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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/773

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Popular Science Monthly


��Martin houses made of gourds

��veranda post, on the bedroom window sill, or in the fork of a tree. But place it beyond the reach of cats, and do not forget that by making the hole small, you will prevent large birds from entering the wrens' home. Place it in the shade. Otherwise the tin will be heated by the sun. Wrens are so fond of hauling sticks and twigs to their nesting sites that a tall, slender little house, with the entrance well above the middle of the front, seems to suit them best. They will also colo- nize if a house with many nests is provided for them.

In southern states, the use of gourds is ven,^ common. The entrance is made in the side, and a drain-hole is left in the bottom. A neat house for wrens can be made from a cigar box. All wren houses should be placed in early May, but since wrens rear two broods, they will often take possession of a box put out late in June.

Regardless of the material used, the house should be all built and in position a fort- night before the bride and groom arrive from their honeymoon. Mr. Wren's first act will be to fly away in search of an old cast-ofT snake skin. He will bring home a bit of it for a sort of hearthstone relic — perhaps a protective measure, since it is said that snakes will never go near a discarded skin.

������Bluebirds love weathered wood. This one is rearing her young in an old discarded mail box

��A colony house for martins located on the Henry Ford Farms, Dearborn, Mich. The iron pipe, used as a pole, guards against pry- ing cats and squir- rels. Martins are fond of large houses suitable for many families. They like a house mount- ed on a pole at least fif- teen feet high and as much as fifty feet away from the nearest tree or building as a safety measure

��Other birds have their crotchets too. The red-breasted nuthatch, for instance, after he has excavated his wooden house in some old dead stump, invariably collects a lot of soft pitch and makes a sticky ring around his doorway.

Birds are as particular about their perches as you and I are about our beds. If no bird will enter the bird house that you have built, look to the little perch at the doorway. Did you un- wittingly place it on the left are popular side? All birds are right- throughout handed. Be sure the perch the South ig Qn the right, and then the bird can hop into the nest in the "right" way.

The largest and most beautiful of the swallow tribe, the purple martin, is also one of the friendliest and most useful to the farmer. It comes north in the spring. Sometimes it arrives so early that the cozy little home provided for it becomes a tomb when a sleet storm sweeps all insect food from the air.

Martins are so chummy that they always seem to be having a family reunion. By all means, provide a large eighteen or twenty-family apartment house, with all modern conveniences, and your efforts will be gener- ously rewarded. They de- light in a house of many rooms, especially if it is mounted on a pole at least

���A mountain bluebird feeding her fledglings in a pan of suet which someone has attached to a tree

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