by Steve White, contributing Writer
Your backyard birds have two things in mind this spring season. The first is establishing nesting territories. The second is choosing a mate. I will leave the mate choosing to the birds, let them have their fun.
The nesting territories, however, are an area where humans can lend a hand. A successful nesting season is critical for each wild bird species to achieve. The lifespan of an average songbird in your backyard is 4-6 years. The mortality rate for newborns is about 60%.
You can help your birds survive each egg-laying season by performing some simple steps. Keep pets in human control during the spring seasons. This can be accomplished using dog-runners, leashes or outdoor pens. Cats should remain indoors during this crucial time, as well.
Use the broken tree limbs and branches from the winter season to create an impenetrable shelter for ground-nesting birds, such as cardinals. A brush pile on one corner of your property that measures 6 feet in diameter and 5 feet high provides an excellent advantage in keeping predators away from protected wild bird nests.
Adult birds love to have their babies hatch into a soft, comfortable nest. The adults will continue to shelter hatchlings with their warm bodies well into the fledgling stage. They could also use a soft cushion to sit on. Nests made of branches and twigs can get a little uncomfortable over time. Just imagine how it would feel on your backside? You can help, however.
At the start of each winter season, we tell our audience of civic groups and school classrooms to save every strand of hair you can find. Human hair, dog hair, even horse hair. Go to you local barber or hairdresser and bring along a large bag. Ask if you can sweep the floors for all the hair you can find! You might be surprised at the response. They have probably heard it before. If not, inform them of your intentions and they might just start saving the clippings for future use.
After you have gathered and saved the hair, stuff all you can inside a suet basket or mesh-style bag. Onion bags work very well. Hang these new hair holders outside, preferably near the tree line in your backyard or patio and watch the action.
Not all birds eat birdseed. However, all birds build nests and you may be pleasantly surprised at a new wild bird species that you witness availing itself of this wonderful, soft bounty. This is an excellent project for children, home-schoolers, and scouts of all ages.
Next fall you can start the season off right by saving your family’s clippings after hair cuts. Don’t throw away your pet hair when they start shedding, save it for a rainy day next spring for the birds.
Enjoy your birds!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.