Birds seem ravenous this time of year, feeders are being emptied at record rates, so nobody needs squirrels swiping seed! Partly due to the fall migration, and partly because resident birds know winter is coming soon. As daylight hours become shorter, birds flying south must fuel up for their long journeys, while many residents will simply cache seeds and nuts for future meals later in the season. Nuthatches and jays are famous for this practice.
Many folks think squirrel proof bird feeders just don’t work, while others are bummed because the popular Squirrel-Away powder is no longer available. It’s amazing how many non-believers there are; from face-to-face discussions at a recent show, to customers from our website, they just don’t believe anything will deter their superman-like squirrels from feeders!
Ah… but there are ways, and it’s mostly about placement of the feeders themselves and using baffles! One secret is the “horizontal launching point”. If squirrels can jump sideways from anything to gain feeder access, chances are they will – no, it’s guaranteed they will!
When placed correctly, baffles turn any feeders into squirrel-proof feeders. Be it hanging, pole mounted, or post mounted… they absolutely work at foiling the critters!
For hanging feeders, the baffle circumference must be a good bit larger than the feeder itself – at least 1/3 larger. A 20-inch clear acrylic baffle works great, we use them in our yard. The bottom of this feeder should be no less than 4.5 feet from the ground. Lastly, it must hang at least 8 feet away from a tree trunk, pole, or anything else a squirrel might jump sideways from to gain access.
For pole or post mounted feeders, again be sure the bottom of the feeder is at least 4.5 to 5 feet from the ground. Remember the horizontal launch point – anything squirrels might jump from sideways to gain access. One other consideration is a potentially taller launch spot; anything the critters might jump down from to get to the feeder. A lot of thought for just one feeder? Maybe so, but well worth the effort! Some pole systems have built-in baffles that are excellent at thwarting squirrels. The Squirrel Stopper is one such system. It’s received fantastic reviews because of sturdy construction, durability and good looks! Hang up to eight feeders, baths or even flower baskets from this gem!
It’s a matter of “if you build it – they won’t come”. By putting some careful planning in place, you can squirrel proof any type of bird feeder against pesky squirrels!Follow @allpetsupplieso
They may only seem like a “gift type” item, but edible birdhouses actually provide several uses for wild birds. Especially during busy migration times, they make an excellent food source with high quality seed for birds along southern migratory routes.
Once the seed’s been picked off, your resident birds will find a cozy roost for cold winter nights. These full size wren houses are well suited for chickadees, titmice and of course local wrens. Some birds may even line their roosts with dried grasses, leaves, or other nest type materials to further insulate themselves from the elements. Locals like bluebirds are more apt to huddle together, retaining body heat for added warmth. Because they’re real wooden structures beneath the seed, these edible houses may be stained or painted to further preserve them.
Nesting! Come spring and the busy nesting season, smaller songbirds find these spots the perfect place to nest and raise their young. Complete with sturdy hook for quick hanging, a branch provides an optimal spot for them… unless you have squirrels around the yard! But this is easily remedied with the use of a hanging baffle to foil the pesky critters.
So it’s not only a killer gift for any nature enthusiast, an edible birdhouse will serve birds well… throughout the year!Follow @allpetsupplieso
Tired of filling puny feeders every other day? With migrations under way bird feeders are likely to be seeing increased activity over the next few weeks. Food and fresh water greatly help migratory birds on their way south.
These stunners pass for wood, in fact you’d swear they were wood… but they’re vinyl. The kind that’s used in housing construction, so you can bet it’s durable and everlasting! As is the copper roof, whether bright and shiny or aged patina, the 16-gauge copper (with brass rivets) also lasts a lifetime. These feeders will never warp, crack, mildew or split to boot.
Now for the best part… (drum roll please) the hoppers are definitely whoppers! In two sizes that are both fairly large, these hopper bird feeders hold 10 and 20 lbs. of seed. The traditional post mounted feeder is complete with decorative brackets (also vinyl) and a newer hanging style offers more flexibility for placement in the landscape. Even the finials are a composite resin to ensure there’s no deterioration whatsoever.
There are houses to match, and lots of folks purchase them for the aesthetic flavor, a timeless elegance in the garden. But it’s the folks who purchase feeders who actually feed the birds! So if you’re looking for a really large capacity feeder… look no further! Probably a little more than the planned spend, we can guarantee these feeders will never require maintenance and will certainly never need to be replaced.
For a thorough cleaning, simply take the garden hose to it with cloth in hand. For any build-up of environmental grime, a little soapy water is all it takes to revive the crisp white color. If there were ever a product we couldn’t be more proud to offer… it’s our time tested and bird-approved hopper feeders!Follow @allpetsupplieso
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, with meals, conversation and most comings and goings through the door leading to the garage where vehicles are parked. Builders know it’s the sink where much time is spent and usually place a window above it for natural light, views of trees (if you’re lucky) and lush green yards.
Placing window bird feeders within this view is an optimal spot for catching the great outdoors and nature’s happenings without interrupting daily routines. If by chance the deck is off your kitchen or breakfast room, its rails are absolutely perfect for the birds! The feeder need not necessarily mount on the window itself!
A really cool and versatile bracket thing called a deck ring lets you add an instant feeder, or even a bird bath in seconds. It clamps on with simple hardware (no tools required) and best of all there’s no damage to rails. The sturdy iron ring will accommodate heavier ceramic bowls, as simple plant saucers are perfect for feeders or baths. Say you don’t want any mess that birdseed can bring? Opt for fresh water- it’s by far the easiest and best way to entice feathered friends! Add a heater to that bowl in winter and the activity promises to mesmerize… it’ll be the most popular spot in the yard.
With close-up views like these, you’ll see birds from another perspective. Right now many are looking a little sickly with streaked plumage that’s half dull and half bright. But it’s just the molting process that happens every fall. Birds are shedding old, tattered feathers for new ones to help them through another season of cooler weather.
Entice more feathered friends to your place and liven up the view from that kitchen sink quickly and easily by placing a feeder or bath right on the deck rail.
“Every day, every single day I’m changing the nectar because of ants” my friend said in desperation. Insisting if she’d just use an ant moat, the problem would be solved. She kept saying her feeder had one, to which I replied “then keep it filled”. When she told me “you can’t” – I then insisted “then something’s upside down!”
How frustrating because it’s a fairly simple principle… ants won’t cross water because they never took swimming lessons. Gathering two moats and a new glass hummingbird feeder she had her eye on, it was time to see the moat that couldn’t be filled, it piqued my curiosity.
Upon seeing the cheap plastic feeder (it’s okay, we use them sometimes too) it was absolutely moat-less. “There’s no moat, that’s why the ants keep getting to it”. I showed her the little cup-shape moat, said to fill it with water and hang the hummingbird feeder directly below.
It was like a light went off, and a clear understanding was now obvious. Why would we even mention it? Because everyone starts somewhere when feeding the birds. When you’ve been doing it for 30 years or so, much knowledge is gained as to what works and what doesn’t. The hobby’s become wildly popular in the past few years, which means there’s a lot of folks who are fairly new to backyard birding.
Everyone loves hummingbirds, they’re one of summers’ highlights, but ants can ruin the experience quickly… for the tiny sprites too! It takes just one pesky ant to sour a feeder full of fresh nectar – and that’s a bummer. They must emit something terribly fowl to hummingbirds?
Save your nectar and your money by using a moat and making your own sugar-water solution. It’s SO easy and really fast, no red dye needed. Table sugar and water at a 1:4 ratio… that’s it! No other ingredients as they’re harmful to the birds. During migration, the nectar can be a bit stronger at 1:3, the extra calories serve the birds well for their long journey ahead.
Oh yeah, and the pretty glass feeder was an instant hit with her hummingbirds, she said it took about four seconds before they discovered it and started feeding!Follow @allpetsupplieso
The night before… We’ll be laboring this Labor Day Weekend at the Latimer Hall Ats & Crafts show! If you’re local around the Atlanta area, or anywhere near Woodstock… come on up and cruise the show, the farmer’s market is right across the street!
Best to head out early as the start time’s changed from 10:00 AM to 8:30 AM due to possible scattered showers during late afternoon.
Jewelery, pottery and other crafts await, and this year we’re on board with a myriad of wares, including some handcrafted birdhouse kits made right here in Athens, GA.
We’re hopeful the weather holds out because it sure is a lot of labor getting ready for one of these things!
Either way, we’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend!
A few weeks ago on a much welcomed boating excursion, we anchored in a lovely cove for the evening. As dusk approached, the sunset and simple stillness were truly amazing. That is, until the bats came out… then it was funny!
Fast forward to this weeks’ event:
The incident started around 3:00 A.M. and ended roughly two hours later. Awakened by a “thump”, some fluttering and odd noises, I remembered the bathroom window (facing a wooded yard) was left slightly cracked sans the screen. One inch, it wasn’t wider than one inch – but enough for the little guy to get through. If you can roll your tongue with no vocals… that was pretty much it, like a low, soft motor.
Jolted from a sound sleep “what, where?” The cats were absolutely beside themselves, all I had to do was look in the direction of their interest. Then I spotted him, frantically flying from room to room, downstairs, upstairs, back and forth! The only audible was flapping wings and occasional fowl language when he flew directly overhead.
The wingspan was big, how did he get through that window, and why? This ain’t no bat house! What could have possessed the flying mammal to enter? A predator? Are bats territorial? Do owls eat them? They’re the only other nocturnal predator in the area, hey, I’m the birdhouse chick, not the bat lady!
It was evident the little guy was growing tired of all the commotion as well, he began perching/hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom. Of course this had to be in the vaulted part where nothing I had could reach him! With my nerves starting to finally settle, and realizing that pulling the sheets over my head wouldn’t solve anything, the plan was devised.
The bathroom-open the window all the way and get him back into the room from whence he came. Shut the door and he’ll figure it out with sounds of the great outdoors. Twice the opportunity presented itself and twice I failed, not fast enough for him. With stronger resolve, the third time was a charm. Done! His movement was still detected a few minutes later and then silence – he made it out alive… or at least I had hoped.
Waiting until daylight I opened the door slowly to be sure, no signs. Checking all possible nooks and crannies where he could’ve possibly dropped dead, I was convinced he escaped… it was awesome except for the next task at hand.
Bat guano detail… omg! It’s an innate habit of all living beings, a universal law of nature… poop when nervous. Droppings were found in every room of the house – but hey, at least it’s not liquid like bird poop, right?
So there it is, because I laughed at my friend while being dive-bombed by bats on the lake, karma came back tenfold. Literally Bat Sh*t crazy, ay?
Some birds use houses and some just couldn’t be bothered. Well, it’s more along the lines of instinct let’s say. Just as some folks have houses for birds, while some prefer an elegant birdhouse on their property. It’s because of the aesthetically pleasing design and great quality they look so perfect in the landscape. But these copper roof birdhouses are definitely meant for the birds!
Bluebirds or tree swallows are likely to use a single entry home, with good chances of titmice, nuthatches or chickadees taking up residency in these, or even a triple-entry style. You’ll never find goldfinches, cardinals, robins or jays setting up house in one of these beauties though. Their preferences are hedges, shrubs and trees.
On a more stately scale, martins are likely to nest in a larger house with 8 or 12 entries, often referred to as dovecote styles, but we promise… doves will never use them! The only doves around our yards are mourning or ring-neck doves. On an extremely rare occasion, a white dove may be spotted-but these are domesticated and used for release at weddings and special events (not a fan of this practice).
Nobody will use any of these stunning birdhouses if you:
- never tend to it
- block the entries
- keep it indoors for decor… but over the years we’ve heard this and seen this, and it’s kind of sad because we’re bird freaks-but to each his own. Chocolate and vanilla, right?
One important thing to note if you’re planning to provide these houses specifically for birds to nest and raise their young: house sparrows! Once heard of as sparrow slums, the multi-entry houses are always inviting to killer house sparrows. And killer in its true meaning, (not like killer-awesome) house sparrows are very aggressive towards native songbirds. Due to a shortage of natural nest cavities, competition for nesting space is brutal… just ask any bluebird or martin landlord If house sparrows are prevalent in your area, diligence is required to keep them at bay… regardless of any birdhouse you may offer. Don’t take our word for it, detailed info on identifying and controlling these non-native and invasive birds can be found at sialis.orgFollow @allpetsupplieso
Because hummingbirds are so territorial, they seem to spend more time fussing over (defending) their claimed feeders than actually eating. This time of year can be a trip if you really observe the tiny sprites. Adding an extra feeder is most helpful, if you can add two… even better. Consider a window hummingbird feeder, or at least placing one of them within view from inside your home. It’s an ideal way to catch small glimpses of action here and there while going about your daily routine. If we could sit on the deck all day and just watch… many of us would, the sprites are that mesmerizing.
Migration is a frenzied time around feeders. In the Eastern part of the country, male Ruby Throats begin their journey first. So aggressive around feeders, it seems their lives depend on that nectar. Females and juveniles follow, but you’ll never see them in groups or flocks because they fly solo. Even first-timers follow the instinct Mother Nature gave them to fuel up and find better digs for winter. Some land in Mexico for the season, while others journey further to Central and South America.
Nectar solutions can be a little stronger now as some recommend changing the ratio from the standard 1:4 to 1:3. One cup table sugar to three cups of water. The extra calories serve hummingbirds well in their quest to fatten up.
It’s also the optimal time for a swing! Say what? A hummingbird swing… really! Have you ever seen them? They’re hanging perches for the birds to rest while guarding their feeder. When we first installed ours, it seemed so-so, not a whole lot of action. But once the big migration was under way… omg, what a hoot! It’s the original, it’s Pop’s Hummingbird Swing and here’s the real story – enjoy!Follow @allpetsupplieso
So when it’s 90 degrees, how useful is that heated bath? Certainly unplugged and cord tucked for the season, it will still see daily activity and may even be life savers for some birds during severe drought. Regardless of seasons, water is a critical life source for all beings.
When folks turn their baths over for winter, the birds who depended on that water source must find another. I wonder what they must think? The birds that is- not the people! “Don’t they understand, we need water in winter too! It really sucks trying to eat snow, takes too much energy.”
Whether you’re thinking of purchasing your first birdbath, or adding an extra one to your habitat, heated bird baths are a wise choice for year-round use. Because another severe winter looms on the horizon, resident birds will benefit as will your whole bird-watching experience!Follow @allpetsupplieso