Basically, birds need higher fat and carbohydrate type foods that are easier and/or faster to digest during frigid weather.
Aside from topping off basic seed feeders, you can utilize window bird feeders and other platforms for these kinds of treats. Suet cakes broken into chunks, any kind of nuggets or crumbles, even home-made suet mixes and bluebird delight (recipes on our website) are ideal for open style window feeders.
Water… don’t forget that fresh water’s extremely important when all natural sources have frozen. Birds will flock to a heated bath throughout the entire winter season!
Since freezing weather always brings more birds around to feeders, you can easily set up a new feeding space or two without additional feeders per se. Offer more of those high fat, high carb foods using suet or peanut butter smeared right on a tree trunk! Nuthatches, warblers, chickadees and every species of woodpecker will go for it in a snap. The extra calories serve them well helping to maintain body temperature and warmth overnight.
While you’re toasty warm inside, please remember feathered friend’s survival tactics and help them out during frigid weather!
“Yesterday was very bright sun, but still cool with a heavy frost this morning. By late evening there were bluebird families sitting on high line wires & fence lines and males were singing from tree tops all along the roads where I have up bluebird houses. You see families of bluebirds right now at every people house that has up nesting boxes in their yards!”
See? That’s from a bluebird expert… the scouts will be out and about very soon, busy claiming their territory and the best spring digs in hopes of attracting a mate for the cycle of life that is nesting season! It’s a great time of year for all those “people houses” who host feathered friends too.
If you’ve never experienced a family of blues in your yard… this is the year you must try! For those who’ve hosted, and even monitored nests, the rewards need not be explained. Mom & Dad raise nestlings with some pretty amazing teamwork and TLC. Should bluebirds stick around for a second clutch (very common if the first fledges are successful) you’ll see those juveniles help parents raise the new babies. Totally cool indeed!
Bluebird houses are best placed in an open area, mounted at about 5 feet high. The houses can be higher, but will prove difficult to monitor-which is a bummer. Folks actually help bluebirds thrive by looking out for them and monitoring their houses.
Everyone starts somewhere, so an absolute knowledge of the bird isn’t required – but some basic know-how and what to watch for are best for the birds. The North American Bluebird Society (NABS) actually rates and approves birdhouses suited for blues. Should you plan to monitor this year, look for a NABS Approved Bluebird House.
The website Sialis.org has a wealth of information in an easy to navigate format. Not just for bluebirds, but info about most North American cavity nesters. Your state may even have a bluebird society or association who’d be thrilled to help get you started with hosting bluebirds!
Spring is still months away for most two-legged beings, but for birds it’s the slight increase in daylight hours that sends signals. Instinctively, some of the earlier nesting birds who typically have 2-3 clutches per season, will begin scouting for suitable territory and housing to claim as their own. One of the milder winters of 2012 actually saw bluebird nest starts in February!
These cavity-dwelling birds (chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers and others) seek both man-made and natural nesting spots to raise their young. Providing homes for them through birdhouse kit projects makes perfect sense. Start now to have housing in place prior to nesting season in spring. The scouts will be on it sooner than than you think!
A great class-project for schools, with potential to get kids excited about and noticing some natural yet everyday wonders around them! The sturdy wooden housing offers birds a viable roost for cold nights, as well as an ultimate nest spot for several years. The houses may be decorated or painted incorporating art into the project as well.
Also as part of the project, kids can gather home-made nesting materials to help lure birds to their new creations. Feathers, and pet hair are favorites, while decorative mosses are heavily used for nest building-even by those birds who don’t use houses. Dryer lint is never recommended because polyester and such are aren’t natural. Should any of the families have horses or if the school’s near a farm… even better because horse hair is a big winner for birds! The mesh produce bags from the grocery store (like the kind apples come in) make ideal holders for the materials collected.
Please do inquire on bulk rates for school birdhouse kit projects! We’d be delighted to help… our thanks for housing the birdsFollow @allpetsupplieso
Whether hanging or pole-mounted, there’s a solution with bird seed trays. This one is adjustable and accommodates almost any style feeder out there! Although the Seed Hoops hang, they’ll slide nicely right over a pole as well. It’s as simple as cutting a small slit in the center of the tray.
A few other measures to avoid ground mess or at least reduce its presence, is using a no-waste seed. Because there are no fillers, birds are less likely to sort through and pick out the good stuff! Fillers are what ends up on the ground anyway, millet, milo and corn being most common. Sunflower hearts are always a great choice, and you can bet anything that does land on the ground gets scarfed up quickly.
Suet is another alternative for clean feeding. Many birds will partake and there’s no waste. Thistle’s also a good choice as these seeds will not germinate. You won’t see as many species with thistle alone (mostly finches), but when offered along with suet, there should be a good variety. Chickadees, nuthatches, warblers, woodpeckers, and even bluebirds in winter will go for suet.
So if the feeding mess has you down, don’t give up the ship yet… try using a bird seed tray and offering cleaner seed. The birds are worth it
What a fun image… even though the subject is house sparrows, but c’mon… bird baths are pretty useless once turned skating rink
Aside from the skater, the one with the hat is too cute- thanks Elmer for the creative… it’s perfect! Adding a simple bath heater makes water accessible through winter months. Being a critical life force, you’d be surprised at the variety of feathered friends who will frequent a fresh water source during hard freezes. Even when there’s snow on the ground, good old H2O serves birds much more effectively.
The main mode of survival during bitter weather is to eat enough food throughout the day to store a layer of fat, enough to get them through the night. So when a bird eats snow to get water, they burn precious calories in the process converting that snow to water.
Heated bird baths however are as simple as plugging them into an outlet, thus eliminating this futile process. For use year-round, just unplug and tuck the cord when spring finally rolls around. If you have an existing bath that gets turned over for winter – stop! Just add a heater as an accessory, the newer ones are safe in most baths and they even come with manufacturer warranties these days.
Even bluebirds are more likely to over-winter if a consistent fresh water source is available to them. So nix the skating rink and the dreaded bath “turn-over” as you’ll entice more beaked buddies to your place and encourage them to stick around!Follow @allpetsupplieso
Soooo guilty as charged below, ours gets stocked twice per day! Spoiled, spoiled birds- really isn’t the best scenario for them, it’s out of selfishness for simply wanting to observe. One 2015 resolution… lay off that mealworm feeder while weather remains mild and until there’s some nestlings for mom and dad to raise. The logic’s well explained below.
“WAY too many people worry about buying mealworms by the thousands, spending WAY too much money and feeding them normally at a time of the year when a healthy bluebird should be able to find WAY more than enough natural foods. Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees that were still producing fruit for many decades after he was gone! There are dozens, if not hundreds of species of plants in most areas that will provide fruits and or berries that bluebirds will feed on at different times of the year. Many/most of these are hardy enough that anyone could become an amateur “Johnny Appleseed” planting for wildlife in their own area. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas”
Bet you thought there would be all kinds of newfangled mealworm and bluebird feeders here? Nope! Almost weird how this info was received on the heels of discovering an article on Houzz, which was titled “Feed the Birds: 6 Plants for Abundant Winter Berries” by Therese Ciesinski.
These shrubs and trees not only enhance the landscape (the pics were stunning) they’ll offer birds natural food sources for years to come. Listing them here and tucking the list in my wallet for the future jaunts to the nursery!
- Northern Bayberry
- Arrowood Viburnum
Looking back over 2014 and the small slice of heaven that is our habitat, it’s honestly helped to keep sane! A retreat, an escape, an unexplainable aspect of nature that calms, decompresses and relaxes the soul. A quote from Roger Tory Peterson sums it up pretty well: “The birds could very well live without us, but many-perhaps all-of us would find life incomplete, indeed almost intolerable without the birds.”
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2015!
Idea #1: Have Yourself a Merry Christmas!
On the eve of Christmas, we thought revealing the code for the popular carol was appropriate… especially since we never knew its true meaning!
Maybe it’s common knowledge for most? But for those who don’t celebrate, you may be surprised at finding reference to the Old Testament and Torah in the popular song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.
History has it that from around 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. The famous carol was written as catechism for young Catholics during the holiday season. There are basically two levels of meaning: the surface, plus a hidden meaning that was known only to members of the church. Each element is code for a religious reality which children could easily remember.
Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus Christ.
Two Turtle Doves were the Old and New Testament.
Three French Hens stood for faith, hope and love.
Four Calling Birds were the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
Five Golden Rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
Six Geese A-Laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven Swans A-Swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
Eight Maids A-Milking were the Eight Beatitudes.
Nine Ladies Dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
Ten Lords A-Leaping were the Ten Commandments.
Eleven Pipers Piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostels’ Creed.
We wish for you the merriest of holidays,
filled with light, love, laughter and family!
The Birdhouse Chick
There’s really not much time left to find that perfect gift and get it by Christmas, but offering a shopping spree at a cool store is always fun! Folks do love to browse and shop for themselves… especially when they’re not paying!
So many unique, yet bird-friendly items to be had, it might even be a difficult choice! The hanging bird bath shown includes a solar bubbler and decorative river rock. The rock helps to both camouflage the pump and offers birds better footing.
Because fresh water is the best way to entice feathered friends, moving water is even more effective! The pumps (solar and electric) are offered separately so they can be added to an existing birdbath if preferred. Leaf misters, bath drippers and water wigglers are all neat accessories with big impact. Moving water simply attracts more birds!
And that immediate, personalized gift certificate? No kidding! Purchase any an e-gift and we’ll email you a large, colorful, personalized gift card to print out and give to the recipient. Place it in a box, gift-wrap, and ta-dah… one awesome gift in hand! Tons of fun to choose from including birdhouses, feeders, garden art and more. The list is complete and shopping is done!
So many great suggestions… so little time! The elves got caught up with the “holidaze”, busy-busy crunching out fantastic gifts birds love! That’s basically where our other 22 gift ideas went, it’s been all hands on-deck!
As far as getting it there by Christmas without spending a fortune on expedited shipping? We’ve got this one figured out!
You can send an awesome copper bird feeder or house (with free shipping-as always). The recipient will receive a special package by the 24th, that’s sent Express Mail. It contains a few goodies for the birds, and a hand-written note letting them know something very special is on its way! Since there’s some info enclosed about the house or feeder, they pretty much know it’s one or the other… but they don’t know just how nice it actually is. Definitely a fun gift that piques curiosity!
Aside from the traditional gazebo styles, there’s large capacity hoppers for the extreme birder. These newer designs accommodate 10, even 20 lbs. of seed, and offer post-mounted and hanging versions as well. Because all of our copper feeders and birdhouses are constructed (in the USA) of durable vinyl/PVC, they last a lifetime, and cleaning is as simple as using the garden hose with a forceful spray.
No flanges or parts required for mounting, installation is simple with the attached mounting collar. It slides right on a standard 4×4 wood post, and the decorative brackets are included too. Both are vinyl to ensure there’s no deterioration. Even the finials are composite resin. The coolest thing is that these look like wood- you can’t tell the difference, and oh yeah… and birds love them too!
But this pre-gift package must ship by Monday, 12:00 pm, EST. It’s really the last call for an on-time Christmas delivery without wasting money on expedited ship services!Follow @allpetsupplieso
What gardener or birding enthusiast doesn’t adore butterflies? If they’re fairly new to either hobby, the first point of concern is habitat, even if they happen to be seasoned vets… habitat is always key in luring any winged wonders to the garden!
Food, water and shelter simply equal habitat, not too complicated at all. When landscaping a new home, or enhancing existing gardens, native plants are always the best choice, for wildlife and the home-owner. As food sources and as shelter, they’re more likely to thrive in local soils. Nectar-producing flowers (including many of the showy annuals) are really butterfly feeders themselves.
Butterfly houses? Although they make for stunning garden accents with an almost magical appeal… we’re not convinced butterflies actually use them! But another cool butterfly feeder is hand-blown and home grown right here in Georgia. On a tall stake, these large glass flowers offer versatility for feeding nectar as well. Birds will use them as sippers with fresh water, and even suet or jelly for migratory friends works great! Best of all, these are lovely in the garden whether butterflies are present or not!
Creating those spaces for butterflies with water and places to “warm in the sun” is the absolute equivalent to visiting the spa! Leaf misters are a major attraction, and birds love them too! Puddlers are perfect as feeders using over ripe fruit or the secret sauce recipe on the tag accompanying them. As an inviting bath for butterflies, they’re simple to use.
Handcrafted weather-proof stoneware, the decorative plaque-like puddlers are safe in the garden year-round, adding a nice touch even when flying jewels are absent. A great gift for any nature buff, ours come with a book on butterfly gardening for ideas and inspiration on creating the ultimate habitat!Follow @allpetsupplieso