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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Express News
Time to Place Birdhouse in San Antonio Landscape


Birdhouses are fun to build and/or place in the landscape.  Especially if you have grandchildren or children with which to work on the project.  They are also easy to purchase at bird supply, plant nursery, feed, pet and home supply stores.  The chances are also very high that you can attract nesting birds if you select the right houses for the cavity-nesting birds in our area.


In terms of basic rules, if you want to be successful with birdhouses consider that each species has specific preferences for birdhouse size, hole diameter, and placement height.  It rarely works just to build a house as a decorative item without any thought to bird requirements.


Hundreds of good resources are available with plans for building and caring for birdhouses.  Every library and bookstore has books with birdhouse plans and the internet has many good sites.  In addition to building birdhouses, they can be purchased at bird supply stores, plant nurseries, feed stores, pet stores and on the internet.  Now is the time to put birdhouses up, so that they have an opportunity to weather and also be noticed by the birds seeking a nest site.  Purchase houses that can be cleaned each year.


House wrens are a favorite box nesting bird throughout the east and north.  Here in San Antonio the house wrens fly through, but our nesting wrens are Carolina and Bewicks wrens.  They are often too large to fit through the tiny house wren entrance hole, so do not waste time or money putting up house wren houses.  Our nesting wrens require houses with dimensions of about 4x4x8 inches.  The entrance hole should be 1.5 inches in diameter.  Place Bewick and Carolina wren houses on a pole or fence at about 6–8 feet from the ground.


Carolina chickadees and tufted titmouse are also relatively easy to attract to a nesting box placed in our landscape.  They will use the same size house as the wrens, but seem more comfortable when it is placed on a tree trunk to about 8 – 15 feet high.


Our two most common woodpeckers are the ladder-backed and the golden-fronted.  They are very different in size, so require different sized houses.  Use the titmouse/chickadee size house to attract the ladder-backed woodpecker.  The golden-fronted woodpecker requires a house with dimensions 6x6x12 inches.  The hole should be 2 inches in diameter.


The typical quarter acre wooded lot in San Antonio can probably support a wren house, and a titmouse/chickadee house.  If your lot is larger, add a woodpecker house and another of each of the wren and titmouse houses.  Birds may not nest in each house each year, but it is likely some will.


For a larger project consider a purple martin house.


Purple martins are the bird species most identified with bird houses.  They originally nested in hollow trees, but now rarely do.  They rely almost entirely on human made colonial houses with 8 – 12 boxes that are mounted on poles 15 – 20 feet in the air.  The martins feed on flying insects, so are attracted to houses that are surrounded by open areas where they can swoop to and fro to catch insects.  A martin house placed in the middle of the woods rarely attracts any martins.  The scouts arrive sometime in February and nesting is completed before the end of July.  Martin nest boxes are built to provide about 6x6x6 inch interior space with a 2.5 inch entrance hole.  A major problem in providing nesting sites for martins is competition from English sparrows and starlings.  Some landlords raise and lower the houses often in the process to remove the unwanted nests.  Most of us, however, wait until about February 15, to raise the house (sooner, if martin scouts appear) and rely on the martins to get access to at least some of the nest boxes.