Saturday, 21 March 2020

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Another Spring is here along with yet another attempt to rent the bird house on the old Manitoba Maple tree. Many years ago, I built two oversized boxes in the hope that Eastern Screech owls would nest in them. No dice! Each winter the owls do use them for roosting and as a larder but they are not satisfied with the location for raising a family. Too public, perhaps? 

Anyway, White-Breasted Nuthatches always show a keen interest in one box in particular. Unfortunately, every year they are out-competed by squirrels and/or European Starlings. This Spring I decided to lend the nuthatches a hand by customizing the box just for them. I made a new front with a smaller box to fit inside the larger box. All of the books and websites I consulted said that the entrance hole should be 1 1/4 inches wide for White-Breasted Nuthatches. So I drilled to this measurement and attached a squirrel proof metal guard, which was also 1 1/4 inches wide.

Custom built for my White-Breasted Nuthatch friends.


Up the fourteen foot ladder and installation completed.


The metal guard means "Squirrels Need Not Apply".


The small opening means "Starlings Need Not Apply".


The faux-bark is a bit cheesy, but the interior is brand new! Do have a look!



Days went by and I only saw one nuthatch, after much struggle, enter the refurbished box. Shortly after, it struggled equally hard to exit. I took a video of another nuthatch trying and failing to enter. Obviously, my resident 'McNutties' are too large for that diameter.

The following video clearly shows that the recommended entrance size is just too small!






So, up the ladder again, and down with the box for alteration. I enlarged the hole a little and added a 1 1/2 inch center metal guard. I also removed the perch. Bingo! The McNutties love it! I expect they will be moving their furniture (bits of bark) in soon.

Enlarged the entrance to 1 3/8 inch diameter. The guard's center is 1 1/2 inch wide.



A prospective tenant checks the alteration.



Hm-m-m, it does seems roomier!



A flash of chestnut coloured nickers shows he's fitting in.


After a few minutes of inspecting the interior, he emerges.


"I love it! Of course, the missus will have the final say."





13 comments:

  1. Florence, this was as impressive as it was charming. As always, love all the photos, but is that your artwork at the top too? Anyway, your connection with nature amazes me.

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    1. Thanks so much, Doug. Yes, that is my line/drawing/watercolour scribble. Used to love to draw as a kid but am terribly out of practice. My drawing ink had almost dried up so had to struggle a bit with it. I do love those sweet little nuthatches and one especially friendly lad lets me know when the peanut tray is empty. I consider myself very lucky to live beside these furred and feathered neighbours.

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  2. On thank you so much for making a house just for them. Our little bird friends need our help!
    Nice job!!!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, PK. Tried to find your blog but couldn't find a link. Do you post?

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  3. A delightful story to brighten our day, they do appreciate a house with the right sized front door. Clever you to fit, and climb the ladder. Stay well up there. We, As all over 70... will be staying at home for some time, and friends will do necessary shopping.

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    1. As always, Jean, I really appreciate your faithful and generous comments. I'm lucky to be in pretty good nick for a seventy-something gal. Heard a doctor on the radio explaining that this horrid virus is especially lethal to folk living with polluted air or that have lungs compromised by tobacco smoke. I believe New Zealand has nice clean air so your lungs should have an advantage.

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  4. Don't be surprised if a couple of black capped chickadees show up and mess around for a while.Who knows what you'll end up with. The black caps , boreals and nuthatches take their time in choosing a nest.

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    1. There are about six black capped chickadees that make daily visits to my feeders, Red. So far, I've not seen them look at the newest bird box. I expect that when the Carolina Wrens return for the season, they'll be keen to stuff the box with spruce twigs. There are lots of old trees around and many woodpecker excavations. Nothing would surprise me and I'll watch with interest.

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  5. Your due diligence paid off! Much appreciated by the nut hatch! Excellent! We have the same problem here , your solution is impressive!

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    1. Just had a look at your blog for the first time, Laurie. Love it and I'll definitely revisit. Thanks for leaving a comment. We all seem to be pretty much in the same boat with this awful virus but with support, we'll see it through.

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  6. I just love the happy ending here and your determination to get it right. Gotta say you are the type of landlady I always wished I had. Big time kudos.

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    1. Kind landlady? Well, I'm a sucker for cute little birds. Not nearly so hospitable to starlings, house sparrows or squirrels. If the latter critters could, they'd sue me for discrimination! Hope you're coping well with this awful pandemic crisis, Patti.

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  7. Well done. I'm just getting caught up on things.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm always glad to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to comment.