Out My Backdoor: Location Critical for Bird Nesting Boxes

By Terry W. Johnson

In the real estate business it is often said the value of a property is determined by three things location, location, location. The same holds true for nesting boxes. Where you erect a bird house will determine what bird will nest there since all cavity-nesting birds prefer to nest in certain
habitats and will rarely nest anywhere else.

For that reason, try as we might, it is difficult to get an eastern bluebird to nest in a heavily wooded backyard or a screech owl to use a box in the middle of a large open yard.

Out My Backdoor: Georgia’s Second Hummingbird Season

By Terry W. Johnson

Now that November is here, more than likely you haven’t seen a ruby-throated hummingbird in your backyard for quite some time. My wife and I were fortunate to see one as late as Halloween eve. However, because we haven’t spotted one since, I guess it is safe to say that it, too, has departed on its epic flight to its wintering grounds across the Gulf of Mexico.

Out My Backdoor: 4 Parts Water, 1 Part Sugar—a Special Fuel

By Terry W. Johnson

The bird that controls the air space over our yards throughout spring and summer is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Although it is so small that 10 can be mailed for the price of a first-class stamp, no other bird can threaten its aerial superiority. As is the case with supersonic aircraft that coarse the skies of the world, this feathered dynamo operates on a high-energy fuel. In the hummingbird’s case, the fuel is sugar.

Out My Backdoor: Weather Stripping Homes Nothing New to Nuthatches

By Terry W. Johnson

The winter of 2009-2010 is one we will long remember. Snow has blanketed the state from Rising Fawn to the peanut fields of South Georgia. If that wasn’t enough, temperatures have plummeted into the teens. This caused the cost of heating our homes to soar skyward faster than our national debt. Homeowners who had the foresight to winterize their homes by caulking the cracks around windows and doors, and took other measures to reduce heat loss, actually are being rewarded with lower energy bills. 

Out My Backdoor: Warm Havens for Winter Birds

By Terry W. Johnson

While drinking a cup of hot, steaming coffee on a recent cold winter morning, I noticed that most of the wildlife activity in my backyard centered on my bird feeders. Nearby, a nesting box stood like a silent sentinel watching the parade of birds and squirrels dining at my wildlife café.

While it appeared the box served no purpose this time of the year, I knew better. One late afternoon about a week before, as the sun was seemingly dissolving on the western horizon, I just happened to see two bluebirds fly into the box.

Out My Backdoor: The Christmas Hummingbird?

By Terry W. Johnson

There are a number of birds that we associate with Christmas. Some such as the robin, dove and goldfinch owe their association to this holiday because legend tells us they were present at the birth of Christ. Others are linked with Christmas because they are commonly depicted on Christmas cards. Over the years I have received Christmas cards featuring birds such as ducks, geese, blue jays, quail, chickadees and, of course, the all-time favorite – the cardinal.