Spring 2023 Newsletter
April 19, 2023
Ohio Bluebird Society Conference
The annual Ohio Bluebird Society Conference was held on March 4, it was my first time attending the conference. The day was loaded with interesting presentations ranging from basic bluebird 101 to House Sparrow control for folks maintaining bluebird trails. Vendors and exhibits were set up.
One of the most important concepts in placing a bluebird box is the commitment to monitor for predators. The adult bluebirds, eggs, hatchlings and fledglings are extremely vulnerable to attack during the nesting season from all sorts of predators.
The bluebird has to contend with house sparrows, house wrens, house and feral cats, raccoons and snakes.
The House Sparrow will decimate a nest in their effort to claim the box for their own nesting. A trap can be installed inside the entrance of a bluebird box to catch the sparrow intruders, but here again, the box needs to be monitored frequently to prevent an unwanted trapping of the bluebird. Even if a trap isn’t installed, physically inspecting the box several times per week during the nesting season can alert you to sparrow pressure. The House Sparrow builds a very messy nest and this can be removed during inspection.
Baffles can be installed to prevent climbing intruders from gaining access to the box. Baffles can be constructed from PVC, metal and cone shaped barriers. The positioning of the box needs to be in a grassland or pasture away from wooded field edges, as high up as possible and ideally mounted securely on a smooth round pipe.
I will be glad to share design and build plans if you need a DIY project. Terra Depot also has a nice selection of baffles that are effective against the climbing predators.
Bluebirds are insectivores. They need to consume many bugs, spiders and caterpillars during the nesting season. Attracting the bluebirds and their babies to a special feeder for a treat of mealworms or bluebird suet nuggets can be delightful. Stop in the shop to see our selection of feeders and our crunchy delicious (only to the birds) mealworms!
I participated in the silent auction at the conference and was so pleased to win the bid for a collection of old bird books. Some real gems. Most endearing was to open a 1948 edition of Birds Over America, by Roger Tory Peterson, and find collected feathers, pressed leaves and old newspaper clippings in between the worn pages. I didn’t realize till later that the book had been signed by the author. I felt a real connection knowing someone had treasured this book given as a Christmas gift so many years ago.
One more important conference session was presented by OSU Extension Educator, Timothy McDermott, DVM. He gave a skin crawling update about TICKS. He warned us that he wanted us to know enough to take precautions but not to scare us so much that we wouldn’t want to step outside again. Ticks are disgusting, blood sucking, disease carrying insects that are now everywhere and year round in Ohio. Tim recommended checking very carefully after every outdoor walk or garden activity. I took this presentation very seriously.
Lymeez Tick Gaiters
Terra Depot now stocks permethrin treated LYMEEZ TICK GAITERS for all of us outdoor lovers. Wearing the gaiters can be the first line of defense by repelling the tick before it has a chance to bite. The tick is exposed to the permethrin and falls off as they attempt to climb. The product is USEPA approved and Lymeez is a US based company.
Terra Native Plant Nursery –
Opening Day Is April 20!
The green house is getting full with a wonderful selection of NATIVE PLANTS available starting April 20.
Spring woodland flowers, colorful perennials of all shapes and sizes, keystone shrubs and trees have all been selected so you can restore and supplement your yard to create a healthy ecosystem and robust habitat especially designed for song birds
Please register to come to my presentation at The Wilderness Center, April 15. I will be part of their speaker series and will be talking about these habitats and all the associated Bugs, Birds and Native Plants.
Expanded Spring Hours
Beginning Thursday, April 20, 2023 we will be expanding our hours to accommodate the spring season.
Thursday 10 am to 4 pm
Friday 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday 9 am to 4 pm
Sunday noon to 4pm
Other hours by appointment.
Bird Seed delivery every Wednesday afternoon to the Canton Massillon area. Just call the shop at 330-417-6257 to make arrangements. Delivery is free for orders over $100.