Protecting Birdhouses From Predactors - Cats, Snakes, Raccoons
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Protect Birdhouses From Predators
The nesting season is dangerous for birds, and many predators find eggs, young birds, and even hatching adults a tasty and tempting meal. By taking steps to protect cages from hungry predators, you can help nesting birds raise their families safely.
Many different predators will target the birdhouses for an easy meal. The most common culprits include:
In addition to these common predators in aviaries, larger birds also threaten other nesting birds. Blue jays, tendrils, crows, starlings, magpies, and other large birds are partially hatched and use eggs and chicks as an easy food source if they can get into cages or nests.
Make Birdhouses Safe From Predators
While not many changes can be made to create safer nesting areas for birds that nest in trees and shrubs, cavity-nesting birds can be helped with a wide range of tactics. Cage-nesting birds are subject to the safety of this home, and by making homes more resistant to predators, parents and their young are better protected.
Techniques for making aviaries more resistant to predators include:
- Hole restrictors: Many predators scrape or bite into house entry holes to make them larger and easier to access. A port restrictor is a metal plate attached to the existing entry port to prevent this enlargement, thus allowing only birds of the appropriate size to enter. This also helps prevent larger birds from using the house as predators or invading the nesting site. Orifice limiters are also a great way to adjust aviaries to have the entry hole size that is only suitable for the desired bird species.
- Tube entrances: Another way to make it difficult for predators to enter an aviary is through an elongated tube or tunnel. Many species of cavity-nesting birds don't mind a longer entrance, but predators don't have the extra reach needed to reach through the tube and endanger the birds inside. A simple 2-3 inch (5-8 cm) long piece of tubing attached to the entry hole can work, and aviaries manufacturers also offer hollow junction tubing entries for an aesthetic and camouflage look.
- Roof size: Large predators like squirrels, cats, and raccoons can sit on the roof of an aviary and attack nesting birds. A longer roof that extends 5 to 6 inches in front of the house and 2 to 3 inches on each side provides a built-in deflector to limit the range of predators and prevent them from entering the driveway. Longer and wider roofs also provide better shade and rain protection for the driveway to keep the home cooler, drier, and more comfortable for nesting birds.
- Baffles: Birdhouses can be easily accessed by predators by climbing the posts or approaching the trees above the house. Installing metal baffles above and below the house, if necessary, will help minimize intrusions from predators. Metal deflectors are harder for predators to climb, and attaching an aviary to a metal pole will provide even more protection. If the tree or tree is too wide for a deflector, a large sheet of soft metal wrapped around the trunk will serve the same purpose of preventing predators from climbing.
- Removing perches: a perch in an aviary is more than decorative, it is dangerous. Birds do not need a perch to get in and out of the house, but a predator will use the perch as a comfortable palm rest to stabilize themselves when they invade the nest. By removing perches or similar ornaments that predators might cling to, you make it difficult for birds or eggs to get into the house.
- Safe mounting: Proper mounting of a cage not only makes the home more attractive to nesting birds, it also helps protect it from predators. A properly assembled house should be at least 10-12 feet above the ground and away from any buildings, trees, or shrubs that predators can use to jump onto the house. Also, avoid placing a house near an arbor, fence, or trellis that predators can use to get close to the house and avoid places with dense bushes that can hide predators.
- Predator repellants: Different products can deter predators from approaching an aviary. Pepper sprays or other products with strong smells and flavors can be applied around birdhouse entrances to deter predators. For better protection, also use these products on poles, near plants, or on the roof of the house, where predators can get close to the house. Songbirds do not have a strong sense of smell or taste and are not bothered by-products, but predators do. However, be careful not to spray any material inside the house that could contaminate vulnerable children.
While there are many ways to make an aviary safer, making the entire area less welcoming to predators can also help protect nesting birds. Easy options include:
- Trim bushes to remove extra cover that can hide hunting predators.
- Choose a landscape with sharp edges, thorns, or strong odors to deter predators.
- Remove predator food, such as bird food scraps or unexpected fruit, so they don't regularly eat nearby.
- Cover compost piles and make sure trash is disposed of properly so predators aren't drawn to easy food sources.
- Take steps to deter feral cats and always keep house cats indoors, away from bird nests.
- Avoid messing with the house to avoid leaving odors that can attract predators.
- Prepare cages for the winter so that small predators do not reclaim the house each winter for their own use.
It can be terrifying to watch a predator invade an aviary and destroy a family of feathers, both figuratively and literally. However, by taking steps to protect aviaries from predators, you can minimize the risks that birds face when they settle.
Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to Make a Predator Baffle with a Can
Source: Backyard Birds
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