How to Build a Birdhouse for House Finches and Sparrows

birdhouse bird houseHouse finches are common birds in the United States that often visit balconies. If you put out birdseed, they are likely to be the first wild bird visitor to your birdfeeder. To offer these birds a place to nest and lay eggs, you can purchase a nestbox or build them one from scratch.


How to Attract House Finches

house finch Carpodacus mexcicanus

Intro: House finches are wild birds that can be found throughout the United States and Mexico, and they will regularly visit birdfeeders in balcony gardens. The females are gray-brown and striped, and while the males also have gray-brown stripes on their backs, wings and undersides, their heads, throats and lower backs can range from a light orange-yellow to a deep red color. The males’ red color intensifies with a good, varied diet (the color comes from berries and fruits eaten during molting season). The house finch’s diet consists mainly of seeds, but they will also eat insects and fruit. Their chirps and tweets are pleasing to the ear, and it is especially entertaining to watch male house finches sing, dance and display for females during springtime courtship.


Cabbage Looper Caterpillar Pests

Cabbage looper caterpillarCabbage loopers (Trichoplusia ni) are caterpillars that will destroy plants in the cabbage family, including lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, etc. They move like inchworms do (hence the name looper), and after their metamorphosis, they become common-looking brown moths that are often found at outdoor safety lights.


How to Attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Intro: The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common hummingbird in eastern North America. It is the only North American hummingbird that nests east of the Mississippi. This 3.5-inch wild bird weighs an eighth of an ounce; its heart beats 250 times per minute, and it can beat its wings about 50 times per second. Male ruby-throated hummingbirds have a shiny green back and ruby red throat (that may look black in certain lighting). The female birds are larger, have green backs with a white breast and throat. Females also have rounded tails with white tips, while the males have a forked tail with no white.


How to Attract Ladybugs

ladybug lady bird beetle

Intro: The ladybug, also called ladybird and lady beetle, is great for container gardens because they keep out those annoying aphid pests that eat your container plants. Don’t destroy any yellow eggs laid underneath plant leaves, as these will hatch into ladybug larvae. They have a very different-looking larvae, so don’t kill any insects that look like the one in the photo below. Ladybug larvae actually eat more pests than adults. Ladybugs can live to three years old and can grow to about 0.3 inches.


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