Bluebirds are waiting for their nests

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 13, 2009

By Beth Boger
Master Gardener Volunteer
The birds are starting to look for nesting sites. I cleaned out my houses in late fall and put a few pieces of cedar shavings in the bottom. Blue birds are using them for shelter this winter. We see them flying in and out.
If you haven’t already cleaned out your birdhouses, look before tossing. Be sure you aren’t removing a new nest. Who cleaned out the nest sites in the fields and woods before man took over?
I haven’t found birdhouses locally that are made to easily open to monitor the birds or clean the boxes out. We bought a nice cedar house. My husband removed the nails on one side, replaced them with screws or pins and put hinges and a clasp on the top. Now we can easily monitor it or clean it out.
Birdhouses should face either south or east for protection from the west and north winds. They also need holes for ventilation.
I have a video camera I can put in one bluebird house. When I put the camera in last year, there were four baby birds with blue feathers. I turned on the TV where we receive the pictures early every morning and checked on them many times during the day.
One day, they were really stretching their wings and fluttering up in the birdhouse. Then one climbed into the hole and looked out. Before long it flew to a nearby tree. Within an hour, each baby bird took its turn getting up to the hole and flying to the tree. The best show on TV was over for the year.
By mid-March, you should have at least one hummingbird feeder if you are planning on putting out feeders this year. Get out your feeders and clean them again.
We have fed the hummingbirds for several years. One year when I didn’t get mine out early enough, a hummingbird buzzed me to say “I’m back, feed me.” Make sugar water by mixing 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water, place in the microwave and heat it for 5 minutes, cool it and refrigerate any leftovers.
I believe birds should earn my food. All feeders are placed directly in front of and close to a window so we can enjoy watching them.
Beth Boger is a Master Gardener volunteer with Cooperative Extension in Rowan County.