Weaving habitat and home is for the birds


Building your own barn swallow shelf is good for the birds and bad for mosquitoes.

Weaving habitat and home…for the birds!

Photo credit: celebrateurbanbirds.org

Think of the birds. They’ve suffered from loss of habitat and diminished food sources, yet they have much to offer us. Perhaps you’ve noticed their spring songs as you take calls on the patio. Or you’ve caught a glimpse of a male cardinal’s brilliant plumage in mid-flight, a robin frolicking in the bath, or a scold of jays chasing off a crow.  Or you’ve stumbled upon an old nest and marveled at the industry and ingenuity required for its construction.

Like birds, we at Backyard Bounty seek to weave habitat and home for our clients, so in that spirit we’ve taken up a new “client”, the barn swallow. They’re beautiful creatures, plus they feed on a number of pesky insects, including immense quantities of mosquitoes. To give them a much-needed assist, we’re constructing these wonderful cedar nest shelves to mount in the yard. These shelves also serve the American Robin and Eastern Phoebe.

Our master carpenter, Abilio, has been busy building cedar barn swallow shelves. If you’re looking for a project to do with the kids while everyone is home, this is a great one to pick. Check out Nest Watch from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for more information about the barn swallow and other birds, or for instructions on how to build and mount your own nestbox. If you’d like one hand-crafted in cedar, let us know!

To further support our flying friends, plant a garden that attracts pollinators, especially moths and butterflies since caterpillars are an excellent source of food. You can also help by leaving up your dormant plant stalks and seedheads over winter. After all, they provide food, shelter, and materials for nest building (not to mention structure and color for the garden–and yes, brown is still a color).

Mark Dennis, Landscape Designer