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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Avoid putting birdhouses near birdfeeders


Both are good – necessities to most birds – but a very common misstep is putting a birdhouse near a birdfeeder. Feeders should be in very visible locations. When a bird sees it and it’s safe, they fly to the feeder and often eat neaerbny. Consequently, there can be a lot of activity near a feeder.

On the other hand, a birdhouse (sometimes called a nestbox) should be in a somewhat secretive, almost hidden place. This is where incubation takes place, and baby birds are raised. Lots of activity and high visibility are big negatives. A few species (like Wrens and Swallows) don’t mind this, but most avoid nesting near a high-activity area.

The main thing that prospective bird parents look for is the availability of insects.  After all, almost all nestling birds eat insects – not seed. So a nearby birdfeeder is definitely not a bonus.

Tufted Titmouse

Titmice’s high-protein diet

One of north Texas’ most common birds is the Tufted Titmouse. Primarily these medium-sized, mostly gray birds eat seeds.  But about 40% of their diet is ants, beetles, wasps, insect eggs, spiders, bees and their favorite - caterpillars.  If you spray your whole yard with bug poison forget about having Titmice or many other species of birds. 

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 a 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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