Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

The Tomato Cage - A Boon to Songbirds

bluebird on tomato cage
barn swallow on tomato cage
Brown thasher on tomato cage
Blue gray gnatcatcher on tomato cage
blue gray gnatcatcher on tomato cage
catbird on tomato cage
house wren on tomato cage
kingbird on tomato cage
Cardinal on tomato cage
Cardinal on tomato cage

Vegetable gardens attract insects and insects attract songbirds. Often, what are missing in the garden are proper hunting perches. Cement reinforcing wire rolled into 24" circles make an ideal tomato cage both to support the plant and offer unlimited perches. The 6" openings allow birds to perch all around the plant and at any height. Early evening seems to bring the greatest variety of species to the garden at one time. The photos below were taken from the trailer blind on two evenings. Among the species that frequent the tomato cages were a bluegray gnatcatcher, a female yellow warbler, brown thrashers, bluebirds, bluejays, barn swallows, kingbirds, cardinals, house wrens, chipping sparrows and phoebes. Today, Jan 2014, I realized that I had neglected to take down the tomato cages this fall and store them in the swallow room. The deer finally drew my attention to this.

The cement reinforcing wire is expensive, but will last for many years, especially if stored inside when not in use. I use two small fence stakes to hold the cages in place, weaving the stakes between several of the horizontal wires.

One obvious note of caution - if you plan to attract birds to your garden to dine on insects, don't poison the insects first.

Brown thrasher on tomato cage
barn swallow on tomato cage
barn swallow on tomato hoop
female yellow warbler on tomato cage
chipping sparrow on tomato hoop
chipping sparrows on tomato hoop
chipping sparrows
barn swallow on tomato cage
Eastern phoebe on tomato hoop
white tail deer

2022 update - Return of the barn owls
2021 Chimney Swift tower success!!!
2020 Barn Swallow nesting
Barn swallow nest cups
2019 Barn Swallows and Black Rat Snakes

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
Black rat snakes vs barn swallows, Northern flickers, kestrels and others

2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
2017 Purple Martin prey photos
2010 - 2016 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
2019-2020 Purple Martin nesting
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
Willow flycatcher
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
turkey vulture
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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