Category

Birds

Category


Eastern Bluebird


Range of Eastern Bluebird


European Starling


Range of Eurpean Starling in North America

You return from vacation to find a stranger living in your home, a stranger who refuses to leave.

You go to a neighbor’s house for help, and strangers are living there, too.

Sound like a scene from the Twilight Zone?

Well, it’s what happens sometimes to native animals when new species arrive from elsewhere. Consider the trials faced by the Eastern Bluebird.

A Starling Invasion
Back in 1890 a few well-intentioned bird-lovers decided to release a hundred European Starlings in New York’s Central Park. The birds adapted easily to their surroundings and soon spread to cities across the Northeast. As a consequence, though, many native Eastern Bluebirds lost their homes.

Why Starlings Threaten Bluebirds
Both species nest in holes—tree cavities and the like—but only bluebirds migrate for the winter. So while the bluebirds were sunning themselves down south, the recently arrived starlings moved into the vacated homes.

And since bluebirds are gentle and nonconfrontational by nature, they had no choice when they returned north but to look for new holes in which to build their nests. But even when they did find suitable replacements, chances were good that the thuggish starlings would soon evict them from these, too.

Over time bluebird numbers dropped to the point where conservationists feared the birds would disappear completely. Realizing this, the same creatures responsible for the mess—humans, that is—decided to find a solution. It’s simple but effective: nest boxes with holes perfect for bluebirds but too small for starlings. And with tens of thousands of these boxes now gracing backyards in America and Canada, the Eastern Bluebird appears to be on the rebound.

We love our Bluebirds and are expecting them to arrive here very shortly.  Are you seeing any yet?

 

Because many birds do not eat seeds, suet or sugar water, there is another way to draw them in from the natural cover for close-up viewing.

Water.

In various forms, water will attract the insect- and worm-eating birds that would not otherwise be drawn to your yard.

You Can Keep It Simple…
The simplest and least expensive way to provide water for birds is in a ceramic or metal birdbath mounted on a pedestal.

As long as the water is clean, and changed frequently, birds will respond. The presence of water, the third essential to bird life in a backyard habit, will attract birds that would not otherwise be seen. In spring and summer, when the neotropical species are in the North, birds such as flycatchers, wrens, robins, vireos, thrushes and even owls will readily come to water, but not to feeders.

Or Get A Little Fancy…
A better solution may be to set up a birdbath with moving water that is pumped from one level to another. The sound and motion of water is a great attractant for birds and will draw them in from some distance to drink and bathe.

The ideal water area for birds is a recirculating, multi-tiered pool in which an electric pump moves the water to the uppermost level, which allows it to flow back to the lowest level, and then back again to the top. As long as there are many shallow areas, no more than a couple of inches deep, the birds will use all the levels of water as it flows from one to another. There have been times when as many as 13 American robins or 10 cedar waxwings have used such a bird bath at one time.

Water is not only essential to the survival of birds, but its presence in a backyard habitat will guarantee the attractions of a whole different spectrum of bird species.

Have you had success attracting birds with a bird bath or other water feature in your yard?  We always enjoy hearing your stories.

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