New Mexico boasts more than 300 species of birds and far more than 100 nest in our watershed. Those nesting in the mid Rio Grande watershed have two different strategies for nesting.
Cavity nesters are birds that typically use hollow cavities inside living or dead tree trunks as nesting sites. Often these cavities were originally created by woodpeckers and later taken over by other species such as chickadees, nuthatches, flycatchers and wrens. Birdhouses simply take the place of these cavities. Partly because of the growth of the human population, cavity bird nesting sites have become scarce. As we spread out to build more houses and cut down trees, we eliminates natural nesting cavities and increases the need for human-made birdhouses. Bluebirds are the perfect example. The effects of urban sprawl in the last century has had a devastating effect on bluebird populations. As a result, bluebirds today are quite dependent upon human-made housing. In New Mexico, both the Mountain and Western Bluebirds will readily nest in a proper nesting box.
What kind of bird house does a cavity nester look for? Will she feel safe at this location? Can she look around and fly out straight? How high from the ground does she like her home and what size hole fits her need to keep predators out? All these questions can be answered after you decide first which species of bird you want to attract. Some times birdhouses will be found at an artisana show or farmer’s market. A wide number of species specific choices are available through Wild Birds Unlimited.
What about the other birds?Continue reading