Accessories for bird baths and leaf misters will absolutely bring more birds (and butterflies) to the garden. Because they keep water from becoming stagnant, it stays fresher and mosquitoes can’t lay their eggs in it either.
Both solar fountains and those using electricity recirculate water in bird baths. Drippers and leaf misters run off the outdoor spigot and although very slow and adjustable, do utilize a continuous water flow. They come as complete kits with everything required to be up & running in minutes… no kidding!
Leaf misters offer lots of options for placement too. You can attach them to a branch or trellis, (50 ft. of rubber tubing is included) attach to a deck bracket or even a simple plant stake in the garden. We prefer the latter as the mister may easily be moved around to benefit the garden by watering different sections daily.
Butterflies especially adore the gentle mist, while hummingbirds and other songbirds like chickadees and bluebirds will wait for them to start each morning… it’s like a spa for them and makes a spectacular viewing experience for host too. Place leaf misters near nectar-producing plants like lantana and enjoy the show!
Moving water in a bird bath or somewhere in the landscape is the ticket to seeing more bird activity during warm summer months. In fall, simply pack them up and store away for next season. A one-time investment that promises to bring many seasons of use and enjoyment… and more winged activity to your place!
To jump-start National Pollinator Week (okay, so we’re on the very last day-last hour of it) the Pollinator Partnership (P2) introduced The Highways BEE Act. Because bees, butterflies, birds and bats bring us one in every three bites of food, pollinators form the essential underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable future… for all of us.
Over 250 national, regional, and local organizations and 2,500 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation have already signed a petition in support of the Highways BEE Act, H.R. 2738. Such legislation is designed to help cash-strapped states reduce roadside maintenance costs, while providing habitat for crucial pollinators. After all, without bats we might not have bananas or tequila! Almost exclusively, bats pollinate the agave plant which is where tequila is born! But in all seriousness, interested organizations, businesses and individuals can find out more and sign a petition in support of the legislation at http://www.pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.
Providing habitat closer to home could include nixing the use of pesticides and manicured lawns, planting predominately native in the landscape, and the addition of bat houses on your property. If you already see the furry mammals (yes, they’re really mammals) fluttering around at dusk, chance are excellent they’ll take up residence in the new digs.
Like NABS (North American Bluebird Society) for approved bluebird houses and PMCA for purple martin houses, bat houses have OBC (The Organization for Bat Conservation). A wealth of knowledge for any questions bat-related, it’s a good idea to look for the OBC seal of approval when purchasing a new home for the furry friends.
Whether testing the waters with a smaller design, or full-on ready to host larger colonies, bat houses are available from single- to triple-chamber sizes. Although they may be post mounted (minimum 12- 15 feet high), most sources recommend mounting them on a structure or tree. Bats don’t require the open spaces that many birds prefer. They like to be close to things, which is why they sometimes end up in your attic!
With a growing public awareness for the plight of, and broader knowledge of the critical role pollinators play for crops and for the future, there’s a strong collective popularity developing. From manufacturing and marketing of bee keeping and bug hotels to thriving master gardener groups, bat houses have also kept right in stride. You’ll find them in traditional cedar, cypress, recycled plastics and vinyl/PVC. They’re good-looking enough to actually mount on the side of your home as a decorative accessory! So please house the bats and sign the petition mentioned above… for all of us and for future generations 🙂
You may think it’s the absolute craziest thing in the world, but plenty of folks get a kick from feeding squirrels. If you baffle the bird feeders properly, and the furry critters don’t tell too many of their friends… it’s usually cool!
Traditional squirrel feeders like the big jar, munch box, and table & chair have been updated using durable recycled plastic. Also called poly-lumber, the material is good looking and wares much nicer and longer than wood.
But a jar is a jar and it’s glass. Because glass may break for whatever reason, replacement jars are available. But something we’ve discovered: Pickles! The industrial size pickle jar usually fits these feeders! And for considerably less money when shipping is figured into the price. Plus you get a whole lot of pickles… fried pickles anyone?
Using corn cobs with your squirrel feeder? Check out the Squirrel Logs for long-lasting use. A novel idea, these are compressed corn (in two flavors) that equal about 12 ears of regular corn cobs. Something else we’ve discovered? Be sure the logs are securely attached to the feeding pin as our crafty critters have managed to steal them from time-to-time! They just require twisting up on the pin every few days to keep a tight connection.
These work well with the Bungee Cord Feeder and the Table & Chair. The pins (or screws) on the feeder must be threaded… or your crafty critters will steal them too!
Want to offer a combination of corn cobs and peanuts or munch mix for your guys? The Ultimate Combo Feeder fits the bill. Pins for two ears of corn plus a lift-up compartment for special treats. Lucky squirrels will think they’re at the Ritz!
Change it up for furry friends. During frigid winter weather peanut butter is a huge hit when smeared on corn cobs, but summer days in the south turn the gooey stuff to liquid in minutes. Substitute an apple or pear that might be a bit too ripe for your liking. Suet? Squirrels adore it and the no-melt varieties are perfect for summer feeding.
Yes squirrels can be a major pain for some folks, but they manage to bring smiles and laughs to others. Once you get the hang of keeping them out of bird feeders, they really aren’t so bad 🙂
Looking for something special this year? A lasting gift to bring some real enjoyment can be found in birdhouses and feeders. There’s nothing better than escaping daily chaos by connecting with nature… well, maybe a trip to the beach?
Grabbing time to just sit and watch birds at a feeder does something for heart and soul, it soothes the mind and quiets the brain. Listening to birdsong also has a tranquil effect, after all, it’s been around since the dawn of time.
Traditional dovecote birdhouses have a new spin for sports-minded dads too! Sized from bluebird to mansion they’re available in team colors. Since these are made to order, best to shake a tail feather to get it in time for Father’s Day. Monday 6/15 is last call.
Oh yeah, the real beauty here is durable vinyl/PVC construction. These post-mounted bird homes look like wood, but wear like vinyl siding on a real house. There’s no deterioration, no rotting or cracking. Take a garden hose to them for cleaning, they’re built to last and USA made 🙂 Do right by Dad with a gift that’s guaranteed to please him… and the birds!
In no way meant to diminish the extent of damage and loss from recent Texas floods, but being bird nerds, we wanted to convey the devastation at bird level too. Below the video is a devoted landlord’s heart breaking account of several days inside one of her blue bird houses.
The video below gives a good look at the Red River, check the panicked birds at 0.50. Possibly tens of thousands of cliff- and barn swallows were nesting under the three main bridges that succumbed to rising water, they lost homes and babies. Birds really do give us a glimpse of our changing environment.
“Well my first clutch did not work out well. I have a box in my yard, male and female came, made a nest and laid 6 eggs .
Everything was going great. Then the storms hit. The male disappeared and left Mama to tend to 4 that hatched. I provided meal worms in hopes to help her out.
The rains just wouldn’t let up and she was having a very hard time getting any insects except the meal worms I provided. Then house sparrows came, even with a sparrow spooker, the female HOSP kept looking into the box. This prevented the Mom from leaving to hunt. I set a ground trap and did catch the pair. One bluebird nestling was dead in the nest. Then came home a few days later and a Red Tail Hawk was in the yard trying to get the house sparrow – needless to say mama blue was very upset and no telling how long she went without hunting that day.
Two days later another dead nestling. There were no signs of trauma but the nest was wet. I was forced to do a nest change and the remaining two were 16 days old. Two days later, after more torrential rains, another dead nestling. So I changed the nest again and tried to weather proof the house better. The storms were so severe that I figured that is why the last one didn’t fledge.
Yesterday I took the last one out and changed the nest again but noticed her wings were not normal. Only flight feathers and none of the smaller blood feathers (?) With help from the folks on Facebook, I found a rehab place. She lives in Ft. Worth and it’s about a 45 minute drive but I was going to take her the baby. She asked where I lived and she was surprised and said she was in Joshua now at the DQ!
I bundled up the nestling “stormy” and took her to the lady. She said it looked to be a nutritional problem and felt she will be able to save her! I took the box down, replaced the roof and new screws in where they were loose. Cleaned out the box real good and put it back. I know the mom is very upset, she is still calling this morning even through the storms 🙁 I feel so bad for her.”
Even those who don’t use blue bird houses are suffering heavy losses with downed trees and limbs and breaking snags.
Keith Kridler of Mt. Pleasant, Texas writes: “The reason Texas is having so much flooding is due to just how flat the Eastern half of the state is. Rivers are normally slow flowing nearly flat river bottoms with on average only one foot of fall or elevation change per one mile of river bed. Link below is to a short video of the Red River that flows between Oklahoma and Texas. Video is from last week and this bridge will go completely under water this weekend and or by Monday now. Notice in the one shot there appear to be hundreds if not thousands of Cliff Swallows flying in the air. These birds nest by the tens of thousands under these major bridges all across Texas. All three of the major bridges crossing the Red River between Texarkana and Paris Texas are thought to be going under water this weekend and or first of the week. Or about 100 miles from first to last bridge along the river. There are many videos of flooded bridges, watch for the numbers of swallows at each bridge.
I have counted as many as 1,000 Cliff Swallow nests under a single short span of highway overpass over a two lane farm to market road locally. Nearly all of the videos coming out of Texas are showing large flocks of Swallows circling these bridges and over passes that went under water. Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows and also Eastern Phoebe’s nest in small road culverts that are normally dry in the summer. This summer most of these have gone under water multiple times. You sometimes find bluebirds, House Sparrows and other small species of cavity nesting birds that will nest in or on the left over swallow nests under these bridges and over passes.
Herds of wild hogs are getting pushed out of these river bottoms, deer now have small fawns and livestock are having to be moved upwards of a mile or further on some of the ranches to get above the flood waters. Any high ground near the river banks are swarming with stranded wildlife from snakes to bobcats. Anything that can climb a tree is hanging out in the tree tops.”
Mother nature can be brutal, but she is resilient. Mama blue and others will go on to nest again and raise their young. We hope for all of those who suffered damage and losses that this is soon and life regains a sense of normalcy.