Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Cleaning - Bird Houses

A pair of oak titmouses are checking out the bird houses for a spring nesting site. I've been trying for 5 years to get them to nest in our yard so this year I'm cleaning out the bird houses early. Last year a number of bird species nested unusually early in the yard because of changing climate patterns. (Climate Change in California).
The Bewick's wrens love this rope bird house, but they won't reuse it if I don't clean it out. They fill it to the brim with nesting material to make it cozy. Unfortunately, they won't come back unless all of the previous year's debris is removed.

Cleaning out the titmouse bird house I discovered a western bumble bee nest

If the changing climate alters when the birds begin looking for nest sites, I have to alter when I prepare the bird houses. 

Cavity nesting birds like the titmouses and wrens can have a difficult time finding appropriate nesting sites in cities. Providing suitable housing opportunities for them helps to maintain their populations. Many cavity nesters are insect predators, eating many of the bugs we consider to be pests. Offering them an appropriate bird house invites them to be your neighbors and gives you the opportunity to watch them raise their families.

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