Water Features and Solar Bird Baths for All Friendly Fliers


June 26, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:18 am

Solar Bird Baths and other water featuresIn the heat of summer there’s no better way to entice friendly fliers than with moving water!

Accessories for bird baths and leaf misters will absolutely bring more birds (and butterflies) to the garden. Because Copper Hummingbird Bird Bath Dripperthey keep water from becoming stagnant, it stays fresher and mosquitoes can’t lay their eggs in it either.

Both solar fountains and those using electricity recirculate water in bird baths. Drippers and leaf misters run off the outdoor spigot and although very slow and adjustable, do utilize a continuous water flow. They come as complete kits with everything required to be up & running in minutes… no kidding!

Leaf Mister on plant stake offers easy mobilityLeaf misters offer lots of options for placement too. You can attach them to a branch or trellis, (50 ft. of rubber tubing is included) attach to a deck bracket or even a simple plant stake in the garden. We prefer the latter as the mister may easily be moved around to benefit the garden by watering different sections daily.

Butterflies especially adore the gentle mist, while hummingbirds and other songbirds like chickadees and bluebirds will wait for them to start each morning… it’s like a spa for them and makes a spectacular viewing experience for host too.Swallowtail on lantana with leaf mister nearby Place leaf misters near nectar-producing plants like lantana and enjoy the show!

Moving water in a bird bath or somewhere in the landscape is the ticket to seeing more bird activity during warm summer months. In fall, simply pack them up and store away for next season. A one-time investment that promises to bring many seasons of use and enjoyment… and more winged activity to your place!

Of Bees and Bat Houses and the Pollinator Partnership


June 20, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:00 pm

Pollinator Partnership Tagline To jump-start National Pollinator Week (okay, so we’re on the very last day-last hour of it) the Pollinator Partnership (P2) introduced The Highways BEE Act. Because bees, butterflies, birds and bats bring us one in every three bites of food, pollinators form the essential underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable future… for all of us.

Over 250 national, regional, and local organizations and 2,500 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation have already signed a petition in support of the Highways BEE Act, H.R. 2738. bee-highways-act petition supports pollinatorsSuch legislation is designed to help cash-strapped states reduce roadside maintenance costs, while providing habitat for crucial pollinators. After all, without bats we might not have bananas or tequila! Almost exclusively, bats pollinate the agave plant which is where tequila is born! But in all seriousness, interested organizations, businesses and individuals can find out more and sign a petition in support of the legislation at http://www.pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.

Providing habitat closer to home could include nixing the use of pesticides and manicured lawns, planting predominately native in the landscape, and the addition of bat houses on your property. If you already see the furry mammals (yes, they’re really mammals) fluttering around at dusk, chance are excellent they’ll take up residence in the new digs.

Look for bat Houses that are OBC approved

Like NABS (North American Bluebird Society) for approved bluebird houses and PMCA for purple martin houses, bat houses have OBC (The Organization for Bat Conservation). A wealth of knowledge for any questions bat-related, it’s a good idea to look for the OBC seal of approval when purchasing a new home for the furry friends.

Whether testing the waters with a smaller design, or full-on ready to host larger colonies, bat houses are available from single- to triple-chamber sizes. Although they may be post mounted (minimum 12- 15 feet high), most sources recommend mounting them on a structure or tree. Bats don’t require the open spaces that many birds prefer. They like to be close to things, which is why they sometimes end up in your attic!

Handcrafted cypress bat houseWith a growing public awareness for the plight of, and broader knowledge of the critical role pollinators play for crops and for the future, there’s a strong collective popularity developing. From manufacturing and marketing of bee keeping and bug hotels to thriving master gardener groups, bat houses have also kept right in stride. You’ll find them in traditional cedar, cypress, recycled plastics and vinyl/PVC. They’re good-looking enough to actually mount on the side of your home as a decorative accessory! So please house the bats and sign the petition mentioned above… for all of us and for future generations :)

 

 

 

Novel Options for Squirrel Feeders


June 15, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:28 pm

Squirrel feeders done in recycled plastic last much longer

You may think it’s the absolute craziest thing in the world, but plenty of folks get a kick from feeding squirrels. If you baffle the bird feeders properly, and the furry critters don’t tell too many of their friends… it’s usually cool!

Traditional squirrel feeders like the big jar, munch box, and table & chair have been updated using durable recycled plastic. Also called poly-lumber, the material is good looking and wares much nicer and longer than wood.

But a jar is a jar and it’s glass. Because glass may break for whatever reason, replacement jars are available. But something we’ve discovered: Pickles! The industrial size pickle jar usually fits these feeders! And for considerably less money when shipping is figured into the price. Plus you get a whole lot of pickles… fried pickles anyone?

One corn log equals 12 ears of cornUsing corn cobs with your squirrel feeder? Check out the Squirrel Logs for long-lasting use. A novel idea, these are compressed corn (in two flavors) that equal about 12 ears of regular corn cobs. Something else we’ve discovered? Be sure the logs are securely attached to the feeding pin as our crafty critters have managed to steal them from time-to-time! They just require twisting up on the pin every few days to keep a tight connection.

These work well with the Bungee Cord Feeder and the Table & Chair. The pins (or screws) on the feeder must be threaded… or your crafty critters will steal them too!

Want to offer a combination of corn cobs and peanuts or munch mix for your guys? The Ultimate Combo Feeder fits the bill. Pins for two ears of corn plus a lift-up compartment for special treats. Lucky squirrels will think they’re at the Ritz!Offer squirrels corn cobs and peanuts in one feeder

Change it up for furry friends. During frigid winter weather peanut butter is a huge hit when smeared on corn cobs, but summer days in the south turn the gooey stuff to liquid in minutes. Substitute an apple or pear that might be a bit too ripe for your liking. Suet? Squirrels adore it and the no-melt varieties are perfect for summer feeding.

Yes squirrels can be a major pain for some folks, but they manage to bring smiles and laughs to others. Once you get the hang of keeping them out of bird feeders, they really aren’t so bad :)

 

 

Give a Dovecote Birdhouse for Father’s Day


June 12, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:38 am

Dovecote Birdhouse features vinyl/PVC with copper roofBecause Father’s Day is on the way, we’d like to offer a few unrivaled ideas for those dads who dig birds!

Looking for something special this year? A lasting gift to bring some real enjoyment can be found in birdhouses and feeders. There’s nothing better than escaping daily chaos by connecting with nature… well, maybe a trip to the beach?

Grabbing time to just sit and watch birds at a feeder does something for heart and soul, it soothes the mind and quiets the brain. Listening to birdsong also has a tranquil effect, after all, it’s been around since the dawn of time.

Traditional dovecote birdhouses have a new spin for sports-minded dads too! Sized from bluebird to mansion they’re available in team colors. Since these are made to order, best to shake a tail feather to get it in time for Father’s Day. Monday 6/15 is last call.

Fathers-Day-Bluebird and Dovecote Birdhouses in Team ColorsLots of other unique gift ideas too, but remember the early bird catches the best birdhouses and feeders!

Oh yeah, the real beauty here is durable vinyl/PVC construction. These post-mounted bird homes look like wood, but wear like vinyl siding on a real house. There’s no deterioration, no rotting or cracking. Take a garden hose to them for cleaning, they’re built to last and USA made :)  Do right by Dad with a gift that’s guaranteed to please him… and the birds!

Texas Rains and Blue Bird Houses Gone Wrong


June 6, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:56 am

In no way meant to diminish the extent of damage and loss from recent Texas floods, but being bird nerds, we wanted to convey the devastation at bird level too. Below the video is a devoted landlord’s heart breaking account of several days inside one of her blue bird houses.

The video below gives a good look at the Red River, check the panicked birds at 0.50. Possibly tens of thousands of cliff- and barn swallows were nesting under the three main bridges that succumbed to rising water, they lost homes and babies. Birds really do give us a glimpse of our changing environment.

“Well my first clutch did not work out well. I have a box in my yard, male and female came, made a nest and laid 6 eggs .
Everything was going great. Then the storms hit. The male disappeared and left Mama to tend to 4 that hatched. I provided meal worms in hopes to help her out.

The rains just wouldn’t let up and she was having a very hard time getting any insects except the meal worms I provided. Then house sparrows came, even with a sparrow spooker, the female HOSP kept looking into the box. This prevented the Mom from leaving to hunt. I set a ground trap and did catch the pair. One bluebird nestling was dead in the nest. Then came home a few days later and a Red Tail Hawk was in the yard trying to get the house sparrow – needless to say mama blue was very upset and no telling how long she went without hunting that day.

Two days later another dead nestling. There were no signs of trauma but the nest was wet. I was forced to do a nest change and the remaining two were 16 days old. Two days later, after more torrential rains, another dead nestling. So I changed the nest again and tried to weather proof the house better. The storms were so severe that I figured that is why the last one didn’t fledge.

Yesterday I took the last one out and changed the nest again but noticed her wings were not normal. Only flight feathers and none of the smaller blood feathers (?) With help from the folks on Facebook, I found a rehab place. She lives in Ft. Worth and it’s about a 45 minute drive but I was going to take her the baby. She asked where I lived and she was surprised and said she was in Joshua now at the DQ!

I bundled up the nestling “stormy” and took her to the lady. She said it looked to be a nutritional problem and felt she will be able to save her! I took the box down, replaced the roof and new screws in where they were loose. Cleaned out the box real good and put it back. I know the mom is very upset, she is still calling this morning even through the storms :( I feel so bad for her.”

Even those who don’t use blue bird houses are suffering heavy losses with downed trees and limbs and breaking snags.

Keith Kridler of Mt. Pleasant, Texas writes: “The reason Texas is having so much flooding is due to just how flat the Eastern half of the state is. Rivers are normally slow flowing nearly flat river bottoms with on average only one foot of fall or elevation change per one mile of river bed. Link below is to a short video of the Red River that flows between Oklahoma and Texas. Video is from last week and this bridge will go completely under water this weekend and or by Monday now. Notice in the one shot there appear to be hundreds if not thousands of Cliff Swallows flying in the air. These birds nest by the tens of thousands under these major bridges all across Texas. All three of the major bridges crossing the Red River between Texarkana and Paris Texas are thought to be going under water this weekend and or first of the week. Or about 100 miles from first to last bridge along the river. There are many videos of flooded bridges, watch for the numbers of swallows at each bridge.

I have counted as many as 1,000 Cliff Swallow nests under a single short span of highway overpass over a two lane farm to market road locally. Nearly all of the videos coming out of Texas are showing large flocks of Swallows circling these bridges and over passes that went under water. Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows and also Eastern Phoebe’s nest in small road culverts that are normally dry in the summer. This summer most of these have gone under water multiple times. You sometimes find bluebirds, House Sparrows and other small species of cavity nesting birds that will nest in or on the left over swallow nests under these bridges and over passes.

Herds of wild hogs are getting pushed out of these river bottoms, deer now have small fawns and livestock are having to be moved upwards of a mile or further on some of the ranches to get above the flood waters. Any high ground near the river banks are swarming with stranded wildlife from snakes to bobcats. Anything that can climb a tree is hanging out in the tree tops.”

Mother nature can be brutal, but she is resilient. Mama blue and others will go on to nest again and raise their young. We hope for all of those who suffered damage and losses that this is soon and life regains a sense of normalcy.

Decorative Bird Houses and Freedom for All


May 25, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:14 pm

americana-decorative birdhouseAside from gatherings and bar-b-ques, Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the freedom we take for granted. Pause for a minute today and think about all those who’ve sacrificed for that freedom we enjoy.

Pretty much free to do as we please on our own property, gardening, birds and outdoor living spaces are bigger (and better) than ever! Decorative birdhouses not only offer refuge for birds, they can spruce up the landscape and turn a boring spot exciting. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of nesting birds, watching them fledge can be thrilling.

Please, please, do not offer a house with a huge gaping entry as it will attract the wrong birds. Are we bird snobs? Heck no, all the usual suspects gather at our place. By “wrong birds” we’re talking the less desirable, non-native species who threaten our native cavity nesters like bluebirds, tree swallows, purple martins and others. These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and European starlings and English house sparrows threaten their existence daily.

Ask any martin or bluebird landlord about the horrors of these invasive birds, they actively trap starlings and house sparrows in order for blues and martins to thrive… its the only way, and yes it is legal. If you do a quick search on either of these non-native species, you’ll find blood-curdling stories and some very disturbing images of the havoc they wreak on bluebirds, martins and others. We won’t go into detail here as you’ll see for yourself. And the mess? For heaven’s sake, there’s no nastier bird out there than a starling! This is why several manufactures offer traps specifically for these two species. Sparrow and starling traps are quite popular among anyone hosting a martin colony or bluebirds!

With an innate sense to reproduce, they kill and maim to access nesting space. So this is where freedom to put up any old decorative birdhouses comes into play. If you have one of those cute styles from the fair, or something a bit whimsical from the craft store- it’s perfectly okay. Just be sure the entry is proportional for the birds you’d like to attract. No gaping huge holes as they entice starlings to nest. The entry should never be at the very bottom of the house either, it makes nestlings easy prey for a slew of predators.

Yes the holiday weekend is a time to reflect on freedom, please give native songbirds the freedom to nest and raise their young in peace. Because enough predators already exist, and real-estate is scarce out there, offer proper housing for nesting and don’t encourage these non-native birds to your place!

Fun Teacher’s Gift: Edible Birdie Cottages are Wood Birdhouses


May 20, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:22 am

birdie cottages use real wood birdhouses Need a clever and fun gift for teachers? Something that’s functional is always a good bet, and if he/she happens to be a nature buff, birdie cottages are perfect!

Wrapped in clear cellophane, they make for a great presentation when topped with a simple bow. In sets of two’s, one buy gets two teachers, with something unique and actually usable!

Handcrafted in the USA, real wood birdhouses are used below the premium seed. Songbirds love them now as feeders and later as houses and roosting spots. The larger version is a super cool full-size wren house (All-Seasons Casita) and both are on sale now.Casita edible full size wood birdhouse

Think outside the box this year for a special teacher who’s put forth extra effort inspiring students. Gifts like these are for now and later and do keep on giving… back to the birds :)

The Ant Moat Accessory for All Sweet Feeding


May 11, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:57 am

Ants can't swim, ant moats keep them out of nectarNot just for hummingbird feeders, the all-important ant moat will protect nectar in butterfly and oriole feeders, they’re ideal for jelly feeders too! Ants adore sweet sticky anything, so as long as there’s a hanger, you can use an ant moat. It just comes between the feeder itself and the hook from where said feeder will hang.

Because ants can’t swim, the water inside the moat keeps them from reaching nectar. The pesky things must exude something quite distasteful as one single ant ruins a whole batch of nectar in the feeder, hummingbirds won’t touch it!

Basic colors are red, black, clear and orange for orioles. Some oriole and hummingbird feeders offer built-in moats, but they must be maintained and filled with water to serve their purpose. Let the moat run dry and like magic… ants will appear if they’re anywhere in close proximity.

Here’s a great “how to” video to make your own ant moat. So if you’re the crafty type, and have the time and patience to do these kind of projects, check this video, and ants be gone for good!
https://www.facebook.com/teresa.crain.94/videos/10152707295271986/?pnref=story

Try a Hanging Bird Bath for Mother’s Day!


May 8, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:58 am

Tiffany Glass Hanging Bird Bath is perfect for the deckDid you find the perfect Mother’s Day gift yet? If not, best to shake a tail feather! Printing a nice big color photo of your gift and placing it inside a box that’s gift-wrapped is always an option if you’ve snoozed.

Another good idea to keep in mind: don’t shortchange your mom with a short-lived gift! Yeah, that’s a good one to remember because well, she’s your mother and the reason you’re here :)

Long-lasting gifts bring the most joy, and birding gifts bring a relaxing connection with nature… unlike jewelry or little “chatchkas” that gather dust.

Perfect for any space in the garden or even on the deck, a hanging bird bath rocks! Fresh water entices more birds to the garden, and we can promise, whether a novice or experienced birder, Mom loves to watch her feathered friends! copper hanging bird bath

Hanging birdbaths can even be used as feeders, offering seed, suet, peanuts or fruit to lure migratory birds. The colorful Tiffany inspired bath above offers a traditional appeal, while contemporary styles in solid copper are most mod. Ceramic hanging baths are offered in vibrant and whimsical styles… and all are sure to entice more beaked buddies to the garden!

Why go to the trouble of finding something unique that will actually last? Because on her special day- which comes only once a year- she really does deserve something that brings smiles and real pleasure for many seasons to come!

PB & J in Your Glass Bird Feeder?


April 30, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:36 am

Oriole feeder with glass cup for jellyWho doesn’t love a good ol’ PB & J sandwich?

Peanut butter’s pretty good for bird and squirrels in winter too, the extra fat and protein provide calories to stay warm. It’s the base for many types of commercially made suet cakes, and you can easily make your own!

We smear some peanut butter on squirrel corn and right on tree trunks during frigid weather. Nuthatches, woodpeckers and warblers love it! But when spring migration rolls around, it’s all about the grape jelly, plus living in Hotlanta, the peanut butter will melt too quickly!

Orioles and cat birds adore grape jelly… but don’t try and get away with the cheap stuff, they seem to prefer Welch’s!

Because it has a glass, and for all intent purposes, this fun oriole feeder is posing as a glass bird feeder for today. The cup holds enough for a few days of food, depending on your bird traffic. One really cool thing we’ve discovered with this feeder is that it can be used year-round, when migratory friends are long gone.

Swap peanut butter for jelly, and suet for the orange halves… you’ll have some very happy resident birds! Lots of online recipes for making your own suet, including no-melt varieties for warm weather feeding, find a few quick suet recipes on our site too. Form suet balls and simply cut them in half to use with this feeder in cold weather!

Check out these orioles up close, chowing down on their favorite food!