One of the oldest and most intense arguments… cats vs. birds and there’s basically two sides; birders and the people they refer to as “cat crazies”- those who let their cats roam because they believe it’s good for them. Ferals who roam are a problem for birds (but that stems from human ignorance too). Still, there are birders who are responsible cat owners and keep their feline friends indoors. We fit this category – four cats, whose outdoor time consists of a screened porch, and they’re pretty happy with the arrangement.
The neighbor “rescues” cats from the shelter, but they stay outdoors for the most part, which drives me bonkers! At times it’s infuriating, heated words have been exchanged on several occasions. The husband says “just shoot the cat”, but truth be told, I’d rather shoot the wife because it’s not the cats’ fault! Suggesting the cat sport a collar with a bell worked, but it really doesn’t help the birds too much.
A couple of cool ground bird baths are always in use around our yard, but they’re not on the ground anymore! This stinks because birds tend to bathe more naturally at this level. Enter tree stumps, large planters, small tables, and anything else that will add height to the bird baths. An excuse to add yet another, hanging style too.
The dripper birdbath now sits atop of a large planter, the big wood textured bird bath will look good on a tree stump, and the birds will definitely adjust in a day or two at most. Would’ve much rather kept things status quo, but it’s really not fair to the birds. Their lives needn’t be compromised due to the neighbor’s stupidity! And hey… one more hanging bath to maintain won’t make a big difference in the scheme of things… especially since we’re already known in the neighborhood as the crazy bird people 🙂
Reclaimed materials are used to craft these decorative birdhouses with vintage style. Hand made in Texas, Lorenzo Padilla creates original pieces using historic architectural elements and salvaged materials. Unique bird homes are reborn in these fine artworks, each is branded with his trademark emblem. Tin roofs and iron adornments pretty much started here about 20 years ago, widely copied by others today-but not the same!
Some of the siding and materials date back to the nineteenth century, sturdy woods rich in history that will withstand elements beautifully.
For nest clean-out, it’s fairly simple to back out 2 screws on the roof and gently lift the tin panel. Chickadees, wrens, titmice and other small songbirds will be happy to take up residence and call these places home... a fine nest site and roost for cold nights too.
A few other decorative works for home and garden can be found. Tall cabinets with scroll front grates (which haven’t made it to the site yet) are absolute works of period art.
Although these houses are for the birds – most folks prefer to keep them as indoor decor!
Wishing all a Happy & Safe Memorial Day Holiday!
They make some cool shelters these days, from vintage to Victorian, recycled plastic, even kits to build your own bat houses. You can try your luck at attracting bats without a big investment. But why would anyone want to attract them? One word – beneficial would sum it up best!
Bats are major pollinators and seed spreaders. Natural insect control is another huge advantage to hosting these friendly mammals (yes, they’re mammals). Even small bat colonies will consume thousands of mosquitoes and other pests nightly.
Habitat plays a key role in attracting any friendly fliers to your place. This holds true for butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds too. If pesticides are being used, stop! They’re harmful to the to the environment, wildlife and the ecosystem in general. Pristine, manicured lawns are becoming passe, more naturalized areas are in style. This doesn’t mean jungle… it involves use of native plants, naturalized beds, and varied habitat.
You can attract bats by offering places for them to roost (other than your attic vents). Bat houses needn’t be plain square boxes, but stylish shelters that complement the landscape. The two shown are handcrafted in the USA, and made from solid cypress.
If water exists on your property, there’s a strong likelihood bats will use your shelters. Being near a creek, stream, or pond is preferable. They require a stable environment, steady temperatures within their roosts. Facing the houses south will allow full sun exposure to warm the boxes. Two bat houses are even better, facing them in different directions and allowing for varying temperatures. Leaving an outside light on at night may also assist in bringing bats to your place. As bugs swarm the light, bats will follow if they’re currently near your property.
Height is important when installing the houses as well. Some say 10 feet is sufficient, others claim 15-20 feet from the ground is best. Mount directly on a tree, structure or pole.
You can learn more about housing specs and hosting bats from The Organization for Bat Conservation.
Add them to a post, add them to a bird feeder pole, or hang them… seed trays greatly reduce ground mess and waste. Spilled seed can lead to other problems, like mold which is unhealthy for ground feeding birds, and may attract some unwanted visitors too. Over the years we’ve heard from many folks (especially in the city) who stop feeding birds altogether due to rats… yuck!
Clean feeding is easy with bird seed trays or seed catchers. Using a no-waste seed mix or sunflower hearts also helps alleviate ground mess. They’re pure with no filers – which is what ends up on the ground anyway. Milo, red millet, cracked corn and oats don’t really serve birds well at all, they’ll toss it right out of the feeder on purpose!
Newer designs in recycled plastic make it possible to add the generous-size trays to a 4×4 post or standard garden pole. The large area is inviting to some birds who may never have visited the feeder before. Adjustable Seed Hoops fit almost any type feeder out there, and come in 16-and 30-inch diameter. The smaller size is ideal for tube styles, while the large tray is best for hopper bird feeders.
Should you happen to be one of the “I don’t feed birds in summer” folks – just know that backyard feeders are hopping with activity now as most birds have nestlings to feed. The show of migratory birds passing through is colorful and quite dazzling to catch… so don’t give up the ship due to ground mess!
*Use seed trays to minimize waste
*Switch to cleaner seed mixes with no fillers
*Try No-Melt Suet Doughs for warm weather feeding
*Offer fruit & jelly for migratory birds- it leaves no waste
*Feed dried mealworms (boil and steep to soften) for a real treat!
Sugar, anything with sugar is bound to attract ants! Be it hummingbird, oriole, butterfly or any fruit & jelly feeder… ants will find them-especially in hot, dry weather. They spoil nectar for hummingbirds, the sprites will not drink from a feeder containing ants. Same goes for grape jelly and oranges set out for orioles, and even butterfly feeders offering nectar. Ants must exude something quite nasty as it only takes one to ruin a meal.
The most basic ant moat is simplistic in design, an upside-down umbrella or cup that holds water. Ants drown when trying to cross water. Some prefer to coat the inside with petroleum jelly instead, which also acts as a barrier for ants. To slow water evaporation, you can a drop or two of cooking oil to the moat’s water.
Etched hummingbird feeders shown above have unique wood tops and bases and offer their own optional ant moat. With sleek style and matching wood grain, this type of moat features a grooved underside containing an anti-ant substance that lasts for several years. It’s neat and clean with no filling required.
Parasol crafts a mean ant moat, in red or black it looks like, well… a parasol! We’ve seen goldfinches actually drink from these on hot summer days, even though several birdbaths are always kept clean and full! The ant moats work well with any feeder, regardless of how many vessels.
You can feed hummingbirds without attracting pesky ants… of course using a no-drip feeder really helps.
As for bigger pests? We caught a raccoon red-handed, drinking from a feeder on the deck the other night. He had both hands wrapped around the feeder, guzzling like it was beer! New solution: bring said feeder inside at night… dang!