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Nature & You: Procrastination is the enemy of nesting songbirds

It's time to place birdhouses outside for your backyard songbirds. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO] 

It's time to place birdhouses outside for your backyard songbirds. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO] 

Procrastination is the enemy of nesting songbirds

Backyard songbirds need our help.

For those bird species that nest in hollow trees, something as simple as a birdhouse can go a long way in helping to meet the critical need for places where birds can build their nests.

Get cracking!

These birdhouses need to be put up in the first part of the month of March. A delay in carrying out this task will be "too little, too late." Oh, sure, I realize the winter season has not completely released its icy grip on Oklahoma, but the birds are slaves to their internal biological clocks. It is important for us to accommodate the needs of the birds when the birds ... not the weather ... indicate the what and the when.

Another thing to consider is the directional orientation of the front of the birdhouse. If possible, point the nest box so the entrance hole faces east. That allows the first warming rays of the morning's sun to penetrate the egg chamber, which can be critical on a chilly morning.

Next, resist the temptation to just nail the nest box onto the side of a tree trunk. In contrast to that, a slippery metal pole is a far better place on which to mount the birdhouse. This protects the baby birds from hungry predators such as opossums, raccoons and snakes — which might, otherwise, be tempted to climb up to the nesting chamber.

Time's a wastin'!

Right now is when you need to do something positive to help the birds.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›