If you’re a little bird-crazy like us, keeping feeders filled is a priority that takes time – in fact it’s a daily chore lately due to some bully birds hanging around the yard. Only filling feeders about one quarter of capacity, because no matter what’s offered… it’s gone in a few hours! And we’re not even talking squirrels here… grackles, starlings and doves are the culprits. Isn’t it time for them to move on yet?
Because squirrels are enough menace in their own right, every single bird feeder has a baffle on it, even bluebird houses have baffles to protect nests from curious paws. But outwitting the critters really isn’t as difficult as some may think. Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders with cages like this are very effective against both squirrels and larger, less desirable birds. Some of the caged feeders are let’s say, kind of cheesy, but this large capacity model is super quality and made in the USA. With a big three gallon capacity, and built in seed tray to catch waste, this super squirrel-resistant feeder even has an innovative design that makes it simple to fill and clean. The PVC feeder tube will never yellow like some of the acrylic tubes, and stainless steel feeder ports retain their shiny new look.
Don’t get us wrong… we feed the squirrels too, but somehow that’s never enough either. May be time to look into one of these for our own yard? And although a bit overboard with our wildlife habitat, that’s not really us feeding this furry friend – although it is kinda cute!
Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that can bear the biggest impact. Hummingbirds for example, are the smallest of beaked migratory visitors, but their performances are anything but small in stature! Putting on some of the greatest shows with their expert acrobatics and natural antics, it’s no wonder these tiny sprites continue to mesmerize and endear so many people.
Not too terribly shy either, once they become regulars at backyard fountains or feeders, and familiar with their hosts… they’ll buzz by so close you can feel the breeze from their speedy wings! It happened just today… while changing nectar in the window hummingbird feeder – her swift movement caused a swooshing breeze and a bass-like buzz that went right by my head… it made for a pretty magical experience!
Oh, and the tiny tube feeder on the window? It’s actually part of set that lets you train hummingbirds to eat from your hand (well almost). The idea is once they get used to the tubes, you sit quietly holding the feeder by the copper wand and the sprites come right up and eat – within twelve or so inches from you. One feeder is staked to set in a flower pot or plant, the other a window feeder. It’s actually pretty cool, but does require a little bit of patience. Training time may vary depending on how well your hummingbirds know you. A tiny little feeder set for some tiny birds that promise to bring some big amazement to your world!
It’s been a strange season for birds in general due to the lengthy winter weather. Because some parts of the country were still seeing snow in late April and early May, mortality rates among nestlings were higher than usual. Colder than normal temps along with scarcity of natural food sources may have also accounted for some unsuccessful migrations of favorite feathered friends like hummingbirds. Many folks have reported seeing fewer of these sprites around feeders early in the season this year.
On the flip side, resident birds whose nesting season is about over, are attempting later than usual broods. Many blue bird houses which have already fledged two or three sets of nestlings are seeing their third and even fourth clutch of the season! This is all wonderful news for bluebirds… except for the searing temperatures July and August can bring.
If it’s hot outside, guaranteed it’s hotter inside a birdhouse. Babies can not regulate their body temperatures until they reach a certain age, but there are a few things you can do to help bluebirds (and others) beat the heat. First and foremost is to keep blue bird houses out of the sun, especially that baking afternoon sun. Moving a box a few feet where it’s shaded in the afternoon makes a difference in the ambient temperature inside the box. To featherless nestlings, just a few degrees can mean the difference between life or death. Birdbaths and Leaf Misters also help birds cool down during extreme heat. Parents will even shake themselves over babies dripping a bit of water to cool them.
Crazy as it sounds, there are other ways to cool down blue bird houses. Setting an ice pack or two on top of the house, attached with a large rubber band or bungee will help to cool temps inside. Recent discussions revealed a few folks putting up umbrellas to shade their nest boxes, again attached with bungee cords. Last summer we even wrapped our Gilbertson nest box with a heat shield – the kind used for car windshields! Easy to measure, and simple to cut, duct tape and rubber bands held the soft shield securely in place. The blues didn’t mind it all, and it helped their digs and babies stay cooler. Four fledged in mid-August of 2012. Stats like these mean it’s not too late to offer bluebirds housing. At the very least, you may be providing a nightly winter roost for other resident birds.
The image isn’t so great, but you can see the foil-like cover on the round blue bird house to the right. It literally took five minutes to complete this easy project, and may have helped save four babies from succumbing to horrid heat.
An elegant and more economical option for a copper bird feeder would be a galvanized metal, or aluminum surface. With custom finishes that look like patina or bright copper, it’s hard to tell the difference. Aluminum won’t rust – think about an airplane? In the same durable vinyl/PVC, as our copper roof bird feeders, these gazebo styles will grace the landscape with simple elegance. Clean, architectural designs are pleasing to the eye and offer great functionality for feathered friends. Handcrafted in the USA, they’re built to last!
And speaking of economical, sometimes the cheapest seed is not always best! Stuffed with fillers like milo and millet, much of it is likely to end up on the ground as birds forage for the “good stuff”. Better off buying the good stuff in bulk quantity as it costs less per pound. Using a no-waste mix, or sunflower hearts will also eliminate ground mess below the feeder. Another benefit: premium seed reduces the risk of unwanted visitors! The best deal on this type of birdseed can be found at most feed & seed stores.
With all the rain we’ve had in the southeast, it’s common for birdseed that sits too long in feeders to become moldy… another waste of money. If birds aren’t consuming it quick enough – only fill the tube halfway. Better to make an extra trip to the feeder than to the trash! If it’s moldy, they won’t eat it, or if they happen to, birds will become sick with respiratory disease that spreads easily to the rest of the population around the yard. Often times, these diseases are fatal.
Your birds are waiting! So take 10 minutes to clean your feeder and fill with fresh seed 🙂
A repeat customer phoned the other day asking about some more birdhouses for his beach residence. Frank had ordered four of these stunning birdhouses and feeders in the past, and was so pleased with the quality he wanted to replace some wooden houses that had seen better days and deteriorated over the years. Thing is… Frank doesn’t really like birds!
Learning this the first go-round, the standing joke became “have you filled those feeders yet?” Frank even asked how to keep the birds OUT of the dovecote birdhouse. After my initial disbelief had settled, I soon realized that not everyone’s into birds – folks were ordering these houses and feeders simply for the curb appeal factor. And that’s okay because it’s a product made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee.
These houses look new years after installation, in fact, the textured PVC looks so much like wood, we’ve had customers phone to say they’d received a wooden house – instead of the vinyl one they ordered! A testament to the beauty and quality of these architectural structures.
So, to each his own, if you like a dovecote birdhouse enough to keep as a lawn ornament, then why not? It’s guaranteed to grace the landscape with elegance for many years to come… birds or not!
It’s a busy time for American Goldfinches as they have one of the latest breeding/nesting cycles of most backyard birds. They’re also one of very few breeds who actually molt twice a year and grow new feathers. Their electric yellow plumage is hard to miss, and most thistle feeders are seeing a good bit of traffic right now (provided the seed hasn’t gone moldy from all the rain). If yours is sitting with no takers – best to dump old seed, clean the feeder and replace with fresh thistle seed.
Innovative by design with quality construction (no cheezy plastic parts here) these 36-inch tall, large capacity thistle feeders have a cool spiral instead of perches. Featuring more feeder ports, birds really do “run the spiral” hopping from one one port to the next. This opens up space for more birds to join the party, no more waiting around for an open perch to catch some chow!
Goldfinches feed babies thistle (or nyjer) exclusively. Gross as it sounds, parents chew and prepare the tiny black seed, regurgitating it into babies’ mouths. It’s not until juveniles are out in the world that they may start to discover and eat insects. There’s a kind and quiet demeanor about this favored songbird, you’ll rarely catch them squabble at feeders. Rather than fight for a spot, most will give up and maybe try again later. Hanging a few economical thistle socks helps to alleviate this problem during peak season.
In fall when they molt again, their vibrant yellow plumage will give way to new olive drab feathers for fall and winter. It may seem like your Goldfinches have gone on their way and migrated south, but they’re still around! Keep thistle feeders out year-round to accommodate these resident birds, (and fresh water in a bath) and next summer that lemon yellow color will once again grace your yard. So popular these birds are, there’s even a birdhouse modeled after one… although typically they do nest in hedges or trees.
Bird Baths of all sizes and shapes are known to attract and keep birds coming back, in fact it’s the easiest way to attract them. Although depth is also important (optimal is 2-3 inches) a large rock may always be placed in the bath for safe perching should the bowl be deeper. And there’s absolutely no rule that says you must fill it to the top! Especially in summer, when lots of fledgelings are around, shallow bird baths are safest for all.
This mini-bath is a fun way to offer fresh water because it has lots of perching spots. Vibrant stained glass (in six designs) catches light beautifully, and best of all, it can be used as feeder in winter months. Is it too small for a bath? Nope… we’ve seen titmice and chickadees drinking from ant moats!
When used as a dish feeder, these mini-baths will accommodate a great variety of treats too. Seed mixes, suet & nuggets, shelled or whole peanuts, fruit, even mealworms if you’re so inclined!
Shown in the bluebird style, there’s a hummingbird, butterfly, lady bug, dragonfly and bumble bee too. Each in vibrant stained glass and copper, these pint-sized bird baths are excellent for small spaces like on the deck, patio… or even the apartment balcony!
The best of summer… when everything seems bolder and more alive. Gardens pop with vivid color, and many birds’ plumage is at its brightest before molting. Colorful fruits are also a great idea for wild bird feeders! Migratory birds (as well as a few residents) enjoy various fruits as part of their healthy diet too 🙂
Adding a new dimension to feeding wild birds, fresh fruit offers great variety for many species, there’s just so much more than plain old birdseed. Staked, platform and open dish feeders accommodate many types of foods – allowing you to change things up with seasons. Got a suet feeder? Simply try orange slices for orioles, woodpeckers, cat birds and others.
Some staked and dish feeders are far from boring, fun designs to add a splash of color, or even bring a smile to say any cat enthusiast! With these wild bird feeders, suet is perfect for winter feeding too, and there’s lots of recipes online (and on our site) to make your own. Large formed balls work best on the pin, and by mixing a big batch, it’ can be stored in the freezer for ease of use.
Because variety is the spice of life, mix it up for your feathered friend this summer! You never know who may stop by, and after all, you can always revert to boring birdseed in your feeders!
Happy Independence Day and Thanks to All who have Served
and Continue to Serve!
Elton John – Philadelphia Freedom (Royal Opera House)