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March 27, 2017

Our prayers go out to all of our friends and neighbors in the wildfire ravaged regions,k and others effected by storms.

The first week of spring gave us a Topsy turvy week of weather.

Cold enough for snow, but only a few flakes with night time temperatures here around 16 degrees Fahrenheit (around -12 c.).

A couple nights with Thunderstorms, Friday managed 71 degrees, Saturday barely made it into the 40,s with rain most of the day.

Sunday was a bit warmer, but rainy

Such is spring in the north country.

The fur pups are in need of a haircut, while Miss Penny is .............

Well, all kitty.

Karen is spending more time running around and visiting her soon to be 93 year old mom (with dementia).

Peepers can be heard these past few days.

American Goldfinches are now changing back to their bright yellow, from their drab olive green winter colors.

Female robins are back, right on Que.

The male robins are now busy jockeying and fighting for territorial rights.

Females will chose a mate not just for his abilities, but for territory too.

He picks the territory, she picks the location and builds the nest.

Fire up the Orchestra.

Let the symphony begin.

The crescendo of bird songs start in the pre dawn hours and continue til dusk.

Male robins from the tree top.

Northern cardinals in song.

Black-capped chickadees, Tufted-titmice, Red-winged blackbirds, Song- sparrows, and White-breasted nuthatches join in.

Mourning doves cooing and busy as they are getting their groove on.

Various woodpeckers are thumping and chatting in the woods.

And of course, what I call the war cry coming from the Northern flickers.

In the next few weeks, other migratory birds will join the orchestra.

Missing are the Meadowlarks, Bob-white quail, and other birds that have declined in numbers.

No matter the weather conditions, it doesn't stop the music.

Is there any time of year better than spring?

Bird Houses/Nest Boxes.


Wild birds that will nest in bird houses (nest boxes) are called cavity-nesters.

First you must understand the types of wild birds you are trying to attract.

Are they in your area?

Do you offer or provide the ideal habitat that will attract them?

Will they use bird houses?

Habitat may be an open field, a shrub and tree filled yard, at woods edge or a wooded lot or maybe a dead tree (snag).

Are you an urban dweller or do you live in a rural or country setting?

There are 85 species of North American breeding birds that select or construct a cavity for their nest.

Around three dozen species will gladly use man made structures.

Adding Bird Houses/Nest Boxes to Your Yard.

Nest sites for cavity-nesters usually are in shorter supply than food and water.

Placing a bird house or two in your yard will not only go a long way to support the population of cavity-nesting birds, but it can be gratifying for us bird-watchers, too.

Just imagine the thrill of seeing a mated pair of birds enter the nest boxes you provided.

You watch as they gather articles to construct their nest. They seem to be in constant motion, taking the materials into the nest box.

This gives the new wood look a chance to age and most cavity-nesters are early birds when it comes to nesting.

Soon you notice that the activity has stopped. You may wonder, what has happened?

Now you only see one of the parents come out of the nest box at a time.

Then you realize, they must be caring for their eggs. Several days later you hear an unfamiliar sound coming from the bird house.

You hear faint sounds of chirping.

The eggs have hatched!

There are few backyard birding experiences as satisfying as watching the young birds fledge.

An often debated question is, "when do you put up bird houses"?

There is no wrong time to put up nest boxes, but fall to early winter seems to be the best time.

They begin house hunting as early as January or February.

Most Chickadees, Titmice, Woodpeckers and Bluebirds are sitting on eggs by March or April.

If you get a nest-box as a gift for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, or a birthday, go ahead and put it out.

Some birds of the same species are late nesters.

Other birds may be looking for a clean box for a second brood (it happens).

Some birds may be looking for a place to hunker down at night or during nasty weather.

Male house wrens arrive before females in spring migration, try to make up for lost time by constructing nests in several bird houses that only need the female's approval when she finally arrives.

Don't fret if you've missed the time of the first nesting.

Birds also prefer the natural look of wood and the aged wood look is in for birds.

Yes, they will build a nest in just about anything, and any color object.

Bright painted, fancy decorations, shiny licence plate roofs, and perches.

Birds may not care as long as it might make a good nest sight.

Predators take notice of this as well as bright objects attract unwanted eyes.

Perches will attract unwanted guests as well.

Notice the pictures in the letter.

Not one box has a perch.

Natural cavities don't have perches.

Nest boxes also work as roosting spots on cold winter nights, so get that box up now.

The ideal nest box should be constructed out of 3/4" natural wood.

Cedar and Redwood work best and will last a long time.

Zinc plated screws should be used instead of staple or nails.

Be sure your box has the proper sized hole and no perches.

A roof with sufficient slope and overhang offers some protection.

Drilling the entrance hole on an upward slant may also help keep the water out.

Face your nest boxes away from the prevailing winds.

For me I try to face my houses East to southeast.

Regardless of design, driving rain will get in through the entrance hole.

You can assure proper drainage by cutting away the corners of the box floor and by drilling 1/4 inch holes in the box floor.

Nest boxes will last longer if the floors are recessed about 1/4 inch.

Eggs will rot if they sit in water and babies can freeze or drown.

Maintenance For Your Nest Boxes.

Caring for your birdhouse/nest box will give it years of life.

This holds true for gourds as well as wooden houses.

Even pine or maple wood can last years if properly cared for.

After cleaning up for the season, you may want to put on a good coat of water base stain or toner (natural colors).

Tighten any lose screws, replace staples if this is your method.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"If you believe in the Gospel what you like, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself."

St. Augustine of Hippo

Read that again.

God's word is not pick and choose.

"He is the same yesterday, today and forever"

"The godly have a lasting foundation.

Proverbs 10:25

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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