Birding

JANUARY
23
2015

FILED UNDER

The Tweet on Birds

Winter is for the birds... literally! Now's the best time to sit back and enjoy the birds. Here's some fun bird facts and answers to all your burning bird questions:

How much do birds eat?
Birds have a high metabolic rate and an average body temperate of 100 degrees (F). They need to eat constantly to store up energy for the winter months and to burn off excess heat during the summer. Birds will eat their own body weight daily.

Do I need trees, shrubs and flowers to attract birds?
Birds prefer to live and eat in areas where cover in trees and shrubs is readily available.

Why do birds come to my feeder, take a seed or two and then fly away?
Some birds, like jays and nuthatches, take a seed or two and then fly to a perch to crack open the hull. They will then hide these seeds in trees and other places for use at a later time.

Why is all the seed on the ground?
Many birds do not like certain seeds and grains used in mixes. They will discard this unwanted seed while searching for more desirable seeds and grains. The higher the content of millet, milo, corn, wheat, oats, etc., the more uneaten seed you will see on the ground.

What do I do about the squirrels?
No matter what you do, squirrels will find their way to your feeders. Make sure to supply squirrels with foods they prefer such as corn on the cob or peanuts or a specialty squirrel food somewhere away from your bird feeders. Try to use bird feeders made with metal bindings or a squirrel-proof guarantee.

Why aren’t any birds coming to my feeder?
Make sure you are using the right seed mix for the birds in your area and that the seed is fresh. You should also ensure that you are using the right feeder to attract the birds and that there are not any cats or birds of prey nearby.

Where should I put my feeder?
Make sure your feeder is close to natural cover like trees and shrubs. Tie a small piece of tin foil on your feeder so it glints in the sun. The birds will have an easier time spotting the feeder.

JANUARY
19
2015

FILED UNDER

A Little Birdy Told Me

BACKYARD BIRD WATCHING

Beauty in the garden comes from more than just plants, it also comes from the creatures that make the garden their home. Winter is our favorite time to sit back in the warmth of our homes and watch the birds flutter about. Did you know that certain types of seed will attract specific birds to your yard?

The choices in bird food are enormous, but look for a simple mixture of seed -- black oil sunflower is the favorite of seed-consuming birds and should be the largest ingredient in the bag you purchase. Check the label contents, seeds will be listed according to the most volume. Black stripe sunflower, white proso millet, sunflower chips or hearts, and nuts such as peanuts, almonds or filberts are the basis of all feeders. White proso millet doesn't belong in a seed mix because the birds that like millet prefer to eat it on the ground. The feeder birds will throw it on the ground as planned, but this will empty your feeder a lot faster than you want. There are so many fun ways to invite the birds to your yard, here's some simple things you can do:

  • Sparrows, Juncos, Towhees and Doves prefer millet and eating close to the ground.
  • Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers prefer peanuts and it is better to place them in a feeder alone. Avoid peanut hearts in your mix as they attract Starlings, considered a pest at all feeders!
  • Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, House Finches, and especially Cardinals love safflower seed when presented alone.
  • Nyjer, commonly called thistle, attracts Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Redpolls and Purple Finch. Keep this feeder away from the other feeders as Goldfinches prefer privacy.
  • Other treats birds enjoy are fruit. Orioles love oranges. Slice the fruit and spear it on a fence post for a cheap fruit feeder. There are commercial fruit feeders available, and some have a little cup to add grape jelly, another Oriole favorite. Apples and bananas are attractive to many species of birds especially Robins. Mockingbirds and Gray Catbirds love raisins. Their favorite way to be served is soaking them in warm water overnight then drain them well before putting them out.
  • Titmice love almonds, and Woodpeckers love shelled walnuts and pecans. Most of the larger nuts will not pass through the seed dispenser of all style of birdfeeders, so use a platform feeder.
  • Suet is great year-around for Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, Gray Catbirds and even Pine Warbler. Suet is not processed, so it will not become rancid.
  • Bread and human food is not recommended for bird food. Bread has little nutritional value to birds. They have a different metabolism than humans and may not be able to digest the chemicals used in some human food.
FEBRUARY
3
2014

FILED UNDER

Housekeeping for the Birds

CLEANING FEEDERS & HOUSES

Bird watching is a simple, fun, and relaxing hobby that anyone, young or old, can participate in and this time or year there's nothing better than watching colorful birds flit around your backyard. Anyone can provide a cozy little haven where birds will come to feed and perhaps eventually live simply by adding a feeder and even a bird house. But it's important to keep feeders and houses clean to avoid serious diseases. To keep your backyard friends happy and healthy, follow these simple steps:

CLEANING FEEDERS:
For the cleanest, healthiest and most attractive feeders, clean at least once a month. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned each time the nectar is refilled.


Clean All Feeder Parts - for best results and disease prevention, feeders should be cleaned inside and out, including all feeding ports, perches, lids, platforms and reservoirs. Feeder hooks, poles and any other part where birds may perch or where droppings may accumulate should also be cleaned.


Cleaning Solution - add a teaspoon of liquid soap to a bucket of water big enough for the feeder to soak. Soak the feeder and all the removable parts in the soap solution for ten minutes.

Cleaning Equipment - use a scrubbing brush and gloves to remove any stuck-on debris. Most Birdfeeder and pet supply stores have specialized brushes for different sizes and shapes of feeders; however, regular bottle brushes can also be used. Use an old toothbrush for cleaning small parts, feeding ports and tight corners.


Rinse Thoroughly - rinse the feeder in clean water.

Soak in Vinegar Solution - empty the bucket and fill it with clean water and four cups of vinegar. Soak for one hour.

Final Rinse - rinse the feeder again with clean water.

CLEANING HOUSES:
Now is the time to make sure your bird houses are clean and ready for the new houseguests. Most birdhouses are built so that you can take either the roof or the floor off for easy cleaning. Some have sliding sides, but most houses have some type of access for cleaning.

Empty out last year’s nests, and wipe the box down with a mild bleach solution. Replace the roof (or floor) and hang the box back up so it’s ready for a new brood of baby birds.

Seed Storing Tip: Keep extra seed dry, free of mold, and safe from squirrels by storing it in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, such as a clean garbage can. Discard damp seed. In wet weather, put out only enough seed to last several hours.

JANUARY
28
2014

FILED UNDER

Invite Birds To Your Yard

HOW TO MAKE A BIRDSEED WREATH

Invite the birds to your yard and bring song, color and life to your home. Bird watching is one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Their colorful and entertaining presence is fascinating to observe, especially through the long, dreary days of winter. It's always a delight to see the variety of birds that drop by for a nibble or a rest. Providing food for birds can make birds' lives easier too. Winter is a difficult time for birds and finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold. Here is a simple activity to make your own birdseed wreath to feed your backyard friends.

MATERIALS

  • Grapevine Wreath
  • Crisco
  • Birdseed
  • String or Twine
  • Berries

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Tie string or twine to the wreath making about a 4-inch loop.
  2. Spread Crisco on the wreath form.
  3. Sprinkle birdseed on the wreath as desired.
  4. Decorate with berries from your yard.
  5. Hang near a window so you can enjoy watching the birds!
JANUARY
26
2014

FILED UNDER

Backyard Birding

Invite the birds to your yard and bring song, color and life to your home.

  1. Plants as a food source. Birds are attracted to seeds, berries, fruits and nectar. A successful bird garden includes plants that bear these foods. Remember that a variety of plants attract the greatest diversity of bird species. Some plants to consider include black-eyed susans and sunflowers for their flowers and seeds; tubular-shaped, nectar-producing flowers to attract hummingbirds; trees and fruiting plants such as crabapples, dogwoods, serviceberries, sumacs, and viburnums.
  2. A Place for nesting and protection. A variety of bushy shrubs, canopy trees and groundcovers provide the nooks and crannies birds need to nest and find food. These plants provide shade from the sun and protection from wind and rain. Conifers such as pines and spruces provide cover, sap, seeds, and nesting sites; and deciduous trees such as oaks, chestnuts, and hickories provide nuts and good nesting locations.You can also provide man-made shelters like houses and roosting pockets as seen above.
  3. Water. Wild birds need a continuous supply of fresh clean water at all times of the year, for both drinking and bathing. During the colder months, fresh unfrozen water is just as important. A source of water can dramatically increase the number of wild birds you attract in your backyard.
  4. Supplemental Food. Plants may not always supply sufficient food for our fine feathered friends. By placing seed or suet in a feeder you can attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. Place your feeders in a quiet area where they are easy to see and convenient to refill. Place feeders close to natural cover, such as trees or shrubs, which offer refuge to birds as they wait their turn to feed. Evergreens are ideal, as they provide thick foliage that hides birds from predators and buffers winter winds.
  5. Groundcover. Many birds such as sparrows, thrashers and thrushes find their food among fallen leaves and groundcover. Low, spreading groundcovers that provide berries are good choices.
JANUARY
25
2013

FILED UNDER

For the Birds...

Bird has become one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Surveys reveal that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds.

So what, you may ask, has made watching birds the fastest growing hobby in the country second only to gardening? The attraction is obvious ~ feeding birds brings them closer, so we can see them more easily. Their colorful and entertaining presence is fascinating to observe, especially through the long, dreary days of winter. Setting up a backyard bird feeder can make birds' lives easier too. Winter is a difficult time for birds, and finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold.



What should you serve your bird visitors for dinner? If you want to attract many different species of birds, you'll need to offer a variety of foods. In most areas, black-oil sunflower seed tends to attract the greatest variety of birds. It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and a high fat content. Since it is small and thin-shelled, it is easy for small birds, like the Tufted Titmouse, to handle and crack. Striped sunflower seeds, which are larger, have thicker seed coats.

Although sunflower seeds are the all-round favorite, especially for tree-dwelling birds, some birds prefer other types of food. Blackbirds enjoy corn, whereas many ground-feeding birds, like doves, prefer white millet or red milo.

Be wary of commercial seed mixes. They are often a mixture of sunflower seeds plus a high proportion of less appealing "fillers" such as millet, oats, wheat, flax, buckwheat seeds, and red milo. Birds tend to pick out the prized sunflower seeds and leave the rest. Instead, try making your own birdseed mix. Pour about 25 pounds of black-oil sunflower seed, 10-pounds of white proso millet, and 10 pounds of cracked corn into a clean trash can. Use a broom handle to mix it up.
 Be sure to store your bird food carefully. Keep seed in a dry, cool place, in a rodent-proof, metal can. Be sure to check the seed often for mold, and throw out any seed that is questionable.

DECEMBER
17
2012

FILED UNDER

For the Birds

Bird watching is one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Surveys reveal that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds. What has made watching birds the fastest growing hobby in the country second only to gardening? The attraction is obvious - feeding birds brings them closer, so we can see them more easily. Their colorful and entertaining presence is fascinating to observe, especially through the long, dreary days of winter. It's always a delight to see the variety of birds that drop by for a nibble or a rest. Setting up a backyard bird feeder can make birds' lives easier too. Winter is a difficult time for birds, and finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold.

Still looking for that unique gift for the person on your list that has everything? Drop in and checkout the selection of Droll Yankees squirrel-proof bird feeder, and put an end to those daylight robbers cleaning out your bird seed and chasing off the birds. Select from the Droll Yankee Flipper or Whipper.

YANKEE FLIPPER

  • Microban antimicrobial technology fights the growth of damaging bacteria, mold, and mildew.
  • Birds will not set it off, not even larger species like Woodpeckers and Cardinals. But the minute a squirrel hops on to the perch, the motor is triggered and the feeder begins spinning, taking the squirrel for a whirl before it loses its grip and is thrown gently from the perch.
  • The seed tube is generous in height, making it impossible for squirrels to hang down from the top reach seed.
  • The four feeding ports are easily accessible via the perch ring.
  • The heavy metal cap fits snugly on the tube to prevent squirrels from lifting it to reach the seed.
  • The clear feeder tube makes the seed visible to the birds, a proven advantage.
  • Lifetime Warranty against squirrel damage.

YANKEE WHIPPER

  • Microban antimicrobial technology fights the growth of damaging bacteria, mold, and mildew.
  • Features four seed ports with individual weight sensitive perches.
  • Curved perch design encourages cardinals and small songbirds to eat, but prevents squirrels from feeding.
  • Each perch is individually sprung and calibrated for birds up to the weight of a cardinal (approx. 2 oz.)
  • The heavy metal cap is constructed to prevent squirrels from raising the cap and reaching the seed inside.
  • Internal baffle design delivers the seed to the ports.
  • The 4-3/4" x 21" clear feeder tube is made of UV stabilized polycarbonate for long lasting durability without yellowing.
  • Hangs from a looped stainless steel wire that reduces motion that would spill seed. Add a Locking Chain to secure it against falls.
  • Lifetime Warranty against squirrel damage