Friday, January 7, 2005

Building as fast as we can

On January 2, we surveyed our small nest box trail, making notes of houses needing repair, soaping ceilings and cleaning out debris. We also spruced up & moved a box that had no takers last year. Two of the wood duck boxes, that we foolishly mounted on trees, have been taken over by honey bees. We have opted to build new houses (one is already completed & up) and mount them on 2" pipes with baffles.

We have also finished & erected 3 Chickadee/Prothonotary size wooden houses to replace the cardboard milk carton ones. Two bluebird types are marked & ready for the saw. But, we still need to get the long ladder & climb up to rescue the one remaining bee-free tree mounted wood duck house. Whew!!

I just went to Home Depot and the 1" (10ft.) metal conduit that we used to get for under $5.00 is now $10.99!!! I had to downsize to the $5.99 3/4" ones. I'm going somewhere else next time. There must be a steel shortage or something.

On the CBC for St. Tammany we observed 8 wood ducks, 3 eastern bluebirds and 4 different kinds of woodpeckers. Male bluebirds have been singing for 3 weeks and in December a pair investigated the box that was used last year.

One of our Taiwan cherry trees is beginning to bloom. But in LA where the weather is concerned we always expect the unexpected - 80 degrees one day, 30 the next. It may feel like spring, but winter isn't over yet. There is still some wild food available for the birds. The Yaupon and deciduous holly still have berries, as do the dreaded Chinese privet and ligustrum and our oak trees had a bumper crop of acorns (wood duck favorite) this year.

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