Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/772

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Coaxing Birds to Your Garden

They are easily persuaded to accept your hospitality and protect your crops from insects

By George M. Oaks

����Bird-houses made by the members of a manual training class in Omaha, Nebraska. The houses with the small holes are for wrens; the others are suitable for bluebirds, nuthatches, chickadees or fly catchers


��A swinging wren- house of bark


house with- out birds is almost like a garden without flowers.

The economic worth of birds about the premises cannot be overestimated. During the breeding period, they work early and late to obtain sufficient food for their nestlings, and their food consists mainly of insects harmful to the farmers.

It is not hard to get acquainted with birds; they are not half so diffident as many humans. A certain amount of coaxing will sweep away any convention- alities which might exist and the birds can be induced to eat from the window sill, and later from the hand.

Place a generous supply of cheese crumbs and walnut mec|,ts.on the palm of the hand and hold it flat on the ground. Keep perfectly still and wait. After a; while a bold young robin will spy this restaurant. Goaded on by his rapacious appetite — for birds are reputed to be always hungry — he will

���A rustic stationary house for wrens

���Another wren house. The tiny wren is very useful to the farmer, nine-tenths of its food being insects

��finally risk everything to satisfy his longing for the tempting viands.

A few years ago, only four species of birds were commonly re- garded as house birds — the wren, the blue- bird, the tree swallow and the purple mar- tin. Now many species (nuthatches, titmice, flycatchers, tree swallows, chickadees, flickers, and red- headed and golden-fronted woodpeckers) which would not ordinarily be expected to avail themselves of artificial homes, are willing occupants of properly- built houses.

Easiest to please are Mr. and Mrs, Wren, They will accept your hospitality whether the accommodations consist of an elaborate little mansion with cupolas and arched windows, or simply a discarded tomato can, sus- pended by a piece of picture wire. You can bring gladness to their hearts by simply cut- ting a hole the size of a quarter in the bottom of a tin can, plugging the other end with a disk of wood, and fastening the tiny house on a convenient


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