Recently published by Cornell Lab of Ornithology was a pretty amazing and eye-opening article about the disappearance of birds. Audubon was on board way back in in 2013 with “Why Birds Matter” on their cover- and today’s email “Climate Change Pushes Birds to the Brink”. Research by the Journal Science confirms statistics. It’s all quite alarming though meant more as a wake-up call because birds really do tell us about climate.
A link to the article appears at the end of this post and well worth a few minutes to read! Graphics are superior and the comments prove most interesting. In short, here’s 7 easy ways to help birds… beyond the obvious bird feeders. Politics aside- whether you believe in climate change or not, humanity is choking… on plastic, on pesticides, on itself. There’s clear and simple suggestions to do any of these tasks in the article link below.
- Make Windows Safe
- Keep Cats Indoors
- Plant Native- Reduce Lawns (great website for your zip code)
- Avoid Pesticides
- Switch Coffee to Shade Grown
- Reduce Plastics
- Citizen Science Watch Birds & Share Observations
A few noteworthy fall birding tips:
Leave a hummingbird feeder up even though your guys may have split! The Hummingbird Society strongly recommends this as it’s a total myth your feeders will cause them to stay. Lots of sightings further north (in mid-October) and most of these stragglers are juveniles and females who require calories for southern migration. Most of summer’s nectar producing flowers have since withered. Keep your hummingbird feeder fresh and full.
When raking leaves and fallen branches… leave a small pile in the back or corner of your yard. Brush piles offer both forage and shelter for birds.
Consider a birdbath heater this year, just add to your existing bath instead of storing it for winter. Always keep fresh water accessible as some birds will never touch your bird feeders or birdhouses!
Copy this URL in your address bar… it’s absolutely worth a look!!
Happy Fall Birding!
Birds Favorites… for Beating Summer Sizzle!
It may not even be a bird feeder at all, but actually your bird bath! Moving water stays fresher and it’s ideal for all birds, in the garden with or without the birdbath! Solar bubblers and fountains, leaf misters, water wigglers or drippers benefit both hosts and birds by preventing stagnant water. Birds who may not visit feeders will flock to gently moving water for a sip, dip and cleanliness.
Whether birds stay or go (resident vs. migratory)… hydration and clean feathers are a must for all feathered friends!
With versatile and easy ways to use them, you can place a mister right in the garden for leaf-bathing, over a bird bath, attached to a branch or even a simple plant stake.
Mesmerizing Migration: Watch 118 Bird Species Migrate Across a Map of the Western Hemisphere (courtesy Cornell Lab)
Migrations are exciting times for backyard birders and feathered friends. In fall migratory birds are returning to their summer breeding grounds, but don’t forget resident birds who brave our harsh winters.
Keep Resident Birds Around!
Cardinals, bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, finches and others benefit greatly from native shrubs and trees. Heated birdbaths, seed, suet & peanut bird feeders plus roosting spots really do help them survive cold weather.
While temps are cooling and it’s prime time for planting, remember that native plants require less maintenance… so do keep birds in mind whenever possible! A few suggestions? Take a peek at this great article (with pics) from American Bird Conservancy. https://abcbirds.org/blog/native-trees-shrubs-attract-birds
Carb-Loading Hummingbirds and Orioles
Keep feeders fresh and full for those headed south to Central and South America… it’s a very long flight! Migrating birds face a difficult journey ahead and many won’t survive the trip. Every calorie gained and stored for energy is crucial. Think nectar and jelly feeders here.
Bullies: Reduce territorial scuffles among tiny sprites with additional smaller feeders. If you’ve purchased the Triple Orb (or thinking about it) separate the feeders to make it easier for more birds to feed. Remove these lids for winter use and entice resident birds with meal worms, suet, shelled peanuts and more!
Ants: Simply use an ant moat to end this headache! One ant spoils a whole feeder full of fresh nectar 🙁
Bees: They can make it impossible for hummingbirds to feed… but they gotta eat too! Simply offer them food away from hummingbird feeders. This summer we’ve found that jelly works great! Use in a small hanging dish feeder; bees, yellow-jackets and wasps have steered clear of hummingbirds feeders in favor of jelly!
Nectar Aid is back and it changes your game – no excuses now for not making your own nectar! It’s the fastest and easiest way without measuring or utensils. Mix it, heat it if preferred (to quickly dissolve sugar) and store it all in the same pitcher.
1:4 Ratio (sugar to water)
Pure Cane Sugar Only! Raw and brown sugar contain high iron levels which may be dangerous for hummingbirds’ delicate systems. Hey, we believe the sprites prefer home made over commercial mixes anyway!
Still Getting Bugged?
Pesticides and chemicals are just passe’- they’re bad for everyone & everything. Your outdoor gatherings can be bug-free with natural citronella coils. Long burn time and fun to use… they deter flies, gnats and mosquitoes naturally!
So the bee-proof feeder ports don’t seem to work, bees are keeping hummingbirds away… what’s one to do? Being almost mid-August, hummingbirds in the eastern US will soon start their southern migration, fueling up and fattening up is crucial for their long journey. Feeders need to be clean, nectar kept fresh and most of all… sans the bees!
We follow a few birding groups on social media and the big buzz right now is bees at hummingbird feeders. Everyday, the question is posed hundreds of times with some pretty good (and not so good) answers.
Believe it or not, hummingbird nectar is not their first choice for food. The key here being food… so feed them! Perfectly logical, right? Obviously bees are seeking sweets…. like so many of us at 1:30 AM 🙂
Since you can’t remove bees from the garden (and really shouldn’t anyway) simply offer sustenance in lieu of your hummingbird feeder. Jelly has worked beautifully for us, a very thick sugar syrup works fine too.
Fancy feeder not required, a small plant saucer is ideal for either application. Place a few spoonfuls of jelly in the saucer and set near hummingbird feeders. Once discovered by bees (about 5 seconds) gradually move the saucer further away. Want to hang the impromptu jelly feeder? Poke three holes in a plastic plant saucer, use wire or string and hang from a branch. A hanging votive holder is perfect too.
For the sugar mixture: Equal parts sugar & water creates a very thick and wonderful food source for bees. Use marbles, rocks or pebbles to line the bottom of plant saucer so bees have easy and safe access. Pour mixture so that rocks or or marbles are still above food level and place near your hummingbird feeders. Within seconds… bees will migrate to this new food source.
With the bee problem solved, the last thing you’ll want is ants! That’s pretty easy to avoid as well. If your new saucer feeder is hanging… simply use an ant moat. If the saucer is set on a table or object, place it inside a larger saucer containing water. Be sure the edges of smaller saucer do not touch the outside edges of water saucer. This creates an ideal ant moat to keep pests away from food.
It’s really that easy to thwart bees from hummingbird feeders!
•Jelly or a thick sugar mixture as food
•Small plant saucer to hold food
•Rocks, pebbles or marbles to line the saucer
•String or wire to hang the saucer
•Slightly larger saucer with water to create a moat (if not hanging).
Should you prefer less fuss, these orb feeders or any jelly feeder works wonders too!