Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/775

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Popular Science Monthly

��759

��of winter, to which the weather has im- parted the grayness of age so pleasing to the eye.

Mrs. Bluebird always starts house- keeping by making a mat of grasses ^^i -^ on the floor of her house. For the eggs, a depression is made back against the rear wall, appar- ently to keep the young as far away as possible from the paws of marauding squirrels or cats. She ar-

����ranges the position of the eggs so that during the fourteen days of brooding she can watch for danger, and at the same time relieve her monotony by observing the doings of the outside world.

Different birds require different kinds of houses. The best material is wood. Al- most any sort of lumber may be used, but birds take most readily to that which has been weathered outdoors. White pine and cypress are easy to handle, and do not warp or check. It is often desirable to leave the bark on the outside. Entrance holes should be counter- sunk from the out- side. Sloping the floor, or boring a small hole in the middledirectly under the nest, provides drainage.

A coat of paint of a mild green or gray shade is desirable. If the house is placed conspicuously, it

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� � ��A chickadcL :. ;_^ observing his in- crease in weight after a Christmas dinner

��may be painted white or some light shade. AH houses must be easy to open for clean- ing. Each spring, before the birds return from the South, all filth and litter hould be flushed out with the garden hose. A little sulphur scattered about a house is an effective remedy for unde- sirable parasites.

Proper ventilation can be obtained by means of a row of small holes bored just beneath the eaves. Never have a ventilat- ing hole lower than the entrance, since / this gives rise to drafts. / There is no wedding

' gift so acceptable to a young bird couple as a drinking fountain and bath. It is hard to realize the difficulty^ often experi- iced by birds in obtaining water. A refreshing drink and splash in a shady retreat is the bird's greatest delight. But mind that you do not choose a spot near dense shrubbery or other objects behind which prowling cats may hide waiting to spring on the unsuspecting bathers.

The receptacle may be merely a shallow tray of wood or metal, but it should always be inconspicuous in color, and rough enough about the edges to afford a firm foothold. It must be shallow to prevent drowning. Cement and stone basins, mounted on pedestals, are pleasing additions to the lawn and are obtainable throughout the country'. However, a low flaring crock, a galvanized pan, or a hollow log, seems to please the birds just as well.

Birds must be pro- tected from their enemies. It is easy enough to keep cats, squirrels, mice and rats away by a piece of tin encircling the tree. It is also well to isolate a birdhouse on a length of iron piping. Ants and other vermin, can be kept out by sticky flypaper maHe of resin and castor oil.

��Mr. Nuthatch en- tering h i s open- air dining-room

At left: A rustic house for six fami- lies of martins

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