We create our rustic bird feeders from solid wood slabs of our own Eastern Hemlock or Largetooth Aspen. The trim and natural perches are made from Common Alder. These feeders, especially the larger sunflower seed feeders, are heavy and tough. They will last for many years and always look natural and charming in your yard. They attract many species of songbirds all perching along the sides of the feeders and pulling the sunflower seeds or bits of suet through the wire mesh.
We create rustic bat houses from our own solid Eastern Hemlock rough sawn lumber following plans from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Bats are extremely important in the ecosystem because they help control populations of flying insects (like mosquitoes!) as well as many serious agricultural pests.
The bat population in Nova Scotia suffered a devastating collapse due to a fungal disease called white nose syndrome in 2013-2014. We stopped making bat houses at that time. Then evidence collected in 2015 indicated that some bat populations in the province, those that overwinter in structures other than caves, are surviving. We resumed making bat houses in the hope some of these surviving bats may look for new homes.
Tracking any surviving bats is crucial in the battle against this disease. If you see bats in Nova Scotia, the Department of Natural Resources really needs to know about it! Please go to the Nova Scotia Bat Conservation website and report your sighting.
Native Bee Nest Blocks
Many species of native bees are known as solitary bees. They do not live in communal groups or hives, but they are just as important to the ecosystem as their well known cousins the honeybees. Native solitary bees come in many sizes; some are barely visible to humans. They may live for a short time, performing one crucial function in the ecosystem such as pollinating one kind of plant or tree or pollinating plants that bloom only during a certain month. Native solitary bees are tiny but mighty. Without solitary bees there would be far fewer plants and trees in the world, including many of our food crops.
When their job is done, solitary bees lay eggs which develop through the inactive months and produce new bees to perform the same function next year. In nature these bees would lay their eggs in hollowed out dead plant stems or in plant debris. But in urban and suburban yards many people have an aversion to such “mess” and pick it all up, leaving no place for the bees to lay eggs. This is why urban and suburban yards need our nest blocks.
Our native bee nest blocks are made from pine, spruce or hemlock. They contain drilled tunnels of different diameters for different species of solitary bees to lay their eggs. The diameters of the tunnels are based on published research from the University of Maine and are specific to northeastern North America. Our nest blocks come with an information sheet that contains placement instructions and a link to online information about native solitary bees.