nidos backyard It may still be winter, but some birds are already preparing for spring.
This week Bob Franz of the Southern California Bluebird Club, or in Spanish the Tile Club of Southern California, reported that three of their nests had already been occupied; a pair of tiles were sitting on it and also on a nearby branch.
“At this time of year the birds are looking for potential nests,” said Franz. “They go shopping, looking for houses.”
The male shows his mate several potential nesting sites, but the female is the one who makes the choice. Then he places a straw, a piece of grass or a twig in his chosen nest to set aside. ”
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Other club volunteers have also reported activity around nest sites, which extend through public areas of Orange County such as parks, parkland, and burial grounds.
“It’s a little early to see couples reunited,” said Franz. Generally, the western bluebird lays its nest from April to early August, although the weather can sometimes alter this time frame, he said.
Tiles nest in cavities, which means they build their nests within a closed area, like a tree hole. But since they find natural cavities, such as woodpecker holes, tiles adapt their nests to the conservation group. And they are not the only species of birds that appreciate a safe and functional home for their young.
“Reeds nest easily and are very likely to take a box,” said Valerie Sinex, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, in Spanish Yorba Linda’s Wild Birds Unlimited. It is common for house reeds and Bewick reeds to nest in Orange County.
Woodpeckers, flickers, owls and screech-type owls nest in other cavities that are often man-made, he said.
Sparrows also use a box as a nest, and in some cases they take one that is occupied by other birds. Not everyone likes sparrows, and many people try to prevent them from nesting in their homes, he said.
Not all birdhouses function as a nest. Cute and fantastic are qualifying only for humans, so most of the colorful birdhouses are nothing more than garden decorations.
For a house to be functional for birds it should not have perches outside, as they invite predators, Sinex said. It must also have ventilation and drainage holes; an extended, sloping roof, thick untreated, unpainted wood walls, rough or ribbed interior walls for birds to get in and out of, as well as easy access for cleaning and surveillance.
Avoid using metal for the ceiling or sides, as it can increase the temperature and kill the birds inside.
The entrance should be the right size for the birds you are trying to attract. Tiles require a 1 1/2-inch hole and reeds a 1 1/4-inch hole to avoid unwanted guests.
For more information on the location and characteristics of a nest, go to birds.