Spring has sprung! Birds are getting ready to pair up, build nests, and raise their young. Learn how to assist backyard birds at this busy time.
An e-newsletter brought to you by the publishers of Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. Proudly sponored by Swarovski Optik.

Top 10 Ways to Help Nesting Birds

Spring is the start of the breeding season for most of our North American birds. They pair up with mates, build nests, lay eggs, raise young, and then some of them repeat the cycle—as many as three times! There are some things that you can do to assist your backyard birds at this busy time of year.

NEW FOR SPRING 2021: Discovery WA ED 8x32 Binoculars by Opticron

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Readers Ask: Should I Clean Out Last Year's Old Nest?
This is a topic of some debate among nest box researchers. Messy, dropping-covered old nests should definitely be removed for health reasons. Some researchers believe that a bit of nesting material inside a box enhances its attractiveness to prospecting pairs of birds. Others claim that nest building is an important part of the courtship and breeding process and so we should allow our tenants to build their own nests.

Wondering Why Your Nest Box Isn’t Being Used?
There are many reasons why a nest box might not be used. It could be in a poor location that makes birds feel unsafe, such as near a busy road, or too close to a busy doorway. The entry hole might be too small to permit your local cavity nesters to enter. Perhaps the box itself is not built to the proper specifications. Or there may be a nearby predator that keeps birds from feeling safe about using your box. Read on for tips to provide housing birds need and prefer!

Pop Quiz! How Much Do You Know About Bird Nests?
It is officially spring! While great-horned owls and other early breeders are already incubating, April is a time for nest-building for many year-round resident bird species. This seems like an appropriate time to test your knowledge of bird nests.


ATTENTION, BIRDWIRE SUBSCRIBERS: We want to hear from you! Each issue of our birdy newsletter includes a poll question for our audience. Visit our website to offer your input and see results from fellow readers!
Do you provide a nest box for birds in your yard?
• Yes, I have several nest boxes.
• Yes, I have one nest box.
• No, I'm not a landlord for birds.
RESULTS OF OUR LAST POLL: We asked when you typically put up your hummingbird feeders. There is a lot of variation! 33% report that they hang feeders sometime in April, while 30% prefer to keep feeders up year-round. 22% wait for the appearance of their first hummingbird, and 9% hang theirs by the first day of spring. 2% wait till the first day of summer, while the remaining 3% simply prefer to watch these dainty little birds and don't hang feeders at all. Thanks to all who participated!


Out There with the Birds Podcast Episode 89: Spotted Owl Conservation with Ryan Wickiser
Ryan Wickiser is a field biologist who has studied California spotted owls in Eldorado National Forest. This work enabled him to become intimately acquainted with this rarely seen species. He gets to know them so well, in fact, that he’s able to identify them by their unique hoot patterns! Kelly Ball, advertising sales director for Bird Watcher’s Digest and Redstart Birding, recently chatted with Ryan. They discussed how forestry and conservation practices have evolved over time; why barred owls are considered an invasive species in the Pacific Northwest; and the other species, such as northern goshawks and great gray owls, that he surveys as part of his work as a wildlife technician.
On Newsstands Now:
Watching Backyard Birds: April 2021
If you love backyard birds, then you should be reading Watching Backyard Birds. It's the ONLY North American magazine devoted exclusively to backyard birds and the people who watch and enjoy them. Created by the friendly staff at Bird Watcher's Digest, every issue of Watching Backyard Birds is full of engaging, entertaining, and enlightening content and images.
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Yellow Warbler
One of the most widely distributed warblers in North America, the yellow warbler is sweet-sweet-sweeter-than-sweet in its unmistakable red-streaked yellow plumage. If you know when to look, you might even see one in your own backyard!
The Cursed Tangle
Columnist Julie Zickefoose works hard to keep the impenetrable tangles of multiflora rose in check, but she is also learning to look at the invasive through the eyes of the birds—as a curse that is at least part blessing.
Backyard Mysteries
Our hairiest columnist answers questions about pigment deficiencies, salt in birds’ diets, and why birds disappear from our feeders.

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