Goldfinches are back in droves.. but they’re not quite so gold yet. Still sporting drab winter plumage, it’s not until late spring/early summer when they’ll molt again. It’s the process of shedding old worn feathers to make way for new ones, and goldfinches happen to be one of very few birds who molt twice per year.
If your nyjer feeder has been sitting for a while sans activity, the older seed may be moldy, and finches won’t eat it. Consider trashing that old seed, giving the feeder a good cleaning and refilling with fresh goods. Doing this provides a welcome sign for these cool little birds.
One of the larger capacity feeders is shown here – holding 5+ lbs. of seed. A relative of the Rainbow Finch Feeder, the Super version is even better for large finch crowds. With colorful perches and a great design, this nyjer feeder lets you fill from both the top and bottom. This eliminates stale seed piling up at the bottom. By alternating which end is filled with fresh seed, there’s never a build-up of old stuff.
There’s another bird out there now who might easily be confused with the goldfinch. About the same size, but very opposite behavior, warblers can be pretty territorial around bird feeders. Males will fight and fend off others, doing this sort of vertical flight dance where the birds look almost intertwined. Goldfinches on the other hand would rather find another feeder than fight. This is when an extra thistle sock or two come in very handy. Inexpensive and simple to use, they offer extra feeding spots during goldfinches’ busy breeding season. Oh and this warbler… he’s got a mouthful of suet and a big attitude too!
To roll out the welcome mat for finches and other songbirds, offer a consistent fresh water source and keep bird feeders clean. Adding some nesting materials in early spring will also encourage residency at your place!
In honor of a belated Squirrel Appreciation Day, which was actually January 21st (yes the critters do have a day named for them) we wanted to show the absolute easiest feeder ever. You needn’t buy anything, as this item’s usually a staple in your pantry.
Peanut butter… because they love it! And with this crazy frigid weather, the high fat & protein gives them extra calories to stay warm. Calories=Energy. So what do ya do with the peanut butter? Slap it on a tree trunk! Just smear some on a tree and the entertainment is free. Why are there no squirrels in the picture then? It’s been so cold overnight, we’re not even seeing them venture out bed until noon!
We’ll use peanut butter on other squirrel feeders during freezing weather too. Smeared on corn cobs, or long-lasting corn logs (compressed corn), it’s simple to do for a special treat. And squirrels aren’t the only ones who love the gooey stuff! Woodpeckers, nuthatches and the warbler shown here seem to like peanut butter too, in freezing weather anyway. Is it safe for birds? Absolutely, because it’s one of the base ingredients in many suet recipes.
The black iron thing in the picture is really a wall-mounted plant tray that was on the front porch – but our plants kept falling off – so it became a feeder. If you wanted to add some other goodies for really cheap, take a plastic plant saucer and tack it to the tree trunk. Heck, you could even offer seed, or water in this fashion! The pale yellow glob is suet, which everybody loves, and it’s simple to make yourself. Some fast and easy recipes are on our site under birding resources.
But say you wanted to go all out, and offer a deluxe squirrel feeder for furry friends? Look no further than the Munch Box Combo. It offers variety in a handcrafted, quality feeder that’s made in the USA.
And why were we late with Squirrel Appreciation Day? Because it was also Penguin Awareness Day 🙂
They’ve put together a fantastic slide show, worthy of a peek if you have a second, or ever though of penguins as being cute! Some interesting facts about these magnificent birds and their struggle to adapt to a warming climate.
The birdhouse won’t help in the least, but the photography in EDF’s presentation is fantastic!
The bigger the hopper the more it will hold but don’t it believe because you are told they’ll never wear or start to look old a true statement of confidence-maybe a bit bold! New for 2104, large and extra huge capacity hopper bird feeders that will have you doing way less filling and more time relaxing & enjoying backyard birds. Not any old hopper mind you, our best selling feeders for six years straight just got even better! So what’s fuss? Although these may look like wood, they’re done in vinyl, which means they will not deteriorate. No warping, mildew, rotting, peeling, cracking or splitting… it’s guaranteed! It took a long time asking and begging to create something besides our original gazebo feeders. They’re quite stunning, but a tube only holds so much seed. If you’re serious into birds like us… you know what we mean. Even the smaller size hopper accommodates ten pounds of your favorite seed mix, and we’re talking the chunky nut mixes that birds love so much.
With a majestic copper roof, these large capacity hopper feeders come in hanging and post-mount styles, and the copper is always available in traditional or patina on each model. Post mounted feeders come with a vinyl mounting collar and decorative brackets as shown – at no additional cost. The best part is that it slides right on your standard 4×4 post. Large seed tray invites lots of feathered friends to feed at once, and offers ample drainage to keep seed dry.
Custom made to your liking, our new vinyl hoppers are by far the largest capacity feeders out there. And ready for this? The larger size is a monster – holding 20 lbs. of bird seed! Now that doesn’t mean one has to fill them all the way, the square design itself is new, and a nice option with its clean lines and an architectural appeal.
Still in the making below, we especially love the generous seed ports. Look closely at the material, a few customers have called over the years insisting these were wood. No shiny plastic-looking stuff here… first class all the way, beautiful in the landscape and made to last!
The polar vortex, record low temperatures in the deep South, gripping snow storms that paralyzed many cities… thankfully we’re finally starting to thaw out! This is when creature comforts of home can be most appreciated, especially if you had to spend any length of time outdoors in this frigid weather.
Birds and wildlife in general have additional stresses during severe cold as they must expend more energy to find food and shelter. Sure they’ve adapted, and use various methods for coping with high winds and biting cold. The weaker of any species may succumb to starvation or predation, thus the old adage “survival of the fittest”.
Wild birds will seek shelter in shrubs, dense foliage, natural cavities, even birdhouses and roosts. Some, like bluebirds, will even huddle together for warmth. Many common backyard birds will spend the entire day at bird feeders packing on calories to make it through another night. Peanuts, suet and black oil sunflower provide power-packed meals for most of our feathered friends! Keeping feeders clean and full greatly increases survival rates of resident songbirds during freak weather like last week.
But what about water – surely with all that snow out there, birds can get water? Yes, they can, but it costs them dearly. The snow must be converted to water, which takes precious energy, and during single-digit temps, every ounce of energy must be conserved in order to survive.
This is when heated bird baths can literally be life savers for some birds since they require water daily. Some baths may even form ice around the edges, but they’ll still leave open water towards the center. Adding a heater to your existing bath is also a great option, or even putting out a shallow pan of warm water several times a day. Hey, if the snow’s that bad you’re probably home from work anyway, right?
Please help birds through tough winter weather by offering food, water and shelter, their lives depend on it!
The birdie menu was heavy with special treats today as frigid temperatures almost did my own hands in while feeding! Fingers actually stinging, they had to be warmed by the vent to feel them again. You may say ha… it’s Atlanta and not that bad… wanna bet?
A balmy 5 degrees right now, there’s no chance of leaving the mealworm feeder filled for dawn… the poor little mealies will freeze. That’s what happened last night 🙁
Actually, this is a pretty normal AM feeding, because if there’s too much food out, the nasty starlings hog it all, so daily rations are fed twice instead. Plus everything’s freezing right now.
Not an ad for Peter Pan either, this is absolutely the normal routine, (for the birdhouse chick anyway) just happen to snap a photo of it today.
So, what exactly does this backyard bird fanatic feed? From right to left, here goes:
- Finch mix, consisting of finely chopped sunflower and thistle. Lots of goldfinches, just not gold right now.
- Small cup of live worms for the new enclosed mealworn feeder… take that starlings! Carolina wrens are usually first to figure out these feeders.
- Large cup of cardinal mix for the platform feeder.
- Large cup of critter mix for the squirrels and a few other birds.
- Large cup of sunflower hearts/shelled peanut mix for platform feeder #2.
- Live worms for two hanging dish-style mealworm feeders. Meant for the bluebird pair and eastern phoebe, but many others partake.
- Sweet corn squirrel log, which is equal to about 12ears of regular corn cobs. These must be tightened up every few days as our crafty critters have managed to steal them from time to time!
- Small cup of bluebird banquet, suet-like mixture that’s easy to make. Check our site (under birding resources) for this recipe and more.
- Peanut butter, slapped right on tree bark is great for squirrels and birds. High in fat and protein, these extra calories provide energy needed to stay warm.
- Re-hydrated meal worms for yet another dish-style feeder. Boiling water added to dry worms , steep and drain.
- Bark Butter and suet slice for the woodpecker feeder.
- Note the heated bath behind the food, and the cord running across the yard for heated bath #2 of five. Too many feeders to show pics, let’s just say there’s a good mix!
Seriously… who would make up this stuff? We spend a lot of time fussing over our birds – but it’s so worth having them around. It was so cold today that the squirrels didn’t even venture out until late afternoon.
Say you have only one bird feeder, that’s perfect too, just remember the water! Birds need a fresh water source even in the coldest weather. As far as Mr. Arctic Mass, you are not welcome in the South, so please go home now!