Song Birds

Did you KNOW??
Song Birds sit on an elevated perch while searching for insects. When one is spotted, they drop to the ground to capture it with their bill. This sit-and-wait technique is called drop-hunting.

Our Song Bird House is the result of a unique partnership between RCD and Willows High School Woodshop students / Future Farmers of America. Another project in RCD Connects with Kids! Local students have carefully constructed our Song Bird Houses. By purchasing and installing one of our Song Bird Houses, we may, together, promote bird populations for the benefit of our natural resources and your operation, or home, while providing an educational opportunity for students to learn how to handcraft a nesting box. Students learn how to read design specifications, build a product, perform Quality Control using a specialized form for this product, as well as earn some money while doing so!

Eggs before hatched

BIOLOGY OF BLUEBIRDS:
Bluebirds are one of the best loved and most useful birds. They are rapidly disappearing and need our help now before it is too late. Bluebirds normally nest in more open areas of oak woodland or lower elevation pine forests in California. Natural cavities acceptable for bluebird nests have become increasingly scarce and those that do exist are usually occupied by house sparrows or starlings. Bluebirds are unable to compete for these nesting sites.

Bluebirds lay 4 to 6 eggs which are plain light-bluish to white in color.

The bluebird diet consists of about 80 percent insects and other small invertebrates, and 20 percent plants. Common animal foods are beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, grasshoppers and spiders. Common fruits are blackberries, raspberries, elderberries, mistletoe berries, and fruit of palm. They may be attracted to stationary feeders that offer currants, raisins and other choice fruits. Toyon is a native plant they feed on.

CHOOSING A LOCATION FOR YOUR SONG BIRD BOX:
Selecting a suitable location for the song bird house is of utmost importance. Song birds rarely nest in cities, large towns, or close-in suburban areas. Thus success should only be expected where competition from English sparrows and European starlings is low.

Song bird houses should be erected in reasonably open areas. The best location is in an area with scattered trees and a considerable distance from buildings. Pastures, fields, open lawns, cemeteries, and golf courses are usually satisfactory locations. Ideally the tree, large shrub, or fence should be 25 to 100 feet in front of the house. The house should be facing south or southeast.

Do not place the song bird houses in or near any area where widespread use of insecticides or herbicides are used. Many substances will destroy the bird’s food supply and even kill the birds themselves.

When placing more than one nesting box, be sure to space the houses 100 yards apart and have a screen of shrubs or trees between the houses if possible.

INSTALLATION OF YOUR SONG BIRD BOX:
By using the small holes on the top and bottom extensions of the back board, the house may be nailed or screwed to the top or side of a wooden post, or it may be bolted or wired to the top or side of a metal post. A smooth metal post such as galvanized pipe is preferred to a wooden post since it offers better protection against predators such as cats, raccoons, and snakes. A ¾ inch galvanized pipe thread at one end can be neatly and firmly attached to the bottom of the house by means of a pipe flange which may be obtained at any hardware store.

A song bird house on a wooden post may be protected by means of a sheet metal collar or conical guard 18 or more inches wide attached just below the house. Where predators are not a problem, bluebird houses may be mounted conveniently on posts of existing fences or on the trunk of isolated trees.

Never mount a box in the Branches.

If fence posts around pastures are used, the houses should be on the side away from the animals or placed high enough so the animals will not use them as back scratchers.

Song bird houses should be mounted at a height of 5 to 7 feet (measured from the ground to the floor of the house). Nesting houses should be set out by February 15th.

PAINTING:
It is not necessary to paint your song bird house. If the house is painted, use white or light colors. Using dark colors may cause overheating and have disastrous effects on the eggs or young birds.

Do not paint the “inside” of the house.

MAINTENANCE:
Song bird nests should be removed from the houses as soon as the young have left. This will increase the chance for a second brood being raised in the same house. The house should be inspected, cleaned, and repaired in February each year. Make sure the drain holes in the floor are open. If sparrows take over the house, remove the nest as often as necessary.