Man's Best Buddy

By

Cree Vicar Dave – SASS Life # 49907

I don’t know about you but mosquitoes, black flies and such really bug me. I always say that Michigan in the summer is what Heaven will be like. But the first few warm weeks in the spring produces one bumper crop of bloodsucking pests. The Vicar’s Wife, our three children and I moved out into the country in 1977 and experienced our share of bites each spring until I took my Dad’s advice and started putting up bird houses. It says in Genesis 1:28 the Lord gave man dominion over the birds of the air, the animals that roam the earth and fish of the sea, And in Genesis 2:15, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it". Caring for God’s creation pays off. If dog is man’s best friend, then birds are man’s best buddy, especially the Swallows. They say that Swallows eat their weight in mosquitoes every day.

We started a new Cowboy Action Shooting™ club a few years ago and the bugs were bad. So I started making Blue Bird houses and putting them on posts around the club. I call this "Doing the Lord’s Work". Each year I put up a few more and it has made a big difference. Blue Bird houses are designed for Bluebirds but around here Tree Swallows will habitate close to 80% of them. Don’t put the bird houses too close, they should be about three to four rods apart. Put them on some type of post around 5 feet high and in the open. Some people place bird houses on the trunk of a live tree. This is not a good idea for two reasons. One the tree grows larger each year and will push the house off and two most birds do not like their houses in the shade as the sun helps incubate the eggs. The job isn’t finished when the houses are secured to the posts. Each winter they should be opened and cleaned out taking care to be up wind and not ingesting the dust from the old nest as there have been rare cases of people contracting ailments from this dust. After removing screws in the bottom of side, swing side out and up for access. The entrance hole for the birdhouse should be 1-1/2" diameter. This size is just right for Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and other song birds of their size while keeping out undesirables. It’s a good idea to place a predator guard on it also. No perch is recommended as this only aids the rogue birds.

I make birdhouses out of 1"x 6" rough sawn cedar planed down to 3/4". But pine will work. It takes about an eight foot board to make one house. I use deck screws for fasteners and drill the 1-1/2" hole through the predator guard and front at the same time to assure proper alignment. You can get plans for bird houses and wood duck houses from most State Department of Natural Resources offices. If you cannot locate plans:

The wood is 3/4" X 5-1/2" X 8’ long.

BACK is cut around 18" long

Roof 8"

Front 9"

The two sides 8 3/4" (sides are 1/4" shorter then front for venting & for swing clearance).

Bottom is 4" X 5-3/4" (this allows side to swing out with ease) (grain with 5-3/4").

Predator guard is 3" wide X 5-1/2" long to match front width (grain with 5-1/2").

After the house is built, I place the guard on the front up 6-1/2" to center from bottom. The top screw holes in guard on each side are drilled through into the front and side. Then screws hold the guard on and act as hinges for the top of the sides. Holes are drilled through the back at the same height on each side and a screw is used for a back hinge. The guard bottom screws are just long enough to hold guard to front. Then the entrance hole is drilled. I drill screw holes and use self-tapping deck screws. Some lumberyards, like Sequin, sell these in self-serve by the pound. I made templates for all the pieces with hole placements. This greatly reduces the layout time. Actual size drawings of the templates may be obtained for a donation to Sucker Creek Saddle & Gun Club.

Always be sure to follow all safety and health rules when working on projects. I’m happy to assist you in doing the Lord’s work.

 

Hope ta see ya on the trail.

God Bless,

Cree Vicar Dave