Wednesday, May 11, 2011

bird shacks n crittertats

Many moons ago we fed the birds around the homestead. While it is a fun thing to do; it is wasteful, costs bucket loads of money, teaches the birds dependency and attracts other critters. None of this can we afford nor do we want it. So, for the last few years we have largely ignored our fine feathered friends and let them fend for themselves. It isn't like there is a lack of food in the local area for them to feed off and we certainly do not suffer from a lack of birds. We do, however, still do our part for intruding upon their world and provide them with plenty of nesting opportunities which allow us to bird watch and enjoy them.

Since we cut our own wood from here on the property and we live in a very forested area,there is always dead fall from the winds and we have a steady supply of brush, small branches and limbs available for use. Although we do use much small stuff for cooking it often needs to dry out before we are able to use it. Because we are half hippie, rather than drag all the heavy stuff back here and building yet another snake attracting, poison growing, bee harboring pile near the shack we began making stash spots in various areas to let it dry out and lose weight making it easier to drag back and then use. What we have ended up with are many critter habitats all over the place. They have birds, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, snakes and probably even a rat or three living in them. We could do with out the bunnies as they do not understand they are being greedy little pigs and should stay outta mama's gardens. But there are bad rabbits everywhere so why should we be immune? I enjoy sitting down by them and watching the critter activity, although, I do wish they would pose a bit better for pictures.
Manthing has had quite a bit of time off in the last couple weeks. Needless to say he gets fidgety britches or maybe he is just softening in his middle age and one day last week decided to make a bluebird house. Without wanting to go to town for supplies and using only what we had on hand he decided on a design made from pvc.
It was pretty simple to make and he altered it a bit so we could use fence posts rather than rebar to support them. As per usual, he did not have the proper tools for making large round holes so he had to improvise so it aint the prettiest looking house. It does, however, fit in around here and within five days it was occupied by a happy couple so it cannot be too flawed for use. Since the first was such a success and he had enough of the needed pvc for another, he built a second one the other day. Hopefully it too will have a family move in soonly. We have not been close enough to see what kind of birds are in the first house as it really doesn't matter at this point. It's just nice to see them working and building. Eventually, we would like to more bird shacks around the place of various sorts. I would like to do some purple martins houses next.
There are several types of bluebird nest box plans on the NABS website. There are more free plans here and here of various types. Many are very simple, kid friendly projects using materials found around the house or purchased very cheaply.

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