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Sunday, March 29, 2015

There’s not a lot of difference, unless you’re a bird

Tree Swallows
The term “nest box”, is sometimes used as being synonymous with the term “birdhouse”. But they aren’t exactly the same.  The meanings can overlap, but birds use nest boxes only for seasonal nesting, mainly in the spring…hence “nest box”.  A “birdhouse” is usually more decorative than functional, and few birds actually make a permanent home in one.  They’re shelter from bad weather or eye-candy mostly. (A friend of mine built a miniature replica of the White House that sparked conversion and admiration, but attracted no birds) Build or buy whatever you like, and call it whatever you want. But whatever you call them, there’s a huge variety available from good birding supply stores that address birds’ needs (not the homeowner’s) and are sized for north Texas’ birds.



what's a lethal chemical to birds?       How much insecticide or herbicide will kill a bird?  Unfortunately, this sort of research is almost nonexistent. We do know that chocolate is potentially lethal to dogs and avocados will kill parrots, so there’s very likely some things out there that are poisonous to wild birds. The species and size matters. But lacking thorough research, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I simply ask myself if the birds would do this for themselves.  If the answer is “no”, or if there is a realistic uncertainty, I simply don’t do it. 

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.