Got the Crazies Around Your Hummingbird Feeders?


September 25, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:42 pm

The frenzy around our hummingbird feeders is later than usual this year! Folks to the north are still reporting brisk activity this last week of September. Possibly due the hottest August on record (though they say that every year) this month has been fairly steamy as well.

So at this rate, in just a few short years, the East Coast should be seeing hummingbirds close to 9 months out of the year… right? Lucky are those who see the sprites year-round, we’re envious. The end of August used to see peak migration “crazies” at feeders. Birds are fiercer than ever, with juveniles now contending for nectar as well.

Do the birds a favor and hang an extra feeder, even a cheap plastic one serves them well during migration. Nectar can be mixed a little stronger too. Pure can sugar (nothing else-no substitutes please) at a ratio of 1:4, may be kicked up a notch at 1:3. That’s one cup of sugar to 3 cups of water… and only at migration since birds are seeking to fatten up. The extra calories add fuel for their long journey to Central and South America.

Keep the nectar really fresh! During sweltering heat in the mid-90’s, it really should be changed about every other day. Our 7 hummingbird feeders keep us busy… but their delight is so worth the work! Note the pink mandevilla vine, hibiscus and penta as they also provide nectar for the sprites.

If you’ve ever placed a sprinkler out to water grass or flowers… please consider running it for the birds sometimes. Moving water, especially fresh, cool water is an absolute oasis for all songbirds. We can’t even say enough about leaf misters for feathered friends!

If you’re sad because hummingbird season is drawing to a close for your locale… don’t fret. Like Arnold, they’ll be back! It’s called site fidelity, and if hummingbirds were happy at your place this year, they do remember and return next year. It’s actually a pretty amazing cycle for such a tiny yet special little bird.

Safe travels little ones… we’ll catch ya on the flip-side!

Fancy Butterfly Feeders not Required


September 9, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:49 pm

Discarded fruit makes awesome butterfly feeders

Migratory winged ones are on the move!

It’s an awesome time of year to catch the action not only of feathered friends- but butterflies too!

Although we’ve nary seen a monarch this year (so very sad) a few other butterfly species have been prevalent. Several Swallowtails, Sulphurs and Viceroys to name a few. And even though we have a great selection on our website… they’re not coming to any fancy butterfly feeders.

A few alternative options to actual butterfly feeders:
•Discarded fruit- provided it’s not too far gone
•Nectar producing flowers- preferably native
•Leaf misters

These things absolutely work to entice the flying jewels! Leaf misters offer a gentle spray which butterflies adore, you can see them dance and flit through the fine mist. In fact, it’s almost mesmerizing! Their own personal spa, leaf misters also have gardens growing lush. Use these year after year, ours are going on their 10th season!

Discarded fruit is a no-brainer; from oranges, to melons, pears, apples and bananas, place fruit on a deck rail, plate, or anywhere near flowers where you’ve seen the least bit of butterfly activity.

And the flowers? We prefer native perennials. Again, you’ll get year after year of blooms and activity. Lantana is is one of the more common plants in the southeast, in fact it’s almost invasive! Butterfly or milk weed is also a popular host plant. Pollination Trifecta in this video with hummingbird, bees and butterflies on one plant!

Plan next spring with a few vegetables specifically for butterfly host plants; dill, fennel and parsley are ideal plants to host black swallowtails, and milkweed is a must for monarch caterpillars!

Another easy DIY is creating a waterless pond for butterflies to warm in the sun. Simply place heat-aborbing rocks (so they’re flat) in a sunny spot, add sand and salt and keep moist. You may wish to line the area first with plastic to keep salt out of soil. Sort of a crude version of the popular butterfly puddlers.butterfly puddler

And one last tip on feeding butterflies: They do not drink from an open water source. When using butterfly feeders like this staked one below, place a sponge in the center to soak up nectar. This acts as a wick where butterflies draw nectar like they do in nature from flowers.

Staked Butterfly Feeder

 

 

Ok, maybe we’re wrong, the really really last tip: Stop using chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. Natural is the new landscape, manicured, pristine lawns and gardens are a thing of the past. Do it for butterflies, do it for all pollinators, most of all… do it for the human race!

We’ve Gone to Pot in the Garden!


September 4, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:27 pm

Large broken pot planterNo, we’re not really partying for Labor Day Weekend, just revamping the garden pots & planters section. We’ve curated a a couple of new pots likely worthy of a look!

The Large broken Pot Planter is versatile for year-round use indoors or out, lightweight and fun to use. For succulents and miniature plants in magic fairy garden, to herbs and air plants, change this one up for festive holiday decor.Broken Pot Planter

Theme it for fall, for your fairies, Christmas, Easter, spring or beach…the sky’s the limit! With double wall construction and ample drainage, plants will grow healthy & strong, it’s USA made and made to last.

Wall Pocket Planters have long been popular, especially for small spaces. In oodles of styles from rustic to modern, we’ve located a handmade pottery version with character to make any boring wall pop with personality!

With the wild popularity of succulents lately, the Troll Wall Pocket Planter promises to make a plain space fun!Troll Wall Pocket Planter

One last planter, also handmade pottery is the Living Wreath Planter. Another popular style, most are wire frame requiring moss or some form of liner, others are done in wood, and some in metal. Forget the mess and go with a sturdy, self-hanging terra-cotta model.

This one works for a table display as well. When used flat, try a candle or two and some fresh flower stems to create your own masterpiece. Dress the Living Wreath for any holiday or event, easy hanging chain lets you bring to the sink for occasional watering.

Living wreath planter

And somebody please tell this robin how silly she looks on this Troll Planter! Then again… it looks like a pretty successful brood. No guarantees for nesting though 🙂

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Troll Planter with Robin's Nest

Happy Robin babies in the Wall Pocket Planter

 

 

 

Hacks for a Bird Feeder Bracket


August 18, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 4:11 pm

bird-feeder-bracket-with misterVersatility is really the name of the game when it comes to wild bird feeding accessories. For any investment, you want it to last and you want it for year-round use (should resident birds stick around your locale).

Well, these bird feeder brackets aren’t just for feeders! Several types of quality hardware brackets offer options to entice birds year round; with food in winter or fresh water in sweltering heat.

This long-reach deck-mounted bracket holds a mister out over the front porch in summer. The arm swivels making it simple to redirect the water every few days. The garden below has grown amazingly lush, and birds & butterflies both adore the mister’s gentle spray. Adult birds will fly through soaking up water in their wings and return to the nest cooling off babies. Pretty cool really… both literally and figuratively!

Round Bird Feeder Brackets like these also attach to a deck or porch rail. If the kitchen sink happens to be at a window overlooking the deck- then bam… you’ve got the ultimate window feeder too! The bracket’s perfect for a birdbath as well. No that’s not a potato, it’s a large rock used to weight down the copper bowl. Any idea how many people ask if that’s a potato?

Bird Feeder Bracket for Deck Rail

There are also brackets you can easily attach to an existing pole system. The extra arm allows for hanging 2 or 3 more feeders (or a bird bath).

Just because something is packaged/labeled a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t use it for something else. Wild bird feeding can include trial & error whether you’re just starting out or have been at it for years. Squirrels raiding the feeder? Move it and learn about baffles. No takers in your birdbath? Change the water more often and add some rocks for easy footing. Finches not eating thistle seed? Change it… it’s likely old & stale or worse, moldy. Stuff like this makes a world of difference to birds and your bird-watching enjoyment!

Experimenting and being innovative is part of the fun… because when you’re successful, the rewards are so worth the time & effort! Just feed the birds for some additional happiness in your world. See below (from the Auk-ward) birds-bring-happiness cartoon from Auk-Wardfor solid proof 🙂

Grab an Ant Moat to Help Keep Nectar Fresh


August 7, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:20 am

ant moat in use with hummingbird feeder

You may have noticed increased activity at your hummingbird feeders because the “crazies” are upon us! The downward stretch to summer’s end, when the tiny sprites are gearing up for Southern migration. As the slower traffic at feeders and nesting come to an end, hummingbirds are busy getting as fat as they can for the long journey home.

Ant moats may or may not be critical to your hummingbird feeder’s popularity. Simply put, it takes just one ant in nectar to ruin the party! The good-for-nothing pests must emit something extremely nasty for hummers to ignore sweet nectar… especially when you’ve just changed it and hung a sparkly clean feeder. It’s so annoying!

Avoid the headache and try an ant moat if you don’t use them yet. This minimal investment will yield big results, but you mustn’t let water evaporate for moats to function properly. One hack is to add a drop of salad oil to the water because it slows evaporation in extreme heat.

But other songbirds (for some strange reason) enjoy drinking from the moats! It’s rather strange when six birdbaths, two misters and a bubbler fountain are part of the garden habitat… we know this first-hand! Here’s a clever ant moat that works in a completely different fashion- by eliminating the evaporation process. you fill it just once or twice per month! It’s called the Detourant and looks like this:Clever Ant Moatfor hummingbird feeders

Although other songbirds won’t be able to sip from it, this ant moat just about guarantees pest-free nectar for your hummingbirds… year after year and for many seasons to come! And if hummingbirds are still passing by your feeder without partaking – for pete’s sake… please change the nectar 🙂

Got Land? Copper Roof Birdhouses Set the Stage for Elegance


August 2, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:27 am

large-copper-roof-birdhouses
They’re our biggest and baddest vinyl birdhouses yet!

Like Purple Martins, these large copper roof birdhouses require estate-size grounds, or at the very least- ample open space to showcase all of their majesty. Like building a giant house on a lot that’s too small, it will stand out like a sore thumb… and martin scouts will surely ignore theses fine accommodations.

Classic architectural style is both appealing and desired by many a home-owner. Some even ask us how to keep birds out? And that’s okay if you love the birdhouse but choose not to host birds. It’s far better to plug the holes than let dreaded, non-native house sparrows nest here.

Standing 54-inches tall, there’s pure elegance from tip of copper finial to bottom of vinyl/PVC mounting bracket. No wood is ever used in their construction, rendering them impervious to the elements and to insect damage. In short, these stately copper/vinyl birdhouses will never rot, warp, split or crack. To remove environmental build-up, take the garden hose right to them with mild soap and cloth.

Copper Roof Birdhouses with two roof options

Bright copper roofs remain shiny-new for at least 3 to 4 years prior to weathering. Because of special lacquer which preserves the newness, copper turns dark upon weathering and continues to do so. You won’t see the beautiful patina color because the copper is treated. Should the blue-green patina tickle your fancy, then that’s the way to go! It remains indefinitely with no weathering as this roof is crafted using an acid wash and heating process.

Closer to home (ours anyway) smaller size birdhouses with just as much elegance and detail are more common. New for 2017, there’s even a copper/vinyl bluebird house with lift-up door for easy monitoring. Ample ventilation and drainage keep babies cozy and nests dry. It also includes a vinyl mounting bracket suitable for post, fence or tree. You can bet we nabbed one of these for our own bluebirds!

The other birdhouse with 4 compartments, is a modest 10×10 that’s 28-inches tall. It’s hosted both nuthatches and chickadees simultaneously! So not only do our copper roof birdhouses look like wood, they come in small to estates sizes, and best of all… they’re bird-approved!

To learn more about using birdhouses and the problematic English house sparrow or European Starling, please check out Sialis.org for some some very useful, eye-opening info. Find trouble-shooting tips for hosting bluebirds and other native cavity dwellers.

Copper Roof Bluebird HouseCopper Roof Birdhouse with four compartments

Stained Glass Bird Feeder Sale Colors!


July 20, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:56 pm

Teal Stained Glass Bird Feeder Copper and Stained Glass Bird Feeder in Pearl WhiteThere’s some fab colors on sale, the teal house gone for good, but a few teal and dark blue stained glass bird feeders are up for grabs!

With hand hammered copper roof, these hanging feeders offer large hoppers for versatile seed options from tiny thistle to chunky mixes with peanuts, so capacity varies from 3 to 5 lbs. We recommend hanging the birdhouses in a shady area, or at least one that receives morning sun only. The white glassBlack Cherry Stained Glass Bird Feeder feeder is available, as is black cherry (birdhouse is shown for color reference).

Non-porous, smooth surface is easier to clean and healthier for birds too, no cracks or crevices for bacteria to settle into or mold to develop. Ample drainage in copper trays helps keep seed dry. Ventilation & drainage on birdhouses keep nests and babies cozy and dry.

Highly functional art for the garden, their rich color will never fade and light reflects beautifully. Squirrels can not chew them to shreds… in fact, they can’t chew the copper or glass at all! Roofs lift for easy filling & cleaning or nest removal with houses. Self hanging twisted copper chain makes them a snap to hang, from a bracket, feeder pole or branch. Simply use a clear, unobtrusive baffle if squirrels are persistent at feeders (most are).

Handmade in the USA, and definitely bird-approved, they make for elaborate and stunning gifts for any occasion. Splendid idea to nab one on sale and stash it away for an impressive holiday gift that sparkles!

And hey, there’s even a pink one… because real men hang pink birdhouses 🙂

Pink stained glass bird feeder

A Whole New Bevy of Rustic Wood Birdhouses


July 12, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:59 am

Rustic Wood Birdhouses are very bird-friendlyReady for upload to the site and occupancy by some feathered friends… Charlie’s done good with these new (old) rustic wood birdhouses!Tall Church Wood Birdhouse is one-of-a-kind

You won’t find them on store shelves, nor online because they’re locally made and signed by the artist (who actually enjoys his own backyard birds too). You may however find them around Atlanta as he’s been creating these unusual bird homes for the past 16 years.

No plywood on these church birdhouses, the wood is truly salvage from barns and other structures around GA and NC. Clean-outs are located either on back or with removable floor.

1.5-inch entry makes them ideal for bluebirds, Carolina wrens, chickadees, titmice and possibly a downy… these houses offer ideal digs to raise young. Lots of ventilation and proper drainage keep nests dry & cozy for chicks. Bluebirds may take to a 3rd brood this season in them, and others will find them an awesome roost for cold nights this coming winter.

Ringing bells and re-purposed hardware, along with old world jewel tones make each bird house unique for the collector (and avid backyard birder too). Very bird-friendly, they’ll host many successful broods and fledges over the years!

But it’s first come-first served as limited quantities exist. Expected for sale later this week, keep an eye out for these very functional, very unique rustic wood birdhouses!

Little or No Traffic at Hummingbird Feeders?


July 6, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 4:34 pm

unique hummingbird feedersDon’t fret… it could very well pick up soon!

The most likely reason for a decline in winged traffic could be that birds are nesting. They seem to visit hummingbird feeders a little less often. Once eggs hatch, mama is buy looking for insects to feed her chicks. It would be fairly tough for her to bring back nectar for them!

Another reason could be nuisance birds. Blue jays, grackles, starlings are considered by many folks (and other birds) to be a plan old pain in the a$$. They’re lumped into a category termed “bully birds”. Jays have been known to kill both baby and adult hummingbirds, so if you have these boisterous birds in your yard- the sprites may not visit feeders as often.

Freshness counts! In steamy summer weather when temps soar into the 90’s, nectar should really be changed every two days at minimum. Sugar ferments in heat and it’s not good for the birds. Over on Facebook, there’s a group called Hummingbirds Anonymous. Pinned to the top of their wall is a simple reference guide on how often nectar should be changed coinciding with temperatures. No red dye, please! With plain pure cane sugar and water, why would you not make your own?  Ratio is always 1:4, that’s 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water… thanks!

Ants suck! Simply put, hummingbirds will not even consume nectar with just one ant in the liquid. If the feeder remains untouched long enough, the sprites won’t even bother to check it out. They cross it off the list as defective 🙁  Use an ant moat! Keep it filled with water and it’s a 100% effective solution for this pesky problem.Detourant Ant Moat for hummingbird feeders has innovative design

A new ant moat that’s designed differently requires filling only once in a very long while. The Detourant is a no-hassle, easy fix for ants and for all hanging hummingbird feeder styles.

It’s not too late to fix what ails your feeders, fall migration is still a couple of months away, so act now to get more tiny sprites to your place!

And if you’re in the AZ area or really fanatical about hummingbirds… don’t miss the biggest and best hummingbird festival that’s coming soon!

Sedona Hummingbird Festival
July 31 – August 2

For more info 928.284.2251 or www.SedonaHummingbirdFestival.com

Sedona hummingbird festival 2016

Bluebird Houses, Meal Worms and Pesticides


June 24, 2016
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:18 pm

bluebirds at meal worm feederBy the sound of the title alone, you gotta figure it can’t be good, but if the information educates just one person or raises awareness, then it’s well worth the time to write.

Simply put: pesticides kill. Not only do they kill the targeted species, but affected prey also becomes poison (and fatal) for predator as well.

In a bluebird house along one monitor’s trail in a cemetery (yes, they’re great spots to host blues with open spaces and relatively limited activity) sat five eggs never to be incubated. Mom and dad who were healthy thriving parents were both found dead in the box, yet totally intact. This pair was actually banded and well known by local bluebird enthusiasts.

How does this connect to bluebird houses and meal worms? Pesticides… in the form of worm-shaped pellets! Mole baits resemble mealworms and when used properly should be placed below ground in the mole runs. Due to the inadvertent misuse of this poison by a cemetery employee, a slow and painful death came for both parents.male and female removed from bluebird house

The incident occurred a few months ago. After the bait was carelessly disbursed, a sudden cold snap had the bluebirds believing these were worms. Paralyzed without a mark on them, both perished one day apart due to paralysis from the poison. Both had gone back to the bluebird house with eggs for their final breaths.

A bit dramatic? Maybe so, But step back and look at the big picture because in nature (and life) everything is connected. We’re killing ourselves, killing pollinators and killing Mother Earth. (this post was scheduled for Earth Day).

Stop using pesticides and chemicals. Manicured lawns and gardens are passe, natural and rustic are in style! If you’re trying to attract hummingbirds, butterflies or bees for instance, do not treat or spray flowers from which they draw nectar. Please be aware and mindful to help nature thrive in your patch of green… it’s for your own good!

Thanks Paula Z. of Ohio (dedicated bluebird monitor) for letting others know about this occurrence and use of the images.

“Sad occurrence in lone box in Powell Cemetery.  Both male and female EABL were killed by Talpirid mole bait.  We had extended cold snap and snow and desperate to find food, almost certainly found some “worms”.  Male found dead in nestbox on 4-13 by me.  He was in good physical shape without a mark on him.  Female was in tree making some noise when I got there (maybe in pain, who knows?).  I removed him and left her 5 eggs there.  Following day, my friend checked box and found her dead in there too.  I contacted city to find they had put down mole bait worms – almost certainly they found them, ate them or fed them to each other…  Sad.  I removed box for several days because a new pair was there checking out box same day we removed dead female – hope worms are out of the ecosystem by now.  City won’t use poison worms again; will trap if they need to kill moles.

The dead male was banded in the nest on 7-1-13 in park that is maybe quarter mile from cemetery.  This male was progeny of “Kamakazi Kent”, very aggressive male that hits me in the head at Village Green Park – no evidence of him nesting this year yet there, but he may no longer be with us as I know he nested there for past six years.”