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Nature Notes

tolly-beck

Nature Notes

Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is a horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.

Nesting Season Begins

April is a busy month for nature with leaves emerging and flower buds unfolding. It is also a busy month for cavity nesting birds that are ready to begin their nesting season. Woodpeckers earnestly set to work excavating new cavities in dead trees or branches. An enclosed space offers cavity nesters protection from cold temperatures, wind, rain or snow and allows them to nest several weeks earlier than many birds with open nests.

Birds unable to excavate cavities of their own often take advantage of old woodpecker cavities. Birds like chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, tree swallows and Eastern bluebirds are happy to occupy old cavities in trees and will readily accept nest boxes.

Seeing birds with nesting material in their beaks will become a common site once a cavity nesting location has been chosen. Putting up a bird house or nest box is sure to be welcomed now by cavity nesters looking for a location to build their nests. Bird houses should have a predator guard around the entrance hole and should be placed in a protected area out of direct sunlight. Some cavity nesters like Eastern bluebirds will have 2-3 broods each season extending your enjoyment of watching them well into summer.