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, February 12, 2011

Birdwatching: How to Prepare Your Yard for Spring

my nemesisImage by looseends via Flickr
Even though there is a foot of snow still on the ground I’m seeing some clues that spring is just around the corner. If you listen you might hear some birds practicing their mating calls. The starlings and some other birds are scouting out nesting sights and so are the squirrels. Red Squirrels can enlarge the holes on bird houses to turn them into squirrel houses.

Pregnant right now, female squirrels already have a nest but I’ve seen them gnawing away at my unprotected bird houses. Squirrels make several back-up nests in case they are threatened and need to move the family in a hurry. In my neighborhood a bluebird box looks like a very good second home to a red squirrel. If it’s the same where you live, Wild Birds Unlimited has round 1-1/2”, 1-1/8" and 1-1/4" metal portal protectors that you can add to bluebird, chickadee and wren houses to prevent squirrels from expanding the entrance hole.

I have two unprotected houses in the yard right now. One is a decorative house that the squirrel can use in an emergency but the other is going to have a portal protector added real soon.

List of things to do before spring:
Make Repairs on Birdhouses- Clean out all houses, make any repairs or replace old houses, add portal protectors where needed.
Clean All Feeders and Baths- Make sure everything is sparkly clean and ready for migrating birds. Use a 1 to 9 diluted solution of vinegar to water to disinfect feeders or use the enzyme cleaner Scoot available at Wild Birds Unlimited.
Keep Feeders Full of Fresh Seed- When wet weather approaches make sure you have Feeder Fresh on hand to add to your seed to prevent mold.
Add Window Alerts- Lots of new birds unfamiliar with the area are going to be passing through soon. Put up window alerts to prevent window strikes.
Keep Rehabilitators Numbers' Handy- Go to “What do I do with an injured bird?” for local information.
Clean bird feeding area- After snow melts, rake area under feeder or throw down fresh mulch
Start Collecting Nesting Material from the Cats- Clean pet hair or cotton yarn cut no longer than 3 inches can be stuffed into an old mesh onion sack or an unused suet cage and hung from trees and bushes for birds to use in nest building. Wild Birds Unlimited also sells natural cotton balls and Birdie Bells full of feathers, straw, and cotton.
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1 comment:

Crazy Eddie said...

Thank you very much for an interesting and informative article. The "What do I do with an injured bird" link was very handy. And thanks for reminding me that it's that time of year to (bird)house clean. I usually do the spring cleaning on the birdhouses before my own house. I guess that shows what a bird freak I am. Thanks again for the article.

The Cranes of Nebraska