Constant ripples formed by the dripper function really do attract birds. The moving water grabs their attention and lures them in. Birds who never touch your feeders, and birds who never nest in houses are some birds who will visit bird baths.
Fresh water is such a great way to attract birds to your place! An unlimited supply, inexpensive, and so very simple, it’s a life source that all creatures need for survival. Although there are some real beauties out there for decorative purposes or functional art, fancy bird baths are not necessary.
On the deck, patio, tree stump, or ground, a simple plant saucer works wonders. Even placed on an up-turned flower pot, any saucer or dish filled with water will entice birds.
Keeping the water fresh is really the only requirement. And if cats roam around the yard, it’s a good idea to raise bird baths off the ground to give birds a bit of security. The optimal water depth for birds to bathe and wade comfortably is just 2-3 inches.
Here’s a nifty accessory for converting cool pots and decorative containers into bird baths, no matter how deep the container. It’s called the Bird Bath Raft and it floats on top of the container, allowing a small amount of water onto the raft. This innovative idea makes it easier than ever to add a fresh water source for birds… enticing new visitors to your place in no time at all!
This little plexiglass dish get big traffic in our yard! When live mealworms are placed in it (most times twice a day) all bets are off. The bird traffic is fast and furious, first come, first served!
Originally meant for our Bluebirds – the Chickadees and Titmice quickly learned of the treasure. So, the Bluebirds soon received their own enclosed mealworm feeder, although Carolina Wrens have since figured that out as well!
Feeding live worms can get expensive when everybody’s in on the coveted treat, and I mean everybody! Even the Robins get a few worms in a glass dish that’s left on the ground. And I can’t stand when the crows get to them first!
Unless you have the time and patience to cultivate your own worms, ordering in bulk quantities is easier on the wallet. The worms really aren’t that expensive… it’s the shipping that gets ya! Since they’re live, overnight delivery is required for warmer temperatures. For a few months out of the year (depending on your location) a second-day delivery works fine.
Gradually decreasing the amount of worms, and adding a home-made suet mixture in this meal worm feeder landed a “so-so” reaction from most of our beaked buddies. This Pine Warbler has a mouthful of the stuff, (which is why his beak looks fat & white) but just look at that expression! It’s like “excuse me, where are my worms?”
This mealworm dish actually has drainage, but many similar styles do not, making them perfect for offering water too. In summer, fresh fruit is a great choice for migratory birds, while suet mixtures & crumbles, and shelled peanuts are good options for cold weather feeding.
Offering live worms has created a whole new dimension to our backyard birding experiences. Definitely worth giving it a try if you’ve never fed them before, especially if bluebirds are in the area. And Robins adore them too! But if you don’t want the birds eating you out of house and home… a more traditional, or enclosed mealworm feeder may be your better choice.
A customer in California sent in this photo shortly after receiving the wild bird feeders she had ordered. The two blue celestial theme bird feeders, yellow peanut feeder, and blue wavy birdbath are from us… the hawk was not! Vickie snapped this photo from inside her living room, but by the looks of the flag waving right in front of him, this Cooper’s Hawk would’ve likely been unfazed by any photo op!
A friend recently posted on Facebook too: “To feed or not to feed?” After he witnessed multiple accounts of a Sharp-Shinned Hawk picking off doves around his wild bird feeders.
And me too, on one of the list-serves I recently inquired about hawks at around my feeders. A few precautions and solutions were offered. One of them was to hang wild bird feeders from the interior limbs of trees. The outer limbs will act as a barrier for hawk attacks. The person also said he likes feeding various sparrows and other ground-feeding birds. To protect them from hawks (and cats) he uses tomato cages laid flat on the ground. This gives the birds many entry and exit choices, while keeping them safe from predators.
When asked what kind of hawk was in my yard… I had to research it. The Cooper’s and Sharp-Shinned Hawk look pretty much identical, unless you happen to see them side by side. Although their hunting habits are different, it’s really tough to tell the two apart! According to a wikipedia article by Matt Edmonds: “Cooper’s Hawks are barrel shaped, with the width of the chest fairly close in size to the width of the hips and the largest portion of the chest about halfway down the body. Sharp-shinned Hawks, on the other hand, are widest at the shoulder and get distinctly narrower down to the hips.” You can the full article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharp-shinned_Hawk
Oh yeah, and that cobalt celestial-looking wild bird feeder is actually called “Solstice”. It’s a cool hopper style feeder with large capacity and innovative perches, measuring 13 tall x 11 wide x 7.5 deep. It promises to entice feathered friends and keep them coming back. But should you see hawks around your yard, do the birds a favor and move it to a tree!
With the mild winter season across most of the country this year, it won’t be too long before the hummingbirds are back! Unlike any other songbirds, the tiny sprites are really in a class of their own. If you already have them around your place, then you know what I mean. If not, this is the year to feed, plant, and attract them to your yard. The rewards are mesmerizing and tenfold! And, no birdseed to buy… you can make your own nectar from plain table, or cane sugar (no substitutes) and water.
To further entice hummingbirds to your window hummingbird feeder, moving water is always a huge attraction! Here are two other very cool accessories which promise to bring them buzzing! Check out Pop’s Hummingbird Swing and video below, and Hummer Helper Nest Material (endorsed by The hummingbird Society).
Place this simple but elegant Hummingbird Swing near your feeder and hummingbirds will use it as a territorial perch to watch over their food source. Tested and trusted, check out the video below. Swing, Eat, Chase away other hummingbirds.. repeat! Enjoy!
Hummer Helper Nest Material has actually been endorsed by The Hummingbird Society as being the only commercial nest material that will increase visits to your window hummingbird feeder. By encouraging nesting, juveniles will follow parents to the feeders, and if the habitat is right… those same hummers will return next season! Site fidelity plays a huge role in hummingbird migration, if they find a place they like, they return to that place year after year. Pretty cool, huh?
Some “birder” folks in big cities face a challenge when it comes to attracting desirable songbirds. It seems an unwelcome, furry rodent type, better known as the rat-is usually attracted to fallen seed and ground waste. But by no means do you have to abandon the birds!
Feeding suet leaves no waste or ground mess, and water in a birdbath are both effective, easy, and economical methods to entice birds. Oh… and let’s not forget birdhouses, because even in the city, birds need roosting spots and nesting cavities.
Kelle Frymire faced this dilemma when she moved from the suburbs of Chicago to the big city. With a suggestion from her long time friend and landscaper, Rocque Emlong, it was decided that decorative bird houses would be used to lure feathered friends. His creative idea spawned an almost magical tale, a display bringing smiles to many people, both young and old! Not just one or two houses… but 20-30 decorative bird houses (that actually look like birds) adorn an ancient oak tree next to Kelle’s house.
Hand carved decorative bird houses bring this old oak tree to life, with such character and charm that the neighbors delight, and local kids insist on saying “hi” to the birds on a daily basis! Some of the birdhouses sit suspended in animation between the the tree itself and the residence, using monofilament. The wooden birdhouses provide roosting spots on cold nights, and yes… even nesting cavities in early spring, You can read the full story on this magical creation here.
Birdhouses that look like birds? You bet! From Bobbo, Inc, these decorative bird houses are hand carved in Indonesia, using a quick-growth & renewable resource called Albesia wood. The houses are complete with clean-outs and provide a perfect nest site for your avian amigos… with a very unique character all their own!
Thanks for housing the birds!
The cold weather of winter leaves behind some clues for us (if we look) from the previous busy season of the avian world. Simply look up and take notice. Barren-looking trees with their foliage stripped will reveal the nests of several species, and what they’ve used for nesting materials.
Large, messy nests are usually the work of squirrels, while a smaller nest consisting of twigs and grasses may be that of a Cardinal, Blue Jay, or Mockingbird. An even smaller nest with tightly woven plant fibers, maybe even some milkweed or thistle down still attached would be the work of an American Goldfinch. You’d have to search a bit harder to find nests from Bluebirds, Chickadees, or Nuthatches, as these birds nest in cavities or birdhouses. You can easily encourage nest building around your place this season by offering nesting materials before the season actually starts. Although there are many cool kinds of materials and holders available, this is most definitely a “do-it-yourselfer”!
Start by gathering nesting materials now. Feathers and pet hair are preferred by Chickadees, while decorative mosses (Spanish, Sphagnum, and that thin, curly straw-like stuff) might be used by many species mentioned above. Bright cotton yarns add a nice touch too, as variety is the spice of life. Although I’ve always heard that dryer lint is a good one… our local birds have never touched it when previously offered. Stay away from plastics, fishing line, and the like. These can get tangled around nestlings or their legs, proving to be hazardous, and sometimes fatal.
Now, what to put your nesting materials in? That part is simple! A standard suet cage works perfectly, as do the mesh produce bags from the grocery store (the kind apples come in). The Spring Feeder shown here is just that, meant for fruit or suet. We’ve found whole peanuts and our nesting materials work great in them too. Talk about versatility! Put a mixture of materials in several holders and hang them from branches around your yard where the birds will see them. Do pull some materials through to get started, but don’t pack them in too tightly. Birds need to be able to pull them out fairly easily, and should the rain saturate the nesting material, it will dry quickly if air can flow through it. So start gathering… and here’s to many successful broods this season!
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, gifts of nature are always a perfect choice for bird-lovers, garden addicts and the like. Hmmmm… Bird house or bird feeder?
This groovy Wren Casita is both! A real, full-size wooden wren house is revealed once the premium birdseed has been consumed. Layered with millet, safflower and sunflower, it proves a tasty treat for your avian amigos. Chickadees, finches, and titmice are a few who will flock to this feeder. These unique birdhouses may be painted in a whimsical design, stained, or just left natural to weather over time. The decorative flowers and stems on the Wren Casita may be used by some birds for nest material as well.
For use as feeder, just hang this unique birdhouse from a tree limb or hanger in view where you’ll be able to watch the action. As with all bird seed, best results will be obtained when it’s protected from the elements and pesky squirrels. For use as a birdhouse, simply hang the Wren Casita in a secluded part of the yard, or mount to a post or tree trunk approximately six to ten feet from the ground.
Surprise your Valentine with an edible birdhouse that will provide a critical nesting site for many seasons to come. Please help house the birds!
In the Bluebird Monitor’s forum, there are reports of the first eggs laid in a Florida nest box. Well, this is just exciting news for anyone who’s into Bluebirds because it means that it won’t be too long before the blues are nesting further and further North!
Although Bluebird houses run the gamut from basic wooden box and recycled plastics, to more elaborate, and decorative houses, an important aspect to look for is approval by The North American Bluebird Society (NABS). Maybe you’ve seen that acronym before, and wondered what’s a NABS? Well, that’s who they are, and their website provides great information on attracting and housing Bluebirds.
If you’ve ever considered it, but haven’t yet tried… please do! These little brilliant blue birds are amazing, and so family-oriented that it’s just plain cool to have a group in your yard. You needn’t spend a lot either, bluebird bird house kits are available, and some are even NABS Approved. Although it’s difficult to spot in this photo of our yard, look in the upper right corner and you’ll see a bluebird bird house kit that’s been in business for years. It’s mounted on a simple piece of conduit, and does have a baffle added for protection from predators. A tad taller than most recommended heights (5 to 6 feet from the ground), our birds seem to like it just fine. This bird house kit actually fledged three groups of nestlings last season. In the photo it appears to be near the treeline in back, but in reality it stands in open space. That’s another requirement for bluebirds to nest – some open space (which doesn’t cost anything at all).
A fantastic reference for all things Bluebird-related is a website called Sialis. I think it’s actually the Latin term for Blue Bird? Virtually any question concerning Bluebirds (and some other cavity nesters) may be found here. It’s well organized and referenced in plain English, so even the novice blue-birder walks away with useful information to benefit our precious “Blues”.
Please help house the birds! 🙂
When spilled birdseed sits on the ground for a few days, it gets nasty. Combine that with some rain and warmer temperatures, (like we’ve been having in the south) and you get insta-mold. That’s my word for quickly-molding, bacteria producing, old seed. Ground feeding birds like some sparrows, juncos and even cardinals will forage through this nasty stuff looking for a decent bite to eat. Thus, bacteria and germs are spread amongst your backyard birds. The result is usually a respiratory infection and many time turns into conjunctivitis. In birds, this disease is usually fatal.
Aside from keeping feeders themselves clean, it’s important to be aware of the entire feeding area, including the ground below your bird feeders. Seed Catchers greatly reduce spilled seed, while keeping the appearance of your yard nicer. Eliminating the ground mess below feeders really does promote healthier birds.
The large seed catcher shown here features an adjustable and innovative design. Known as the Seed Hoop, it works virtually with any bird feeder, whether hanging or pole-mounted. Available in a 16-inch diameter, it accommodates most tube-style feeders, even those hung on a shepherd’s hook. The larger 30-inch diameter may actually be pole-mounted below the feeder by cutting a slit in the center of the seed tray. If this is the desired use, it’s best to place some duct tape around the slit, and here’s why: We’ve had the 30-inch seed catcher installed on the pole itself with a finch feeder above. Over several months, this center hole has gotten larger from removing and replacing the tray for cleaning. Besides… duct tape fixes everything, right?