Product Profile

Bat Houses and Placement Strategies

I have invested a fair amount of time researching bats the last month or so trying to learn more about the fascinating creatures sharing my yard this summer.

After last week’s blog about my recent success with bats a few customers had questions.

One customer asked “why do you think you have more bats this year. What did you do to encourage them”? The fact is I’ve done nothing different and I wish I knew why we have this surge in numbers. The bat house has been in the same place for several years. The only thing about the “Rocket” style house that’s different is Downy woodpeckers have pecked a couple of holes in it ranging in size from about 1 ½” to 3” in diameter. I hardly think that would increase the chances of a box being used.

Bats have to find new roosts on their own. They investigate new roosting opportunities while foraging at night, and they are expert at detecting crevices, cracks, and nooks and crannies that offer shelter from the elements and predators. Bats are not blind as the saying goes but in fact have sharp eye sight.

BCI (Bat Conservation International) indicates 90 percent of occupied bat houses were used within two years (with 50 percent occupancy in the first year). The rest needed three to five years for bats to move in. So, perhaps it was just time needed for bats to locate my house. Now that I’ve attracted bats to this house I am planning on putting up at least one more before next spring.

There's a lot of information about success rates of various types of bat houses and, perhaps more importantly, how they are presented. I am merely going to summarize some of the more pertinent information and would encourage you to visit if you want to learn more or have enough interest to construct, or buy, a bat house to install in your yard.

Below are some basics of presenting a bat house.

Three chamber bat house.

Rocket style bat house.

Facts, Tips and Suggestions

Bat houses installed on buildings or poles are easier for bats to locate, have greater occupancy rates and are occupied two and a half times faster than those mounted on trees.

Tall designs like the multi-chamber (nursery) and rocket-style houses perform best

Occupancy in rural areas is over 60 percent, compared to 50 percent for urban and suburban areas.

According to BCI maintaining proper roost temperatures is probably the single most important factor for a successful bat house. They say interior temperatures should be warm and as stable as possible (ideally 80º F to 100º F in summer) for mother bats to raise their young. Some species, such as the Big Brown bat, prefer temperatures below 95º F, while others, such as the Little Brown bat, tolerate temperatures in excess of 100º F. This is very interesting because we always think of bats in relation to the coolness of caves but this is mostly during the hibernation months, fall through winter.

Bat house temperatures are influenced directly by the exterior color and direction faced. East-, southeast-, or south-facing are generally good bets. My Rocket house is, as you have seen, a darker color. Bat houses we sell are almost always a plain western cedar. From now on I will suggest staining the box a darker color.

Avoid placing bat houses directly above windows, doors, decks or walkways. Bat urine and guano would fall directly down to whatever is below. The urine is known to stain some finishes.

For more information about constructing, painting, installing and maintaining your bat house, please see:

The Bat House Builder's Handbook

Single chamber bat house plans

Four-chamber nursery house plans

Rocket box bat house plans

Campania Cast Stone Special Order Sale

Birdbaths, Fountains,  Statuary, and Planters


For a full listing of Campania products please visit their website
Or Come By the Store to Look Through the Catalog

The ordering and shipping process takes 3-4 weeks.

Please call, email, or come by the shop with questions you may have
regarding product and pricing.
Phone: 615-356-7640

All special order sales are final unless the product arrives
damaged or defective.
We require a 50% down payment of your full purchase price.
Delivery on large items from our store to your home is available for an additional fee.

Wet weather woe's?

Hello all,

It looks like another interesting weather weekend to hunker down and keep an eye on birdfeeders. All this wet weather does create some issues, however, that we would like to offer some prevention and maintenance tips for.

Mesh feeders like a shelled peanut or nyjer feeder are particularly troublesome in wet weather. As are feeders containing shelled sunflower. Such feeders really do benefit from a weather guard. The more rain you can keep off the feed the longer it will stay in good condition for the birds to consume and reduce your need to clean out clumped, rotting food. Yuck! Really wet feed is unpleasant to deal with.

Wire mesh peanut feeder with weather guard.

Aspects seed tube with weather guard and tray.

But even regular tube type feeders can collect moisture that settles to the bottom where a wet mess can turn into an unhealthy situation for your birds. Be a little more vigilante of feeder conditions at this time. Avoid refilling your feeder when there is a mass of wet clumped seed at the bottom. Weather guards of one kind or another can benefit tube feeders as well. And squirrel baffles serve well as weather guards. They are usually just larger versions of a weather guard.

Save 20% off weather guards and hanging squirrel baffles through January 27th.

Some feeders, like Aspects brand, have a very convenient push-button release base that allows you to clean out caked wet seed from the bottom in just seconds.

Aspects quick release base.

Aspects quick release base.

Clorox wipes are very handy for cleaning around feed ports. When the whole feeder isn’t ready for a cleaning just a quick wipe where the birds actually feed is very helpful to prevent unhealthy conditions.

If you have a platform feeder be very conservative about filling it in wet weather. Being totally exposed to the elements any seed out of the shell will deteriorate quickly. In the shell seeds are generally fine as long as the platform feeder has ample drainage, like a screened bottom. When I anticipate a period of rain I avoid adding any more seed to the platform feeder until the rain subsides. And before I refill it I use a putty knife, or old spatula, to quickly remove wet shell remnants.

If your tube type feeder has a tray the accumulation of shells and moisture can clog the drainage holes. Wiping the shell remnants out is easy enough using paper towels or a rag. Toothpicks are handy for cleaning out the drainage holes. And as always a good birdfeeder brush is essential to give tube feeders a deep cleaning. Warm soapy water is usually adequate but if you’ve let your feeder get really bad a mild solution of bleach and water and a few hours soaking might be necessary.

None of us really like cleaning our feeders but it really is a good and necessary thing to do if you enjoy this wonderful hobby. We hope some of these suggestions help and keep thinking sunny thoughts. The sun is bound to come back out sometime.

Product profile: Popular Nikon binoculars


This week we are profiling our most popular binoculars. Perhaps your old binos just aren’t providing you with a sharp, bright image anymore, or they’re out of alignment. Maybe your significant other has mentioned needing a pair of binoculars for hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, or ball games. Between Friday, Oct.19 and Friday, Oct. 26 all binoculars will be marked down. Come in and let us assist you to determine which ones would be best for your needs.

Nikon Monarch 7

The Monarch 7’s are our top of the line stocked Nikon binocular.The 7’s are equipped with premium ED (Extra-low dispersion) glass, lenses, and prism coatings. ED glass improves resolution and brightness to extreme levels, but also enhances your viewing experience with a wide field of view, close-focus and comfortable eye-relief.

nikon monarch 7.jpg

Customers that look through these usually say, “Oh, wow” because of the extremely bright, clean and crisp image. They are fantastic performers in low light conditions and have a nitrogen-purged housing making them fog proof/waterproof. These binoculars would satisfy for a lifetime. We stock the 8x42 and the 10x42. Available to order are the 8x30 and 10x30 models.

Monarch 7. Regularly priced 8x42 $479 10x42 $499 Now $35 Off.

What do the numbers, 8x42 and 10x42, mean?

The first number that you see (8, or 10) is the amount of magnification. So, for example, an 8 power binocular is magnifying the object you’re looking at 8 times.

The second number (42) is the measurement of the objective lens, 42 mm. The objective lens is the lens furthest from your eyes, while the ocular is the lens closest to your eyes. The objective lens is the light gathering part and influences the field of view.

Field of view is how wide an area is encompassed in the binoculars' image. It can be expressed as an angle (8°), or as the width in feet of the image at 1000 yards (420 ft.) ... Field of view is a matter of eyepiece design. More magnification usually means a narrower field of view.

Monarch 5

The Monarch 5’s have been a staple of The Wood Thrush Shop’s optics inventory for many years. In quality, they are just a notch below the 7’s and lack some of the extra features. The 5’s have ED glass producing a bright, crisp image. They have been recognized in birding magazines many times as a “best buy”.

nikon monarch 5-2.jpg

Also waterproof/fog proof, the 5’s offer some of what the more expensive binoculars have but in a more comfortable price range.

Monarch 5. Regularly priced 8x42 $299 10x42 $329 Now $25 Off

Prostaff 7

The Prostaff 7’s fit the difficult category of good optics, whether for home, out in the field birdwatching, or going to a game, at a price under $200. Multi-coated lenses, long-eye relief, and waterproof up to 3 feet of depth for 10 minutes.


The shop stocks the 8x30 and 10x30 but available to order are the 42mm models. They are not as physically small as a compact, but close. They perform, however, like a standard size binocular. Because of the smaller body these binoculars have become a popular choice for women who tend to have smaller hands. A binocular comfortable to hold is a very important factor.

Prostaff 7. Regularly priced 8x30 $189 10x30 $199 Now $20 Off

Long-eye relief defined. This is a term that every eye glasses wearer should pay attention to. It's all in the design of the eyepiece. For any binocular, there is an ideal distance that your eye should be from the eyepiece. This distance is called the eye relief. Some binoculars have eye relief of only 15mm or less. Even though the eyecups twist down to let glasses wearers get closer, it's not close enough. Such binoculars are suitable only for people who don't wear glasses.

Exactly how much eye relief you need depends on your glasses. If they are small and close to your eyes, you might get away with a binocular whose eye relief is only 15mm. Most glasses wearers need longer eye relief than that, at least 16mm or more.

Prostaff 3

The Prostaff 3’s are available in 8x42 and 10x42 models. Known for a wide field of view, being very lightweight, and having a generous eye relief, the Prostaff’3’s fit the consumer looking to spend under $150. Other features include waterproof/fog proof performance, turn and slide multi-click eyecups to fine tune comfort, and rubber armoring for shock resistance.


Proistaff 3. Regularly priced 8x42 $119 10x42 $129 Now $20 Off

We stock compact binoculars as well. The Nikon Travelite’s are known for extremely light- weight portability and are available in 8x25 and 10x25 models. The Prostaff ATB are also 8 and 10x25 and are rugged and waterproof. The Trailblazer 8x25 is the smallest of the compacts but is rugged and waterproof, perfect for tucking in a coat pocket or day pack. It comes with a carrying case that conveniently threads onto a belt.

All Compacts $15 Off including Travelite 8 and 10x25, ProStaff 8 and 10x25, Trailblazer 8x25, and the Carson 8x22.

Trailblazers 10x25

Trailblazers 10x25

Travellite 10x25

Travellite 10x25

Prostaff ATB 10x25

Prostaff ATB 10x25

Carson 8x22

And the best thing we offer for kids is the Carson 8x22 Sport Binocular. Most “kids” binoculars are so cheaply constructed with cheap materials that they are priced from $10 to about $20. From our experience with such binoculars any child is going to have a frustrating experience trying to see anything with them. And what they see will not be enhanced at all.

carson 8x22.jpg

These little Carson’s are great for small hands, easy to use, and the optics are good enough that the image will enhance the object of their viewing interest. These are great to learn on before graduating to something more serious and valuable.

Carson 8x22 Regularly priced $48 Now $33

Product Profile: Amazon Lights Garden Incense Sticks

Dozens of Wood Thrush customers have discovered this wonderful alternative to the hardware store variety of citronella candles for keeping mosquitos and no see-ems away from your favorite outdoor sitting area.  We have carried this effective product for nearly 15 years.

Amazon Lights incense sticks keep mosquitos and no see-ems away while burning emitting a pleasant aroma.  They are made from earth friendly ingredients including Brazilian andiroba, citronella, rosemary, and thyme. For best results make a perimeter around your deck, patio, or wherever you choose to be. Or if you like solo quiet time, position a single burning stick so the smoke drifts toward you. Each stick covers a 6 to 8 foot area. A stick can be placed in a small clay pot of sand or gravel and will burn for 2.5 hours, and can be extinguished and relit. Simply turn the stick burn-side down in the sand to extinguish.

Each tube contains 12 incense sticks.  That’s 30 hours of burn time for just $14.  We just got in a large order and would like more of you to discover this effective product. 

Get 20% off thru the remainder of June by mentioning this post. 

Stick them in a pot of sand or rocks. To exstinguish just invert the lit end of the stick into the pot.

You can place them almost anywhere even a potted plant.