Now that I have a blog I have the perfect way of sharing everything about this year’s experiment with you. This year’s will be the biggest experiment I’ve ever done! I spent the day yesterday preparing 15 nest helper cages with all different kinds of nesting materials. In true obsessive-perfectionist style, I have photographed them all laid out in alphabetical order for your viewing pleasure:
Starting at the top left corner and going down each row these are the materials that will be tested this spring:
1) bull rush fluff
2) corn husk (dried and naturally purple – it comes from a piece of Indian corn)
3) cotton fabric trimmings
4) dog fur (white and squeaky clean from the dog grooming shop)
5) dog fur (dark grey and a bit smelly – a contribution from my friend’s dog brush)
6) dried grass
7) dried moss
8) dryer lint
12) shredded paper
14) string & sisal twine
I decided to try two cages of dog fur this year. I’m curious to see if the birds have a preference for light or dark coloured fur. The fact that it’s clean versus smelly might throw off my results though, since they might be choosing based on smell instead of by colour – we’ll see.
(gathers up nest helpers and disappears briefly…all enthusiastic and wearing a big mischievous grin)
Ta-daaa – done! Now since we live in a wind tunnel I have twisted the hanging loops around the branches instead of just hanging them in the traditional way. I’ve hung them the traditional way in the past and it just makes it too easy for the wind to blow them down and for the squirrels to steel them.
I also use the crab apple tree for a reason. This tree is near our bird feeders and as a result it is not usually used as a nesting tree (too much traffic). Now in the case of this experiment we want traffic – so this is a good thing. It’s also in good viewing distance of the kitchen windows so I won’t need to use binoculars to check out who’s shopping at the nest helpers. In previous years I have also hung nest helpers in some of our evergreen trees. This year I’m not going to do that because I’m hoping that we’ll get some nests in the evergreens that I’ll be able to photograph and share with you.
Oooo I’m all a-twitter! Before I even had a chance to put the ladder away there was a chickadee who came to inspect the dark dog fur and I think I saw something take off with one of the feathers, but it took off too fast for me to identify what kind of bird it was. I thought it was a bit too early for the birds to be thinking about nesting, but I guess I was wrong. Looks like there are some early birds out there (he he he)
This is so much fun :o)
Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)