October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!


October 22, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:17 pm

adopt a shelter dog And what would this have to do with wild birds? Absolutely nothing, but our own dogs and cats have always been – and will always be rescues… because they make for the best pets ever! And yes, there are purebreds of every kind waiting and hoping for their own family.

It’s an alarming statistic: over 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters every year, yet only 29% of cats and dogs are adopted nationwide.

In honor of October’s National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, those considering adoption can look to rescues for their new family member. Most shelters house a wide array of animals, including purebreds, and will work with you to find the best pet for your family.

Adoption can be seen as a two-way street, as a rescue can benefit not only the animal they are taking in, but also the new owners as well. Heidi Ganahl, CEO of Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and fastest growing pet care franchise has offered her insight regarding the benefits of pet adoption and important factors to consider.

Benefits of Pet Adoption and Factors to Consider:

  • General Benefits - There’s a reason that they say dog is man’s best friend. Having a pet, not limited to dogs, is something that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Pets can be calming, mood lifting, empathetic, and so much more. They teach you how to be selfless and responsible as you are caring over another life (for those of you without children).  Generally speaking, they make you happy.
  • Save the Life of a Shelter Pet – Only 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters; the rest are left to live in the rescue centers or, worse – euthanized. Bottom line: Adopting a pet saves their life. Give a dog or cat a home they wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Stress Reduction - Some studies show that people begin to feel less anxious after spending less than an hour with an animal. There are endless benefits from lowering your stress level and while the things that we find stressful in our lives are often hard to cut out, including an animal in your life can help.
  • Helps with Depression - In some cases, therapists suggest to patients suffering from depression that they adopt a pet. An animal will love you unconditionally and also be a great friend and listener. People with depression often benefit from having a pet, as the animal can help them get out of the house and out of their own head.
  • Engaged Mind - A key to a healthy mind, especially for those who are elderly, is staying engaged with others. A pet is often a conversation starter and being out with a pet often warrants questions or comments from passersby. Bringing your dog to a dog park is a great way to meet other people with similar interests.

    Factors to Consider:

  • What breed are you looking to adopt? Different breeds have different characteristics and you will want to understand the types of behaviors that may be displayed by your new family member. You need to understand the energy of your household, the size of dog that you can handle, how much exercise you are able to provide and more. If your family tends to be very low key, you do not want to choose a high energy dog that needs tons of energy. If you live in a small space, a very large dog may not be the best for your family. Think about all of these variables before choosing your new pup.
  • Who will care for the new pet? Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.

If you have children in your household, enrolling your new pup and family members into an obedience class should be high on your priority list. Children need to learn how to safely interact with the dogs so that accidents don’t happen. An experienced trainer will help the whole family understand how to safely interact with your new family member.

  • If there are elderly members in a household, a strong vigorous adolescent pet is not advised. Large breeds also demand more physical upkeep, something that an older person may have trouble performing.
  • Does your family have an opinion on their newest member of the family? Although it is exciting to surprise the family with a new pet, do some research and poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the household. Once your family has chosen a breed that suits the family’s requirements, the best approach is to bring the whole family to meet the potential new family member and gauge how they all interact.
  • Are you financially ready for this responsibility? A new pet can go for “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. A budget must be set not only for the upfront cost of taking the pet home, but also for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind that your pet will need to be fed and groomed and will also need chew toys and additional supplies like food bowls, a dog bed, brushes, leashes, etc.  Also keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies. You might also think about getting pet insurance for your new family member to help keep the cost of veterinary bills more affordable.

Friend and Foe Use Bluebird Houses Through Winter


October 15, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:19 pm

clean bluebird houses for winter roostingFairly late and third nesting reports for Eastern bluebirds were common this year, possibly due in part to the previously treacherous winter and their delayed instincts for claiming territories and nest boxes (nest starts).

Now’s a great time to check bluebird houses for repairs and remove nesting materials from the busy spring season. Although bluebirds don’t usually roost in houses… others will!  Offering shelter through tough winter months for resident birds is simple if you have a house or two up already. Just clean them out and check for repairs. And a good cleaning is optimal if you have the time, a diluted bleach solution works great. Use a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water and a good scrub brush. Rinse well, let air dry and replace.

damage on old bluebird houses likely due to squirrelsSquirrels can do a number on wood birdhouses, especially enlarging the entries to gain access. If the damage isn’t too bad yet, it’s an easy fix by adding a metal or brass portal over the entrance. It’s a good way to save your birdhouses for the birds and deter squirrels through winter. Well… some squirrels anyway!

For the past few years we’ve had a downy woodpecker who claims a bluebird house for nightly roosting, it’s actually pretty cool! House sparrows on the other hand, should be discouraged from roosting in any houses… they’re a major foe of the bluebird and most native cavity nesting birds.

If and when you do go to clean out houses, you may see droppings which will give you a clue as to who’s roosting in there. If they’re white, you can bet house sparrows are in the area. Black droppings with seeds indicates bluebirds. Let’s hope for the latter :)

 

 

Wood Birdhouses Ought to be in Pictures!


October 10, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 5:31 pm

HW-signWith so many groovy new innovations out there today, many folks’ ambitious dream of making it to the big screen is now within reach!

Though most of of the articles here are informative (we hope so anyway), they’re also a means of advertising and getting folks to our main website. We think some of our wood birdhouses are worthy of the big screen… enough for a second look, even if to say “what the heck?” Birds find them pretty swell places to raise their young, and they do seem to evoke a smile from cat enthusiasts. So check out what we stumbled upon.

fat-cat wood birdhouses are fun and functional Of the sensory overload bombardments we’re hit with daily, Zeusvision is something new and fun. Extreme, these are 40-foot buses built from chassis up with 31-foot digital screens on each side. Buses are complete with top-notch audio systems delivering the best sound money can buy. To experience this up close is to experience something pretty awesome and unusual!

The platform can serve for public messaging where anyone could get their personal words or commercial ads seen in crowded public spaces. Ads though are just one example; a sports mom could use Zeusvision to congratulate her son’s team on their championship victory, announcing a wedding proposal or birthday, or just say something special in a larger-than-life way! The innovation makes big media accessible to everyone, because your words or product may deserve a tad more than a simple post on social media channels.

chillin-orange tabby birdhouseBig city outdoor ads are clearly dominated by large companies due to high costs associated with prime real estate. So Zeusvision runs their buses in these prime locations as well. New York City, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills are just a few, with new markets being added continuously.

And because it’s affordable for individuals and smaller companies like us, we’re fixin’ to put fat cat wood birdhouse up on the big screen! We’ll keep you posted on how it goes :)

Seeing Red at Finch Feeders


October 3, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:11 am

The purple variety is red and they're at finch feeders tooThink finch, and the first thing that usually comes to mind is a vibrant yellow American goldfinch, and because of their late breeding season, they’re out in full force this time of year. In fact, with their second molt, those bright feathers are giving way to new but drab winter plumage… so don’t think they’ve left! Finches are resident birds throughout most of the US. So keep on feeding them :)

The other finch is purple by name, but their plumage is really more red. You’re apt to see another red bird at finch feeders if you offer a premium seed mix.This male cardinal perches at a finch feeder Cardinals adore their sunflower seed, and a better quality finch mix will have more of it.

Like anything else, there’s okay, better and best, this absolutely applies to birdseed too! Best will cost more, but it offers higher nutritional value and less waste in return. One of the reasons folks quit feeding birds is the ground mess (and who it attracts), so by using a mix with no fillers-which is what ends up on the ground anyway, you’ll not only attract more of the desired birds, you’ll have considerably less mess below feeders.

Nyger and chopped sunflower is perfect in finch feedersTry stocking your finch feeder with a mix of premium nyjer seed and sunflower chips. It’s got a high fat content, (great for winter) and there’s no corn, no milo, no millet that’s found in less expensive birdseed. No, we don’t sell it, but yes we use it, purchased from our local WBU… but don’t tell anyone!

Although cardinals do prefer larger, secure spaces while feeding, they’ll definitely perch at finch feeder with tray, or even hop on a perch itself. The new-fangled spiral feeders offer a bit of both! Birds run the spiral instead of feeding from individual perches, and they have optional seed trays too.Cardinal on spiral feeder with tray

So don’t forget your finches once they’ve turned brown! Keep feeders fresh and consider a heated bath to help them through winter!

 

Glass Bird Feeder-Yes, Glass Window Crash-No!


September 28, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 2:57 pm

a glass bird feeder offers cleaner feedingTraditional wood bird feeders are most commonly seen in platform, fly-thru or hopper styles. They’re great for birds as the texture allows for easier footing or grip by tiny bird feet. But there’s something to be said for the more creative type glass bird feeder. Style for one, as many are hand made and functional works of art in the landscape. Wood eventually deteriorates while glass withstands. Wood has a porous surface which allows bacteria and mold to penetrate, glass is non-porous and much easier to clean.copper and stained glass bird feeder

It’s really just a matter of personal preference and the birds you’re wanting to attract. A Fly-Thru allows for a variety of treats throughout the year, while a hopper style only accommodates seed mixes. Just a little something for future reference… the next feeder needn’t be wood to be fully functional.

When it comes to glass, your home’s windows are hazardous, sometimes even fatal to the birds feeding in your yard. Birds simply don’t see them – resulting in violent crashes and strikes with the invisible wall. The “thump” sound is really a bummer, then you find the (hopefully) stunned bird and hope he’s okay with a few minutes rest. But many times a broken neck, or too forceful a hit renders the death of an avian friend.

WindowAlert prevents strikes at glassThe good news is it’s really easy to avoid these crashes in the first place! WindowAlert Decals are inexpensive, simple to use and most effective. No glue, no mess on windows, simply a static cling decal with a light coating that reflects ultraviolet sunlight. Barely visible to the human eye, birds see a brilliant glow warning them of the impending glass.

There’s a fantastic new product from this company as well. Working by the same principle of reflecting UV rays, it’s called UV Liquid. Similar to a bingo marker, you simply roll, or draw it right on the window to apply. Dots, circles, squiggles or lines… or anything your artsy heart might like will work! The important thing is that birds will see it loud & clear while just faint marks to your eye.Liquid-UV warns birds of windows

Either product may be used alone, but if you’ve got a big problem with window strikes that are happening all to often, it’s best to use UVLiquid in conjunction with a few decals.

With migrations underway and an increase in traffic, new birds may be visiting feeders. You can easily help them and your resident buddies avoid deadly window strikes in less than 5 minutes of your time. And oh yeah… keeping those wood or glass bird feeders clean and stocked is a great help too!

Welcome Fall with Shelled Peanut Bird Feeders


September 23, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:59 pm

Happy Fall

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Falling leaves and shorter days trigger birds and wildlife to do their survival thing! Migratory birds, butterflies and even insects are on the move southward to warmer winter digs. Many residents will start caching food stores for later retrieval-jays and nuthatches do this, even squirrels.Squirrels cache corn and nuts...even from peanut bird feeders Should you happen to feed the furry critters, adding peanuts to the mix serves them well in fall and winter. Even peanut butter smeared on corn cobs or a tree trunk is a happening treat!

A fantastic source of fat, calories and protein can be had from peanut bird feeders. The legumes pack a punch of a meal for optimal nutrition. Offering shelled peanuts reduces ground mess… in fact there’s no mess at all. Any morsel falling to the ground will go to good use!

With an array of styles, peanut feeders are a great choice for fall and winter feeding. Nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers and chickadees will partake, even bluebirds sometimes go for shelled peanuts in cold weather.No ground waste using shelled peanuts in bird feeders

They can hang or pole-mount, have optional trays for perching, or offer an all-over feeding space for clinging birds. The spiral peanut feeders are awesome as opposed to traditional perches. They allow more birds to feed at once, and watching them run or hop the continuous perch is a trip! Birds seem to love these feeders, and there’s an optional 10-inch clear tray for additional perching space and catching shells.Spiral peanut bird feeders are a hoot to watch

Caged type feeders will typically keep squirrels out of your peanuts, while suet cages work great for trying whole peanuts. Lots of options for changing up treats with seasons!

So with the arrival of fall, a new feeder might just be in order for your resident birds. Unfortunately they’re saying this winter will be as bad as last :(

Fortunately, you can nab 10% off all bird feeders through the end of September! Use promo code MC10 at checkout… our thanks for feeding the birds :)

How to Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders that Work!


September 18, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:48 am

caged squirel proof bird feeder 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!squirrel-proof bird feeders for the best of them

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 proof bird feeders that hang with a large bafflesquirrel 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!

Say you have a a fancy shepherd’s hook that no baffle will fit over on either end? Not a problem with an innovative locking baffle that opens for fast installation.Squirrel Proof Bird  Feeders that hang on a pole with this cool baffle.

Some pole systems have built-in baffles that are excellent at thwarting squirrels. The Squirrel Stopper is one such system. It’s received fantasticSome pole systems create instant squirrel proof bird feeders 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!

3 Reasons Edible Birdhouses are Perfect for Migration


September 15, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:29 am

An edible birdhouse is perfect for migration timeThey 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!

Vinyl Hopper Bird Feeders with Extra Large Capacity


September 8, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 6:02 pm

large capacity hopper bird feedersTired 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.hanging hopper bird feeders 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!

Instant Window Bird Feeders – Even Window Bird Baths!


September 7, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:03 am

Window bird feeder and window bird bath in oneThey 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 window bird feeders with a deck ringseconds. 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.