There are hundreds of standing dead trees on the 80 acres of Roundrock. As a consequence, there are plenty of natural sites for cavity-nesting creatures to call home. Nonetheless, we have set out several bird houses because our nurturing natures require it of us. My good friend Duff made several for me that I’ve set out in visible places so visitors can’t miss them.
This is one of Duff’s houses. (That’s the “lake” in the background, and the tiny limbs coming in from the left are from a redbud tree–one of hundreds I had overlooked when I concluded we needed to plant redbuds in our forest.)
Among the nestboxes we set out was one that can be opened from the side so that we can peer in through the glass wall to see nature at work. Every time we’ve done that in the year or so since we hung the box, we found it mostly filled with a curious, brown, stringy fiber. It looked nothing like any kind of bird nest either of us had ever seen.
Now I think Rurality’s link might explain it. We have all of the components. There are hundreds of cedar trees at Roundrock. Many are merely skeletons because of past ground fires. And we have seen flying squirrels out there on occasion. I’ve concluded that flying squirrels are nesting in this bird house, and that warms my heart because our plan is to leave Roundrock better than we found it. If we’ve done something to nurture the wild things, then we’ve done something right.
I’ve wondered if I should clean out the box each summer, but I’ve concluded that I won’t. In the natural order of things, no one is going into tree cavities and cleaning out past nests for the birds and squirrels. If they need empty cavities to begin nesting, they will clean out past debris themselves. At least, that’s how I’m looking at the matter now. Anyone have any further enlightenment for me?