Gardening with and for Wildlife part 4-Place to Safely Reproduce

parent bird bringing bug to nest of babies 6-17-12 crop

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”                                                                   Joshua 24:15 ESV

The last requirement is a place to safely reproduce.

This can be provided by dual purpose cover trees and shrubs, along with bird houses, bat houses, duck boxes, etc…

Martin houses are set up on a high pole, preferably in the open. We have had Martin houses in two of the places we’ve lived and have never gotten martins. But we have had swallows nest in our Martin house! And one year we had bluebirds!  See, they didn’t read the manual!


Our Martin house with a bluebird!

Bluebird houses are popular. They should be placed facing an open area on a post about 3′-5′ off the ground. The opening should only be 1 1/2″ in diameter.

There are also just typical bird houses. We have had sparrows and even nuthatches nest in some of these. 

parent bird bringing bug to nest of babies 6-17-12 crop

We’ve had phoebes nesting on our outdoor light. 


Phoebe on nest built on top of light

Then they decided to try to build a nest on top of our outdoor thermometer/clock which is only 1″ thick!  It wasn’t working out so well!

Phoebe trying to build nest above clock 5-31-12 #1

Phoebe trying to build new nest on narrow clock

So we made a small platform from a wooden shelf and mounted it at the same height as the light had been. That seemed to work out well!  They like the cover of the house’s eaves. And phoebes eat bugs!

Phoebe on nest on platform we put up 6-18-13adj

Phoebe on nest she built on nesting platform

We’ve seen birds nest in hanging baskets and atop wreaths! If they feel comfortable and safe they will nest!

Robin nesting on barbed-wire wreath wrm Robin babies-hungry 6-7-10


This little guy built his nest in a tree we bought and hadn’t planted yet-so we waited for the babies to fly away before we planted the tree.


This is an oriole nest that we couldn’t see until the leaves fell in the fall!

To help keep them safe from predators try placing bird houses on metal poles.  Also remember to clean out bird houses at the end of the season.

Don’t forget about woodpeckers. If you live in an area with woods, leave some of those dead trees for the woodpeckers (amongst others) to nest in.

Woodpecker Haven 5-7-13 wrm

If you’re fortunate enough to have a large pond you might want to put up a wood duck box!

You can also help nesting birds by putting out nesting materials for the them, like: bits of yarn or cotton string. We brush our three golden retrievers and put their hair out by the edges of the woods for the birds to use. You can place these materials in a suet feeder or a wire or plastic basket.

Don’t forget to put up a bathhouse or two! Bats eat bugs, so we like them a lot!

Bat House

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