Last year while aimlessly (I travel aimlessly most of the time) driving I noticed an Eastern Bluebird flying into a birdhouse. This sighting occurred on the road near our house. I thought at the time that I would build a couple of bluebird houses for Cedar Cove.
So with Harrison’s help I used the Googlizer and came up with a set of plans purported to be the best fit for Bluebirds. Since I had no idea what amount of rent was appropriate or legal for that matter, I was building free housing.
The plans were quite specific about size of entrance opening, inside dimensions , HVAC and construction materials. One side of the house has to open so that the landlord can inspect and clean the house when required.
I built one house prior to Harrison getting released from day care. The second house was cut out, pre-drilled and laid out for his assembly with hammer and nails when Nanny got him back home. His assembly went without a hassle and it was time to put them up on the fence across the road.
Once the houses were on the fence posts Harrison began to be disappointed that we had no offers. I was away for about a week and H and his Dad reported no tenants in the houses. But being who I am I ventured across the road to check. I popped open the door and discovered that in the southernmost house we had a nest. The nest was under-construction but a nest non the less.
The resources on the Googlizer did show different materials and construction methods in this nest compared to Bluebirds. I had squatters. I had read that unless the birds happened to be one of the invasive species (house sparrows) one had to leave the nests alone. If the house has been inhabited by an invasive you can and you are encouraged to remove the nest.
Prior to this action, the equivalent to using Levonorgestrel, one must determine who or whom is squatting in your apartment. Being a man of science ( a long time ago ) I set up my action camera to catch the squatter in action. I am a member of ‘Homo Sapiens’ ( wise man ) species, this should be easy. After watching about an hour of video, I saw the bird enter and depart the birdhouse. No matter how I edited the video it was unclear what species of demon was in my Bluebird targeted house. It was however easy to see it was not a Bluebird.
On the second day of the attempt to identify the intruder, I was setting up the camera much closer to the birdhouse. While carefully aiming my sleuthing tools, a chickadee landed at the entry of the birdhouse and with a chickadee’s dexterity with fascination observed me for a few seconds and entered the house. Chickadees are on the list of birds contraindicated for any use of the aforementioned ‘Plan B’ or any other action.
The entry hole for a Bluebird is 1.5″ (3.81 cm) but for a Chickadee it is 1 1/8″ (2.86 cm) max. If the hole is too big more predators and enemies of Chickadees can enter. The solution, put a plate over the hole with a hole the correct size. I was heavily invested in providing housing for birds so I had to do whatever was necessary to make it work.
The new opening was installed and the Chickadee has not been seen since. I did check inside the house in case my new smaller opening had trapped the poor bastard in the house. I was a homewrecker even if the consequences were unintended…
I have installed Housing available signs on the houses. Owner will modify opening size to suit… Tabernac