Mr. Chipping sparrow needs to cool off, he enters the naturally textured birdbath with gentle slope as it’s quite enticing. But surprise! You reside in Atlanta where it’s hotter than Hades right now and the bath water isn’t just warm… it’s hot 🙁
Not so refreshing… except for the gentle spray from the leaf mister above! Like the shoemaker’s daughter with worn shoes, our own mister at home is really old with a slight drip. But the drip is ideal over a birdbath as it keeps the water moving (no mosquitoes) and adds fresh, cool water on a slow and steady basis. Birds are absolutely wild for it! So much so, they sit and wait for the misters to start every morning, it’s like a virtual bird spa.
This mister is attached to an old metal… not sure what it is, but a simple plastic plant stake with twist-tie works great. Even the garden benefits with ease of mobility, moving the stake around to different sections each day. Gardens grow lush, and birds love taking leaf baths too!
When placed over a birdbath, leaf misters offer fresh and cool water for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Activity is pretty amazing on warm summer days. Stagnant water is no fun for anyone when temperatures remain in the 90’s. Adding a water feature like a dripper, solar fountain or water wiggler to your birdbath will bring it to life, entice more birds, and keeps water fresher for longer periods of time.
The whole set-up is shown below and it’s simple to recreate. The misters come with everything to be up & running in minutes! With 50 feet of tubing, it attaches to the outdoor spigot, complete with Y-valve that keeps garden hose free for use. Extra tubing is optional, and we can promise (from personal experience) birds LOVE these things!
But first the delectable mix that so many bird species seem to adore, it’s perfect for tray style window bird feeders and any type of platform or dish feeder too. There’s no measuring and it mixes up easily in a gallon zip-lock bag. With a little something for everyone, many bird species have been spotted taste testing!
- 1 No-Melt suet cake, finely crumbled (we use peanut or orange)
- 2 handfuls of shelled peanuts
- 2 handfuls of dried mealworms
- 2 handfuls of sunflower hearts
- Mix well by shaking bag vigorously
The yummy mix is full of fat & protein, and we’ve seen chickadees, titmice, cat birds, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, woodpeckers and others trying it on for size. Approval seems unanimous, definitely a keeper!
And the big visitors? Take a gander at these 4-legged birds! Living in a subdivision it’s not everyday one sees horses grazing freely, but that’s what was out there! Failing to snap a photo of them loose in the back because panic ensued and who to call was the task at hand. After reaching animal control services, I was most relieved to hear the horse’s people were indeed looking for them, and they arrived in minutes. Off they went- end of excitement for the day, the pony sure was a little cutie, he’s the one who likely pushed the gate open too!
Regardless of using tube style hummingbird feeders or basin designs – they all have feeder ports which are difficult to clean. A mascara brush is the absolute perfect solution for reaching in and and scrubbing these tiny ports. Of course you’ll want to first sanitize the brush by running it through your dishwasher, or place it in boiling water to completely remove all residue as chemicals are harmful, probably even fatal to hummingbirds.
The tiny brushes are ideal for all types of other bird feeders and their hard to clean spots. These small spaces that are hard to reach usually accumulate crud (another word for mold and bacteria build-up). It’s imperative to bird’s health to keep any feeder from growing crud in the first place.
And forget about the “red myth” for both nectar and feeders themselves… it’s not true! We think the tiny sprites actually prefer home-made nectar over commercial mixes. Plain table sugar and water is it, that’s all you need. 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water. Store nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. No need to even boil the water, but we boil one cup just to dissolve sugar more effectively. Adding 3 cups of cold water also alleviates any wait for cooling time. You can fill feeders immediately and hang.
So many fun styles and colors that add interest to the garden, deck, patio or balcony! Hummingbirds will go for them provided nectar is fresh and there’s no other pests around causing competition (ants. bees, wasps and yellow jackets). Leaking sugar water is the main culprit in attracting pests, so keep feeders clean and use an ant moat if the need arises. Place feeders away from windy areas as a rocking/moving feeder causes spillage. The sweet sticky stuff is a magnet for other visitors who are not so welcome.
Thanks Sephora for the mascara image above!
It takes all kinds… all kind of feeders that is. For suet, peanuts, mealworms, nectar, fruit, jelly, nyjer, where does one start? Let’ go with basic seed in a not so basic feeder! Headed to a house-warming or birthday party? Something like this wild bird feeder is perfect when you’d like to bring a little more than a bottle of vino. Long after consumption, this gift keeps on giving! Even if the recipient isn’t into the birding scene… it’s a fantastic way to to introduce them to one of the fastest growing and most enjoyable hobbies around!
Handcrafted in GA, the bottle feeder quickly mounts just about anywhere, and birds flock to it immediately! The stash stays dry and protected from elements, while drainage in the tray keeps things from getting messy. Black oil sunflower or mixed seed works best, we prefer sunflower hearts or a no-waste mix as it leaves little ground mess. Many feathered species prefer sunflower hearts too; chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, bluebirds will eat this seed in winter, finches and woodpeckers… to name just a few of the usual suspects!
For a limited time, the bottle feeder is back because the artist says they just take too long to make! Wildly popular on Pinterest a few years ago, the bird feeder looks like something you could easily make yourself, maybe so if you’re the handy type? The one thing we do know is birds love this feeder and it’s perfect for year-round use.
Buzz about the Monarch’s dwindling population is more than justified. You may have heard about it, but if not check this fact: Since the mid-90’s their decline has reached 90% from the 20-year average. What’s this mean in terms of real numbers? Swap monarchs for people for a second, every person in the US would be gone except for those living in just two states!
One of the biggest reasons for their decline is believed to be the disappearance of milkweed- the Monarch caterpillar’s only food source, and also the only plant on which Monarchs will lay their eggs. To name a few other culprits; urban sprawl, extreme weather, new farming practices and illegal logging in the butterflies’ winter habitat in Mexico.
Offering suitable habitat and butterfly feeders really does help the local Monarch population. Don’t bother with houses… they don’t use them! Both can be fantastic and unique garden accents – with feeders being much more useful. Butterflies also adore leaf misters, set one up near lantana or any other nectar-producing plant and you’re bound to see some winged action!
The butterfly feeders above are handmade, blown glass flowers on a 36-inch stake. They’re versatile for nectar or fruit, and for songbirds too. The hanging butterfly feeder below has been tested and approved by butterfly experts. A special combination of wicks and tubes mimic real flower blossoms, the design and color attracts butterflies and the nectar reservoir size is ideal to minimize spoilage.
This season, Swallowtails have been spotted in our butterfly habitat, but no Monarchs yet 🙁 Still a few months for their presence in the southeast… we’ll continue to feed and keep watch for the winged wonders!
See them in the back, on the right side? Escapees! It’s problematic enough when cat birds and cardinals and warblers start in on your live worms, after all-they’re meant for the bluebirds. Recent fledges are learning to use the feeders, so it’s a real bummer when they figure it out and it’s empty 🙁
Robins, chipping sparrows, cardinals, towhees, chickadees, titmice and still others have learned that sometimes it rains worms. They’ll sit below this screened mealworm feeder and wait for the manna to fall… and it does.
Not to say the design is sub-par, just maybe not the best choice for offering live mealies. Dried worms and other bluebird treats are ideal in this hanging feeder, but the tooth (screen texture) gives the live ones a good grip and path to exit stage left!
The new steel Orb Feeder features an acrylic cup, a nice smooth surface that keeps worms put, that is until titmice and chickadees discover them. And the blue dish shown above is also a nice smooth surface, one from where worms can not escape.
Something we’ve experimented with this season (and is quite successful) is offering more of the dried worms – much more economical. But the trick is to soften them first so that parents will feed them babies. Steeping dried meal worms in boiling water for about ten minutes-then draining, is ideal if you’re a backyard bird freak like us 🙂
So a good basic rule of thumb is that live worms do much better when placed on a smooth surface! Should too many worms be disappearing altogether, an enclosed feeder is likely best. Bluebirds are one of the few who will “fly-in” a feeder. Without fail, Carolina wrens are always the first to figure it out!
With so many new fledges out and about, it’s a great time to try offering mealworms if you never have in the past. One way to stretch worms and make them lat longer is to use a mixture. One of our recipes includes a no-melt suet cake (crumbled), shelled peanuts and a few sunflower hearts… the birds love it!
A safe and happy holiday weekend to all~
Finally a new camera… a real camera! First few practice shots bring some red, white and blue birds.
Baby blues learning the feeders – look at those faces!
Male cardinal – They’re molting now and looking a little funky… though in a few weeks their beauty will shine through with a new set of vibrant red feathers!
Lots of others but we’ll stick with the 4th theme today! Wishing all a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!