouldn’t want to poison them, would you?
- Take some time on a weekend to pay attention to what birds are in your back yard and do anything you can to discourage starlings or house sparrows. Both of these species will displace or kill bluebird nestlings. You may just have to take down the food they’re sneaking until they decide to move on. Don’t worry. The birds you want will forgive you and return when you put it back up. It’s been my experience sparrows and starlings are worst if they can consistently find something to eat in your back yard.
- Think about planting some bright flowering perennials or shrubs to attract hummingbirds and give other birds a place to retreat if they feel threatened.
- Consider offering bluebirds some mealworms before they need them for their young. The best approach for this before there are young is to put out a small quantity at the same time every day. This way, you’re not wasting money feeding larger birds and will allow the bluebirds to figure out where they can find help feeding their young.
- Try not to over mow or spread noxious weed killer if you can avoid it too early.
I hope you found this spring nesting tips post helpful. I’m sure I’ve left plenty out but I wanted to at least give you a starting point for this nesting season. Let me know what you think of this post by leaving a comment below. Also, if you have any other tips that I’ve missed, leave them below as well so everybody can benefit from your knowledge!