The Impromptu Bird House For Wrens

Crocheting a little wren birdhouse.

Last year we had wrens flying into the garage and we discovered they were building a nest. The nest, unfortunately, was inside my son’s tool belt which hung up high near the window.

I told him to leave it alone and let the birds do their thing. It was an odd place to have a nest because with the garage door closed, they couldn’t get in or out. Usually the door was left up a little during the day for the cats, but it was always closed tight all night long.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Did that appeal to the wrens? Maybe. They never did make a complete nest or have babies in our garage, but this year they began the same routine. They love the tool belt because it has big open leather holders that are deep. I suspect a handyman would carry his drills or whatnot in them.

This time my son was having none of it. He is not a nature lover and didn’t want birds in his belt. He dumped out the few little leaves inside and put the belt away. I know. Mean.

So I got to thinking that maybe I could make a nest, or buy one, that the wrens might use. This led to me searching for a nest to make out of yarn.

I have a website about my knitting projects called New England’s Narrow Road. I am an avid fiber artist… fancy name for knitter of things. But I wanted this birdhouse to be done fast, so I chose to crochet it.

My Birdhouse Made of Yarn

I hadn’t crocheted for a while, but it all comes back when you begin. I love knitting, but crochet is much faster and easier to correct mistakes.

I can’t tell you exactly how I made this birdhouse, but I began as if to crochet a bag – at the bottom. After expanding up and out, I made the hole. Then I decreased for the top and made the loop.

I used pure wool (Jamieson & Smith) so it would be a natural material that would last outside in the elements.

Crocheted bird house

When the whole thing was finished – it took only 2 nights of work – I washed it and dried it in the dryer to “felt” the wool yarn. This tightens up the strands of yarn so it’s less porous.

I took it outside and hung it on a shrub where I would often see wrens. This is where I stumbled across a pretty little orange flowering milkweed plant.

Crocheted bird house

I want to make more houses and possibly create a pattern that I can share with others. Around here, we have frogs and other creatures that take over birdhouses, so there may never be a wren inside. Maybe I will make a bunch of houses and hang them inside the garage!

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Dilemma: Bugs, Birds, Bears, and Cats

grasshopper eating a sunflowerThis is my garden dilemma:  I have a grasshopper infestation.  I need a natural way to get rid of the bugs, as I am an organic gardener.

Attract birds that will eat them, is my first thought, but I have cats that go outside.  If I feed birds in summer it’s only the hummingbirds.  My cats would never be able to catch one of them.  In fact, neither of my cats are big hunters, but I imagine that birds get nervous when they look down and see cats in the yard, so they move on.

If the birds do end up eating the grasshoppers, they will be down near ground level.   The grasshoppers are feasting on the leaves of many of my garden plants.  If I put out feeders, I feel like I am inviting birds to their death, because of the cats.

Summer bird-feeding can also attract black bears in my area.   Continue reading “Dilemma: Bugs, Birds, Bears, and Cats”

A Birdbath For the Robins

Robin in birdbath
An Evening Ritual, Robins Bathing

My car has been on the fritz so I’ve been stuck at home for days. I usually stay home as much as possible and since I work from home, it’s not so difficult. My daily ritual includes getting up early working most of the day until my son gets home from school, then I head outside to dig, plant and shovel dirt into my gardens. After I come inside and shower I sit in my chair and watch Special Report and it’s right around that time of day that the Robins begin their evening ritual of splashing in the birdbath.

It’s a safe time of day for them because my cats have been brought inside for the night. They get busy digging for worms in my lawn (or, non-lawn) and then go get cleaned up in the birdbath. When I am outside watering new plantings I always clean out the birdbath and add new water. They certainly do enjoy it and they are fun to watch. I’m not a very good photographer when it comes to animals, but this shot of the robin has him looking straight at me!

A Visit From the Barred Owl

barred owl
Barred Owl Out Back

One of my winter stories includes a daily visit from this barred owl. It is common in my area of the country and for a while I would see it sitting on a branch near my backyard. The birds still came to eat and didn’t seem worried about it, and even a few squirrels ran around either unaware or unafraid. I was a bit nervous about letting my cats out, but the owl just sat in the tree for hours and didn’t move except to look around.

I had to look up the owl to find out what food it favors and it eats lots of little stuff, like mice and voles, snakes and even crickets. It has been seen taking a cat, but it’s not a normal thing for it to do. I doubt this guy was hunting anyway since it was in the middle of the day when I would see him / her.

Maybe he just wanted a nice branch to rest on.

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