Nesting The season is dangerous for birds, and many predators consider eggs, young, and even breeding adult birds a tempting, tasty meal. Taking steps to protect birdhouses from hungry predators can help nesting birds keep their families safe.
Many different predators target birdhouses for an easy meal. The most common culprits are :
In addition to these common birdhouse predators, larger birds often threaten other breeding birds as well. Jays, grackles, crows, starlings, magpies and other large birds are partial feeders and like to use eggs and chicks as an easy food source if they can get into birdhouses or nests.
Protect birdhouses from predators
While it is not possible to make many changes to create safer nesting sites for birds that nest in trees and shrubs. Cavity nesting birds can be helped with a variety of tactics. Birds that nest in birdhouses are subject to the security of that house and by making houses more resistant to predators, parents and their chicks are better protected.
Techniques to make birdhouses more predator resistant include :
- Hole limiters : Many predators scratch or chew at the entrance holes of the birdhouse to enlarge the holes for easier access. A hole restrictor is a metal plate attached over the existing entrance hole. Prevent enlargement thereby allowing only birds of the appropriate size to enter. This also prevents larger birds from using the house either as predators or to usurp the nesting site. Hole limiters are also a good way to adjust birdhouses so they have the right ones. Entrance hole size only for the desired bird species.
- Subway Entrances : Another way to make it difficult for predators to reach a birdhouse is to use an elongated pipe or tunnel entrance. Many cavity-nesting bird species don’t mind a longer entrance, but predators lack the extra reach needed to stretch through the tubeand endanger birds inside. A simple piece of pipe 5 to 8 inches 2-3 inches long placed over the entrance hole can work, and birdhouse manufacturers also offer tube entrances designed like hollow branches for aesthetic appeal and camouflage.
- Roof Size : Large predators such as squirrels, cats and raccoons can perch on a birdhouse roof and reach inside to attack nesting birds or chicks. A longer roof that extends 5 to 6 inches in front of the house and 2-3 inches on bothThe side provides a built-in baffle to limit the range of predators and prevent access to the entrance. Longer, wider roofs also provide better shade and rain protection for the entrance hole to keep the house cooler, drier and more comfortable for breeding birds.
- Baffles : Predators can easily access birdhouses by climbing poles or approaching trees above the house. If you install metal baffles above and below the house, if needed, you can minimize predator intrusion. Metal baffles are more difficult for predators to climb and aThe birdhouse on a metal perch provides even more protection. If the tree or pole is too wide for a baffle, a large sheet of smooth metal wrapped around the trunk serves the same purpose of keeping predators from climbing.
- Remove perches : A perch on a birdhouse is more than decorative, it’s dangerous. Birds do not need a perch to move in and out of the house, but a predator will use the perch as a convenient handhold to stabilize themselves when raiding the houseNest. By removing perches or similar ornaments that predators might cling to, you make it more difficult for them to access birds or eggs in the house.
- Safe Assembly : Proper installation of a birdhouse not only makes the house more attractive to nesting birds, but also protects the house from predators. A properly assembled house is at least 10 to 12 feet off the ground and not near any buildings, trees or shrubs that predators can use to jump on the house. Similarly, avoid placing a house near an arbor, fence, or trellis that predators can use-climb closer to the house and avoid places with heavy brush that can hide predators.
- Predator Repellants : Various products can deter predators from approaching a birdhouse. Pepper sprays or other products with strong smells and tastes can be applied to birdhouse entrances to deter predators. For better protection, also use these products on perches, nearby plants or on the roof of the house wherever predators may come near the house. Songbirds do not have a strong sense of smell or taste and are not discouraged by products, but predators are. Be careful, however, not to spray materials into the house that could contaminate vulnerable young animals.
While there are many ways to make a birdhouse safer If the entire area is less inviting to predators, nesting birds can also be protected. Simple options include :
- Cut back on shrubbery to remove extra cover that can hide hunting predators.
- Choose landscaping with sharp edges, thorns, or strong smells to deter predators.
- Remove food for predators such as leftover birdseed or windfall fruit so they do not regularly feed nearby.
- Cover compost piles and make sure trash is disposed of properly so predators are not attracted to easy food sources.
- Steps to discourage wild cats and always keep pet cats indoors , away from nesting birds.
- Avoid handling the house so as not to leave an odor that can attract predators. so that small predators don’t claim the house for their own use every winter.
It can be disheartening to see a predator invade a birdhouse and tear apart a feathered family either figuratively or literally. However, by taking steps to protect birdhouses from predators, it is possible to minimize the risk birds face when they take it upResidence.