Feeders have been in full swing this winter with hungry birds braving the most frigid days seeking calories to keep warm. Every feeder’s seen its share of flying traffic through this most miserable season.
With bulbs forcing through, birds are already starting to nest in the southeast, we’ve already changed up two peanut bird feeders for another good use… nesting materials!
Here’s one of the cool things about backyard birding. Not too much is cut in stone so to speak. You needn’t buy a full-fledged peanut bird feeder to offer peanuts, nor a complete nesting material kit to offer the materials. Here’s a cool recycled 3-in-1 feeder that perfect for suet, peanuts, nesting material or even fruit in summer. Just be creative and see what works best for your birds!
That same spring feeder offers peanuts, suet, nest material, and yes… fruit in summer. Oh yeah, and the nesting materials? You can do this one yourself! Cats or dogs? Save their hair (not such a good idea if fluffy or fido has been treated with flea & tick medication). Decorative mosses are another favorite, sphagnum or sheet moss, Spanish moss, coco fibers from old plant liners too. Just be sure they’re clean. Feathers are coveted as well for some species’ nests. Again, just be sure thee have been sanitized, and use light or natural colors in the mix.
Recently cruising one of the video platforms, a big retailer’s video came up about nesting material. With lots of video views, “how dead wrong” is what came to mind. Cardinals don’t use those shelves, they nest in trees or shrubs. But I guess if you have no trees or shrubs they might use one? And they don’t use that cotton stuff either. Weed stems, twigs, bark, grasses and leaves are what make up cardinal nests in these parts… come on!
They were so darn cute, but were they functional like wood birdhouses? Yes, because wool naturally sheds rain. You can provide a real nest site (and killer, unique gift) with these fun & functional wool birdhouses!
Handcrafted from felted wool and hand-died yarns, they’re made with sustainably harvested materials including sheep wool, hemp and bamboo. And, these fun hand-felted wool birdhouses are created by skilled, Fair Trade artisans in Katmandu, Nepal, supporting both urban and village women.
If the surface gets wet it will easily air dry, they can be used indoors for a whimsical accent, or outside where birds can make a home to raise their young. Another really cool thing is that some birds will even snag the colorful fibers to build their own nests, and with the mild winter temps, nesting season is already upon us here in the Southeast.
The 1.25-inch entrance will accommodate chickadees, titmice, wrens, and other small cavity dwelling songbirds. These amazingly cute birdhouses are designed for year-round outdoor use, and will maintain their shape for at least one year, with a longer life span if hung in a sheltered area. The bright colors may begin to fade if left in direct sun for more than two months. They’re a pretty generous size too, measuring 8.5 inches tall by 5.5 wide.
We can’t wait to hang one in our yard (they’re on their way now) and see who takes up residence, and see which birds enjoy feathering their nest with the bright yarns!
With the mild winter season across most of the country this year, it won’t be too long before the hummingbirds are back! Unlike any other songbirds, the tiny sprites are really in a class of their own. If you already have them around your place, then you know what I mean. If not, this is the year to feed, plant, and attract them to your yard. The rewards are mesmerizing and tenfold! And, no birdseed to buy… you can make your own nectar from plain table, or cane sugar (no substitutes) and water.
To further entice hummingbirds to your window hummingbird feeder, moving water is always a huge attraction! Here are two other very cool accessories which promise to bring them buzzing! Check out Pop’s Hummingbird Swing and video below, and Hummer Helper Nest Material (endorsed by The hummingbird Society).
Place this simple but elegant Hummingbird Swing near your feeder and hummingbirds will use it as a territorial perch to watch over their food source. Tested and trusted, check out the video below. Swing, Eat, Chase away other hummingbirds.. repeat! Enjoy!
Hummer Helper Nest Material has actually been endorsed by The Hummingbird Society as being the only commercial nest material that will increase visits to your window hummingbird feeder. By encouraging nesting, juveniles will follow parents to the feeders, and if the habitat is right… those same hummers will return next season! Site fidelity plays a huge role in hummingbird migration, if they find a place they like, they return to that place year after year. Pretty cool, huh?
The cold weather of winter leaves behind some clues for us (if we look) from the previous busy season of the avian world. Simply look up and take notice. Barren-looking trees with their foliage stripped will reveal the nests of several species, and what they’ve used for nesting materials.
Large, messy nests are usually the work of squirrels, while a smaller nest consisting of twigs and grasses may be that of a Cardinal, Blue Jay, or Mockingbird. An even smaller nest with tightly woven plant fibers, maybe even some milkweed or thistle down still attached would be the work of an American Goldfinch. You’d have to search a bit harder to find nests from Bluebirds, Chickadees, or Nuthatches, as these birds nest in cavities or birdhouses. You can easily encourage nest building around your place this season by offering nesting materials before the season actually starts. Although there are many cool kinds of materials and holders available, this is most definitely a “do-it-yourselfer”!
Start by gathering nesting materials now. Feathers and pet hair are preferred by Chickadees, while decorative mosses (Spanish, Sphagnum, and that thin, curly straw-like stuff) might be used by many species mentioned above. Bright cotton yarns add a nice touch too, as variety is the spice of life. Although I’ve always heard that dryer lint is a good one… our local birds have never touched it when previously offered. Stay away from plastics, fishing line, and the like. These can get tangled around nestlings or their legs, proving to be hazardous, and sometimes fatal.
Now, what to put your nesting materials in? That part is simple! A standard suet cage works perfectly, as do the mesh produce bags from the grocery store (the kind apples come in). The Spring Feeder shown here is just that, meant for fruit or suet. We’ve found whole peanuts and our nesting materials work great in them too. Talk about versatility! Put a mixture of materials in several holders and hang them from branches around your yard where the birds will see them. Do pull some materials through to get started, but don’t pack them in too tightly. Birds need to be able to pull them out fairly easily, and should the rain saturate the nesting material, it will dry quickly if air can flow through it. So start gathering… and here’s to many successful broods this season!
This mod, recycled plastic thing is called a Pop-Outz. It’s actually a suet feeder that makes for a new and fun way to feed birds this convenient an economical treat. Suet greatly benefits birds in winter as it’s loaded with extra fat and protein. These calories are converted into energy which helps birds stay warm in frigid weather.
We’ve given away hundreds of these feeders with orders, just because they’re so groovy and versatile… and they help keep plastics out of landfills too 🙂
Versatile? You bet! Pop-Outz make for the perfect vessel for offering nesting materials to birds. In our notes to customers, here’s what we tell them: “In early spring the Pop-Outz is perfect for offering nesting materials. Bright cotton yarns, feathers, decorative mosses, and even pet hair are a few favorites to encourage nest building around the yard. Just fill, pull some materials through the holes to get started, and hang from a branch where birds will see it. Enjoy!” Now if you’ve made a purchase with The Birdhouse Chick in the past year or two, you’ve likely seen that note before!
Nesting materials will usually work in any kind of suet feeder, but these are just fun, and something a little different than the standard cage. Put your suet feeder to work super duty year-round. In summer, fruit is a great choice for migratory birds, whole peanuts work well in cold weather, and of course, load up with home made nesting materials in early spring to encourage nest building around your yard!
There was a pretty strange video and some interesting discussions on one of the birding forums where I’m subscribed. For the above title to make any sense at all, you’d need to watch the very short video about conjoined robins and the follow-up to the story involving nesting materials. Check it out:
Luckily for the robins, they did make it to a caring vet who performed the surgery to separate them pro bono. Turns out genetics were not the culprit, but a small piece of plastic thread in their nesting materials. After they hatched, it had caused there skin and wings to fuse to it, thus developing together. The prognosis for the larger bird is good and he will be released back into the wild. For the smaller robin, his life may be lived out permanently at the rehab center if he survives. His wing needed to be clipped in order to separate the two birds.
Our discards are killing wildlife… especially birds. Fishing line and similar materials pose a life threatening hazard to all wildlife and in particular wild birds. Sadly but surely we kill the planet that sustains us all.
For most of April and May, we’ve been giving away free nesting materials with all orders. Throughout most of the spring season, you can encourage birds to take up residence at your place with nesting materials. Different species build their nests accordingly, so we’ve used varied materials to make up the packages.
Shown here is a Pop-Outz suet feeder, and we’ve been giving them away too! The recycled plastic makes a perfect container for offering the nesting materials. Suet is always a welcomed treat for both resident and migratory birds and the Pop-Outz is a super fun way to serve it. No-melt suet or doughs are made specifically for warm weather feeding and the energy boost really helps out migratory birds after a long journey.
But back to the nesting materials, ours were comprised of horse hair (from mane, tail and body), decorative mosses, like Spanish, sphagnum, and the yellow straw-like stuff, feathers and strips of aspen wood. Aspen fiber happens to be another favorite among North American birds, and is found in many of the commercial nesting material kits.
A mesh produce bag from the grocery store (like the kind apples come in) also works great for offering nesting materials, and we use them around our yard. Things like the Birdie Bell are also wonderful for nest materials, plus year-round feeding too.
Entice birds to take up residence at your place by creating a suitable and friendly environment. Food, water and shelter are the basics, be it natural or man-made… the birds will thrive and flourish!
With the hummingbird migration in full swing, it won’t be long before the tiny sprites are in your neck of the woods. Already spotted in LA, SC, TX and all along the Gulf Coast, its just a few short weeks before they’ll infiltrate up the East Coast and Midwest, ultimately reaching Alaska, British Columbia and Canada.
Aside from your hanging or window hummingbird feeder, you can further entice hummers with moving water such as birdbath fountains and bubblers, and of course, nesting material.
The Hummer Helper nesting material has been tested and proven to increase the numbers and activity of hummingbirds at your feeders. How you might ask? Because if suitable nest sites are found in your yard, juveniles will also visit feeders, including your window hummingbird feeder. If nectar is always kept fresh, and there’s an enticing water feature, you can bet the same hummingbirds will be back next year! They’re known to practice “site fidelity” meaning that attractive diggs will remain their site of choice the following year. Hummer Helper Nesting Material has even been endorsed by The Hummingbird Society for its effectiveness at promoting nesting by hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds aren’t the only ones who will use this nesting material either, American Goldfinches also adore the white fluffy stuff and will use it for their nesting season in late June through July.
Encourage nesting in your yard through wildlife-friendly habitat. Food water and shelter are the keys, whether natural or man-made. Nectar-producing flowers provide food, while shrubs help with predator protection and provide nesting spots, these will attract many species of wild birds. Water is the best way to attract even more feathered friends too. Mature trees, fruit or berry-producing trees, and even brush piles serve many wild birds well. Never throw out or burn garden debris, if space allows, use it to create brush piles in the back of the yard… your wildlife will thank you for this valuable and natural cover!
Encourage birds to nest in your yard by offering them a good variety of nesting materials. Simple things you may likely already have around your home are fantastic, items which birds will use for nest building.
Got a pet? Cat and dog hair are some favorites, as are feathers, and decorative mosses. Spanish moss, sphagnum moss, raffia and aspen fiber are perfect nesting materials birds will go for! Brightly colored cotton yarns add to the mixture also helps grab their attention. One of the tricks is to have your nesting materials out before the nesting season begins, and in plain view where birds will easily see them.
Lots of kits and fun holders are available for wild bird nesting materials. The Birdie Bell shown here actually does triple duty. It will hold fruit in summer for the more exotic, migratory birds, and seed bells or suet in winter to help sustain your regular crew. Come spring, simply fill the bell with nesting material. An item like this with year round usage is a good value. But truth be told… you can use a simple suet cage to offer nesting materials as well. Even the mesh produce bags from the grocery store (like the kind apples come in) will effectively hold nesting materials that birds can access.
So aside from the birdhouses and feeders, be sure there is a fresh water source too. Be it a creek or bird bath, all species of wild birds are drawn to water. And don’t forget: start gathering materials now that will entice feathered friends to take up residence! Happy Birding!
The most effective way to foil squirrels and protect your feeders from their disruptive antics, is with a squirrel baffle. A quality baffle is a one-time investment that will save your birdseed and ultimately your money in the long run.
The best part about using a hanging squirrel baffle is the versatility. Some folks even use them as weather guards alone (like me) to protect feeders from the elements. Most will serve as weather guards throughout the changing seasons. Keeping snow in winter, rain, and direct sun in sweltering summer heat, from ever reaching and spoiling the bird food. This will also save money by keeping food fresher longer. Not to mention, squirrel baffles also protect feathered friends at your feeder while dining. Although this feeder hangs from a pole with a baffle in place, one is also used to protect the feeder. Check out that snow sitting on top!
Planning and proper placement are two key factors when setting up new baffles. One must always remember squirrels’ uncanny acrobatic and athletic abilities! The little furry critters can jump sideways almost 10 feet. So, the horizontal “launching point” must be taken into consideration. Don’t hang the feeder near anything they might be able to jump from sideways. Vertically speaking, be sure the bottom of the feeder is at least five feet from ground level.
All in all, a great investment for novice to advanced backyard birders. Sparing you much aggravation and headache should squirrels be a problem in the yard.