Spring is here! I have been busy filling up a couple dozen lawn waste bags to put on the curb for pickup the last few weeks. So, I’ve had the opportunity to spy on several pairs of birds who have picked our birdhouses to build nests in and raise a mess of babies.
This is a ceramic birdhouse that I bought when we visited Louisville Stoneware a couple years ago. I hung it up last year with no takers, but a cute Carolina Wren couple have moved in this Spring.
I built and installed two bluebird houses last year, again, with no takers. It’s a bit of wishful thinking that I might attract a bluebird since they really prefer a more rural setting. But a girl can hope! This year they won’t be empty, though! A Bewick’s Wren couple is building a nest in this one…
And a Black-Crested Titmouse couple is in the other one…
I have seen a few other birds enter some of the other houses/holes around the yard. But I’ll have to stake them out to see if anyone moves in.
I’m just thrilled to know where several nests are, and will anxiously watch for signs of babies hatching and fledging.
I have shared my excitement throughout this entire Spring for our nesting Bewick’s wrens. The same pair have nested in two different houses on the patio. Their first brood was four babies. A second brood fledged Thursday; three more! The birdhouse is about 5 feet from where I sit while drinking my coffee each morning outside. The little wren parents were used to me and would fly back and forth to feed the babies while I was sitting there. So sweet.
This is the second of the three that fledged.
Yesterday, our resident mom & dad Bewick’s wrens started building a second nest! In a different house than this season’s first brood. I’m pretty sure this is the same mom & dad, since I’ve been watching them tending to and feeding their babies at the same time that they are building the new nest. I’m just amazed at how hard this pair of birds have been working over the last 6 weeks or so. I was surprised to see this behavior, but found this website whose explanation of their nesting behavior helped me learn a bit more about this lovely bird.
I can’t wait to watch the next round of babies make their way into our backyard.
A few weeks back I posted about a Bewick’s wren couple building a nest in the birdhouse that I hung under the eaves of my house. Since then, I have been watching the birdhouse closely. For the last two weeks or so, I have seen the wrens flying back and forth, to and from the house, feeding babies. Those wren parents were delivering bugs every few minutes from sunrise to sunset! Amazing. I listened to the baby wrens chirp each time the parents brought food. I watched them feed the babies. I watched the parents take away the fecal sacs each time. I watched as the babies started looking out the hole of the birdhouse. It was like an episode of PBS Nature show right outside my window. 🙂
Today I sat 10 feet from the birdhouse outside and watched the baby wrens fledge! I saw four of them fly out, there may have been more. I hope they come back to nest next spring under the eaves, too. I thought I recorded a video of it, but apparently I don’t know how to use the video mode of my camera yet. Oh well, it was very cool to see it happen. I’m so excited that I was able to watch them, especially since we spent the entire weekend on the lake. And Monte and I had just returned to the house after running an errand. Five minutes later they were all out of the birdhouse.
From earlier this morning:
Seconds before the first one flew out:
One of the babies, right after his first flight:
The backyard is getting quite crowded with bird-thingies. The latest one is a bark butter feeder that I hung up a couple of weeks ago. Bark butter is a spreadable kind of bird food that you can mush onto the bark of a tree, or onto a hanging feeder. You can buy both bark butter and bark butter feeders. But, I decided to try my hand at making both myself. Long story short, the birdies like it! This is a Bewick’s wren snacking on it. I have also seen black crested titmice and woodpeckers try it out.
To make the feeder, I grabbed a couple of pieces of cedar scrap from the shop, drilled shallow holes in each side with a forstner bit. I staggered the holes on each side so they were not directly opposite each other, so that I wouldn’t accidentally drill all the way through the board. Then I glued and nailed a piece of wood on top as an awning. I didn’t measure, but I’d say that my board is about 16″ long and 6″ wide.
There are recipes on the web for bark butter that contain lard and corn meal and peanut butter and bird seed. I simply got some all-natural peanut butter and mixed it with my current bird seed mix (mine is a mix of peanuts and whole sunflower seeds and millet) until it was spreadable. Then I stirred in some cayenne pepper to dissuade the squirrels. I spread some into each of the holes on the feeder and hung it up. Within a week I saw some birds feeding off of it; which made me smile.
I’ve been observing my backyard especially carefully over the past several months. I love that I was able to observe several Bewick’s wrens among the frequent visitors. I recently hung a couple of new birdhouses up under the eaves, hoping to get some takers this year. We also have a number of older birdhouses that have been hanging out there for several years, including one that I made and hung in the backyard over six years ago. As I have been stalking my backyard birds more carefully, I’ve watched two pairs of Bewick’s wrens pick out houses in which they have built nests.
Rest assured, I will keep an eye on them and report back. 🙂 This is one of the residents of a new house that I hung a few weeks ago. I bought it at Joann’s – it had the desirable-to-bewicks dimensions. I drilled holes in the bottom for airflow, and I also cut off the perch. So cute!
This is the one of the new residents of the seasoned peek-a-boo bird house I made in December of 2011. Happy to see it in use.
I’ll be watching to see what develops.