Well, it’s that time of year again. The temperatures are beginning to rise, the snow is beginning to melt, and very soon the Snowdrops will be blooming in our backyard. It is also a great time to get ready for the return of our feathered friends. Soon, many of the birds that headed south last fall will return from their winter homes looking for places to raise their new families. Will we be ready?

Many of our native species of birds have suffered declines in numbers due to changes in the modern environments.  Loss of their natural habitats due to mans evergrowing need for resources and space, competition with introduced species like the House Sparrow (who is a lot more aggressive than he appears),  and changes to the available plant-life found in their normal territories are a few of the many factors affecting wild-fowl today.  Finding safe places to nest and feed is becoming more and more difficult with each passing year.

This time of year is great for hanging new bird houses and cleaning up the old ones. Take a few minutes to walk around your property and inspect the nesting boxes.

  • Open up last years nesting boxes and remove any old nests lingering there.
  • Give them the once over to make sure they will survive another breeding season. If they are split, coming apart, or falling off the post it may be time to replace them.
  • Aged looking bird houses are perfect, as most birds prefer a house which blends into it’s surroundings rather than the brightly coloured ‘artistic’ varieties.
  • If the birdhouse hasn’t had any tenants for a while, maybe it’s badly sited. Now would be a good time to move it to a better location.
  • Do you have room for more?
  • Are you attracting the birds you like?

Mounting a few new bird houses now would allow them to weather a bit before they are needed.  In our minds it’s like washing the ‘human’ off.  You’ll also be ensuring that the nesting boxes are in place just in case the birds return a little early.  If you have been keeping bird feeders over the winter, then you’ve managed to address the first two concerns for any returning bird – food and shelter.  Of course, aspects, such as new plantings and birdbaths will have to wait until it is much warmer, but every little bit you can do now is less you have to do later.

When the migratory birds return they immediately begin establishing their territory.  Finding a secure nest site, locating food, and ultimately attracting a mate keeps the birds very busy.  If we can make it a little easier, then perhaps they’ll have more successful broods. And that means more returning birds for next year.  Before long the air will be filled with magical birdsong from sunrise to sunset.