Middle South

November, 2011
Regional Report

Leave Birdhouses Unpainted

Brightly painted birdhouses are cute, but birds would much prefer a home that is left au naturel so they blend into the landscape rather than attract notice. If you do choose to paint, take site conditions into consideration, as dark colors soak up heat when placed in the sun.

Make Birdhouses Perch-Free

Natural nesting sites don't offer perches; instead, nearby branches serve as landing pads for incoming birds. The same should be true of man-made houses, as perches provide a balancing spot for predators that can then reach inside the nesting box.

Add a Submersible Pump to Your Birdbath

It's easy to create water movement in a birdbath with a submersible pump. Choose the smallest pump you can find and adjust it to its lowest setting. Then arrange the pump and a group of river rocks for the desired effect. For example, the pump can be set upright in a deep basin for a gurgling bubble of water or turned sideways in a shallower dish to create a swirling action.

Avoid Pruning Climbers in Spring

This past spring several pairs of songbirds selected climbers in my garden for their nesting spot. There was a nest in a Carolina jessamine that ornaments the carport, and another in the confederate jasmine that climbs a support near the front door of the house. For future years, I've made a mental note to prune these vines in late winter, before the birds begin scouting for homes.

Cover Mirrors that Distract Birds

Some birds are very territorial and will fight their reflected image at a window or mirror. Last year, I spent a small fortune on plastic snakes before I realized the best way to keep a sparing robin (and its droppings) off my car was to tie plastic shopping bags over the side-door mirrors.

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