Q. You’re pulling my leg, right? Staging a wild bird house? What do you do? Apply a fresh coast of paint? Put a potted plant on the front door perch?
A. There is no perch. A perch at the bird house entry could invite competing birds and animals that may be dangerous predators to the Chickadees. I staged the house for viewing by placing pieces of bark peeled from my birch tree on the floor of the bird house to encourage a Chickadee pair to claim it as a nesting site.
Q. Oh! So, do the birds use the bark to build a nest?
A. No. They remove it.
Q. Then, what is appealing about it if they don’t want it?
A. It makes them think it’s an old woodpecker tree hole with chips of bark the woodpecker would have left behind from its excavation.
Q. So, Chickadees will live in used woodpecker tree holes but don’t want the old woodpecker excavation waste on their floor?
A. Exactly! Making my Chickadee nest box similar to the cavities they find in nature makes it more, well, “homey”, I guess you could say.
Q. Why don’t the Chickadees excavate their own tree holes instead of occupying the woodpeckers’?
A. They do if they can find a suitable place in soft, rotted wood. But they can’t peck fresh, hard wood like woodpeckers.
Q. Got it! So some handsome Chickadee named Ricky finds the nest box with what appears to be natural woodpecker excavation waste on the floor and chirps, “Hey, Lucy! Come over and take a look at this place! Do you think it has possibilities?”
A. Yep. That’s pretty much what happens. And Lucy will be the one to make the final decision about the nest site selection.
Q. So, do you think those wood chips will help rent out your Chickadee house this spring? A. A pair has already put down deposit money, so to speak. The box has been cleaned out! I know they appreciated my “staging” the house for their consideration. I’m excited and hoping they will be signing the final contract and moving in soon.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.