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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Start looking for birdhouse locations NOW

"bottle" house for Wrens
As winter in north Texas winds down, people should be scouting locations for bird houses. In so doing, remember that the number one criterion is that you, the homeowner, should be able to see it from inside the house. However, it shouldn't be "on display" too much for every bird and possible predator to see.
Usually, the best location for a bird house is an area facing, but not in the middle of, an open field.  Keep in mind, however, that many birds do not use birdhouses at all. They include Cardinals, Orioles, House Finches and Barn Swallows (which make their own nests out of mud). Many wild birds usually build nests in thickets or surrounded by small trees, where they have some degree of privacy but also access to open space for hunting food. (Incidentally, some marketers call birdhouses "nestboxes", to make them sound special. They're not!)

Locating a birdhouse near an activity hub, like a birdbath or feeder, is a poor idea. Birds want some privacy when nesting. Locating it where there is some shelter from rain, like under an eave or a healthy tree branch, is good idea. Now, before leaves (and the birds) appear, is a good time to choose sites.

Cherry Blossom blooming time is sooner and sooner each year          Bloom times, and other data, for more than 600 species of plants have been recorded for many years by the National Herbarium at Washington’s Smithsonian Institution.  One discovery: the blossoms on Washington DC's famous cherry trees are opening 6 to 9 days earlier than they had in the seventies.

The National Park Service recently revised its estimate of the peak bloom time for the Japanese Cherry trees from March 24-28 to March 20-23. (During WWII they were called "oriental" trees, not "japanese") .

The Cherry Blossom Festival officially began in 1912 with a gift of 1800 trees from Japan. Now, with additional gifts, and graftings from the original trees, there are about 8650. The plantings actually began in back in 1905 with a small trial, to see if they would prosper in that environment;   they did. 

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