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A treat for fledgling bird-watchers

By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers

5:41 PM EST, March 6, 2014

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Here's a way — assuming Nature cooperates — of watching birds nest and raise a family from the comfort of your home.

The My Spy Birdhouse attaches to a window, letting bird-watchers do just that, up close and personal. The birdhouse has three plastic sides; the fourth is a clear panel that faces the window. A sheet of two-way mirror film sticks to the home's window, allowing those inside the house to see the birds without them spying back at you.

The unit is approximately 4 inches by 6 inches by 8 inches, typically the perfect size for wrens, chickadees and other small species. You will not see horned owls nesting outside your window.

There are a couple of concerns. The unit is made of plastic, so should it fall to the ground, it could shatter. One way around that is not to rely on the suction cups alone. The birdhouse comes with small squares of double-sided tape, but they may not be sufficient either. Perhaps secure the birdhouse to a windowsill.

The instructions suggest when and where to locate the unit (March is a good time to set it up; put it at least 5 feet above the ground; have it face north or east to minimize hot afternoon sun; locate it away from a busy street, etc.). And if a bird-watcher wants further tips, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch program also offers detailed lessons on nest box locations (nestwatch.org).

The birdhouse, plus shipping, is about $23. It can be ordered at myspybirdhouse.com.