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Saturday, January 25, 2014

the all-important direction of the entrance hole on a birdhouse

Tree Swallow
You could put up a birdhouse at a good height, with the right design and in just the right place, but birds still may turn down your invitation to nest there. Maybe it’s the direction that the entrance hole faces. That's hugely important.
Avoid facing it into the prevailing winds, or the direction from which most spring storms come, or where hot sun shines in. In the north Texas area that means the hole should face generally easterly – anywhere between north-northeast and south-southeast... In Texas’ extreme heat, you don’t ever want the hot, west sun to shine inside a birdhouse.
What’s the “correct” height? It’s not precise at all; almost any height will do. A “bad” height, however is one that offers easy access to a predator, or leaves the nest on view much of the time. For most birds, anything above about 6-feet works.
Tree Swallow
            The Cornell Lab of Ornithology did research, proving that the most birds fledge from boxes that face east. In fact, a few readers have reported that Bluebirds have laid eggs in well-protected birdhouses already. I’m reminding you early, but it’s certainly never too late to put one up since many Texas birds produce several broods – all spring and summer long.

Birds gotta fly!       Clearly, without the ability to fly, almost all birds would quickly become extinct. Birds’ anatomy, however, is designed appropriately. The large flight muscles, anchored on the breastbone, make up from 30 to 40 percent of a bird’s body weight. This weight is necessary, but weight from fat isn’t. All excess fat does for a bird is weigh it down, making flying (escaping predators) difficult.



OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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