attracting birds to the yard with Nest Sites and Nesting Materials
Birds are irrevocably tied to the vegetation around them for both nest sites and nest materials.
For birds, as for humans, housing is all about location. Birds in the yard nest in a wide variety of places: on or near the ground, in low tangles or grasses, in low bushes, in medium-high shrubs, in trees large and small, in high canopy. They raise families in scrapes in the dirt, in flimsy nests, in tightly woven nests, in hanging nests (above), in nests plastered to walls or overhangs, in tree cavities, even in holes in dirt banks.
Most birds make use of grasses, tiny twigs, rootlets, mosses, and natural fibers. Some use mud to glue it all together. Some use their own saliva to fasten the nest in place.
Some birds, like owls, don't build nests at all but rely on "found" nests, built by some other bird or critter.
More than 80 species of birds nest only in cavities.
Birds in the yard may need you to provide nest boxes--
if there are no dead trees in which they can nest.
Among the common cavity nesters in the yard are Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Purple Martins.
For a complete list of birds that nest only in cavities, check out Birds in the Yard Month by Month: What's There and Why, and How to Attract Those That Aren't. Read the introduction to this all-inclusive 400-page book here.
Providing nest cavities means also providing safe cavities. Never mount a box without a predator guard (pictured at right), clean out the box after each fledging, and maintain it by preventing exotic species like House Sparrows and European Starlings from using them. During nesting season, that means you'll check the boxes about every three days.
To choose (or make your own) nest boxes for birds in the yard, learn about
Find all necessary details about nest box sizes, entrance hole sizes, proper mounting techniques, use of mandatory predator guards, and where to locate nest boxes in Birds in the Yard Month by Month: What's There and Why, and How to Attract Those That Aren't.
Click here to read the book's introduction and get information about where to find the book.