Thursday, 28 March 2019

Going Nutty

Last summer, I left one of my screech owl boxes unaltered. A pair of starlings moved in and raised a family. This year, a pair of white-breasted nuthatches have put an early claim on the box. Because they have kept me company over winter and because they are just so darned cute, I've given them my tenancy blessing. I think of them as the 'McNutty' couple.

Starlings have now returned from the south and want to re-nest in that box. I intervened. On went my home made starling excluder.

Sorry Mr. Starling, but I'm leasing to other tenants this year.

The female of the 'McNutty' pair is happy with the addition.

Starlings can no longer enter the box and the nuthatches are happy. Business as usual, right? Wrong!

Soon, a gray squirrel made her intentions known by chewing out a larger opening. Arh-h! Back to the drawing board!

A gray squirrel decided to enlarge the entrance and move in.

I shooed her away and installed a new excluder, this time covered in wire mesh. To prevent injury to the McNutty couple, I applied a thick coating of hot glue over the sharp points of the entrance cut-out.

The addition of wire mesh appears to be keeping out the squirrels.

I thought it looked neat and it felt smooth and comfortable to my fingers. But despite good intentions, the McNutty pair were not happy. They still entered the box but pecked compulsively at the rim of glue, trying to remove it.

Mr. McNutty tried in vain to remove the rim of glue.

Back to the drawing board! With a brushing of rubbing alcohol, the glue rim came off cleanly. In it's place I nailed down a small circle of wood.

A new wooden porch protects against sharp wires.

Within minutes, Mrs. McNutty inspects and approves the upgrade.


  1. Hmmm, I wonder why the birds are so fussy about additions to make their home safe? Guess the familiar is more attractive, but your way has solved all the problems. Maybe a new one just for the starlings?

    1. As always, thanks for leaving a note Jean. The starlings have many alternative sites here. Another owl box is empty on the other side of my house plus a large, decrepit barn is completely at their disposal. Now a seventy plus lady such as I, should perhaps not be scampering up and down a tall ladder simply to cater to birds.

  2. That is so much fun!
    I was thinking of you going up and down the ladder! I moved the wee box I had this year!
    This is brilliant. Well done.

  3. I loved this post! What a great nest box tale. I do hope the McNuttys are happy with this final fix and raise a happy little brood. I really like these birds. Thanks Florence!


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