Friday, February 21, 2014


Amid our total winter misery, one bright spark of light shone:  we have attracted a flock of bluebirds in Berwyn and it appears that they intend to hang around.  In the past we’ve tried to entice these beautiful creatures onto our property, erecting the regulation bird housing and chanting incantations, but haven’t had any success.  Now it seems that they’ve discovered us, our old tree trunks and high branches, and the fruit and yogurt Caroline has left for them.  Gorgeous and high-spirited, they’ve lifted our hearts and excited our minds.  

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880.  Why is it necessary for man to erect bird houses?  In natural wilderness areas, there are generally quantities of tree cavities in which birds may nest.  As man settles an area, he tends to prune dead branches, remove hollow trees, and even fill in cavities in tree trunks.  Thus he eliminates sites formerly utilized by cavity-nesting birds, and if he wishes to keep those species around he must offer them substitute birdhouses.

881.  When was the first birdhouse erected in North America?  No one can give a definite date.  The first white settlers on this continent found purple martins using hollowed gourds hung on tall poles by the Indians.

882.  What kind of birdhouse is usually the most successful?  The simpler the box the better.  The more it resembles an old hollow limb or a hole in a fence post, the more success it is apt to have, and the more appropriate it will look in the garden.  Brightly colored, fancy-looking houses with chimneys, steeples, frescoes, porches, balconies and other absurdities should be avoided.  Houses with several compartments are not advisable unless specifically designed to attract purple martins.

Buffalo Springfield: Bluebird (Link)

Text:  1001 Questions Answered About Birds by Allan D. Cruickshank and Helen G. Cruickshank (Toronto, General Publishing Company, 1958).

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