Normally, when you think about
land development, the idea of local wildlife being attracted to
all of the houses and lawns and the other trappings of suburban
life doesn't even cross the minds of most people. It is
generally believed that the construction drives away the animals
but there are a few species that actually do very well living
around man and his structures. The
House Finch is one of those animals. Over most of its range, its abundance is
closely correlated with the size of the local human population.
It seems for the last two summers, I have been providing a pair of
these little birds with a home on my front porch.
My porch light is one of the inexspensive plasic ones that, over time, had become brittle and a hole had developed in one of the side panels. That's where the pair of house finches entered and built a nest. At first it wasn't a problem. We just didn't use the front
porch light, which most of the outside lights are off in the summer because they attract thousands of insects that find their way into our house. Once or twice though, the light was
inadvertently switched on and the parent pair were making such a
commotion that it caused us to investigate. The poor little babies were being roasted. It was also believed that the heat from the light bulbs could ignite the nest material and start a house fire. How were we going to host our birds and keep the the house and babies safe? A simple solution was found.
I found a site called 50birds.com. It was filled with plans for birdhouses and other accessories. In it were the drawings for a nesting shelf like the one on the right. You should visit this site. They offer ready-made bird houses and feeder, kits, and many paper plans for the do-it-yourselfers. Some of the drawings are enough to get a project started with.
I was able to build this nesting shelf for the finches and hung it
over a window up near the porch ceiling. After I replace the
light with a new one of glass construction, they'll have a place
to build their annual nest.
If it works, I may build a few more
to hang around other parts of the house. Turn your property
into a habitat for some birds. Visit the site and see if
they have any items to attract you favorites.