Although they make for fantastic garden decor… I’m not totally convinced that butterflies actually use butterfly houses? I know they use feeders, especially those that imitate nature via “wicks”. The wicks absorb the nectar and butterflies actually feed from them, simulating the same process as getting nectar from flowers. They will also eat over-ripened fruit, you can view the video below for proof on that one! Oranges, bananas, strawberries and melons seem to work well.
If feeding butterflies nectar, it’s always best to add a sponge (preferably a new one) to the dish. The sponge absorbs the nectar and again, acts as a wick. This is strongly recommended as butterflies will not drink from an open source. They will also use shallow salt baths, or “puddlers”. Gardening plays a major role in attracting the winged wonders too. Both host and nectar-producing plants are needed for their attraction. Another item that butterflies (and hummingbirds) adore are leaf misters. The activity in a garden around a mister in summer is truly amazing.
And as far as those butterfly houses? Some say if you put a small branch or twig inside they will use them for shelter, but honestly, I’ve never tried it. The butterfly houses above are handcrafted of solid cypress. Both durable and attractive in any landscape, they’re meant to last for many years. They include classic copper accents and their own mounting pole too.
Although American Goldfinches may not be sporting their electric yellow plumage just yet, it’s only a matter of time. All of a sudden, they’re back… and in droves! I’m not exactly sure where the masses went, because we had tons of them last summer. However, it was great seeing the nyjer feeder so crowded yesterday. Their influx started last week some time, and it was out of nowhere?
I had to call my friend (Diane) whose husband recently got into the backyard birding thing. He just wasn’t seeing any birds, and didn’t believe me when I told him there are tons of birds around right now. While I was at their house recently, I glanced over the landscaping as if I were a bird myself. Lots of mature trees and shrubs around, a killer rock water feature, and then I noticed the feeders. Now if I were a bird this place would not be my choice restaurant! The suet was covered in greenish-black mold, and the nyjer feeder…. well, let’s just say it looked like some kind of science experiment growing funky bacteria! I phoned her yesterday to let her know the finches were back in town and they must have a squeaky clean feeder with fresh nyjer seed or the Goldfinches wouldn’t visit. Mission accomplished… Diane got right to work cleaning the nasty feeder, and I know because she called me back to ask about taking it apart. Dumb stuff like that makes me happy.
Now, if you really want to see that electric yellow plumage before the Goldfinches actually molt in spring, (a process that sheds old, tattered feathers and replaces them with pretty new ones) then check out this cool Goldfinch birdhouse, he never requires a nyjer feeder! He’s hand carved and painted, complete with clean-out, and provides a real nesting site for Chickadees, Nuthatches, House Finches and other smaller songbirds.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the nyjer feeder shown above is a stainless steel model by BirdsChoice. Although it only holds one quart of thistle seed, it accommodates lots of finches with its “all-over feeding” design. No waiting for open perches… just claim a spot anywhere on the feeder!
In the “Bluebird Monitor’s Forum, there recently appeared an interesting post about bird cam installation and viewing capabilities/preferences. The “away-signature” cracked me up.. because I can so relate, and likely many other folks out there in cyber-world. It said “Using yesterday’s software to create tomorrow’s problems today!” Hah… isn’t it the truth with the ever-changing technology?
Instead of interpreting, and providing a narrative, for optimum clarity I’ll just re-post what this person’s experience and solution was:
“I acted upon the recommendation of the Hawk Eye Night Owl Bird Cam and installed one in a new and taller chickadee box which hangs in our front yard. A Black Capped Chickadee scolds me every time I get near the box.
The bird cams 100′ long cable was then strung into the garage, where I asked myself what next? The camera’s composite video could be plugged directly into a number different devices permitting viewing/recording, but this is the age of the internet–I wanted to view/record the video from my computer.
Since I already had a Ethernet hub in my garage which is connected to my LAN, I wanted a use an affordable video server plugged into this hub. The answer was solved by purchasing an IP Video 9100A Plus Network Video Server.
Basically the camera’s video and sound plug into the 9100A, and it plugs into the Ethernet hub. Once all is connected and setup, the camera’s video can be viewed/recorded from your web browser (preferably Internet Explorer). The sever can be setup to detect motion, and when motion is detected, send an e-mail, and/or FTP images to a server. The server could actually be set up to permit viewing anywhere in the world. The 9100A actually has 4 video inputs, but only 1 sound input (hmmmm?).
I’ll not go into further detail unless asked, but I would advise anyone purchasing the device to be skeptical of the quick setup instructions that come with the device. The installation manual was not written/edited by someone whose primary language is English. Knowledge of IP devices helps.
But it does work!”
Around the third week in February, backyard birding fanatics from novice to seasoned professional, and young to old, will join forces with Audubon and Cornell Lab’s Great Backyard Bird Count. You can participate in this critical citizen science project in just five easy steps (from Zach Slavin in Cornell’s Education & Nature Centers program. Their most helpful hint: “you can even participate in your pajamas“.
Check out Cornell Lab’s Instructional Video (at the end of page) or the easy list below.
1. Make a plan: You’ll need to count birds for a minimum of 15 minutes on one of the count days, but you can count all four days, and you can count for as long as you want. More counting = more data to show us where the birds are.
2. Know your place: Decide whether your count is a STATIONARY COUNT, like watching a feeder out the window, or a TRAVELING COUNT, such as birding during a hike. Print out a data form so that you’ll know what information to record, and a regional bird checklist to help with identification.
3. Count: Record the highest number of each species seen together at one time in stationary counts. For traveling counts, record the total number of individual birds of each species you see during the walk. For more info, visit http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/howto.html.
4. Report: Enter your findings through the website by clicking on “Enter Your Checklists!” and following instructions.
5. Spread the word: Tell others about your experience. Find out how to be a GBBC ambassador by clicking “Get Involved” on the website. Also, join the GBBC Facebook group, and tweet about the count (use #GBBC when tweeting).
Ready to start? Go to www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ for everything you need.
So you’d like to see feathered friends close up, but those darn squirrels always seem to find your window bird feeders! It’s an easy enough target, shimmy right on up that wall and the feast is right there for the taking. And the problem is that once they zoom in on the prize – forget it! Your seed’s a goner no matter how much is put out for the birds.
Enter this nifty little accessory, the cage by BirdsChoice. The powder coat metal grid will keep larger and bully birds out, while also denying squirrels access to the seed. Get your chickadees, titmice, buntings, finches nuthatches, and more… close-up and personal!
Appearances might have it that the feeder seems too big or heavy to be stuck on the window-nonsense! Because of an innovative bracing system, and super strong suction cups, these window bird feeders are the bomb! The base is done in recycled plastic, which means it will never warp, split, crack, or fade. The non-porous surface not only makes cleaning a snap, but it helps prevent the spread of disease, as harmful bacteria can not penetrate its surface.
Filling this window bird feeder? Simple! Just lift the lid on the acrylic cover to fill with your favorite seed mix. These new window bird feeders come in two sizes, with the larger tray measuring a whopping 22 inches by 9 inches, that’s some major real estate at the window! The smaller tray (still a generous size for a window feeder) measures 11 x 10 inches. The cages and acrylic covers are relevant and proportional to each size feeder. No “one size fits all” with these high quality window bird feeders, they’re perfect for small yards or no yards at all.
Although the woodpeckers, nuthatches, jays and more have they’re own peanut bird feeders, we’ve found that peanut butter is also huge hit in frigid weather. And it doesn’t require a fancy feeder, or any kind feeder at all!
This innovative woodpecker feeder actually holds suet slices in between the two resin, “bark-like” panels, thus the name Suet Sandwich Feeder. On really cold days, we’ll smear peanut butter on the the outer panels as an added bonus, and the birds love it!
With the same idea, peanut butter is also fed to squirrels – smeared right on a few tree trunks in the very back of the yard. It definitely keeps them occupied and they love it too, in fact the squirrels fight over it! Loaded with fat and protein, peanut butter packs in extra calories for furry and feathered friends alike. The calories are converted to energy which help them stay warm in freezing temperatures.
Several types of common feeders may be turned into peanut bird feeders for cold weather. A standard suet cage works great for whole peanuts, platforms and dish feeders will accommodate shelled or whole peanuts, and many hoppers will take a seed mix with peanuts added to it.
Change up the ho-hum feeding routine this winter by offering peanuts or peanut butter to your beaked buddies. You won’t even need a peanut bird feeder to do it!
Take one classic bird feeder, craft it in solid copper, and add a circular perch… viola! You get the “Classic Copper Perch”. Yesterday a customer had inquired if the tube was glass, and to be honest, I had to open the box and inspect the feeder for the correct answer. It was not a glass bird feeder in fact, but a very thick poly-carbonate, or resin tube.
Now these feeders are considered higher end, and the person seemed a bit disappointed that it was “plastic”. And me too… until I started thinking about it.
Gone are the days of cheap plastics which yellow over time (except on cheap feeders). Very few feeders and houses use real glass, for a myriad of reasons: First and foremost is breakage. Be it pesky squirrels, or even a butter fingers accident, should a glass bird feeder fall on concrete – it’s likely a gonner 🙁 Second: on birdhouses, glass would create an oven-like atmosphere during the heat of summer, making it too hot inside for nestlings. We feature an artist who does a wonderful fused glass birdhouse in vibrant colors, but the glass is actually fused to a real wooden nest box with proper ventilation.
Glass bird feeders like those crafted by Parasol are mostly for hummingbirds, and the hand-blown glass seems thicker and stronger than manufactured clear glass. Same for ceramics and stoneware, it seems more durable and stronger than mass-manufactured glass.
Whatever the material of your bird feeders may be, keeping them clean is important to birds’ health. And always take precaution against Houdini squirrels… they’re brutal!
Very Cool… Wish More Cities Offered This!SEAACA & Pet-Connections Offer Exciting No-Cost Spay & Neuter Programs for Indoor-Outdoor Cats to Help Curtail Cat Overpopulation During the Spring Kitten Season
(LOS ANGELES, CA) January 5, 2012 – SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority;www.SEAACA.org) and Pet-Connections, Inc. (www.Pet-Connections.org) are helping cat owners who live in the 14 cities served by SEAACA with the BIG MEOW, a program to provide no-cost spay and neuter services for owned free-roaming cats.
The kitten birthing season, which occurs from spring through fall, can overwhelm animal shelters and pet owners. Thousands of homeless kittens born during this protracted season can pose significant community and health concerns. The birthing period occurs during warmer weather months because that is when female cats breed. With preventive measures, such as the BIG MEOW, pet owners can help control the number of unwanted kittens and cats. Now is a great time to participate in this important program before your pet becomes pregnant. An un-spayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing two litters per year can result in thousands of cats.
The year’s BIG MEOW program features a variety of services for owned free-roaming cats at absolutely no cost to cat owners. Services include spay or neuter, microchip ID (so cats have permanent ID in addition to a collar), vaccines (FVRCP and rabies), one month application of flea and tick control and basic health care at the time of surgery.
“As we enter the ‘Kitten Season’, altering your owned cat helps reduce cat overpopulation and improves the health of your pet,” stresses Dan Morrison, Executive Director of SEAACA. “We believe the BIG MEOW will make a positive impact on our community and its pets.”
In order to participate in the BIG MEOW, cats must be four months to seven years of age. Only owned free-roaming cats are eligible (no feral or wild cats will be accepted). Additionally, cat owners must provide proof of residency in SEAACA service cities and each cat must be in a properly secured kennel or carrier.
To make an appointment and participate in this no-cost program-call the appointment line at 562-803-3301 ext. 251.
For more information about the BIG MEOW or SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org..
SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority) provides animal care and control services for 14 cities in southeast Los Angeles County and northern Orange County, including Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Buena Park, Downey, Lakewood, La Palma, Montebello, Norwalk, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, South Gate and Vernon. SEAACA’s Animal Care Center located in Downey reunites pet owners with lost pets and assists new pet owners with pet adoptions. SEAACA’s Animal Wellness Clinic, also located in Downey, spays and neuters all adoption animals plus provides vaccinations and micro chipping to the general public.
Pet Connections Inc. is a national organization dedicated to developing coalitions between companion animals, individuals and the community to foster humane treatments of pets with mutual benefits to all concerned. The mission of Pet Connections, Inc. is to bring pets, people and communities together to end animal homelessness through our programs, which include The Pet Transport Program, The Big Meow, The Rescue Registry and Pet Corps Communities.
The tiny sprites are mesmerizing, you could sit and watch their antics for hours if time allowed! Definitely one of the most endeared birds, hummingbirds are in a class of their own. A magical experience to have them around your place during the season.
What’s not so magical is the fact that ants love sugar water too. (Yes, nectar is simply sugar water you can easily make yourself- recipe link at the end). Without fail, pesky ants will find a way to invade the sweet, sticky nectar, and when they do, hummingbirds won’t drink the solution. So you end up with wasted nectar and a bunch of ants, some dead, some still alive. They’re dead because they can’t swim… silly ants!
That’s why ant moats are so perfect with these feeders. Placed above the hummingbird feeder, the ant moat holds water, and ants can’t cross the water successfully. The ant moat usually has a double-end hook, so the feeder hangs directly from it. The top hook on the ant moat is basically the main hanger. It’s a one-time investment, and very reasonable considering the results. You’ll save nectar, save money, and your hummingbirds will be happy too!
Oh yeah… and the really simple nectar recipe can be found here.
Crazy weather! That’s what we have in Georgia, it messes up the natural cycle. It creates havoc on the landscape, causes the horses to colic, and makes bird food go moldy fast… and there’s just a few consequences!
Last winter was one of the wettest, nastiest seasons we’ve seen in a while. A tad bit drier this season, though it’s been unseasonably warm on many days. Because of the few frosty nights, it’s already caused some bulbs to force, which will subsequently die with the next frost 🙁
A few rainy days in a row coupled with one or two torrential downpours has turned some natural areas of the yard into a muddy mess, which in turn affects the bird feeder poles. They start to lean, like the Tower of Pisa! Enter the the auger with three arms. It’s about the only pole that’s still standing straight. The sturdy design allows for a more secure and permanent installation.
The three arms are attached to the auger, which is manually “drilled down” to ground level. The arms then act as a stabilizer to keep the bird feeder pole straight. And that it does! This innovative design does not actually include the bird feeder pole itself, it’s merely the base. But any standard one-inch O.D. (outside diameter) garden pole may be inserted into the base. I always wondered what that O.D. meant 🙂
Manufactured by Droll Yankees in powder coat metal, you can be assured it’s quality stuff to last a lifetime. A fantastic investment if you’re looking for a sturdy garden pole that will really stay straight!