While some folks really despise them, others quite enjoy feeding squirrels, watching their amazing acrobatic ability and silly antics. As long as bird feeders are set up properly with baffles to ward off squirrels-it’s really no problem at all.
There are some great squirrel feeders out there, some peanut feeders that will even accommodate Blue Jays (another one considered a nuisance by some). This metal wreath whole peanut feeder does just that. With an innovative, fun design, it offers peanuts in the shell to Jays and squirrels alike.
If you’d rather watch a bit of a show, the Squngee is where it’s at! This bungee cord squirrel feeder hold two ears of corn (or corn logs) and squirrels have to work for the prize. It’s really a hoot to watch!
Squirrel can chow through those corn cobs pretty darn fast too, and it can get pricey keeping them fed. Check out your local feed store for bulk packaging of corn cobs. Here in Georgia, a 50-pound bag runs about thirteen bucks. Another great option is to use corn logs instead of actual corn cobs. These are compressed corn and one is equal to about 12 ears of corn. They’re available in sweet corn, or nut and corn flavor…and squirrels love them.
If you’re feeding loose corn on the ground, don’t be surprised if a few masked critters of the evening show up for their fair share too!
Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, Purple Finches and others are a welcome addition to any yard or garden — these colorful birds will flock to a finch bird feeder if you are lucky, and chow down on thistle for long periods of time. Pecking one tiny seed at a time makes it easy to observe them.
This food has added benefits; squirrels ignore it, and it is not germinating which means that spilled food won’t turn into weeds. But what if you’re not lucky enough to have enough finches to eat all of the food on a regular basis? The thistle, or nyjer seed can clump when it gets damp, and the attraction for our feathered friends will quickly fade.
Here’s a trick to keep thistle bird feeders fresher longer: Place a few inexpensive ping pong balls inside your feeder. The thistle seed is very fine, so it flows around the ping pong balls and is available to the birds. The balls will take up space in the feeder, reducing the amount of food it holds, while allowing an even distribution for more feeding space. The result: less food in the feeder means less clumping and fresher food. You can add or remove balls until you get the right balance of food and space for your feeder and your habitat.
With their nesting season winding down, Goldfinches abound! Their electric yellow plumage is hard to miss. Adults feed babies thistle, or nyjer seed exclusively, so large capacity or extra thistle feeders are very helpful this time of year. Even those convenient thistle socks or bags, are an excellent way to accommodate all the newcomers.
Because of their sweet nature, Goldfinches will usually just give up and fly off rather than fight at crowded thistle feeders. A fresh water source such as a bird bath is also very enticing to all songbirds, and with moving water like the dripper shown here, birds will be flocking to your yard!
Remember to keep thistle feeders out year round to enjoy these vibrant summer colors. Goldfinches’ plumage will start to fade in the fall when they molt, but the same cheery birds will hang around your yard if offered thistle seed on a consistent basis.
American Humane legislation banning shelter animal seizure passes Michigan state House
Lansing, MI (July 28, 2010)—American Humane is encouraged that the proposed state legislation it created to stop shelter dogs and cats from being seized by Class B dealers for scientific experiments has passed the Michigan House of Representatives.
“One can only imagine the horror of having your family pet wind up in a shelter and then be sold to a Class B dealer for scientific experiments before it can be picked up or find a new home,” said Allie Phillips, a former prosecutor who authored the legislation in her role as American Humane’s vice president of strategic initiatives. “This is a heartbreaking and cruel practice that must be stopped.”
By a vote of 78-20, Michigan’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 4663 (Koda’s Law), which, if approved also by the Senate, would effectively end the 30-year practice of pet dealers taking shelter dogs and cats for sale to research facilities. Under current law, Class B dealers (named after their type of U.S. Department of Agriculture license) engage in the practice of providing shelter animals around the nation to research laboratories for experimentation. There are currently nine Class B dealers that broker live animals for experimentation in the United States, with three being located in Michigan.
The landmark legislation was sponsored by State Rep.. John Espinoza (D-Croswell) and authored by American Humane, the nation’s historic voice of advocacy and awareness for the protection of children and animals. Founded in 1877, Denver-based American Humane provides public policy leadership, education and direct action incorporating a vast network of agencies, academic institutions, businesses and individual Americans to help protect children and animals from abuse and neglect.
Previous efforts in Michigan to ban Class B dealers have gone county by county, and there are currently two remaining shelters in the state that practice pound seizure.
The bill will now move to the Michigan Senate for consideration.
For more information on this and other issues relating to the protection of children and animals, please visit American Humane at www.americanhumane.org.
Squirrels stealing seed from the bird feeder…it’s a miserable yet common theme among backyard birders. Even if you do feed the furry critters, it’s never enough because they always invite their friends! Their acrobatic skills and antics are enough to drive one bonkers!
Many squirrel proof bird feeders tend to resemble miniature critter jails with their metal cages surrounding a feeder tube. They work well for the most part, but that industrial look just doesn’t suit all environments. There are better options out there for feeding your birds and foiling squirrels.
This high quality squirrel proof bird feeder is the called the Sky Cafe. It’s available in several options, including color roof, and seed separators, to offer multiple seed mixes in one feeder. It may be hung or pole mounted with the baffle below the feeder. The Sky Cafe is attractive and very effective at keeping squirrels out of your birdseed.
Check out why the Sky Cafe is called the “Fort Knox” of feeders in this great manufacturer’s video below and see for yourself. You may get a little chuckle too!
Innovative and fun to assemble, these recycled plastic birdhouse kits provide real nest sites for feathered friends. The vibrant color combinations (and patterns too) will have young and old admiring them for their simplicity and charm. No tools are required for assembly, and they make great projects for a rainy day at home, and for youth or church groups.
The non-toxic plastic is safe for birds, and ensures many seasons of use and enjoyment. With a 1.25-inch opening, these birdhouse kits are perfect for small to medium size songbirds. The hardest part is picking out the color!
With a severe shortage in natural nesting sites, you can help birds to flourish and thrive in your neck of the woods by providing birdhouses for them to raise their young. Birdhouse kits like these also provide great roosting spots for cold winter nights. Please help house the birds!
Silly me! I seriously thought that by placing blue bird houses in the yard the sweet birds would just appear and decide to take up residence. Not the case though. After some time, the bluebird feeder was introduced with offerings that weren’t too enticing to bluebirds. Suet crumbles, bluebird banquet, roasted mealworms, and a host of other foods claiming to be” their favorite” were not attracting bluebirds to the yard.
Then after biting the bullet so to speak, live meal worms were offered and it worked…in fact, it worked great! I noticed in the dead of winter there were eastern bluebirds in my yard…everyday! There’s a heated bird bath in the back, and they frequented it daily. Now added to the list of chores was feeding the worms everyday, but it was just so rewarding to watch these sweet little birds chowing down!
When it started to warm up, the bluebirds were busy building a nest of pine needles in one of blue bird houses. In and out for a few days, the nest was completed quickly. I watched the process over the next few weeks, afraid to even open the house and peek inside. The parents dutifully fed the chicks mealworms over the next few days. Feeder to house, house to feeder, I watched in delight.
Fledglings! Three healthy bluebird chicks learned to fly. I watched as they’d follow their parents over to the meal worm feeder, land on top and scream for food. After a few days they learned to enter and exit the openings to get their own worms. This was very cool to witness, and I would suggest to anyone with the least bit of interest in Bluebirds to try it and see!
Weathered wood is always lovely, until it starts to disintegrate. This happens to many a birdhouse and feeder over time. But these new vinyl bluebird houses are better than wood, and guaranteed to last a lifetime with little to no maintenance.
In classic, architectural styles, they offer your choice of patina or bright copper roof. The vinyl is PVC, just like the siding on people’s homes, and each piece is made to order. They’re complete with a vinyl sleeve post that has attached decorative brackets and fits on a standard 4×4 post.
These great bluebird houses range from a six-inch diameter, up to a ten-inch model. Larger sizes with multiple compartments are available, but not geared towards bluebirds.
The secret to attracting bluebirds? Open space away from trees, and the coveted live mealworms. Entice most any wild bird with fresh water in a birdbath, it’s the single most effective way to get birds coming to your yard. Our bluebirds even stay through severe winters as their bath water is always heated, and the meal worms make for good pickings!
Aside from opportunities for great close up views and observation by humans, window feeders provide the same for indoor kittys. A believer that cats shouldn’t roam in yards to hunt wildlife, mine are indoor only, with a nice screened deck that’s “outside” for them.
The bird feeders, squirrel feeders and baths are really entertaining for them, they sit and watch for hours, sometimes getting a little vocal about their sightings. Today I visited a lady who’s rescued many a cat from shelters, vets’ offices, and parking lots. It was the most wonderful setup I’d ever seen. These cats had tunnels, cat walks, cat trees, and windows with shelves to sun, with many spots for access to contained outdoor areas. Outside, one was even hunting crickets, you wouldn’t think he even knew he was in a pen. Fresh air, grass beneath their feet, and nature right there with them.
In one of the many rooms, was a cat tree in front of a bay window. A window hummingbird feeder was providing nectar for several hungry hummers. Flitting and darting about they didn’t even notice, or seem to mind the big fat cat who was observing. It was really a cool site, and such a great idea. To feed the birds, and keep them safe from predators, while still entertaining the cats!
After switching from commercial nectar to the plain sugar-water solution, we’ve seen three times as many hummingbirds as before. For some reason, they seem to prefer the home made version with no additives better than packaged nectar products.
Sometimes you have to look closely to see the liquid level in the clear glass hummingbird feeders, and folks always say “shouldn’t it be red?” but the hummingbirds just know. Even though the the glass and the nectar are clear in color, hummingbirds flock to these feeders now. Four feeders are emptied almost daily, and it’s always a site to behold… for sure!
Making your own nectar is so simple too. One cup plain table sugar to four cups of water – that’s it. No need to boil the water, but it does help to dissolve the sugar quicker and more thoroughly. Any microorganisms are actually spread by hummers themselves, as they are carried on their bills. Never use anything but pure cane sugar (white table sugar) as it’s harmful to the birds and may be fatal.
The other great hummingbird enticer is leaf misters. They love to flit back and forth in the gentle mist. Any moving water will attract hummingbirds, especially a fountain added to your birdbath.
Try your own nectar and notice the difference in hummingbird activity at your place…Happy Birding!