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WindStar Wildlife Institute
Homes For
Backyard Birds
Most of us enjoy watching wild birds on our
property, as they brighten springtime with their
melodies and bring a festival of movement and
color to winter yards.
We can see even more wildlife if we add nesting
boxes and landscape our property for wildlife.
N
ests are not where birds live,
but only where they raise
their young. Experts believe that
nests supply an answer to a
need. As birds evolved from being
cold-blooded to warm-blooded,
they could no longer bury their
eggs and leave them to hatch as
reptiles do.
Instead, they had to supply
warmth through incubation, using
the parent's own body heat to
develop the embryos. Nesting
helps to protect both the
parents and the eggs during this
time. By letting embryos develop
faster, it reduced the time that
they were vulnerable to predators.
In addition, nesting allowed birds
to extend their range to more
varied climates.
Without meaning to, today's
gardeners often make it difficult
for birds to nest. Grooming yards
to make them attractive for
humans removes the twigs, weedy
materials, and dead trees that
birds need for construction.
When we trim shrubs and pull
down vines we are destroying
prime nesting sites. We need to
learn to compromise with nature.
Leave areas of the yard more
"casual."
Dead Trees
Make Good Homes
If dead trees threaten a
structure, move them to a safer
place and stand them securely
for the use of woodpeckers and
other cavity nesters. Allow some
weedy areas to grow tall for birds
that need cover on the ground.
It is important to offer a
variety of plantings. Some birds
will build nests at ground level, so
they need sheltered areas away
from foot traffic and the normal
paths of predators (including
household pets).

Homes for Birds:

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