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# Posted: 18 Apr 2019 17:00 - Edited by: KinAlberta

Fun and bizarre spring and summer project season is here!!!

You’re thoughts please on where this kernel of an idea could go.

Winter shelters for wild birds:

Option 1: small birdhouse like shelters with enough bulk to heat up in the day to retain some heat to protect birds through the night. (Or since wood is such a poor insulator maybe a bit of covered insulation that could be heated by the sun and would release it into the box through the night.)

Option 2: Super-sized solution (or waste of time)
Basically a bird coup (maybe phone booth sized) shelter. Something large with various points of entry, if heat buildup and protection.

So during this past winter a few days got pretty cold here and I started to wonder if I couldn’t build something to help birds better survive the cold. (Yes I know that they do well on their own but why not help them out a bit.)

Our quarter section and a bit is on the lake, faces into the prevailing cold winter winds, and has a small creek in a valley/gulley through it with banks cut into the land starting at about 15’ high and increasing to about 50-60’ high as the land rises away from the lake. There’s also a few 10 acre or so sized fields spotted about.

Unfortunately decades ago it was logged of its spruce forest cover and today it’s 90% poplar and other deciduous trees and shrubs. The spruce are slowly coming back but not in the groves style that would have provided decent protection.

Bottom line is that it’s great land in terms of food sources for various birds but it must be brutal for them at -30, -40 degrees with wicked windchill effects.

So I started thinking that a 4x8 sheet of plywood mounted to a couple 4x4 posts could be the start of a windbreak/shelter.

Basically a solar heated perch. Maybe something like a small solar wall heater but stuffed with rock wool insulation to hold heat that could rise towards rows of perches. Something like that or some shape that birds might seek shelter in but not something that only dupes birds into a trap (warm at the start and then becoming deadly cold).

Includes pictures:

Prepare your wild bird shelters for winter tenants

“Besides keeping those feeders filled, another way to support wild birds during the winter months is to provide a ready source of shelter to help them escape the harshest conditions.
Hang a roosting box

Fall is the ideal time to set out a roosting box to help birds stay warm. Unlike a nesting box or birdhouse, roosting boxes have entrance holes near the bottom instead of the top, so the birds’ body heat doesn’t escape when they are inside. These are also typically larger, with several perches inside, because birds will pack themselves into these boxes and huddle together to stay warm.

Birds like chickadees, titmice, bluebirds, nuthatches and woodpeckers will build their nests in a space hollowed out inside a tree..” ants

Roosting Boxes - YouTube

A Guide to Building and Placing Birdhouses, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

5 Tips For Creating Cozy Winter Birdhouses source=FacebookNWF

# Posted: 18 Apr 2019 17:31

One more article excerpt:

Roosting Boxes: Building a home for the winter – The Couchiching Conservancy

A much better idea is to either build or purchase a structure especially suited for winter use–a roosting box, which is designed to retain heat and avoid drafts. These roosting boxes can be as plain or fancy as you like, depending on your creative bent! It is best however if the box is much higher than a nest box–18-25″(46-64 cm) high boxes are ideal. Entrance holes are placed at the front bottom rather than at the top, so that warm body heat will rise to the inside top. Dowels are inserted in the walls in an offset pattern to accommodate roosting and to keep droppings from falling on any bird below. Any cracks in the exterior can be caulked or filled to keep the inside warm air from escaping. Although many birds do die during the cold winter months, the chances of survival are greatly increased if birds have better shelter.

Full plans can be found on the internet. I spent a couple of hours one morning last week making this roosting box, patterned after swallow houses I have been building for many years. The materials used were remnants of a recent fence building project.

Look through that lumber scrap pile you have out back. Make a plan, and then invite your children, grandkids or neighbour’s little ones for a bird roosting house building event some Saturday morning. It has all the makings of a great party!”

# Posted: 21 Apr 2019 09:03

I would think you would be better. Planting a few spruce or evergreen trees . The birds will use them year round for protection and nesting. old243

# Posted: 23 Apr 2019 21:58 - Edited by: KinAlberta

Have done that. We’ve probably planted several thousand trees and shrubs over the years.

Hundreds of pine seedlings one year. (200 rings a bell.) Transplanted others like American Elm in small numbers though planted a hundred or so little chokecherries. Moved small spruce seedlings about as well. Bought numerous container plants too lilac, mugo, cedar...)

And for several years ordered shelter belt trees which came in bundles of 10, 20, and up to 50 plants of each variety. Maple’s, oaks, spruce, willows, plains cottonwood, Russian olive, etc.

Then just last fall I planted about 40 Burr oaks I grew from acorns that a friend gave me.

# Posted: 8 Oct 2021 06:35

I want to provide lots of warmth for the occupants of my birdhouse every winter. I make sure to block any unnecessary air holes or cracks in the birdhouse. Ventilation holes necessary during the summer months are detrimental during winter. I want the birds to remain warm and dry as much as possible.

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