Unique Birdhouses for Cowpoke Wannabe’s


September 1, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:07 pm

unique birdhouse is cowboy attireLet’s face it, housing isn’t for everyone, but birds who do use houses will try to set up shop in just about any cavity they deem good for rearing chicks.

These include crevices in trees and older abandoned holes from woodpeckers and others who’ve already done the work of excavation.

These spots are becoming more and more scarce, simply invaluable to feathered friends! Competition for these natural nest sites increases tenfold with every passing year, it’s a housing crisis for the birds :(

Especially favored among residents like bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and Carolina wrens (to name a few) are proper bird houses! In early spring males will scout territory and nesting sites, from unique birdhouses to natural cavities, they look for suitable and impressive digs to entice a mate.

Some will have only one brood or clutch, or nesting for the season, whereas bluebirds may go onto a 2nd or even 3rd brood! This is why it’s important to remove nests and tidy up bird houses once babies have fledged. So that the spot may be utilized again and maybe even again after that in a single season.

The cowboy birdhouse would be pretty impressive for the Mrs.! It’s durable poly-stone (which helps regulate ambient temperatures) complete with bottom clean-out and 1.5-inch entry. Plus it’s cute as all with western flair and fine detail.

A little larger scale but still great space for a bird family is the cowboy hat birdhouse! This one’s metal so it’s best placed in the shade. Actually full sun on any birdhouse can be detrimental in summer’s heat. Always best to minimize direct exposure to early morning if possible – avoid late afternoon sun at all costs… it’s just too hot for nestlings inside the house.

Large Cowboy Hat Unique BirdhouseKeep your bird houses up through winter as they provide ideal roosting spots on cold nights and protection from predators. Although migration is underway for many species, resident birds will stick around through winter if the habitat is suitable.

Offering fresh water (heated birdbath), a variety of food (seed and suet) and places to roost (housing and mature trees and shrubs) will ensure feathered friends grace your place through winter doldrums :)

A Straight Up Kind of Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder


August 26, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 4:55 am

Squirrel Proof Seed FeederBy straight up we mean no gadgets, gizmos or batteries- just a straight up good design that works well! The Classic Feeders by BirdsChoice, and The Big Top by Droll Yankees are two off the bat. Nuttery has been making their cool feeders for 20 years. Wildly popular in the UK, and now available in the US. They’re mod and colorful squirrel proof bird feeders for peanuts, suet or seed.Caged Squirrel Proof bird feeder by Nuttery

 

 

The horizontal launching point (HLP) must always be considered when placing ANY feeder. What is HLP? Ok, we made it up but it really does exist! When furry acrobats are able to access a feeder by jumping sideways from a structure, tree, limb, fence, or anything which might present them a launching opportunity! Some can fly as far as 8-10 feet sideways.

Although the term squirrel-proof is used rather loosely, we’re not sure if anything really and truly fits the bill? But there are definitely some feeders that fall within 98%.

In hanging or pole mount with built-in baffle, the Classic is… well pretty much classic! It’s been around at least 25 years which says something for the design itself. The hanging style comes in two sizes with a weather guard to protect seed ports and birds from rain and snow. Squirrels just can’t reach down far enough to access seed. With the pole-mount feeder (weather guard optional) they can not get passed the baffle… it’s both genius and simple and above all, time-tested.

Cassic squirrel proof bird feeder

No need to make a headache for yourself (or your birds) when there’s some great squirrel-resistant feeders out there!

Cool Hummingbird Feeders Sized Right for Migration


August 17, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:57 am

Single Port Glass Hummingbird Feeder by ParasolOnce again the tiny sprites are gearing up for their southern trek to winter breeding grounds. Their task at hand: fatten up for the long journey.

If it seems the tiny birds have had big attitudes guarding their feeders, just wait… you ain’t seen nothing yet if it happens to be your first season hosting the winged wonders!

Crazy, absolutely crazy behavior fussing and fighting over one, two even three feeders at a time- and rightly so. This time of year, survival depends on being plump and fueled up for migration to central and South America.

An additional nectar source, like this cool hummingbird feeder may very well help to alleviate some of the territorial behavior. If your feeder is in back, place another in front, or at least out of view from the original feeder.

Should your gang actually get along well enough to sip side-by-side, the new Hum-Bar is the coolest! We can’t wait to try this on for size.HUM-BAR Hummingbird Feeder

A whole new way to feed hummingbirds, it’s orientation is horizontal – imagine that? The two-foot long tube features 22 red flower feeding ports. Nectar is distributed evenly, without adding so much that some goes to waste. The feeder accommodates an ant moat if necessary and hangs from two sturdy adjustable cords. Flexible hanging options allows the cords to be gathered at top so the feeder may also hang from a single hook. It’s not too late in the season to think about additional feeders because the sprites will be back next spring… and they remember your yard and feeders. Site fidelity is just one more cool behavior hummingbirds practice.

This cool hummingbird feeder’s design has been patented and hummer-approved, check out the action below!

Come See the Raptors at WBU – Sat, Aug 15th


August 6, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:30 am

Learn all about raptors up close and personalSave the date ~ Saturday, August 15th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM

It’s a great opportunity for kids and grown-ups to meet some local raptors up close and personal! Beth Thomas (wildlife educator) is bringing 5 of her majestic birds for a presentation with Q&A’s and photo ops.

Our local Wild Birds Unlimited in Dallas, GA happens to be celebrating their 10-year anniversary with a special day of learning, fun, refreshments and savings… raffles for products and face painting for kids included!

If you reside anywhere nearby, it’s worth the trek to come see the owls and hawks like you’ve never seen them before!

And as for Milo, tuxedo resident rescue feline (and head honcho) well… he will be AWOL for the day :)

When it’s Just too Darn Hot for the Birdbath!


July 31, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:13 pm

Natural texture birdbath but water is too warm Mr. Chipping sparrow needs to cool off, he enters the naturally textured birdbath with gentle slope as it’s quite enticing. But surprise! You reside in Atlanta where it’s hotter than Hades right now and the bath water isn’t just warm… it’s hot :(

Not so refreshing… except for the gentle spray from the leaf mister above! Like the shoemaker’s daughter with worn shoes, our own mister at home is really old with a slight drip. But the drip is ideal over a birdbath as it keeps the water moving (no mosquitoes) and adds fresh, cool water on a slow and steady basis. Birds are absolutely wild for it! So much so, they sit and wait for the misters to start every morning, it’s like a virtual bird spa.

This mister is attached to an old metal… not sure what it is, but a simple plastic plant stake with twist-tie works great. Even the garden benefits with ease of mobility, moving the stake around to different sections each day. Gardens grow lush, and birds love taking leaf baths too!

mister placed above a large ground birdbath is ideal

goldfinch at mister above birdbath

When placed over a birdbath, leaf misters offer fresh and cool water for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Activity is pretty amazing on warm summer days. Stagnant water is no fun for anyone when temperatures remain in the 90’s. Adding a water feature like a dripper, solar fountain or water wiggler to your birdbath will bring it to life, entice more birds, and keeps water fresher for longer periods of time.

The whole set-up is shown below and it’s simple to recreate. The misters come with everything to be up & running in minutes! With 50 feet of tubing, it attaches to the outdoor spigot, complete with Y-valve that keeps garden hose free for use. Extra tubing is optional, and we can promise (from personal experience) birds LOVE these things!

Leaf mister and birdbath simple set-up

Swell Recipe for Window Bird Feeders & Surprise of the Day!


July 28, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:05 pm

Cardinal enjoying seed mix at recycled window bird feeder Experimenting with a home-made seed mix the other day, a double take was certainly in order as I glanced beyond the window feeder… discovering two of the biggest visitors ever!

But first the delectable mix that so many bird species seem to adore, it’s perfect for tray style window bird feeders and any type of platform or dish feeder too. There’s no measuring and it mixes up easily in a gallon zip-lock bag. With a little something for everyone, many bird species have been spotted taste testing!

  • 1 No-Melt suet cake, finely crumbled (we use peanut or orange)
  • 2 handfuls of shelled peanuts
  • 2 handfuls of dried mealworms
  • 2 handfuls of sunflower hearts
  • Mix well by shaking bag vigorously

The yummy mix is full of fat & protein, and we’ve seen chickadees, titmice, cat birds, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, woodpeckers and others trying it on for size. Approval seems unanimous, definitely a keeper!

And the big visitors? Take a gander at these 4-legged birds! Living in a subdivision it’s not everyday one sees horses grazing freely, but that’s what was out there! Failing to snap a photo of them loose in the back because panic ensued and who to call was the task at hand. After reaching animal control services, I was most relieved to hear the horse’s people were indeed looking for them, and they arrived in minutes.  Off they went- end of excitement for the day, the pony sure was a little cutie, he’s the one who likely pushed the gate open too!Loose horses caught and headed home

 

Hummingbird Feeders and Mascara?


July 25, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:33 pm

tube style hummingbird feeder with unique design What could the two possibly have in common, make-up and hummingbird feeders? Seems like a strange combination… but it’s in the applicator brush. Save it, save every one prior to tossing your mascara!Mascara brush detail-use it for cleaning hummingbird feeders

Regardless of using tube style hummingbird feeders or basin designs – they all have feeder ports which are difficult to clean. A mascara brush is the absolute perfect solution for reaching in and and scrubbing these tiny ports. Of course you’ll want to first sanitize the brush by running it through your dishwasher, or place it in boiling water to completely remove all residue as chemicals are harmful, probably even fatal to hummingbirds.

The tiny brushes are ideal for all types of other bird feeders and their hard to clean spots. These small spaces that are hard to reach usually accumulate crud (another word for mold and bacteria build-up). It’s imperative to bird’s health to keep any feeder from growing crud in the first place.

And forget about the “red myth” for both nectar and feeders themselves… it’s not true! We think the tiny sprites actually prefer home-made nectar over commercial mixes. Plain table sugar and water is it, that’s all you need. 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water. Store nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. No need to even boil the water, but we boil one cup just to dissolve sugar more effectively. Adding 3 cups of cold water also alleviates any wait for cooling time. You can fill feeders immediately and hang.

Ana Pink Hummingbird Feeder looks fab among purple and pink flowersSo many fun styles and colors that add interest to the garden, deck, patio or balcony! Hummingbirds will go for them provided nectar is fresh and there’s no other pests around causing competition (ants. bees, wasps and yellow jackets). Leaking sugar water is the main culprit in attracting pests, so keep feeders clean and use an ant moat if the need arises. Place feeders away from windy areas as a rocking/moving feeder causes spillage. The sweet sticky stuff is a magnet for other visitors who are not so welcome.

Thanks Sephora for the mascara image above!

 

An Old Favorite Wild Bird Feeder is Back


July 22, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:42 am

The bottle bird feeder makes a gift that keeps on giving!

It takes all kinds… all kind of feeders that is. For suet, peanuts, mealworms, nectar, fruit, jelly, nyjer, where does one start? Let’ go with basic seed in a not so basic feeder! Headed to a house-warming or birthday party? Something like this wild bird feeder is perfect when you’d like to bring a little more than a bottle of vino. Long after consumption, this gift keeps on giving! Even if the recipient isn’t into the birding scene… it’s a fantastic way to to introduce them to one of the fastest growing and most enjoyable hobbies around!

Handcrafted in GA, the bottle feeder quickly mounts just about anywhere, and birds flock to it immediately! The stash stays dry and protected from elements, while drainage in the tray keeps things from getting messy. Black oil sunflower or mixed seed works best, we prefer sunflower hearts or a no-waste mix as it leaves little ground mess. Many feathered species prefer sunflower hearts too; chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, bluebirds will eat this seed in winter, finches and woodpeckers… to name just a few of the usual suspects!

For a limited time, the bottle feeder is back because the artist says they just take too long to make! Wildly popular on Pinterest a few years ago, the bird feeder looks like something you could easily make yourself, maybe so if you’re the handy type? The one thing we do know is birds love this feeder and it’s perfect for year-round use.

Butterfly Feeders for Unique Garden Accents and Monarchs


July 11, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:02 pm

Butterfly Feeder/Bath on Tall StakeBuzz about the Monarch’s dwindling population is more than justified. You may have heard about it, but if not check this fact: Since the mid-90’s their decline has reached 90% from the 20-year average. What’s this mean in terms of real numbers? Swap monarchs for people for a second, every person in the US would be gone except for those living in just two states!

One of the biggest reasons for their decline is believed to be the disappearance of milkweed- the Monarch caterpillar’s only food source, and also the only plant on which Monarchs will lay their eggs. To name a few other culprits; urban sprawl, extreme weather, new farming practices and illegal logging in the butterflies’ winter habitat in Mexico.

Offering suitable habitat and butterfly feeders really does help the local Monarch population. Don’t bother with houses… they don’t use them! Both can be fantastic and unique garden accents – with feeders being much more useful. Butterflies also adore leaf misters, set one up near lantana or any other nectar-producing plant and you’re bound to see some winged action!

The butterfly feeders above are handmade, blown glass flowers on a 36-inch stake. They’re versatile for nectar or fruit, and for songbirds too. The hanging butterfly feeder below has been tested and approved by butterfly experts. A special combination of wicks and tubes mimic real flower blossoms, the design and color attracts butterflies and the nectar reservoir size is ideal to minimize spoilage.hanging butterfly feeder in use

This season, Swallowtails have been spotted in our butterfly habitat, but no Monarchs yet :( Still a few months for their presence in the southeast… we’ll continue to feed and keep watch for the winged wonders!Butterfly getting nectar from flowers  Butterfly habitat with leaf mister

Opportunistic Robins and More Wait Below this Mealworm Feeder


July 7, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 2:42 am

Mealworm feeders with juvenile bluebirdThe worms crawl in-the worms crawl out… of some mealworm feeders!

See them in the back, on the right side? Escapees! It’s problematic enough when cat birds and cardinals and warblers start in on your live worms, after all-they’re meant for the bluebirds. Recent fledges are learning to use the feeders, so it’s a real bummer when they figure it out and it’s empty :(

Robins, chipping sparrows, cardinals, towhees, chickadees, titmice and still others have learned that sometimes it rains worms. They’ll sit below this screened mealworm feeder and wait for the manna to fall… and it does.

Not to say the design is sub-par, just maybe not the best choice for offering live mealies. Dried worms and other bluebird treats are ideal in this hanging feeder, but the tooth (screen texture) gives the live ones a good grip and path to exit stage left!orb mealworm-feeder

The new steel Orb Feeder features an acrylic cup, a nice smooth surface that keeps worms put, that is until titmice and chickadees discover them. And the blue dish shown above is also a nice smooth surface, one from where worms can not escape.

Something we’ve experimented with this season (and is quite successful) is offering more of the dried worms – much more economical. But the trick is to soften them first so that parents will feed them babies. Steeping dried meal worms in boiling water for about ten minutes-then draining, is ideal if you’re a backyard bird freak like us :)

So a good basic rule of thumb is that live worms do much better when placed on a smooth surface! Should too many worms be disappearing altogether, an enclosed feeder is likely best. Bluebirds are one of the few who will “fly-in” a feeder. Without fail, Carolina wrens are always the first to figure it out!

With so many new fledges out and about, it’s a great time to try offering mealworms if you never have in the past. One way to stretch worms and make them lat longer is to use a mixture. One of our recipes includes a no-melt suet cake (crumbled), shelled peanuts and a few sunflower hearts… the birds love it!