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.