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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bugs.

I never spray my garden for bugs. The birds eat all the bugs. I like wrens they eat 2 times their body weight in bugs every day. Wrens are nice they love to sing none stop all day long and they will land only 8 feet away and sing their lungs out.

After 6 years this is what is left of 25 bird houses. Wood cracks and falls apart it is easier to build new houses than to put 15 broken pieces of wood back together.

Plane un treated un painted wood works best but pine does not last long in the weather. Birds will not stay in pressure treated wood houses until it stays outside in rain and weather for about 3 years. I think birds don't like the smell they don't like newly painted bird houses either.

Wrens like houses that are 8 feet or higher from the ground but no higher than about 14 feet. Door must be facing East I don't think they like the hot even sun shining in the door.

Bird houses must be vented too. Vent holes in the floor and vents at the point of the roof. Houses need to be in the shade birds don't like hot houses in the sun.

The wide door serves several purposes. It makes it easy for the mother and father bird to get sticks and twigs through the door to build a nest. The baby birds like the wide door they can all stick their head outside no fighting over who gets food. Mother and father bird do not have to go inside each time to feed the babies.

Birds build a new nest every year soon the house is full to the top, the roof comes off by removing 2 screws on each side and the house gets cleaned out. I put the houses up about 10 feet high with the door facing east and when weather gets right the birds move in. Wrens are interesting birds they will build a nest in 3 houses but only lay eggs in 1 house. Click the picture it gets larger.

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mauser
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

I've never made wren houses but I have made a ton of bluebird houses. I love my little dive bombers.
Zone 7a Virgina. Go Pats, Bruins, and Red Sox.

imafan26
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

I wish I had more birds that ate bugs instead of fruit and seeds.
The cattle egret is the only one that regularly eats insects, mice, and lizards.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

Good reminder Gary350. :D

One of my wren houses fell down this winter and will need to be repaired/re-hung. I may have to repair two of the other nest boxes. I have to check them all for wasp nests and ants before the birds come back. I usually clean out then dust cracks, crevices and corners liberally with diatomaceous earth.

I'm not sure if I have to evict spider nests since spiders are supposed to be wrens' favorite food... It seems more likely that they would eat the spider then use the nest sacs as part of the nest -- when I clean them out, I often see spider nest sacs incorporated into the stick nest as padding/lining. But maybe not. Maybe they won't move into a nest box with resident spiders, and prefer to catch and collect them elsewhere.

Interesting what you said about them preferring entrances facing East. I have one that is in a great spot for viewing from the house and birds (wrens and chickadees) will check it out -- even found a nice prelim nest lined with green moss in it one year, but they won't move in.... It's facing West. :?
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

That's really great, thanks for sharing that. What are the dimensions for the entrance holes on the bird houses?

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Gary350
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

Entrance hole is 3/4" tall and 2 1/2" wide. 3/4" is critical, too large big birds can get in and little birds won't live there.

Front and back of the house are 1x6 boards cut to 8" long with two 45 angle cuts of roof. Cut off point end enough to make an air vent hole large enough to drop a dime through the air vent.

Both sides are 1x4 boards cut 4 1/2" long. Screw in place with a 1/4" air vent gap under the edge of the roof.

The bottom is a 1x4 board cut 4" long with all 4 corners cut off for air vents large enough to drop a pencil through.

Roof is 2 pieces 1x6 boards, 1 cut 4 3/4" long, the other cut 5 1/2" long.

Taiji
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

Last year some kind of bird was puncturing some Roma tomatoes that I had. I think they were after the seed inside, because the flesh of the fruit was relatively undisturbed. Whenever I would walk by, they would fly away, but too fast for me to identify them. I'm thinking they were some type of finch though. But, at another location about 12 miles away where I know there are finches too, that has never happened. Tomatoes are undisturbed for the most part. :?:

At my newer location, there are a couple of large fields of native prairie grasses that I have to mow a couple of times per year. Whenever I did that last year, the western bluebirds would come by the dozens and be out there eating wildly. It finally hit me that they were feasting on grasshoppers that the mower had masticated. I mean, they were going crazy out there gorging themselves!

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Gary350
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

Taiji wrote:Last year some kind of bird was puncturing some Roma tomatoes that I had. I think they were after the seed inside, because the flesh of the fruit was relatively undisturbed. Whenever I would walk by, they would fly away, but too fast for me to identify them. I'm thinking they were some type of finch though. But, at another location about 12 miles away where I know there are finches too, that has never happened. Tomatoes are undisturbed for the most part. :?:

At my newer location, there are a couple of large fields of native prairie grasses that I have to mow a couple of times per year. Whenever I did that last year, the western bluebirds would come by the dozens and be out there eating wildly. It finally hit me that they were feasting on grasshoppers that the mower had masticated. I mean, they were going crazy out there gorging themselves!

Birds get thirsty so they get a drink by poking holes in the tomatoes. I put several 5 gallon buckets in my tomato row and fill them to the top with water. If I make it easy for birds to drink water they never poke holes in my tomatoes. 1 bucket of water at the end of each row and a few buckets in the middle works good. Birds are lazy just like people, water needs to be easier than tomatoes to keep the birds away from the tomatoes.

Taiji
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Re: Bird house repair time. I never spray my garden for bug

Now there's an idea! I never would have thought of that. Now that I think about it, all summer at the location where the birds don't do the tomatoes, I always have some water available. There wasn't any water available where the birds did get the tomatoes. I've never seen damage like that before. Great advice. Thx!

I wonder if that would help with fruit damage too? Probably too much to hope for.

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