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gixxerific
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Best birds for your yard???

I'm gonna build a bird house or two and birds are picky about their houses.
So if you were going to pick one or two birds to have in your garden (vegetable) what would you choose. This would have to take into consideration A: they will take care of garden pest for me B: not eat me out of house and garden. :lol:

I live in Mo so that would have to be taken into consideration as well.

Thanks

Dono

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applestar
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I'd say EASIEST birdhouse bird would be a House Wren. They are not particular at all, are fearless and will nest with almost no regard to human activity. If you live near wooded area, Chickadees are also good -- they're around and may move in. They're both bug eaters as adult as well as babies (all baby birds start off eating bugs). Chickadees will scold you whenever you're near ("Dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!" and some growly noises :lol: )

If the birdhouse entry is too big, English House Sparrows tend to take over. They're bossy and aggressive and are known to kill Bluebird babies to evict them out of their house. :evil: If the sparrows don't gang up on them, wrens will be just as happy in a bluebird box, but the larger entry hole means the sparrows can get in.

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Kisal
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Wrens also kill babies of other species of birds, and even destroy the other birds' nests. It's not an uncommon practice among birds.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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applestar
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Do they really?! I hadn't heard that. They're so tiny, but I guess baby birds are tiny-er and vulnerable. The parent birds can't/won't protect them? (I'll have to go look this up. I'm curious now. :shock: )

A while ago, my neighbor had House Finches start a nest in a hanging basket on their front porch (despite lots of people activity). Then they found a naked baby bird and a couple of broken eggs on the porch. When he got on a stepladder to check, there was a giant, baby bird taking up the entire nest. He told me about it, and after some research, I realized it was a COWBIRD baby. :roll: Since then I've seen a pair of cardinals anxiously feeding one of those too. :x

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rainbowgardener
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Here's a little article on best birds for keeping down garden pests, with ways to attract them:

https://californiabirdwatching.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/ten-birds-that-help-control-garden-pests/

Doesn't talk about the bird house issue, you will have to figure that part out.

Not mentioned are purple and house finches, which eat weed seets, beetles and caterpillers and will be attracted to seed feeders. Orioles eat a lot of insects and don't come to seed feeders, but can be attracted to sugar water feeders and oranges, as well as serviceberry and other berries. Downy and hairy woodpeckers eat insects and larvae of wood borers. They can be attracted by suet feeders and peanut butter logs. Mockingbirds eat lots of insects but also are attracted to serviceberry, mulberry and other berries.

Whether or not you have bird houses, if you put out / grow a lot of the foods these birds like (and have water, and brushy habitat for shelter) they will come!

GardenGeek
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Swallows, swifts, nighthawks, flycatchers, some warblers, and Cedar Waxwings all are able to snap up the flying bugs and pests as well.
You can choose any from these

I got this link for you:
https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/spring/InsectEaters.html

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Toil
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anything but house sparrows.

evil, evil little birds.
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gixxerific
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Thanks for all the advice and I will look at the article RG and Gardengeek.
I planned on doing more research, but I wanted the opinions from you all first.

I have a problem telling some birds from one another but I know a few.

I have seen quite a few Cardinals and Blue Jay's around a few Redheaded woodpeckers and a bunch of other birds that I'm not sure of. My poor Willow tree is sometimes overrun with a multitude of birds. Which is good they all love me.

I had some Yellow Finches take my tree last year as a place of rest but than started eating my Chard and they are seed eaters. Pretty bird, but they best stay off my garden. :lol: I was chasing a pigeon around last year in my front yard, slow and stupid they are, but big. :P

There are bats around here too I saw a bat house today that would be cool, they LOVE mosquitoes, and I HATE mosquitoes.

joshbuchan
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bats sound so cool! when its warmer i often get a bat flying rings around my chickens hutches at night, amazing little things to watch.
25 Chickens ^^
Zone 9

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Zapatay
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My mother found two bat houses in a garage sale years ago.
She cleaned them out and had one of my brothers raise a pole above our shed and nailed the house ontop of the pole - She said bats aren't too fond on living in a home nailed to a tree. (?)

The houses were not large, very narrow ... They pointed to the sun (keep the babies warm) ... 6 feet above the shed

Each year my mom has about 5-10 bats living in these two little homes.

It's amazing to watch them as we have bonfires and as the bugs fly towards the light, we'll see some swoop...

The most important thing to her is that they do their jobs at night while the birds are asleep - during the day they allow the birds to munch away.

I found some instructions - It's a little to technical for me ....... (again, I'm the one who thoroughly enjoyed making a milk carton bird feeder last week)

https://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife/Gardening-Tips/Build-a-Bat-House.aspx?CFID=25387997&CFTOKEN=decaf02e4dc1ea75-BF6106D2-5056-A868-A086F0B4CF74D0F1


Good Luck :)
YZ

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Zapatay
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Gixx, I didn’t realize you knew so much already – I retract my comment :wink:

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nedwina
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I recommend reading Doug Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home". Very informative about the bird/bug dynamic, and what you really need to do to attract more birds to your location. Which is plant native species for habitat & food (bug) sources.

If you want more birds, (and for them to stick around), you need more bugs.

ETA: if you want Wrens, create a brush pile on the edge of your property. Wrens feed their babies spiders almost exclusively. Piles of rotting firewood is a next best thing for that too....

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gixxerific
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Zapatay wrote:Gixx, I didn’t realize you knew so much already – I retract my comment :wink:
Now why would you want to do that. I only know so much. :D :wink: But if I don't know something I got you guy's and Google to back me. Trust me I research everything to death. Plus I have learned a bunch form here already. Keep it comin' for me and others as well.

Nedwina I have been thinking either bluebird or wren house. I downloaded a blue bird house plan last night. I can't really do a brush pile in my yard I have a dog. But maybe I could on the other side of my garden fence by my wood pile I normally throw the tiny log pieces and whatnot there in a pile. But The whole spider eating thing is great cause there are TONS of them around mainly big 'ol wolf spiders. Kinda funny I was just talking to my wife a second ago she was talking about getting an exterminator here before the spiders and ants came around. I told her I will try to handle that myself. There you go I'll call the Wrenerminator.

cynthia_h
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Toil wrote:anything but house sparrows.

evil, evil little birds.
Well, given that almost every other species of bird everyone is...warbling about on this thread visits the eastern United States but not the part of the western U.S. where I live, sparrows, a few random finches, fewer random hummingbirds, and crows (!) will just have to do, since they're what I have.

The whole premise of being able to *choose* :lol: the birds one would like to attract to one's garden must be an eastern "thing"; I'll take any birds that come along, sparrows or not. Any bugs they eat are fine with me.

Cynthia H.
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Toil
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if we could zap all the house sparrows overnight, you would have lots of birds. those jerks are very territorial and a disaster for native birds, especially bluebirds and other cavity nesters.

Last year one got caught under some bird netting. He must have seen murder in my eyes because he did some acrobatics to get out before I could grab my gloves and throttle him. I know it sounds harsh, but these things should be trapped by every homeowner for use as feeder birds by raptor rehabilitators.
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Zapatay
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Sparrows are dramatically effecting the bluebird and othe native bird survival.

Some ideas on how to keep sparrows away:
- Do not feed bread crumbs or other bakery products. These are favorites of sparrows and starlings.
- Feed primarily SUNFLOWER seeds and SAFFLOWER seeds. These are generally preferred by most songbirds while being less preferred by the house sparrow.
- Feed SUNFLOWER HEARTS and NIGER in tube feeders and cut the perches down to about 1/4 inch so that the house sparrow can't hang on to them.

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rainbowgardener
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Agreed that judicious choice of foods and feeders cuts down on the "bad" birds. I feed thistle feed in upside down tube feeders-- the have the perch over the hole instead of under it, so the bird has to hang upside down to feed from it. Only a few songbirds can do it, among which are NOT the house finch and house sparrow! Sometimes some birds that can't do it are very entertaining trying! :)

I'm trying to focus more and more on growing food for the birds. That way you get the native birds that are adapted to using those foods. But still if you want them to make it through the winter in a climate like this and hang around til spring, you have to also do feeders.

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gixxerific
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Never fear I am trying to get some ground planted food the little guys as well.

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