This post was supposed to be on bat houses because October is supposed to be about bats. Maybe because birds are ignoring feeders and eating the bountiful harvests (in most parts of the country anyway). Texas, I feel for your wildlife and ranch animals too… so so sad. No hay, no water, nothing but parched land.
So, October and bats and Halloween… they’re always portrayed as some scary winged creatures, when in fact they’re pretty harmless. Vampire bats who suck blood exist only in very few places in the whole world. Bats are very beneficial to have around your place, just a small colony can eat tens of thousands of mosquitoes and pests in a night. If you happen to live around a lake or pond you’ve got an advantage for attracting them. Bat Houses offer roosting spots for just a few fellas, all the way up to whole colonies, which are usually around 100 to 300 bats in residential areas.
No, these aren’t Sparrows, but American Goldfinches in their drab winter plumage. A customer contacted me yesterday to see what could be done about the problematic House Sparrows in her yard. She said there were so many of them that the Goldfinches couldn’t even get near her finch bird feeder if they tried!
Although I’m not sure why, some folks admire and encourage House Sparrows… maybe it’s because that’s the only birds they can attract to their habitat? A non-native species (they should round them up and deport them back to Europe) along with Starlings, they wreak havoc on our native song birds. Bluebirds have no chance with sparrows around, and tree swallows too will lose out to sparrows for nesting cavities. Whole colonies of Purple Martins are chased away by sparrow invasion. I know there are no “mean birds” but sparrows instinct for survival is brutal with actual maiming and killing of nestlings and adults for use of the nest box.
So if you’re unlucky enough to have them in your yard… how do you get rid of them? First start by taking away the “welcome mat”. Try to remove the things that are attracting them, at least temporarily. Birdbaths should be emptied, and feeders taken down. I know this is a difficult task, but food in the wild is plentiful this fall (in most parts of the country) and it’s only for a short time, encouraging the sparrows to move on to other digs. Use quality birdseed too, it does make a difference. A mix that has a lot of corn or millet in it will also attract more “undesirable” birds.
Another option if you’re looking to attract Goldfinches only, is an upside down finch bird feeder. These are one of very few birds who will actually eat while perched upside down. And it’s not a bad thing… just being more selective about the beaked buddies you’re attracting to your yard!
Explosive campaign on Change.org calls on Petland USA to end the sale of pets in its stores; more than fifty bloggers join campaign.
WASHINGTON, DC – Thousands of people and more than fifty pet bloggers have joined a popular campaign on Change.org calling on Petland to stop selling commercially bred pets and support pet adoption instead.
Mary Haight, who owns the Dancing Dog Blog, launched the campaign on Change.org following an announcement from Petland Canada that it planned to end pet sales across its Canadian stores. When she tried to contact Petland’s U.S. headquarters in Ohio to find out their response to the announcement, she never received a call back.
“This is an opportunity for Petland to be a corporate leader,” said petition creator Mary Haight. “They claim to care about animals, but their actions don’t match that claim when the foundation of Petland’s business is based on buying from commercial puppy mills.”
“Petland can break with past cruelties, be welcomed in communities, and build a strong base for the future by embracing the adoption model,” Haight continued. “Now that Petland Canada has announced their plan to fire puppy mills and employ the adoption model, Petland USA needs to stand up and be counted. Millions of animals are waiting for their help.”
Earlier this month, more than fifty pet bloggers joined a blog action day hosted by Be the Change for Animals in support of Mary’s campaign on Change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. News of the online campaign is likely to increase pressure on Petland, which has long been under fire for its connections to commercial breeding facilities referred to as “puppy mills.”
“What the pet blogging community has accomplished in just a few days is remarkable,” said Change.org Director of Organizing, Stephanie Feldstein. “Mary has managed to recruit thousands of supporters across the U.S. in her call for Petland USA to follow Canada’s lead in ending pet sales. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Mary’s campaign take off.”
Live signature totals from Mary Haight’s campaign:
Bird traffic in your yard may seem a bit slow right now, but resident songbirds will be back soon… and with a vengeance! Thistle Feeders and other bird feeders should be kept clean and full in anticipation of songbirds’ return. Jays, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, Nuthatches, Warblers and even Bluebirds (in some areas) will over-winter if habitat is suitable. Traffic is slow because food in the wild is plentiful this fall and there’s an abundance of growth in certain parts of the country. Fruit and berry-producing trees and shrubs are filled with treats, and fields are grassy, with seeds, weeds, and coneflowers.
A welcoming habitat entails rolling out the red carpet for birds! A fresh water source is a must, especially when temps drop below freezing. Adequate roosting places in the form of birdhouses, roosting boxes, and mature trees and shrubs are necessary too. Adding a suet feeder entices many species as it provides the extra calories for energy needed to stay warm through freezing winter weather. Suet is convenient and easy to feed, leaves no waste or ground mess, and it’s enjoyed by many species. If you’ve never fed suet, we strongly advise giving it a try! You’ll find fun suet feeders at The Birdhouse Chick.com …and a free cake or plugs to get started right away!
Thistle, or nyjer is often referred to as “black gold” because of the cost. This non-germinating seed may be found more economically in bulk quantities at your local feed & seed store. Thistle feeders provide Goldfinches, House and Purple Finches a steady source of food through winter. And although their vibrant yellow plumage turns a drab olive-grey, Goldfinches will stick around for the duration.
This hand crafted thistle feeder is made in durable cedar and offers ten perching spots for birds to eat in peace. The groovy wave design is appealing to both humans and birds!
Welcome birds and help them thrive through harsh winters. The sights and sounds will help brighten up the dreariest days!
Take 10% off all thistle feeders through Oct. 31. Enter code MC10 @ checkout!
You can attract more wild birds through harsh winter weather with heated bird baths. The newer de-icers and heaters are safe for all types of baths, so you can keep your existing birdbath in use year-round.
It bothers me to see people’s yards with their baths “put up” for winter… bowls sitting on the ground, and turned upside down! Birds need a fresh water source more than ever when temperatures drop below freezing. Puddles and shallow ponds they depend on freeze and become worthless to them. This high quality, 250 watt bath heater is perfect in pottery, concrete, and even plastic bird baths. It will not overheat the water, and costs just pennies a day to run. It even comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Another type of heater you can add to birdbaths for winter are the mat-type heaters by Allied Precision. Thermostatically controlled, they kick in at 32 degrees and run continuously, down to a temperature of 20 below zero. A mere 95 watts, and 11″ in diameter, this flexible birdbath heater is safe in all types of baths too.
Help resident birds thrive through harsh winters by offering heated bird baths. No need for a new set-up, just add a safe deicer to your existing bath. You’ll likely see some new visitors who don’t even use your feeders. They’ll really appreciate it, and you’ll be rewarded with a great show too!