SECOND LIFE FOR THE PLASTIC MILK JUG
Use the plastic milk jug as the perfect one-gallon measurement for watering in your garden. It takes six of these filled with water per square yard once a week to adequately water most plants. Use a utility knife to cut the carton along the dotted line, put some holes in its bottom and voila! You have a pot for your seedlings.
SECOND LIFE FOR THE CARDBOARD CARTON
You can make a birdhouse from cardboard milk cartons: Rinse well and make a hole around the side of the carton. Then, add pine needles, straws, and any other natural liner. Ensure it comes off as a soft and comfy nest for the bird. Place the carton somewhere high. This way, mice and rats will not be visiting your birdhouse.
Cut on the dotted line, turn upside down and place on tender transplants to protect them from an unexpected cold snap in the spring or fall.
MAKING BIRD HOUSES WITH CHILDREN FROM MILK CARTONS
First there is the adult only preparation part:
- Rinse the milk Carton
- Paint the outside of the carton with an outdoor paint
- Cut the necessary holes:
- The entrance hole should be large enough to admit the bird, but not so large as to admit unwanted species. If you want to attract smaller songbirds, a 1½" diameter is a common size of entrance hole; however, it is an advantageous to use a smaller size if you are planning to attract chickadees and wrens specifically. Entrance holes to bluebird nesting boxes measure 1½ inches in diameter because this size prevents European starlings from entering. Starlings compete with bluebirds for scarce nesting sites. The hole should be placed 4" - 6" above the floor. The hole for a Chickadee birdhouse is 1 1/8” in diameter placed 4 to 6 inches above the floor. Entrance holes for other species:
The entrance hole size depends on the species you hope to attract: 25 mm for blue, coal and marsh tits. 28 mm for great tits, tree sparrows and pied flycatchers. 32 mm for house sparrows and nuthatches.
-Air circulation holes
Drill small holes (1/8 to 1/4-inch diameter) through each side of the birdhouse just below the roof. This will provide better air circulation.
- Approximately 1 inch below the entrance hole cut a small X with a utility knife. Once the child has decorated the birdhouse and put in the nest, you will insert a twig or dowel and hot glue to secure it in place.
-Poke holes in the bottom of the. Carton to allow water to drain. (8 small holes are sufficient)
-Cut a small hole on either side at the top of the carton. After it is decorated and the nest made by the child, you will run strong twine or wire through these two holds for hanging the birdhouse.
- Have the child decorate the box with water-based paints.
- After paint is dry, adult spays with a clear sealer
- After dry, insert the material for the nest--dry grass, straw, bits of string , tiny scraps of cotton fabric.
- Some like to put a couple of rocks to weight the birdhouse a bit.
- Insert the perch into the X you cut if you are going to have a perch and hot glue it to the carton.
PERCHES ARE TRICKY
Perch diameter should match bird size. Birds should be able to wrap their toes around a perch to grasp it, not just stand on top of it with their toes spread open wide. If a perch is too big, a bird can fall or slip if they cannot grasp it properly.
Bluebird boxes do NOT need perches on the exterior of the box. They will fly straight into their home. Also, the presence of a perch may attract house sparrows which seem to prefer them. The entrance hole for a blue bird house is 1 ½ in diameter.
- Slide twine or wire through the two holes near the top of the milk carton for hanging.
- Hang the finished birdhouse and wait. . .
NOTE: The birdhouse should not be swinging in the wind. Nestle it in branches. Secure it by wrapping the twine or wire around a branch above it. Make sure the entrance hold is clear and accessible. You might use some Gorilla tape to secure it.
WHERE TO HANG?
Keep bird houses out of the sun.
WHEN TO HANG?
The best time to put up a new birdhouse is in the fall or winter so that birds will have plenty of time to locate them before the breeding season.
HOW HIGH SHOULD THE BIRDHOUSE BE?
The following heights (in feet and meters) are the ideal ranges for how high to mount birdhouses for different species.
- Barn owls - 8-25' (2-8 m)
- Bluebirds - 4-6' (1-2 m)
- Chickadees - 5-15' (2-5 m)
- Finches - 5-10' (2-3 m)
- Nuthatches - 5-10' (2-3 m)
- Purple martins - 10-15' (3-5 m)
- Screech owls - 10-30' (3-9 m)
- Titmice - 5-15' (2-5 m)
- Wood ducks - 6-30' (2-9 m)
- Woodpeckers - 10-20' (3-6 m)
- Wrens - 6-10' (2-3 m)
Birds are attracted to the color red, according to a Chicago zoo authority. Birds protect their nests by flashing red and use the color to attract mates.
Do birds actually use bird houses? The answer is “yes”.
About 30 bird species in each region of the country are so-called cavity nesters, which means that most of them will also use a birdhouse. Bluebirds, purple martins, house wrens, chickadees, tree swallows and house sparrows are the most common birds that nest in houses.
ADDENDUM: DON'T PUT SHINY OBJECTS OR TINKLY BELLS ON YOUR BIRD HOUSE. They frighten the birds