Bird Watcher's General Store

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Nesting in the Christmas Wreath

Dear Bird Folks,

I have birds nesting in the old Christmas wreath that is hanging on my front door. The birds seem to like it there, but I am afraid that our constant activity might cause them to abandon the nest. What should I do?

Lilly, Duxbury

Hi Lilly,

What should you do? The first thing that you should do is go out and buy a calendar. Then you might realize that Christmas was over four months ago. What do you have living in your Halloween pumpkin, a Burrowing Owl?

Believe it or not, this is not the first time that I have heard of birds nesting in Christmas wreaths. Now that I think about it, that other person was from Duxbury also. On a recent trip through Duxbury, I did notice quite a few wreaths still up. I wasn’t sure if the people were late taking their decorations down or really early in putting them up. However, judging from the faded pinkness of the bows and the number of baby birds peeking out from the brown needles, I’m putting my money on the former. First of all, the bird that is in your antique wreath is a house finch. They get the name house finch because they like to nest around houses and buildings. House finches like to nest under overhangs. Since nature provides few natural overhands around here, they’ve adapted to using the overhangs of our houses. Hanging plants and porch lights are two of the house finches’ favorite places to nest. The old Cape Cod Candle Shop (our present location) had house finches nesting in the decorative porch lights next to the front door. Hundreds of passing customers would disturb the birds all day long, but each year they successfully raised a family there.

You don’t need to do anything, Lilly. Most normal daily activities will be well tolerated by the finches. A protected nesting spot is more important to house finches than privacy.

Sadly, the finches no longer nest in those old porch lights. The candle people took their fancy lights with them when they moved out and we have been too cheap to replace them.