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Gary350
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Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I am making repairs on my bird houses. I had very good luck with bird houses when I lived in town but out here in the country I am not having good luck getting wrens in my houses. Today I learned there is a problem with my blue bird house so I changed it. Maybe there will be blue birds in it this spring.

I hear wrens in my yard all summer but no luck getting them to live in my houses, I always had wrens in them when I lived in town.

Red Birds live in dense bushes not bird houses. I need to plant a bush.

I need to attract different birds? Do finches & chickadees live in houses? Does anyone have proven bird house plans that attract these 2 birds or other birds?

What birds do you like to have in your garden?

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

wrens and bluebirds are easy. they are the easiest houses to build, and there's lots of commercial units available.
I would love to have some purple martins around, but they are picky about how high, how close to trees, how much open ground, ect ect.. and the east coast isn't in their prime range, that's more mid-west.
weather I want them or not, I have cardinals .... the best thing about then is they keep the blue jays away... they are meaner than a jay.
birds are fine to have around as they keep some insects down, but I would rather work on more flowers to attract more pollinators.

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I don't build birdhouses but have Song Sparrows in my distant garden every year. I just checked on the species and the online source said that they are ground nesters and do not often use birdhouses. Where "my" birds nest EVERY year is in a neighbor's raspberry/grape jungle. Cornell says that they often nest in rose bushes.

Song Sparrows are native birds yet live in our communities. Their population numbers have declined but they are not yet considered endangered. Cornell says that they have a varied diet.

The neighbor here at home has about a dozen birdhouses on her garage with, maybe, half of them filled with English Sparrows each year. The flock moves into another neighbor's small spruce trees to spend the winter. There were House Finches that would visit before those birdhouses showed up. The English Sparrows are very aggressive towards the finches and also run off the Chickadees. They don't push the Song Sparrows around so much but I don't see them around often here.

The Juncos apparently do not nest at this elevation but I don't see them often. We have California Quail here at home this winter. That's unusual and kind of fun but they are ALWAYS in the distant garden. I don't know if I would really want to encourage them as a garden companion, however. American Goldfinches can be in my garden and nesting nearby in substantial numbers but Cornell says that they live on seeds and will "only inadvertently" eat insects :). I am always happy to see Chickadees. I bet that they are the top bug killers but the Song Sparrows must be right there with them on that list.

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Not this one


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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

No pigeons or bluebirds. Pigeons are nothing more than winged rats, and living in the city sees a lot of them gathering anytime I put out food for the birds I want.

Bluebirds have been getting weird at my house this past summer with flying up on my porches and rooting in my potted plants scattering potting soil all over the porches and patio, almost on a daily basis. And it's only the bluebirds doing it even though I have several different varieties of birds that come around.

Sparrows, grackles, redwing blackbirds, cardinals, doves, hummingbirds and of course pigeons and bluebirds. When I had my Japanese Plum tree I would get a flock of parrots that would come by almost daily to eat their fill near the top of my tree where I just let the fruit be for them.

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Hillbilly Homer
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

We have wren houses all over house/barn/garden area.
About 30 years ago dad came in the house one spring and declared the old case tractor off limits!
:roll: ...A wren had made a nest in the cab... :roll:
:lol: ...That tractor was not disturbed until fall when the wrens moved out... :lol:

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applestar
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Haha, I tip toe around them when they nest at inconvenient locations. My neighbor didn’t use her front door for weeks while Robin was nesting in her front door wreath. LOL

I’m not handy so I only use purchased bird houses, though I do buy Audubon and other birding organization approved/certified ones.

In my garden, I found out Bluebirds won’t nest here, most likely because the close housing of the cookie cutter development is not open enough. I tried putting up a house on my picket fence facing the sweeping front yard, but unfortunately, that direction faces North to Northwest, which is not particularly favored by any bird. Everywhere else, there are too many trees and other structures.

Bluebird houses with the larger opening are often taken over by House Sparrows, even if a House Wren tries to claim it or even when they have started a family, house sparrows can bully them out. THEN Cowbirds come along and oust their chicks to substitute with THEIR own. I do not like them. So once I found out that Bluebirds do not seem to be interested, I screwed on entry port limiters to reduce the hole size to only allow Chickadees and House Wrens to enter. House Wrens are more likely than Chickadees, but at least one family of Chickadees use one of my bird house boxes every year. I have one old, unaltered bluebird house left that is inside a shrubbery next to a family room window. This one is occupied every year by Carolina Wrens. They are too big for the reduced hole size, but I’m guessing the shady shrubbery location is not to house sparrows’ liking.

I had a Downy Woodpecker trying out one of the other unaltered bluebird houses, but eventually House Sparrows won that box... and filled it with all kinds of trash from the neighborhood — candy wrappers, grocery bag pieces, newspaper sleeves, audio tape... sticking out of the hole. It looked so messy and I really didn’t want to see up in the tree any more... then one day the box got raided by something — all the mess had been pulled out and had been scattered on the ground. I took the opportunity to empty it completely. :roll: After it was emptied, I think a male House Wren tried to entice a female to it but it was rejected.

More often Robins but also Cardinals nest in trees, shrubbery, and vines on trellises in my garden, as well as Song Sparrows. I think Cardinals prefer the denser shrubbery and trees. My neighbor’s hedge trimmed Juniper shrubs always host Grackles (Grackles are not welcome at feeders but they do seem to Patrol my garden for snails and slugs, sometimes cutworm type pests while they are feeding protein to their chicks. They are messy at birdbaths as well — my neighbor throws out bread and the Grackles bring the bread to soak in my birdbaths....). Another neighbor had House Finches nesting in her hanging basket.... which got raided by Cowbirds and all of their chicks were thrown out onto the porch floor, leaving only the giant chick in the nest and the House Finch pair-“parents” desperately feeding it. Ugh. Mourning Doves make poor excuse for a nest on a convenient upward supporting crotch of branches or vines — they usually nest in the crown of my weeping cherry tree (this location is sometimes pre-emptied by Robin’s) or weeping blue spruce.

I have seen Titmouse inspecting (going in and out of) the bird houses, but maybe those are just males and females have rejected? I have not seen them actually using/nesting in them.

I would love to see Hummingbirds nesting in my garden, but so far they only visit.

Luckily, I have a small woods/copse behind my property where some wild birds that will not use birdhouses nest, and they visit my garden.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Oh I forgot — Juncos — I think they might be nesting in the undergrowths of the woods behind the property. I don’t often go all the way to the back fence in the winter, but when I do, I always hear rusting noises and see them flitting around on the grind. They migrate here in the fall as Robins move out, and fly back north as Robins come back in spring.

They seem to like to feed on grass, weed, and herb seeds that are left standing in the garden and are a constant presence during the winter.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Want wrens? Build your houses with 4x4x8 inch inside dimensions and use a 1 1/8 inch hole. Put the hole 6 inches above the floor. This sized hole will exclude the E. Sparrow. Have fun!
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

You have some nice birds. For myself, I prefer the birds stay away. I would rather invite beneficial insects in instead. Most of the birds that come to my yard prefer to eat my chilli peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, papaya, and seeds out of the pots. The cattle egret does eat insects but will also eat a few lizards as well. So far nothing eats slugs and snails in my yard.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I keep meaning to get some birdhouses up, but we've always got a lot of wrens, bluebirds, and phoebes around on duty already (the latter regularly build nests above the windows on the house).

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Ooh looked up phoebe — I think I’ve seen those around. Dark head and the white with bright yellow chiffon underbelly.

Those and warblers, kinglets, etc. are migrants that I’m not always sure of. When it’s super cold, we have red poles visiting. I see Pine Siskin, too. But none of these nest around here as far as I know. Gold finches live in the area year-round and frequently visit to eat but I don’t think they nest around here. Some are just too shy — like Nuthatches. But I’m still hoping the Titmouse will decide to try the nest boxes.


One bird you DON’T want to have nesting is Starling. They like to nest in the house side vents for the dryer and bathroom fan unless the flap/cover is properly operating. If they see a flap that doesn’t close properly or is partly damaged, they will push their way in and break it to gain access. I once lived in a rented house where the backdoorstep overhang roof’s rain gutter was re-arranged in a weird way and an open hole was left in the corner of the covered ceiling where the downspout used to come out. Starlings nested inside that hole every year.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

applestar wrote:Ooh looked up phoebe — I think I’ve seen those around. Dark head and the white with bright yellow chiffon underbelly.


One bird you DON’T want to have nesting is Starling. They like to nest in the house side vents for the dryer and bathroom fan unless the flap/cover is properly operating. If they see a flap that doesn’t close properly or is partly damaged, they will push their way in and break it to gain access. I once lived in a rented house where the backdoorstep overhang roof’s rain gutter was re-arranged in a weird way and an open hole was left in the corner of the covered ceiling where the downspout used to come out. Starlings nested inside that hole every year.
Yep, was wondering why my clothes smelled weird after coming out of the dryer. Got the flap fixed!

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I have built some chickadee houses by the Audubon organization information. Hole is 1 1/8" that is large enough for a sparrow but the 5x5x5 house is too small for a sparrow family. Other chickadee houses online say, 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" hole. I found a Tee Pee shape chickadee house video on YouTube that shows birds going in and out of the triangle shape house.

Years ago I learned it is best to build 5 of each size & shape house all with a different size hole then let the birds decide which house they like best. Another thing I learned long ago, if a bird house is not getting enough shade, does not have enough air ventilation holes, faces west in the hottest part of the day, is not mounted the correct height, birds will not stay in it. Another interesting thing, if I build 25 bird houses all sizes & shapes with different size holes & mounted about 8' high a variety of birds will pick the house they like best. Smaller houses for smaller birds need to be closer to the ground that must have to do with how far baby birds have to fall when they take their first jump.

In the past I have built Wrens houses because I love song birds that eat their body weight in bugs ever day. Wrens are late to arrive usually about May 20. They often build a nest in 3 different houses but lay eggs only in 1 house. Wrens chirp their lungs out singing all summer, they are so funny they will land 6 ft away look right at me and chirp over and over and over like they are trying to tell me something. LOL.

I love mockingbirds too they sing none stop all summer they have a dozen different songs they sing. They are often setting on the roof cutters or in a trees singing & loud enough to be heard anyway where in the yard. It is amazing such a small bird can sing none stop so loud all day and not get a sore throat. LOL.

I often don't notice that I have blue birds until June by then they have already been here several weeks and gone a few weeks later. They keep their distance it is rare to see one up close.

Last year I had Titmouse birds in a tiny house that I never really expected to have birds in such a small house. It was fun to watch them come and go then 1 day they were gone. I never saw the babies.

WHY does a woodpecker never get a brain concussion. They are cute birds that sound like tiny little jack hammers in the trees.

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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Spring I see a lot of birds that I never see any other time of the year, maybe they are passing through on the way south. Summer I see birds that I don't know what they are. I wonder if there is a way to find the names and photos of birds in my geographical area?

Bird Audubon society has bird house plans if I know the name of the bird. It says to put soft stuff inside the house to encourage birds to next there. I put several different things is a variety of houses let the birds decide what they like. I have a lot of saw dust and pine needles.

I built 26 birds houses from lumber I have laying around. Houses for, titmouse, chickadee, wrens, blue bird. Any other small birds that like these houses are welcome to move in. I still need 2 more bird houses. I found a variety of different plans for each bird so I built all the different sizes and shapes with different hole diameters and locations. Wish I knew the name of these other birds that I see then I could built a house for them unless some of the houses I already have will work.

I looked up bird names everyone suggested, those are some of the birds I see in our yard that I never knew there names. Warblers bird house is same as the wren house. There is 1 tiny bird that I see, could be a titmouse, it has a pointed red cap & same gray color & size as a titmouse, it made a nest last year and was gone in 2 months. All my houses are move in ready.

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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

There are a lot of birds at the bird feeder this morning. I see, chickadees, kinglets, titmouse, blue jay, robin in the yard, red head wood pecker in the tree, mocking bird. There is a bird I see very often it looks likes a big titmouse, big as a cardinal = red bird, it is blue/gray color on its back. Maybe there are 2 sizes of titmouse, small & large?

I hope the birds all find a bird house they like, it might be a hard choice with 27 houses to choose from. LOL. I don't try to build cute bird houses anymore birds don't care. The old gray color weathered lumber blends in with the trees. 1 more bird house to build.

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

We have corrugated metal covers on the patio and carport. Wrens and sparrows love to make there nest there. For 3 years in a row we had a pair of doves that nested in the corner of the carport cover. They were fascinating to watch. They are very sloppy nest builders. No substance to their construction. I learned that the female will lay 2 eggs - one today another tomorrow. The male will sit on the nest during the day and the female will nest at night. The eggs will hatch 12 days after laying. The parents will feed the chicks for 12 days. If they have not flown the coop the chicks will be denied food. The chicks are not totally abandoned. There are lots of potted plants an the patio. The chicks hang out there eating available insects. Mom and Pop visit and offer them nourishment from their craw - a milky substance that they produce.

Construction of bird houses are very breed specific. Baby Sis has Wood Duck houses and bat houses around her pond. I have always wanted Purple Martin houses - they eat their weight in mosquitoes. That was not possible as long as we had our oak tree. Purple Martin houses need very tall poles and a free sight/fly line to the bird house. Since we no longer have our lovely oak tree I have added Purple Martin Houses to G's "to do" list. :-()
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

5 more bird houses. This makes 33 total bird houses. There was an aphid problem in the garden last summer in August, only thing effected by aphids was tomatoes. I am not sure small birds will eat aphids they were on the under side of all tomato leaves. Now that I know what Praying Mantis eggs look like I will leave them in the garden to hatch. I wonder if there is a way to attract more Praying Mantis?

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Gary, that's an attractive bird house on your deck.

I will say something favorable about English Sparrows. They will go through plants and clean aphids off of them.

The sparrows aren't bothered here at home. I don't appreciate them crowding out the native birds but they are just living a bird's life, as their ancestors were. They will often be busy right near me, as I'm out in the yard. They are very happy eating aphids. There may be more than they can get to and English Sparrows are not 100% efficient. Still, they can take some of the pressure off plants suffering from an outbreak of aphids.

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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I built 2 more bird houses just for sparrows. Online says 6" x 6" x 6" with a 1.5" diameter hole. 1.5" hole seems big so 1 bird house has a 1.25" hole. A 6" square house is large enough for black birds. If black birds nest in them I will have to give them an eviction notice & and a restraining order. LOL

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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I found this information,

How to attract birds to your Garden & Yard.

3 things attract birds, food, water, shelter.

Water is #1. Birds like to drink and splash in, a puddle, pond, bath, fountain, water fall, dripping water. A wide array of bird baths, fountains and mini ponds will attract birds more than anything else.

Other things that attract birds, flowers, grass, vines, bushes, shrubs, trees, a variety of plants, tall weeds, fruit, seeds, berries, humming bird plants.

Birds nest in, shrubs, blackberry briers, small trees, large trees, tall bushes, short bushes, tall weeds, vines, thickets.

Doves and Robins are ground feeders. Doves eat fallen seeds from bird feeders.

A perfect golf course lawn with no plant variety will not attract birds.

Best bird food, oil type sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats, will attract a variety of birds. Black oil sunflower seeds are the most attractive to a wide variety of birds.

A variety of different feeders for each variety of birds will attract the widest variety of birds, hanging feeders, finch feeders, flat feeders, humming bird feeders, roof covered feeders, stationary feeders, single side feeders, multi side feeders, feeders that only allow certain size birds to enter.

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jal_ut
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Perhaps you should get a good bird book? "The Sibley Guide to Birds" is a good one.
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

jal_ut wrote:Perhaps you should get a good bird book? "The Sibley Guide to Birds" is a good one.
I have this book, Garden Bird Facts. It seems like an good book, there might be a better one. It has color photos of many many birds & eggs, plans to build bird houses, and information about birds.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Online, I see that you are using Audubon, Gary.

Here's another: https://www.allaboutbirds.org It's Cornell University and it's just super!

I have Roger Tory Peterson's Guide. A photograph is not always - just right. (If I'm trying to get a picture of a bird, they never are.) Peterson's illustrations are clear and helpful.

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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

The Sibley Guide To Birds

is a book you should have. Is there a local Audubon Society group there?
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

James the only Audubon Society I know of is in Hinderson KY on Hwy 41 just before you cross river bridge to Evansville IN, been there several times in the past 40 yrs that is 200 miles north/east. It has been 10 years since I was last there, it is a nice place.

I bought several NEW junk bird feeders that I need to return for a refund. One finch feeder seeds runs right out on its own. The other finch feeder a little bit of shaking from the wind knocks the seed out. The yellow feeder in the photo has the same problem seeds runs out and wind makes it worse, I might be able to modify the hole with the hot melt glue gun to make it work better. The other swinging feeder looses all its seed in the wind too.

I built 4 ugly bird feeders. As long as they are functional I don't care what they look like and birds probably don't care either. 2 are the same expect for a divider in the center of 1 to make it a 2 sided feeder. The other feeder is see through. There is 1 finch finch feeder at the moment, another one tomorrow. The prison bar feeder only allows small birds in.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

I can not figure out how to upload several photos to the same page?

This feeder has a divider in the center. A bird on each side can feed and not fight each other.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

This bird feeder is junk all the seeds run out. It was only $8 maybe I can modify the holes with the glue gun to keep seeds from running out. This plastic thing will probably self destruct in the sun in about 2 years.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

When the wind blows this feeder looses all its seeds. Wiggle wobble feeders are not good.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

This is the finch feeder. I will make another one tomorrow.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

This prison bar feeder only allows small birds in. This type feed was $25 at the store made out of wire. I made this with 2 pieces of scrap 1/4" plywood and limbs from a back yard tree. This will keep out the Blue Jays. This gives me an idea for another bird house.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

1 more feeder for small birds. Wife must be trying to make the birds fat look at all that seed she put in there. LOL
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Bird Buffet seems to be working sun has been up 20 minutes and there are too many birds to count maybe 15 to 18. There are 2 Wrens, I have never seen Wrens this time of the year. Doves are more aggressive than I realized they are keeping the Blue Jays away. Doves even scared off the 1 and only Black bird. The 2 black spotted wood peckers are cute but not close enough for me to get a good photo. I have a few pics of the red color sparrows. There are 4 of these cute birds I have been trying very hard to get pictures of but they are very quick. These cute birds land and grab 1 sunflower seed then go up into the tree to eat it. It take the bird about 60 seconds to hammer that sunflower seed open to eat the inside then they fly down grab 1 seed and fly off again. It is 27 degrees this morning bird water is frozen.
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Cute bird again, light color breast, orange/brown color under the wings, gray/blue color on tip, pointy feather head. I can not find this bird in my book or online either. Pic is blurred.
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

This is a better pic of the bird in the tree slightly above and to the left of center. You can see its colors better.
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Here is a pic of the red color sparrows. There always seems to be 2 birds together, 1 has red color the other one does not.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

The cute grey bird is almost certainly the Tufted Titmouse. The rusty body/side under the wings is distinctive:
Tufted Titmouse, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_titmouse/id

The red colored “sparrow” is the House Finch. They are somewhat larger than the other finches, which makes you tend to think “sparrow”. Male has the red coloring, females are drab brown all over. They will visit finch feeders with the Goldfinches, and are often seen feeding together even on plant seeds in the garden.

If it is redder — softer darker red, not so orange — all over the head, face and shoulders, I would think it is a Purple Finch.

— I don’t know if they actually flock together — usually, I see the goldfinches flying in a flock by themselves — maybe they are simply attracted to the same food and happened to visit at the time — and/or — they are just used to feeding at the same place at the same time from visiting the feeders together and are unconcerned about mingling while feeding.

In my area, other finch feeder birds that sometimes visit during really cold temp winters are Pine Siskin which look like smaller than normal female House Finch but has a yellow marking ...somewhere that I can’t remember..oh, wings! — and Common Redpoll which are also tiny and just have a sort of a red speck/stripe on their crown that makes me think “odd looking tiny male House/Purple Finch”.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

Birds appreciate a water source.

Lessee........ this was about Bird Houses. I make houses for wrens and Flickers. Sure as you put up a house for a Flicker you will have a pair of starlings in it. So what to do to get the starlings to leave it alone?
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Gary350
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

applestar wrote:The cute grey bird is almost certainly the Tufted Titmouse. The rusty body/side under the wings is distinctive:
Tufted Titmouse, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_titmouse/id
Applestar this link is a very good source of information. The plans are more detailed than other plans I found. Much better information about birds too. I built 2 more bird houses by the Titmouse Plans. Information says the house must be on a 10 ft pole which I have about 20 of in a pile out back. Now that the 2 new houses are up I realize they need to be relocated to a different place away from the house and near the trees. The link says, titmouse like being near tall trees and forest. There is no information about how many bugs titmouse birds eat or if they eat bugs.
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Re: Bird Houses, what birds do you want in your garden?

You can see both new titmouse houses in this photo. You can also see 14 bird houses and 8 bird feeders. These 2 new houses makes 37 bird houses.
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