RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Crafting Shelter for Birds, Spaces for Spring Singers – Pt. 2

March 28, 2016 1:48 am

In Part 1 of this series, we chirped about how easy it is to create better places and spaces for songbirds. In this segment, we'll zero in on getting more birds to flock to your yard.

According to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology (, "birdscaping” your yard with native vegetation is an excellent way to attract more birds. Birdscaping involves growing plants with birds in mind. Growing a variety of native plants that provide food, shelter, and potential nest sites will attract the greatest diversity of bird species.

Some plants to consider include perennials, such as black-eyed Susans; annuals, such as sunflowers for their seeds; tubular-shaped nectar-producing flowers for hummingbirds; small trees and fruiting shrubs, such as crab apple, dogwoods, viburnums and service berries; and conifers, such as pines and spruces that provide cover, seeds and nesting sites.

Be careful about possibly harming your songbird families, the Cornell lab advises. A number of bird diseases affect wild birds, and some could potentially be spread when birds congregate at feeders.

Birds can also become ill from leftover bits of seeds and seed hulls that grow molds and bacteria.

To maintain a healthy feeding garden:

• Clean your feeders every two weeks—many feeders are dishwasher-safe.

• If your feeders are not dishwasher-safe, wash them thoroughly in soapy water, then soak or rinse in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.

• Dry your feeders before refilling so that the food remains dry.

• Be sure to clean hummingbird feeders at least once a week.

• Rake the ground below your feeders to limit accumulation of waste.

To encourage more “audible” activity, the Cornell lab recommends providing adequate cover for songbirds in your yard, such as dense shrubs or piles of brush, where they can escape from predators.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How Effective Is Your Security Lighting?

March 25, 2016 1:48 am

A recent social network interaction prompted a question about whether constant all-night floodlight illumination is safer and more intimidating to vandals or burglars than the sudden bright light from a motion activated system.

That subject is addressed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention Unit. That law enforcement agency recommends single family homeowners light up the perimeter of your home during the night, including entrances, rear doors, and dark areas.

Lighting is a deterrent for someone who is tempted to commit a crime, according to the sheriff agency.
Besides suggesting the best place for outside lighting as under eaves, illuminating walls, and by gates and driveways, the San Diego sheriffs say that motion sensors are not as effective as dusk-to-dawn lighting as they can be set off easily and frequently by animals, thus desensitizing the residents to their activation.

Install a timer or photoelectric cell (sensor) on outdoor light fixtures so that they turn on automatically at dusk and go off at dawn, or simply convert your wall switch to an electric timer.

Also, ensure that surrounding landscaping does not obscure the lighting.

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) recommends the following home security lighting tips:

• Place two lights on either side of the main entry. Not only will this help homeowners locate keys and locks easier when coming and going, but it will also help you identify people through your peephole.

• Don’t use overhead lights at entrances and exits. Overhead lights will create a silhouette or cover the visitor’s face with shadows. The ideal situation is to have lower wattage lights on each side of the door at about eye level.

• For energy efficiency, use a motion-sensor and photocell combination device. This will ensure the lights only turn on at night when someone approaches your doorway. The motion sensor can also serve to alert you that someone is at your door.

Published with permission from RISMedia.