Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Start collecting natural nest material NOW
Spring is when most birds build nests and lay eggs.
Be ready! If given a choice, birds choose to build nests with naturally found materials.
They love tall, native grasses. Some good ones for here are Bluestem,
Indiangrass, Muhly and Gramma.
The materials that birds use for nest-building can
be almost anything that’s somewhat small, stringy and lightweight. Also, many
nests are cemented together with mud, so it’s good to have water and/or mud
nearby. (It doesn’t have to be very conspicuous, or even in your own yard –
birds will find it!)A bird might
make over a thousand trips with beaks-full of mud, twigs, grasses, leaves or
whatever, at the start of nesting season.
Drier lint looks great for nesting material, but don't use it. Due to the ingredients in almost all detergents and fabric softeners, it irritates newborn birds greatly.
One of the most used natural materials is cotton.
We use balls of natural
cotton strands and yarn tails; even bits of thread. What could be more
natural in former cotton country than cotton?!
Another natural material birds love is fur. In nature, tufts of it are found all over! When we
comb our dogs we’ll save the fur. Then we put it in something like an old wire
suet basket, hanging it from a branch. We’ll see all kinds of birds pull out
strands of fur to take to their nearby nests. Later, if we’re lucky enough spot
a nest, we’ll carefully inspect it and find several tiny eggs nestled in our
pets’ fur. Neat!
There’s actually no such thing as a
seagullThe general public often refers to
any and every white bird in a flock as a “seagull”, whether on the beach, near a landfill, in a parking lot or wherever. Actually, gulls are in the Laridae
family, and there are 102 different kinds of them. Not a single one is named a
“seagull”. The proximity of seas is actually irrelevant to most of them.
However, the word “seagull” will never disappear since it’s a culturally embedded