Attract a wide variety of birds with unique birdhouses

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By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

The Natchitoches area is brimming with a wide variety of bird species, which has spawned a pastime of bird watching as well as a market for birdhouses. While birdhouses may seem simple, there is actually a science behind attracting birds and making your birdhouse a place they’d like to call home. 

Food does not determine which species use birdhouses according to the Audobon Society. Habitat determines natural foods available. Natural foods and habitat determine which species live in various areas. When humans improve the habitat with bird feeders and nest boxes, many native birds will take advantage of both.

“I wanted to build a house where every house was different. No cookie-cutter houses,” said Levon Smith, a craftsman His birdhouses are made are designed with a variety of birds in mind through their sizes and varying entry holes. If you’d like your yard to be a possible nesting spot for local birds, keep your bird feeders clean and stocked with fresh seed, which includes a mixture of varying seeds, including sunflower and millet.

Like all living things, birds need food, water and cover, which means a safe habitat. A yard with varied habitat will attract the most birds.

Think of three levels: low scrub, tangles and thicket; midlevel vegetation; and tree canopy levels.

“A yard with an immaculate lawn won’t appeal to many birds because it provides no food or cover. Nor will any environment where insecticides have laid waste to earthworms and any organism with more than two feet. Birds need a place to hide from predators and also places to nest.