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Birds and Wildlife Archives - Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city is great – you can do it, too.

Category: Birds and Wildlife (page 1 of 6)

Resources to help you design your garden – Newly updated for 2024!

Well, here we are, late, late March! Are you ready to design the layout of your garden and get your seeds started?

For those who have space and haven’t planted a garden before, or for those who planning it anew this year, you always start with a rough plan: what to place where, and how much space and sun it will get. This will give you an idea how many seedlings you should start or have on hand of each kind of plant.

I don’t always start seeds every year, and when I do, I’m almost always late at it. We gardeners always get a little overzealous and end up tending tonnes of seedlings we have to sell or give away. But of course, you start by planting many seeds, because some never germinate, or else germinate and start, but then fail. If you have the space to add a few more good planters, extra seedlings can come in quite handy.

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New project: build a nest box for bluebirds and chickadees!

It’s been on my to-do list for a few weeks to build a couple of bird houses with the scrap wood I have leftover from other projects, and so finally I did the job just in time for spring migration.

In fact, by May, it’s almost too late — except that some species breed more than once. Those birds who arrived earlier already have young, but those just arriving are getting ready to make a nest. A ready-made niche is often accepted — AND that’s what I’m going to provide!

And so can you. Do it this weekend!

Using Old Wood To Build A Birdhouse” is a into a new kind of post called a Project or Portfolio post. I decided it this was a nice way to do it with a picture gallery, and I could centralize all the DIY projects that way.

My off-cuts, cut for the bird house

Leave a comment if you do get this project under way / done. I’d love to see the results!

Resource: NestWatch’s All About Birdhouses has everything you need to know about different birdhouses and nest boxes for different types of birds, and also how to set them up with a nest camera!

Cornell Lab of ornithology

DIY: easy Acopian Bird Savers for apartment dwellers and 2nd floor windows

Acopian Bird Savers are a relatively inconspicuous (visible, but not unsightly) way to prevent bird crashes, guaranteed. They’re a light curtain of strings that wave in the wind, in front of your windows – so birds don’t mistake them for trees or sky.

They have a Build-Your-Own tutorial on their website; if you need a more custom solution or just want the materials done right from the get-go, you can order it from them online.

It’s fairly easy apply decals and UV liquid (remember, only useful for some bird species, not all!) by leaning outside and doing it, but the real fix — Feather Friendly — requires access and time to apply it properly. Feather Friendly is probably the most effective solution out there, and it’s meant to last. It’s easy to apply when you live on the ground floor, but not so easy at higher floors. But higher floors still need effective protection.

That means many apartment dwellers and homeowners who don’t have access to an extension ladder might find it troublesome to prevent birds from crashing into windows. (And because they don’t notice the crashes, they doubt they occur.)

I wrote this to help people who either have casement windows or modern sash-hung windows where you can tip the window inward in order to clean it. You need to be able to access the top of the frame of the window on the outside. Also, this DIY fix is affordable, and as it’s not a permanent alteration to the dwelling, you don’t need your landlord’s permission to use them.

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I found a baby bird in distress. What do I do?

If you’ve been looking up at the tops of the trees, or watching neighbourhood feeders, you’ve noticed the flitting of birds newly arriving on their spring migration. If you’ve been walking around with open ears, you’ve heard the sweet musical call of the robins and almost-raucous regular trill of the red-winged blackbirds. Spring has arrived and it’s in full swing. And so we must hone our attention on our surroundings (not a hard task!)—while for some us, work begins.

The expansion of urban habitat and housing and mirrored buildings means only one thing to birds: imminent danger. There are three things we all need to take responsibility to do for birds (and this message is so old now that NOT doing something about it is delinquent).

The Top Three things to do are in an Audubon article (Fall of 2015):

  1. Put decals, tape, strings, or another form of “frit” on your windows – all windows reflecting trees within 5 storeys of the ground! – so that birds can see them and avoid crashing;
  2. Turn off building lights at night, and
  3. SPEAK UP about this to everyone who will listen, but building managers and city councils, especially!

I’ve written about bird crashes and the resources to prevent them before, and it’s also happened to me (this story has a good ending, and it’s instructive on what to do if you have a little window-crasher). One even happened to me last week, though I’m persuaded that the little bird was startled and survived:

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