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Goosie

Part time outdoor dog room/ part time aviary

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Hi,

I have a 8 x 10 ft patio on the second floor of an apartment bldg.  It's enclosed on 3 sides, covered over top, with a railing on the open side.  I'd like to design this space with 2 things in mind: I plan to adopt an indoor dog and would like to give them this space for sniffing nature (pine trees just outside), lying outside and when indoors, I was thinking the dog might like watching birds as much as I would.  Kind of an outdoor aviary.

My neighbor downstairs feeds the birds, so that part's covered.

Water-wise the apartment's are located by a canal and a golf course a little further on (otherwise the complex has pools.). Mosquitoes become a real problem as the monsoons ease in and warnings come on the news that no one should have as much as a tablespoon of standing water or else they'll breed.  If I knew a way to avoid the mosquitoes, though, I'd put out a wild bird water feeder since so many birds die each year for simple lack of water.  I've seen the birds drink from the pools, but that can't be good for them.

Which leaves housing...how many birds can live comfortably in an 8 x 10 area?  I'd guess it'd deal with species and their own territorial comforts.  Species common here in this part of AZ (and the apartment complex) include finches, sparrows, grackles, starlings, rock doves (and at least one large crow the size of a cat who lords over part of the complex.)

Which birds live together well?  I've seen doves hang out with other doves, and I've seen grackles work in tandem with other grackles for food and sparrows, too.  Starlings seem to keep to themselves, same with finches.  At least that's how they behave on ground level.  It might be another story in the trees.

So here's the creative part: how would you design this space?  Which bird houses/nesting boxes would you put up?  What would you begin with?  How many?  How far apart?  Which species?  What amenities (bare minimum--there will be a nice nesting fluff bag.). All keeping in mind that when the dog wants to go outside to hang out, the space can toggle between an aviary and a outdoor room for the dog.

A challenge?

I'm all ears ;)

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Welcome to Whatbird, Goosie. I'm afraid that I have no advice on setting up your 2nd floor balcony for birds, other than pointing out that the Water Wiggler, and other similar products, are designed to prevent mosquitos from breeding in bird baths. Depending on your railing, you may be able to add a Deck Mount Bird Bath and use the water wiggler to attract birds without risk of mosquito breeding. Good luck with your project and once again, welcome to Whatbird.

I'm not personally familiar with either product so I can't endorse them, just wanted you to be aware of their availability.

Edited by lonestranger
After thought

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Are you trying to attract birds to your patio, or do you want to keep captive birds? For the former, an 8x10 patio would be a fine place to set up some feeders (hummingbird feeders will be the cleanest, but you could put out oranges or suet with little mess too) and a birdbath. Not many birds will want to nest on a patio with a dog, but if you have some hanging plants House Finches might nest in them, or under your eaves. A nest box might be occupied by House Sparrows or Starlings, but both those species are introduced invasive birds that are detrimental to native birds, so I wouldn't want to attract them.

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