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Ask Birdsquatch: Bird Nests and Fur?

Dear Birdsquatch:

My girlfriend and I have been saving our cats' fur from their brush so we can put it out for birds who are building nests. What's the best way to attract birds to our balcony so that they can find and use it? What's the best receptacle for the fur?

—David F.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Ask Birdsquatch: Wood Duck Boxes

Dear Birdsquatch: I want to put up some wood duck boxes in my large, wooded backyard. However the nearest body of water (a wooded pond in a county park) is more than a half-mile away from my property. Am I being foolish? Do I need to ask permission to put the boxes on the park property where the pond is?

—Dawn, Who is Desirous of Ducks
Lawton, Oklahoma

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Ask Birdsquatch: Furry Enlightenment

Hey Furball:

I want to give the birds some natural nesting material this spring. Can I put out the long gray hairs that were just cut from my head? I decided it was time to lose the mullet. I’m looking for enlightenment here. You’re so hairy I figured you’d know.

—Dandy Dan
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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Dear Birdsquatch: Is It OK to Check Bird Nests?
Dear Birdsquatch: I want to be a good landlord to my nesting birds. Is it OK to check on the progress of the nests or will I disturb the birds?
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Top Ten Nest Box Tips
So you want to be a landlord to the birds, eh? Well, it's not as easy as falling off a log. It's no accident that the most diligent landlords often have the highest rates for fledging healthy young birds. The good news is that diligence as a bird landlord need not be painful or overly difficult. Below are my Top Ten Nest Box Tips for backyard landlords.
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Dear Birdsquatch: Nest Box Dilemma!
Dear Birdsquatch: I have put up nearly a dozen bluebird boxes along my rural road over the past five years. I've seen bluebirds on them and even going in, but I have yet to see any baby bluebirds, despite watching the boxes on a regular basis. I haven't looked inside them because I don't want to scare them away. Am I doing something wrong?
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Birdsquatch: Bird Feeding and Housing
WBB's very own bigfoot, who knows what birds want more than any mere human, addresses housing and feeding: Is it OK to feed birds in the summer? And when is the right time to put out a birdhouse? Good timing on both answers, big guy!
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Ask Birdsquatch: Backyard Murder Mystery—Who Poked Holes in These Birds' Eggs?
A reader finds an empty chickadee nest and six eggs pierced through, lying on the ground. Could another bird be the culprit? Birdsquatch offers his insight on this backyard murder mystery.
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Help Birds in Spring: Supply Nest-building Necessities
Spring is the start of the breeding season for most of our North American birds. They pair up with mates, build nests, lay eggs, raise young, and then some of them repeat the cycle—as many as three times. There are things you can do to help!
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House Wren Nesting Material
Have you ever looked at house wren nesting material? After a pair of house wrens left his backyard nesting box, contributor Greg C. Greer had an opportunity to study the materials they used. What he found surprised him.
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Weird Nests
Not all birds make neat, cup-shaped nests, or carve out hollows in trees. Some use unusual materials and make truly odd creations.
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The Latest Comments

  • That doesn't address my concern about the bird houses. I'm on a tiny piece of property (40x100) so there's not much room to plant a heck of a lot or places birds could put nests once the bird houses are gone.
    by Linda DiPierro, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Plant some native plants in your yard that will attract pollinators and produce berries and nuts. There should be a local society that has a list of recommended plants, shrubs, and trees.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Same concerns here. See above post. For your situation I would consider planting a few native plants that will naturally produce berries and seeds that the birds in your area need to survive. Try planting some that will yield foods for all seasons.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • I've thought about this myself. One thing I considered doing is leaving behind some bird food and a gift card to my local wild bird store with a note asking the new homeowners to please continue feeding the birds. Don't know how well that work but it's worth a try.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • thanks for the article. I believe that I may have spotted my first hairy woodpecker this morning. we see the downy woodpecker often. it's small. the hairy woodpecker, when compared with the downy, is HUGE. also, the downy feeds at the feeder like most birds--standing upright. This bird, because of its size, hung from the feeder perch with most of it's body below the feeder--like the red belly woodpeckers that we see often. we live is strasburg va. is it possible that we saw a hairy woodpecker this morning?
    by PEretired, Sat, 23 May 2020
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