Birdhouse Selection Has Already Begun In Our Yard And It’s Only February!
Recently I started getting our birdhouses ready for the Spring nesting season, and not a minute too soon! With the nice weather we’ve been having here in the Northeast, the birds have already started to scout out and select their homes.
In just the last couple days, I’ve witnessed multiple Sparrows eagerly exploring 5 of our 14 birdhouses. It’s fun to watch them explore different houses… They usually sit atop of them and ponder whether or not this might be the one. Next, they may enter the house and try out the fit. If the house is clean and big enough for their nesting requirements, it has been my experience, that once they have chosen their home-tweet-home, they proceed to sit on top of it and proudly sing their little hearts out. They don’t seem to venture far from their chosen house for too long, so as to not let another bird steal it from them.
We actually had a couple different scuffles over bird houses last year between the Sparrows and the Chickadees. Both laid claim to a birdhouse in the front of our side yard.The Chickadees won, or so we thought. The Sparrows who normally reside there were not having any part of the new intruders, so the fight began. The Sparrows took over for a short time, then it was back to the Chickadees. In the end, the Sparrows persisted and raised their young in the house.
We have a Wren who year after year, builds her nest in another birdhouse in the back of our side yard. Well, she came back later than usual and Chickadees had moved into her house (quite possibly the same Chickadees who were kicked out the by the Sparrows earlier). Anyway, Mother Wren was so angry that someone was living in her house, that she immediately went over to another birdhouse occupied by yet another pair of Sparrows, and proceeded to destroy their nest. She pulled the majority of it out onto the ground, including the eggs that they were so eagerly waiting to hatch. I have never witnessed such behavior among small birds; it was actually quite disturbing. The Chickadees ended up having babies, but sadly, when they were just 3 days old, a raccoon broke into the birdhouse, actually breaking open the top, pulled out the nest, and ate the young hatchlings. It was a very sad summer for our backyard birds, but this is a rare occurrence in our yard and most of what we see makes us smile and appreciate the birds.
Once birds nests in your birdhouses, chances are good that they will come back year after year. Stick with it and be patient, and soon you’ll be a seasoned backyard birder.