The Ever So Versatile Bird Feeder Bracket


July 21, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:58 am

This bird feeder bracket attaches to a deck or porch rail for multiple uses. Versatility is good and mobility is even better when referring to a bird feeder bracket. Seasons change and birds migrate, so why would you want to offer the same old, same old throughout the year? Plus, once the birding bug hits, there’s always a need for one more feeder, or one more bath, or one more something in the yard! We can verify this first-hand :)

A simple deck-mount bracket (circled in yellow) accommodates a leaf mister during summer months. Actually mounted on the front porch, the extended arm bracket just slips right onto the rail. This makes it easy to move, and with the mister attached, makes for a happy and lush garden below. When it’s time to put the misters away in late fall, a bird bath or feeder will likely hang from the same spot. In early spring there’s always nesting materials offered in this spot.

Want to see more species of birds but limited on space? No trees to hang from and only one feeder pole in the yard? Check this cool bird feeder bracket with quick-connect that attaches right to a pole – no hardware needed. With a sleek curved shape and leaf design, there’s room for 3 or 4 more items. All of a sudden you’re seeing new birds in the same space!Branch type bird feeder bracket

No-melt suet is great for warm weather feeding as migratory birds enjoy it too. Grape jelly in an oriole feeder entices cat birds and woodpeckers.

Again, if space is limited for hanging feeders, remember that birds bathe naturally at ground level. Fresh water is the easiest way to entice feathered friends. A shallow pan of water is bound to bring some birds who may never even visit feeders. Keep the water fresh and more importantly… shallow. With lots of juveniles about, deep water can be fatal. No more than two inches is a perfect depth for birds to bathe, wade, preen and drink. Adding some stones or a few larger rocks gives birds added security with better footing, they make it easier to land and perch.

For all those who “don’t feed birds in summer” well, you happen to be missing two exciting times during the year when neotropic birds migrate. The opportunity for catching some new species pass through is pretty incredible… even for veteran backyard birders! That flash of orange from a Baltimore oriole, or the vivid colors of a painted bunting are in part what it’s all about!

 

 

Catch a Butterfly Explosion and Family Day of Fun!


July 16, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:29 am

New butterfly habitat and nature trail opening on SaturdayIf you’re in the Atlanta area, you may want to check out a new nature trail opening this Saturday on Briarcliff Road. Complete with family activities, the highlight (we think) happens to be a butterfly release.butterflies adore over-ripe fruit, offered here on a staked hanging feeder

It’s not some cheesy release of a bunch of live butterflies either. Each family will have the opportunity to see the chrysalis which has been stored in a dormant state. Ready to emerge from their cocoons, the butterflies will be released throughout the 3-hour event to a newly designed habitat created just for them.

With nectar plants in place, (host plants to come in fall) butterfly feeders and fruit offerings, it should prove interesting to see where the winged wonders are attracted first?

And why would we want to mention this event? First, because it sounds pretty cool… for young and old alike! It’s absolutely free, and because some of the habitats’ features came from thebirdhousechick!  Short pedestal bird baths are being used for plates offering over-ripe fruit, along with some staked glass butterfly feeders for nectar, both hand made in the USA.

Ground birdbath doubles as fruit plate for butterfliesbutterfly-feeders

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a family day of free fun and learning…
check out the details below!

Family Day Oldcastle Nature Trail

These Last Longer at Squirrel Feeders


July 15, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 4:27 am

Raccoons love gorging at squirrel feeders

Except of course with raccoons – then nothing edible left outdoors will last!

Rocky and masked friends partake in a buffet of deer corn on a cold night, on a warm night, a rainy night… doesn’t matter. Once discovered, if there’s food they will come.

Since we moved from this place, there’s only a couple of corn cob squirrel feeders in the yard. The bungee cord is probably the most entertaining too, there’s a bell on it, so you know when the squirrels are jumping. This is a great feature should you ever need a few laughs :) Bungees make for really fun squirrel feeders!

Using something called squirrel logs on these feeders is ideal if you’re not too keen on putting corn cobs out daily. The logs are actually compressed corn, and each is equal to about twelve ears of regular corn cobs. There’s even two flavors to satisfy your furry friends!

Compressed corn is great for most squirrel feedersThe logs usually last one week to 10 days, depending on activity. Smearing some peanut butter on them during frigid weather provides a killer treat that helps squirrels stay warm. But back to Rocky and friends… the logs are gone the next morning! For a while, we thought our crafty critters were just stealing them, until we discovered their larger, more destructive cousins were wolfing them down in one sitting!

In the scheme of things, maybe the coons aren’t so bad, they’re certainly preferable to bears! Several recent stories about bears raiding bird feeders is scary stuff! Guess there comes a time when it’s beneficial to both humans and nature to cease feeding everything wild… at least for a little while?

 

 

 

Bring an Ordinary Hanging Bird Bath to Life with Solar


July 8, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:52 am

A solar bubbler makes an ordinary hanging bird bath extraordinary!

July can be a scorcher for wildlife, especially with recent droughts and above-average temperatures. Natural water sources like puddles, creeks and shallow pools all but disappear during summer heat. Adding fresh water to the garden may prove to be a life saver for birds and other animals whose habitat continues to shrink. Something as simple as a plant saucer filled with water will see winged visitors happily partaking in the essential life source.

Adding bath accessories like leaf misters, water wigglers, or this solar bubbler can bring a pedestal or hanging bird bath to life! Circulating water stays fresher longer and acts as a magnet for birds! They’re totally attracted by the visual of moving water, and the soothing sounds can be a welcomed addition to human ears as well.

No need for the whole set-up either, these battery or solar powered accessories are a la carte! Some even operate from the outdoor spigot. Add them to your existing bath for a whole new dimension in birding. Hummingbirds are especially fond of birdbath fountains, while butterflies covet the gentle spray of leaf misters. Songbirds around our place actually sit and wait for the drppers to start each morning, it’s looks like a bird spa!

Consider one of many “moving water” accessories this summer and see which new visitors show up at your place. Especially during spring and fall migrations, you may be quite surprised!

 

Happy 4th ~ Save 10% on Unique Birdhouses and Everything Else!


July 4, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:38 am

Unique birdhouses are for year-round use as roosts too

Happy Birthday America-July 4th SavingsSave 10% Site-wide on unique birdhouses, feeders, bird baths… and everything else!

 

 

These wild birds wouldn’t know from birdhouses… the beach is their home. If you’re heading to the shore this weekend please think of the locals and share accordingly. From the National Audubon Society – tips for sharing the beach:

Audubon tips for sharing the beach

For pets, fireworks are horrifying, it’s animal control’s busiest weekend of the year. From MarleysMutts, here’s a few tips to keep your pets safe this weekend.

MarleysMutts 4th of July pet safety

Wishing all a Happy and Safe 4th of July Weekend!

 

 

 

Thistle Feeders are in High Gear Once Again!


July 1, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 9:59 pm

large capacity thistle feeders with lost of perches accommodate more goldfinchessIt may be officially summer, but the tail end of spring nesting season is still going strong. Goldfinches are just starting to nest now, which means you’ll be seeing a whole lot of yellow at thistle feeders in the next 2-3 months.

If you’re not offering thistle yet, you may be missing out! The American Goldfinch is a favored backyard songbird as their summer plumage, friendly disposition and sweet song are simply a pleasure to have around the garden. And unlike other birdseed, thistle seed won’t germinate… which is also a pleasure in the garden :)

Goldfinches don’t use birdhouses, so there’s no luring them in with that. They’ll raise their broods in mature hedges or trees, constructing nests of woven plant fibers and down. You can encourage them with some nesting materials placed in the vicinity of thistle feeders. They’re partial to Hummer Helper, the hummingbird nesting material, feathers and other fibrous nest offerings.smaller thistle feeders like these socks are ideal during nesting season

Unlike some more aggressive birds, goldfinches are quite demure, they’d rather fly off than fight for a spot at the feeder. This where lots of perches, or an all-over feeding space to accommodate them are ideal. Thistle socks are another great choice for goldfinches’ busy time of year. You can easily offer several different feeding spots, without spending a whole lot! Parents will feed babies thistle seed almost exclusively at first, sometimes mixed with finely chopped sunflower bits, you’ll see finches consuming this seed mix too.

As always, fresh water is critical to any bird’s environment. Keeping your bird bath clean is important stuff, for them and for your yard – especially in warm summer weather. Keep water shallow (no more than two inches) and keep it fresh… and they will come!

Oh wait, once goldfinches molt again in September they’ll turn an olive-drab color… but don’t quit feeding them. If you offer thistle year-round, their electric yellow plumage will grace your yard every summer!

Offer nesting material along with thistle feeders to encourage residencyOffer this nesting material near your thistle feeders

Clues to Feathers Below the Tube Bird Feeder


June 30, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:24 am

Groovy wavy tube bird feeder is for sunflower or thistle seedTired of lamenting over the neighbor’s cat, I decided to ask an expert birder if he could identify the predator by the formation of feathers left below the feeder. It’s a groovy tube bird feeder in a mod design that accommodates thistle or sunflower seed, ours is filled with the latter. Varied species frequent it, and even though cat birds don’t go for sunflower seed… I believe that’s who the casualty was in this case.Feathers found beneath the tube bird feeder likely belonged to a cat bird

To me, he’s a wealth of knowledge on all things birding and nature related. Not sure if he’s blogging himself, or has ever written professionally, but his stories fascinate me.

So I asked Mr. Keith Kridler of Mt. Pleasant, Tx, if he could tell by the formation of these feathers, who was the predator here? Did it look like the work of cat or hawk? Even though there’s a 50/50 shot at the correct answer… he couldn’t tell me with 100% accuracy. He did however mention certain clues to look for, and that a bit of further investigation might reveal my answer.

The next day there was a post in the forum, which he so kindly allowed me to share. It makes for most interesting reading if you’re into birds! Check his view in the last sentence too, so true, so true Keith!

“Jack Finch, Bailey North Carolina would get up every morning about 4:30 AM and sit outside and enjoy coffee while listening to his bluebirds wake up. Bluebirds during the heat of summer are more vocal in the pre-dawn hours and each male will belt out territorial calls from their roost tree. By listening every morning, Jack could tell if something or more likely some predator had forced one of his pairs of bluebirds to shift their roosting locations. You can tell the “morning after” a brood of bluebirds has fledged, because that pair will NOT be calling from the nestbox location. They will be frantically calling and singing to locate all of their young that survived their first night out of the nestbox! This new location maybe several hundred yards from their nest! For the next week or so their normal “sunrise” songs will be controlled panic calls!

You can hear in the pre-dawn hours if you have a pair of bluebirds that are about to begin another nesting attempt. They will be singing and calling near their chosen new nest site. This is to warn other pairs away and or it might just be a new/single male bluebird trying to attract a female, since he is bragging about a new nestbox/new habitat that he is now holding. By sunrise any other nearby male bluebirds will fly to the edges of their territory and they will also fire up in song and there may be four or five different males singing their versions of “Dueling Banjo’s”.

You can locate them with the first light, as they will be in the tip tops of trees, right at the edge of their territory. They will be singing and wing waving, then warning chatter if another male or pair of bluebirds is too close. They will be bouncing up in the air about 10 feet, then sailing back down flashing their wings to show off their blue feathers. Colors are more intense just as the sun is clearing the horizon or about to slip down out of sight at sunset. On occasion there will actually be fighting, between birds, by July this morning ritual will seldom go beyond a short dash from the dominant male bluebird, chasing a challenger back a few trees. Maintaining “Pecking Order” in different species is fairly complex! It sometimes is even harder to adapt and or re-arrange pecking order in a group!

Think about when a Beauty Queen or Sports Jock moved into your small town from another state when you were growing up! Same goes for a new lead singer into a small church choir, or new management personnel at work or heaven forbid a political change! This is all “Pecking Order” issues that have to be worked through, in the birding world, the individual birds will settle this mostly by singing and bluffing. At some point in every yard this pecking order will change off and on all summer long.

In groups of humans you seldom see a change near the top of the pecking order that does not result in someone getting their feathers all ruffled up and by the time the dust clears, then the new pecking order has been achieved, that one or more at the top of the pecking order will have moved to another group. Normally there is no change in the middle and or bottom of the pecking order in a group or flock.

Many of the bird/animal species have evolved to move and feed in “flocks”, by doing this they can simply crowd out the other non-flocking species while they dominate a food source. Big flocks and or groups have to constantly be on the move though, as they will deplete the food, water and habitat. Some people say that the “flock” of Passenger Pigeons was around 6 Billion strong and that there were more than 40 Million Bison still roaming freely across North America in 1814. These were replaced at the top of the Pecking Order with domestic chickens and cattle by 1890.

Currently there are about 210 distinct “Flocks” of Humans living behind temporary lines and fences. We live in interesting times as the Pecking Order of human flocks are changing at all levels it appears at the same time. Shame we don’t adjust this pecking order by singing and bluffing! At the worst we should send out our leaders to settle disputes one on one, more like two Bantam Roosters would.”

The Deal with Stones in Your Birdbath


June 28, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:41 am

Adding stones to your birdbath may save a life.You hear it all the time… or maybe not? Adding a large rock or stones to your birdbath helps birds. It’s absolutely true, especially for juveniles venturing out into the world after springs’ nesting season.

Shallow, shallow, shallow is best, with a maximum depth of 2-3 inches. If your bowl is deeper – just don’t fill it all the way. While adult birds tend to maneuver with more agility, babies can easily drown in your birdbath if the water is too deep.

A recent post on this topic (on a social network) was shared far and wide because it was a good story. The person saw the bathing bird in distress, and slowly walked over with a stick, but the bird didn’t fly away – it remained in the bath struggling. When she gently extended the stick over the bath, the bird hopped right on it. After placing the stick to the ground, the bird hopped off… but could not fly. She immediatelyThe most shallow birdbaths will accommodate rocks to help feathered friends thought of a wildlife re-habber and called, but the bird eventually took flight.

Drowning indeed he was, the water being too deep, with the sides of the bath too tall and steep for escape. The little guy was lucky someone was watching! Wet feathers can’t fly, this is why he hopped under the brush instead of flying to a nearby branch. It illustrates exactly why folks are always saying to put rocks or stones in your birdbath.

Gentle sloped sides on this birdbath make it easy for birds to walk right outBaths with a gentle slope or walk-in sides are easiest on birds because they imitate shallow pools or puddles found in nature. Texture is always helpful too, as it allows tiny feet the ability to grip.

The stones can be anything from colorful decorative ones, to a large natural rock, river rock, lava rock, or simply stones from the garden. Anything that allows birds to “hop up onto” will be used and appreciated by feathered friends. For better footing, landing and perching spots… and maybe even to save a life!

Great Job New York~Ivory Ban is Official!


June 23, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:24 am

IFAW Statement on New York Ivory Ban: We Love New York

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2014) – Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding a bill passed last week by the New York state legislature which bans  the sale and purchase of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn:

“A big victory for endangered elephants and rhinos, as New York enacts a landmark law to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn.

These bans are important tools for regulating, and, we hope, eventually ending the ivory and rhino horn trade. Every 15 minutes on average, an African elephant is slaughtered for its ivory tusks to support a mass consumer demand. Rhinos, which are also poached for their horns, are similarly threatened. The U.S. ranks as one of the largest ivory consumers in the world and New York serves as one its biggest entry points and markets.

Promising regulations are gathering momentum at the federal level. As one of the first states to pass such legislation, New York is carving a path for others to follow.

We love New York’s actions and congratulate and thank our coalition partners in encouraging the passage of these bills.”

To learn more about IFAW’s work to crush the ivory trade, please visit http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/elephants/ending-ivory-trade.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org.

Honoring Sammy with Tabby Cat Wood Birdhouses


June 21, 2014
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:27 pm

tabby cat wood birdhousesMy friend’s a pretty decent writer, some of the cat stories are quite touching… this is one of them. If you happen to be a cat person who’s crazy enough to have a few wood birdhouses that resemble your cats (us), or even one who’s remotely fond of your pets, then read on. And if you’ve ever wondered about an animals’ capacity for love or understanding – this will should also be of interest.

 Dumb Animals

My animal rescue work has brought a number of new friends into my life.  This story is about two of them:  Sara and Michelle.  Either of them will happily and readily tell you that each is the others very best friend.  I don’t know much about their history — things like how they met and how long they’ve been friends.  I do know they both have dedicated countless hours and immeasurable amounts of energy to making lives better for neglected and abused animals, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s one of their most important characteristics.

In the spring of 2012, Sara left Florida and moved out west.  One of her last rescue efforts before leaving this part of the country (she continues her work on behalf of animals prior to moving was to place a leukemia positive cat with me.  He’s a big, fluffy, all black guy that I named “Bartholomew,” (heavy on the “MEW,”) in hopes he’d be a mellow fellow.  Turns out that I usually sammy's arrival-he fancied the orange tabby wood birdhousecall him “Bart,” as in Black Bart.  He’s not a bad cat, just an independent guy who never has had much use for sitting in laps or having his head rubbed or human interaction of any sort.

In July of last year, Michelle and her daughter rescued a poor little waif of a kitten from animal control.  As the Fates would have it, he tested positive for leukemia. At Sara’s urging, Michelle contacted me, and tiny orange Samson (Sammy) came to live at my house.  If ever there was an irresistibly cute kitten on the face of the earth, Sammy was that cat.  Everyone who met him fell instantly in love with him.  I did my very best not to tumble head over heels for him because I know the usual outcome for kittens born with the leukemia virus, but I was powerless to resist his charms.  Within two days of his arrival here, I was hopelessly hooked.

sam at his bestSammy was clearly a cat that veterinarians label “at risk.”  He was anemic, underweight (at his prime, he was less than six pounds), prone to respiratory infections, and generally frail.  But what he lacked in physical stamina, he more than made up for in sweetness and personality.  Truly as endearing an animal as has ever crossed my path.
Three weeks ago, Sammy took ill.  He’d been sick other times and always managed to pull past it, but this illness was more serious.  I took him to the vet in late May and over the next 20 days, we threw most of the pharmacy at him, but with no immune system thanks to the wretched leukemia virus, he couldn’t fight this foe.

He and I were at the vet’s office when it opened this morning.  In three weeks’ time, he’d lost nearly a quarter of his body weight.  His chest cavity was filled with fluid leaving him on the verge of congestive heart failure, and the vet said his lungs sounded like crinkling cellophane, almost certainly pneumonia.  The only compassionate choice was to kiss his head over and over and over for all the people who loved him and send him on his way.Cats paying respects to sammy

I brought him home in his burial box and left his body on the deck with the group of cats he’d hung out with while he was my boy — including big black Bart.  From the first picture, you can see that several of his pals spent a minute or two paying their respects.  One by one, most of them went on their way, but Bart lingered.  And lingered.  Bart and Sammy hadn’t been particularly good buddies.  They didn’t fight, but likewise, they didn’t snooze together or engage in a close friendship.  It struck me as odd that Bart needed all this time to say goodbye to Sammy.

Bart not letting go of SammyLook at this picture.  Bart is hugging Sammy’s burial box — not unlike what I’ve seen humans do if they’ve lost a particularly beloved family member or friend.  When I went to pick up Sammy’s box, Bart literally clung to the towel that was draped over it, begging me to let him have a little more time with Sammy.  I remarked out loud to Bart that I didn’t understand why he was so upset by Sammy’s death since they hadn’t been that close in life.

As I put the box back down, Bart fixed a gaze on me that ate right to my soul.  Anyone who’s spent much time around animals knows the look I’m referring to.  It’s the one that roughly translated means, “I know you’re merely a human being and therefore have limited cranial capacity, but try really hard to think about this situation.”  Pause, pause.  “Think about how it is that Sammy and I came to be your fur kids.”

Picture the light bulb blinking on over my head…. Okay.  Got it.

Bart wasn’t just saying goodbye to Sammy for himself.  He was Sara’s emissary, bearing her spirit all the way from Colorado to be here to lend comfort and support to Michelle and her daughter’s spirits for the loss of precious Sammy.  Bart knew the importance of drawing the circle of love very tightly around Sammy’s earthly remains so that all the people who had played a part in saving his life (albeit for much too short a time by our human measure) could take sustenance from each other and find the strength to move past this sorrow.

Oh, the lessons these dumb animals impart.  Dumb animals, indeed.  If anyone ever makes a comment about unthinking, unfeeling animals, maybe you’ll tell them about how Bart & Sara and Sammy & Michelle came together for one essential group hug at precisely the right, crucial moment.

Sammy’s physical body is gone, but his beautiful soul and boundless wisdom will live on in my heart.  Celebrate his life.Farewell to Sammy~Rest in Peace