Aviary architecture is truly “for the birds”

Have you actually watched the full nest-making process that birds execute every time they build a breeding shelter?

Members of the Senior Enrichment Through Nature group at Broadview Heights Human Services Center plan to heighten their awareness of the process after participating in the Chippewa Garden Club program.  

On Aug. 11, bird-nesting habits were discussed and each participant made a birdhouse out of recycled supplies provided by the Chippewa Garden Club.

 A well-built nest minimizes heat loss and conserves energy, not only for the incubating bird, but for their eggs and hatchlings. Birds use mud-moss, lichen, fur and plant material to build, insulate and decorate their nests, and can complete a functional nest in just one day. They rarely build nests at night due to predatory issues. Some birds have more than two clutches of offspring in a season and may build separate nests for each clutch.

Nests must be structurally sound to support the weight of the incubating bird and their eggs and are often twice the size of the actual aviary builder. Birds often line their abodes with fur and mud to insulate against cool days, however, the structure must allow sufficient oxygen and humidity requirements to keep eggs viable for hatching. Incubating birds readily accommodate these needs via instinctual inclinations.

Available birdhouses are often chosen by birds to incubate their eggs in and to rear hatchlings in as the birdhouse structure offers superior protection from natural elements and predators. Birds are often loyal to their nesting sites and will return annually to birdhouses if the houses are intact and free of ectoparasites. 

At the end of each season in September, birdhouses need to be cleaned so they are ready for the spring incubation period.

The seniors attending this workshop constructed birdhouses from recycled milk cartons for the house body covered by woodgrain contact paper. A teaspoon was bent for a perch and decorated with recycled buttons, while wine corks and an old license plate served as the roof. The finished products were pleasingly crafty.   “We’re all ready for next spring to help our aviary friends to feather their nests,” one participant said.

CGC volunteers Bobbi and Tom Anderson, Noreen Butano, Debby Compton, Lynne Evans, Judy LaBuda and Sandy Ladebue helped make this program a success by collecting supplies, prepping materials and assisting the seniors throughout the program.

The next Senior Enrichment Through Nature Program will take place on Oct. 13. Broadview Heights Seniors can RSVP by calling 440-526-4074.

CGC hosts its monthly meetings on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Brecksville Human Service Building, 2 Community Dr., Brecksville. Check the website for additional information.