About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

No waste vs. In the shell bird seed

My husband says that sunflower is the cheapest seed and attracts the most birds. I would like hulled sunflower to reduce the mess. Is it possible that I can use the argument that it is actually more economical because we are paying for all those shells that birds just leave and I have to clean up? Does anyone know exactly the percentage of shells in a bag of Black Oil Sunflower seeds and what percent is the edible part?
Black Oil Sunflower seed is one of the most preferred seeds by our backyard birds. However on average, only 65% of that bag of sunflower seed is eaten and the rest is waste that is kicked to the ground. Fortunately sunflower seeds can come with or without the shell.

Birds prefer the seeds without the shell (Sunflower chips) because every minute at the feeder is a minute a predator can attack. I prefer sunflower chips because they don't leave much debris on the ground to clean up and usually don't sprout. Also the shells or sunflower hulls of the cultivated sunflower contain allelopathic compounds which stops the growth of grass and most plants in the garden.

If you ever saw me load in seed on Tuesdays and Fridays you would know that our Wild Birds Unlimited customers also prefer the No-Mess Blend. No-Mess Blend blend is 100% edible. It features a perfect blend of attractive, high-energy seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. Pound for pound, I believe our No-Mess Blend offers the best value because you do not pay for the messy shells, you get the widest variety of birds, and they eat everything happily.

Related Articles:
Sunflowers Up-close: The Strange Journey of an American Plant http://bit.ly/uFlz65
Which seeds are preferred by wild birds? http://bit.ly/zchLgB
How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://bit.ly/rTLSqJ
Seed Storage Cans and WBU Seed Scoops http://bit.ly/uBaSwO

What birds like peanuts? http://bit.ly/zispJK
What seeds do wild birds eat? http://bit.ly/wKyQNB
How can birds survive this cold weather? http://bit.ly/xbkaPP

Friday, May 18, 2018

Photo Share: We got our first oriole!

Eating PeanutButter suet.

Peanut butter is a nutritious food to offer birds and peanutbutter suet is very attractive. It is a high-energy, high-protein food especially valuable for bug eating birds that have just migrated in to Michigan.

This cold spring has been hard for the birds. They are looking for bugs but will make due with suet while their natural sources of food are scarce. After the rains and warmer weather rolls in to Michigan the activity at the feeder decreases as the bug population increases. But a lot of birds soon return with little bundles of joy.

The reason I feed suet in the summer is to watch as harried parent birds bring their babies up close and try to convince them to feed themselves.

Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Where are the hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are truly one of the most fascinating groups of birds on the planet and it’s not too late to put up a feeder! Hummingbirds don’t need feeders to survive, but they might appreciate a reliable source of food with this cold spring we’ve been experiencing. Also these incredible little birds are fascinating to watch and a hummingbird feeder can bring them up close.

When they aren’t at the feeder, hummingbirds find nectar from a variety of flowers as well as sap from trees. Throughout the day a hummer drinks more than half its body weight in nectar. But that pointy hummingbird bill isn’t only for lapping nectar; it’s also made for snatching bugs out of the air. They use the flexible tip of their bill to capture insects and insect eggs from the ground and on plants. They love spiders and spider eggs.

Early spring birds are still establishing territories. Make sure your nectar is fresh and clean your feeders once or twice a week for the best results. Visits may be less frequent until females begin to incubate their eggs in June. Then they will appreciate quick bites at the feeders between sittings. You can also put out a Wild Birds Unlimited's Natural Cotton Ball Nesting Material to line their nest.

Related Articles:
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://goo.gl/MK3AU
Fun Facts about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds http://goo.gl/jcjcr
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/L4yY3i
Why the color on a hummingbirds’ throat flashes http://bit.ly/JZ31qX
When did people start to feed hummingbirds?: http://bit.ly/o8Y8HR

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Big black bird

The Common Grackle is a large black bird with yellow eyes and iridescent purple and bronze head feathers. When naturalists first came to explore North America it was difficult to determine to which genus grackles belonged. In between the size of a crow and starling, the common name, grackle, came from gracula, which is Latin for the Jackdaw or small crow.

They are resourceful foragers. In Michigan, Common Grackles thrive on bugs, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, salamanders, mice, and other birds like sparrows around farms, fields and large lawns. They sometimes follow plows to catch bugs that are exposed, pick leeches off the legs of turtles, steal worms from American Robins, or saw open acorns with the hard keel on the inside of the upper beak.When they first arrive they are very hungry and eat a variety of seeds and suets from bird feeders.

Related Articles:
   - Bird of the Week: Common Grackles http://bit.ly/OzgUjw
   - How to keep grackles away: http://bit.ly/Q1q0GI
   - Why is the blackbird associated with evil and ill omens? http://bit.ly/OzhBtb
   - When black birds fly south http://bit.ly/Q1qDAk
   - Bird Basics: How are birds classified? http://bit.ly/Q1reSr

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bird with a black toupee

Gray Catbird photo from Wikimedia Commons
May is a busy time with local birds nesting and a number of species still migrating through mid-Michigan. We had a lot of customers talking about the catbirds showing up. One family calls them their toupee bird because of the black cap of feathers. Another person noted the rufous rump on the bird.

I noticed a Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) on my walk in to Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing. These birds get their name from the catty mew calls it produces. Their genus name Dumetella is based upon the Latin term dūmus (small thornbush-dweller) which refers to the species' habit of singing when hidden in undergrowth. Listen for the distinctive mew call of the Gray Catbird, or for its imitation of several species during a long, seemingly improvised series of notes at the top of a dense, tangled thickets.

In summer, Gray Catbirds eat mainly ants, beetles, grasshoppers, midges, caterpillars, and moths. They also eat native fruits from trees and shrubs such as dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry. You may see catbirds at the jelly and fruit feeders you put out for the orioles and also at the suet, nut and mealworm feeders.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bright red and black bird at suet feeder

If you have ever seen a brilliant flash of red, impossibly brighter than a cardinal, most likely you caught a glimpse of one of Michigan's neotropical migrants, the Scarlet Tanager. Over 250 species of tanagers can be found in South America. The scarlet tanager is the only one of these species to summer in Michigan.

As their name implies, the males are a bright scarlet red with black wings during the breeding season, while the females tend to be a more camouflaging olive-green. They prefer to live in mature forests with a high percentage of oaks foraging for caterpillars, moths and beetles.

Scarlet tanagers are considered very beneficial to humans because they consume many insect pests. Some people have even called them the "guardians of the oaks". During migration in the spring and fall keep your eye out for them as they stop in your yard for suet and drink breaks.

Related Article:
What is That Red Bird with a Black Head? http://bit.ly/L4tpl5
Black and White Bird with Red Head http://bit.ly/JFQDAq
Black and White Bird with Red Chest http://bit.ly/JXmkBC
Sexually dimorphic Northern Cardinals: Why male and female cardinals are a different color http://bit.ly/JFQXiw

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Fun Facts on Mother Birds

Bird moms come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some of the most fascinating behaviors from around the world of mother birds.
  • Most Talented Mom - It takes as many as 12 days for a female Oriole to weave her nest. One Baltimore Oriole was observed spending 40 hours interlacing her basket-like nest. It included over 10,000 stitches and thousands of knots, all done by mom’s talented beak.
  • Most Loyal Mom - A pair bond may form between a male and a female Carolina Wren at any time of the year. She will stay with him for life, always foraging and moving around within sight of her mate.
  • Quickest Mom - Black-capped Chickadees have one of the shortest incubation periods of all birds. Their eggs can hatch in as little as 11 days.
  • Trickiest Mom - By singing a "male" song, the female Black-headed Grosbeak can trick her mate into thinking a rival male is nearby, forcing him to stay close to the nest.
  • Supersized Mom - Sharp-shinned Hawk females average over 40% larger than their male counterparts. This size difference is the largest of all of North American birds of prey.
  • Mini-Mom - A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than the eggs she lays.
  • Most Overworked Mom - Mourning Dove moms may raise up to six broods per year, more than any other native North American bird. 
  • Most Laid-back Mom - Unlike most other bird moms, robins do not lay their eggs at sunrise. They lay their eggs several hours later during the mid-morning. Since earthworms are easier to find during early morning, they feed first and then return to the nest to lay their eggs.
  • Most Devoted to Mom - Young Tufted Titmice often remain with their parents throughout their first winter. They have been known stay with mom into the next nesting season and help her to raise the next brood.
  • One Chilly, Small Mom - The Rufous Hummingbird nests in Alaska
  • The Last Mom - American Goldfinch moms are one of the last songbirds to nest each year, waiting until mid-to-late summer when thistle seeds and down are readily available.
Stop by the store today and ask our Certified Bird Feeding Specialists which foods and feeders are best for bird moms this season.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Photo Share: Tree Swallows feeding babies

 Here are some photos of Tree Swallows that were nesting with us last year!
 
 Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Photo Share: Hawk enjoying lunch

Hi WBU, This hawk [Cooper's ?] was in our backyard yesterday enjoying a lunch morsel. It's mate was on another branch but obscured by branches. I was not far from this hawk when I took this shot and it did not seem to mind or care I was so close. Now to be honest, I did have to zoom in but in reality I was only around 20 feet away. If you wish, you may share on this on your Wild Birds Unlimited site. I am the photographer, David Miller.

Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Photo Share: Taking a hummingbird in hand

To all hummingbird lovers out there we have a "tame" hummingbird here. He just loves sitting in my husband's hand. All he has to do is hold out his hand and this little fellow jumps right on. Happy Humming!!
Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Photo Share: Yellow warbler with black stripes

This male Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor), has yellow underparts, distinctive black side streaks, yellow eyebrow stripe and yellow patch below the eye. Photo by Katherine Powell

Photo by Katherine Powell
Happened to have my Pentax on me, when this little beauty alights before me. I live in Alabama. My pond and bird feeders are attracting all sorts of birds, and I try to photograph each new bird I see.

Wow! Thank you for sharing your beautiful warbler.  In Michigan, the Prairie Warbler is extremely rare in the Upper Peninsula and rare in the Lower Peninsula so it is quite a treat! This yellow-breasted, black-striped jewel with the rising, buzzy song doesn't breed in the grassy prairies, like the name suggests. They breed in shrubby old fields and early regenerating forests. Prairie Warblers migrate up from Florida, Caribbean islands, and the Caribbean coast of Central America beginning in April and back south as early as the end of July. The sounds of birds at your pond and feeders must have called him down to enjoy a safe stopover spot.

Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

How can Wild Birds Unlimited have unlimited birds?

We are asked if we sell birds frequently because of our store name. The Wild Birds Unlimited title is supposed to indicate that we have everything to feed, water, and shelter wild birds that are outdoors, plus many other nature themed items to decorate your home and yard.

From bird feeders, bird houses, bird baths, bird books, bird food, and bird stands, to bat houses, chimes, and mugs you are sure to find something interesting.

You can even Go Green with a made in Michigan recycled birdhouses or a recycled plastic bird feeders. Many different styles of feeders are now available.

And if you just can't decide, there's always a WBU Gift card available in any denomination you choose.

Related Articles: 
- Who Invented Wind Chimes? http://goo.gl/1AFFz8
- Unique gifts for someone that has everything http://goo.gl/MBsT2V
- Gifts perfect for nature lovers: Bird feeders made in America http://goo.gl/PUhlRE
- Top 10 Gifts for Birdwatchers: http://bit.ly/uZojYY

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Owlets Begin To Leave The Nest Box

From Cornell Lab Bird Cams Project:

At nearly five weeks post-hatch, Hickory, Dickory, and Dock, the recently named owlets on the Barred Owl cam, have started venturing out of the nest and into the wild! These fluffballs have already spent plenty of time perched on the nest box's entrance (watch two owlets get harassed by an alarm-calling Blue-gray Gnatcatcher). It's from here that the owlets set off on their next stage of development—branching—where they leave the nest to perch on nearby branches and trees. Hickory, the oldest owlet, already branched on May 7 but returned to the nest box. The following evening, Hickory fledged after losing its balance on the nest box perch. Be there when Dickory and Dock leave the nest box for good: watch the outside view of the Barred Owl cam.

What's next for the young birds of prey? After they leave the box, they will eventually drop to the ground, climb and perch on trees, and explore the area surrounding the nest site. Over the next five weeks, the parents will continue to feed the young birds as they begin to make their first short flights. By fall, the owlets will have learned to hunt for themselves and will begin to disperse from their nesting area to establish territories of their own. Good luck, little ones!

How to help baby birds that fell out of the nest

Please forward to your friends and print the article below for future reference:
Spring is a busy time for a lot of animals as new families are created. If you encounter young animals that look distressed, take a few minutes to assess the situation. Wild animals rarely abandon their young.

If you find a baby bird that is too young to fly, put it back in the nest if possible. The mother will appreciate the help.

However, if you find a baby bird that is old enough to fly, but isn't, chances are it is learning. If you look, you will see the mother nearby. Leave these older birds alone and let them learn to fly undisturbed.

If you're still not sure what to do with a baby bird or a bird that is injured, CALL FOR ADVICE! The best course may be no interference.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting http://www.michigandnr.com/dlr/ or by calling your local DNR office. Below are a few local numbers to call for help:
  • East Lansing, MI ♦ 517.351.7304 ♦ Cheryl Connell-Marsh ♦ birds and small animals
  • Lansing, MI ♦ 517-646-9374 ♦ Tiffany Rich ♦ white tailed deer, squirrels, raccoons; Vet. Tech. on center.
  • DeWitt, MI ♦ 517.930-0087 ♦ Wildside Rehab and Education Center ♦ birds and small animals
  • Eaton Rapids, MI ♦ 517-663-6153 ♦ Wildside Rehab and Education Center ♦ birds and small animals
  • Holt, MI ♦ 517-694-9618 ♦ Carolyn Tropp cctropp@aol.com ♦ Waterfowl, small birds and mammals
  • Howell, MI ♦ 517-548-5530 ♦ Howell Conference and Nature Center ♦ All wild animals except bats, skunks, starlings, raccoons, pigeons, or house sparrows.
  • Bath, MI ♦ 517-819-0170 (day) 517-641-6314 (evening) ♦ Denise Slocum ♦ Small mammals 
And if you are outside of Michigan:
 http://www.baby_bird_out_of_its_nest_video.html

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Stop ants at hummingbird feeder

If you feed hummingbirds, you know that the nectar can attract a line of ants from your feeder to the ground. You can help the hummers eat in peace if you install an ant "moat" between the feeder and the hanging hook. An ant moat is a small cup-like device that acts just like a water moat to protect a castle. Fill it with with water, and it creates a barrier the ants can’t cross to get to the nectar.

We carry several styles of ant moats, however most people choose to go with our popular hummingbird feeders that have built-in ant moats.


My favorite hummingbird feeder is the HighView™ saucer style. These hummingbird feeders are easy to fill and more importantly easy to clean. The saucer style is leak proof and bee resistant and the built in ant-moat stops ants from reaching the nectar. The feeder has high perches that invite hummingbirds to rest comfortably as they drink from any of three feeding ports while also offering an unobstructed view of the birds.

The built-in ant moats blocks crawling insects and the patented Nectar-Guard tips (optional) on the feeding ports of our saucer feeders prevent bees, wasps, and other flying insects from contaminating nectar.
.
Related articles:
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/II4RQ4
Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder? http://bit.ly/H2U4P4
Hummingbird Information on Habitat and Habits http://bit.ly/H2Ua9s
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://bit.ly/H7xvp3
Fun Facts About Hummingbirds http://bit.ly/II5sBl
Photo Share: Strange visitor at the high-perch hummingbird feeder http://bit.ly/II7dy

Monday, May 7, 2018

Yellow and black bird on oriole feeder

Photo of first year male Orchard Oriole from Wikimedia Commons
I had a brand new bird at the feeder this week. Alongside the Baltimore Oriole, a small, skinny, yellow, and black bird showed up. It was a first year male Orchard Oriole!

The smallest of North America’s orioles, the Orchard Oriole is not as common at feeders as the Baltimore Oriole but this year's tough spring is bringing about an abundance of birds struggling to find food.

The Orchard Oriole males are mostly black on the head, back, wings and tail. But their breast, rump and wing epaulets are a rich chestnut red. Females are greenish yellow with two white wing bars and no black. And I saw a first year male which is a dusty yellow with a black throat.

Orchard orioles migrate in the spring from their wintering grounds (Central Mexico to Northern Colombia) March through April, and arrive in their breeding ranges late April through late May. They may stop at nectar, fruit, jelly, suet, and mealworm feeders as well as yards that have a shrubby yard to provide enough insects and spiders and fruits such as mulberries and chokecherries.

Unfortunately their population has been in decline in the central U.S.A, possibly due to loss of habitat and pesticides used in orchards.  

Related Articles: 
- Facts on the Baltimore Oriole http://bit.ly/GzSTbi
- Where do orioles winter? http://bit.ly/GAeWv5
- Close-up of Baltimore Oriole http://bit.ly/GAf6T7
- When can I expect my orioles to arrive? http://goo.gl/OHrCc

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Photo Share: Orioles and Grosbeaks!

Photo of male Baltimore Orioles by Holly VanVoorhis

Hi Sarah,
The summer birds have arrived I finally got my camera back out and ready. We had five male orioles show up on the first the and today I saw one female. They are using the hummingbird swing this year! They love it!

Photo of male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks by Holly VanVoorhis

The Grosbeaks, White Crowned Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows and One male Indigo Bunting also came. No hummer yet maybe tomorrow. Hope you and Dolly are enjoying the show!

Thank you very much for sharing with us! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Photo Share: White-crowned Sparrow

Photo by Holly VanVoorhis

I’m always excited to see the White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows in the spring. These two bird species only migrate through mid-Michigan in the spring and fall. You can look for them under the feeders from late April to late May and again sometime in September to November. They show up in mid-Michigan right after the last frost in the spring and right before the first snow in the fall. They breed all along the upper parts of Canada and winter along the southern United States.

White-crowned Sparrows tend to visit feeders early and late in the day. They enjoy millet and also will eat sunflower chips. They will avoid conflicts when eating by facing the same direction as other birds. If the weather is good they’ll stay just long enough to rest and refuel. While migrating north, their average travel distance is about 70 miles per day.

Related Articles:
Best field guide for Michigan birds http://bit.ly/vPOMx1
How do you become a birdwatcher? http://bit.ly/rquunU
Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://goo.gl/0qggF
How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d

Friday, May 4, 2018

White-crowns arrive to announce frost-free season

The White-crowns are here! They are the birds I can count on to announce that it is going to be frost free. Good tail winds seem to be pushing a lot of birds up lately. White-crowned Sparrows have bold black and white racing stripes on their head which make them a happy addition to the usual suspects in the yard. At 7 inches, these are some of the largest sparrows that come to our feeding areas.

Mid-Michigan isn’t a nesting territory for these birds. They only pass through our area from late April to late May on their way north to nest and again in September to November on their way south to winter. They breed all along the upper parts of Canada and winter along the southern United States.

They’re song is a sweet, clear whistling followed by a succession of jumbled whistles, and a buzz or trill near the end. When their feeding you'll usually hear their high thin seet or sharp pink call.

Look for them as under feeders and scratch in the dirt looking for leftover sunflower seeds and millet from No-mess blend bird seed. They also eat weed seeds, berries, buds and moss.

Related Articles:
White-throated Sparrow fun facts http://white-throated-sparrow-fun-facts.html
What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/ums5ME
White-crowned Sparrows Like New Songs http://bit.ly/uzPZmV

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dark blue bird at finch feeder

Male Indigo Bunting
Indigo Buntings are a dark gray or black bird about the size of a goldfinch. When the sun hits the male his feather structure refracts the sun to make him appear a brilliant indigo blue. In mid-Michigan, we often see them at the finch or sunflower bird feeders.

Buntings can travel thousands of miles in the spring from their southern wintering grounds to their breeding grounds at the top of Florida to the bottom of Canada and as far east as Maine and as far west as Nevada. They will stop in many yards on their journey looking to refuel. Migration takes place in April and May and then again in September and October.
Indigos like a variety of food, including small seeds, nuts, berries, insects, mosquitoes, flies, aphids, small spiders, buds, goldenrod, thistle, grasses, and herbs.

Female Indigo Bunting at nest
At my feeders they like the Nyger Thistle and the No-Mess blend which has the sunflower chips, peanuts, and millet without the hulls.
The only way to get them to stay the whole summer is if you live in an area where they like to breed. Indigo buntings nest in brushy and weedy habitats along the edges of farmland, woods, roads, and railways.
Raspberry thickets are a favored nesting location for many of our Indigo Buntings. The dense, thorny stems provide the nestlings with protection from many predators, and the berries are a convenient source of food.

Related Article:
Gardening for birds http://bit.ly/K5IG0T
Blue Jays aren't blue http://bit.ly/zlNPHx
How birds and bees see UV light http://bit.ly/wLilkP
Types of Bird feathers http://bit.ly/J8aZMh

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dandelions

Is it too early to complain about the hot weather? The sun was brutal yesterday on the walk home from the Wild Birds Unlimited store. The leaves on the trees haven't popped out and the sun was just beating on me. But the plants are sure responding to the warm up. It is amazing how much has grown since Sunday. Trees are budding and blooming, daffodils and dandelions are putting on a show, and the birds and bees are singing and buzzing.

I have this sunny patch of dandelions right outside the window. The dandelion’s peak flowering time is from late March to May, when many bees and other pollinators like butterflies emerge. Each flower consists of up to 100 florets, each one packed with nectar and pollen. This early, easily available source of food is a lifesaver for pollinators in spring.

The leaves also feed the bunnies, squirrels, and deer. Then the flowers go to seed and feed many species of birds while the fluff is used to make baby pillows for little chicks in the nest.

Related Articles:

Attract More Goldfinches to the garden: http://bit.ly/wNj67F
Flowers that attract hummingbirds: http://bit.ly/wkhlJn
A Closer look at Dandelions http://bit.ly/zkq0yL
The Chemical-Free Lawn is Bird Friendly http://chemical-free-lawn.html

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tiny brown bird in bird house

With all the big, bright new birds at the feeders you might overlook the arrival of a small brown bird. House Wrens are small, squat birds that lack bold or characteristic markings. They have long, curved bills and their heads, napes, and backs are almost uniformly brown with their throats and chests a uniform light grey.

But their bubbly song and habit for eating masses of bugs make it a very popular bird to many people. And House Wrens like people just as well. The “house” in their name was given to them for their preference for nesting near peoples’ houses. They are famous for taking advantage of unusual nesting places such as mailboxes, flowerpots, boots, house lights, and of course old woodpecker holes, natural crevices, small birdhouses and gourds.

The male House Wren begins to lay claim to a few nesting cavities in the spring by filling them with more than 400 small twigs. When the female arrives, she inspects all the nesting areas and twig structures the male has worked on so hard. She chooses which site she likes best and takes over, adding the nest cup and lining it with grass, inner bark, hair, and feathers. Wrens will usually lay 2 broods in the nesting season from May to July.

Because the male wren builds several starter nests for the female to choose from, the other nests may then be used by the male to raise a second brood with another female or remain in place to discourage other male wrens from nesting in the same territory. So keep an eye out. If the female didn’t choose your nest this time, it doesn’t mean it won’t be chosen later.

There is no exact distance wren houses need to be placed. In general, a suburban back yard or garden is large enough for one or two families of wrens. The size of the territory for the male wren is about a half acre area and two to three houses within that territory is acceptable. The best way to attract house wrens and chickadees to your houses is to place the boxes very close to a bush or small tree. Wrens look for the shade and protection at the edge of woodlots where thick bushes provide nesting materials and food. Five feet from the ground is the average height to hang the house.

Related Articles:
Nest of sticks in bluebird box http://bit.ly/vUB9v2
Question about House Wren Migration http://bit.ly/MMTgSh
Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses http://bit.ly/rBLsGQ
Close-up of 5 species of wrens http://bit.ly/L6scsW