Without fail buds are blooming and bulbs spring forth from the ground… in February. Likewise without fail, the Atlanta area will experience another cold snap, snow or an ice storm before spring decides she’s here for the duration. The rain’s been fairly continuous for about three weeks, yesterday was a balmy 80 degrees!
Warm, wet weather spells disaster for bird feeders, especially finch bird feeders. It’s not that humidity affects thistle seed any differently from other seed mixes- it’s the unnatural and exaggerated number of birds feeding from the finch feeders.
Local populations of goldfinches, pine siskins and house finches are huge around this time of year. Combined with wet or moldy seed means disease can be spread rapidly, with the feeder itself or ground waste below as the main culprit.
Mold creates airborne disease which is usually fatal to birds. A form of strep, the most common way it’s passed is via the feeder. Telltale signs of infected birds are swollen eyes, lethargy (they allow you to get very close) and ruffled or unkept feathers.
The infected finch below will likely fall prey to predators or starve to death as total blindness sets in. It’s the best excuse for keeping bird feeders clean and the area below them raked free of hulls or waste. We attract birds to our gardens simply because we enjoy their beauty, song and grace… sick birds are anything but 🙁
It’s advised to take all bird feeders down and disinfect with a 10% bleach solution. Clean the ground below feeders well. Wait 2 to 3 weeks until the local thistle-eating population has subsided before hanging feeders again. This is a tough chore, both physically (and mentally for some of us bird nuts). So it’s best to avoid and practice good hygiene when enticing birds to your place! Humans do feathered friends no favors at all by causing disease or allowing it to spread.
Love Birds? Us too!
As in do you love wild birds? Vinyl birdhouses-feeders make awesome gifts… for countless reasons.
First, they look like wood. Some folks have even insisted they are not PVC or vinyl! Along with the solid copper roof (no metal over plywood) these vinyl birdhouse-feeders are guaranteed for life. It’s a one-time investment that brings birds and much joy indefinitely. Oh yeah… and curb appeal too, they’re quite handsome in the landscape!
Second, there’s a wide range from which to choose. Bird Feeder or Birdhouse, which is best? Feeders will see more activity on a daily basis… but they must be maintained. Part of the beauty in these vinyl bird feeders is ease of cleaning. For a more thorough cleaning, simply slide the feeder off of the post and take your garden hose directly to it for a good cleaning. Birdhouses on the other hand, only require nest removal after babies have fledged. Another major advantage is that vinyl is non-porous. This means mold and bacteria will not settle into cracks and crevices as it does with wooden feeders. Aside from the traditional Gazebo feeder which is post-mounted, there’s a hanging style with large capacity hopper. This allows for more bird-watching time and less filling the feeder.
Two roof options are lacquered copper- which remains bright & shiny for about 4 to 5 years before weathering to a dark/aged finish. Think copper trim on a real house and how that looks dark after a few years. Patina finish is an acid wash applied with heat and remains an earthy and mottled blueish-green color.
From small (bluebird houses) to extremely large (martin birdhouse) and in between size dovecotes… the range offers something for everyone. Birdhouse-feeders are gifts with purpose. What they give us back is simply intangible. The nature connection alone has the ability to remove daily chaos and lift the spirit. To take in nature- even from the comfort of your own home is awesome gift for your Valentine… or even yourself 🙂
May you be showered with love (and feathered friends) this Valentine’s Day and always.
Use code FH10 to nab $20 off vinyl birdhouse-feeders. They ship for zip too!
In another hour or so, the biggest football event of the year commences… but some of us really couldn’t give a hoot! Even though our home team actually made it to the Super Bowl this year, there’s oodles of other things we’d rather do than watch.
Now, watching one of the many bird cams on Explore.org is mesmerizing! From hummingbirds to owls and bald eagles (go eagles), you can catch live Africa, oceans, bears, bison and northern lights… and so much more! It’s a virtual nature channel in real time. Some of the subjects have names, and their lives are followed over time.
Most recently, folks were devastated when Bella Hummingbird lost her eggs to a stellar’s Jay. A force to be reckoned with, Mother Nature is stunning, shocking, glorious and so terribly sad at times… but she remains faithfully resilient. Bella will begin the life cycle again, but for now, enter Luna Hummingbird! Explore.org will even email a daily “Dose of Love” should you choose to subscribe.
The site is absolutely free to watch anytime- and any subject of choice. These Nature Cams offer the most amazing glimpses into an unknown world, sans disruption or intrusion. Simply put, Bird Cams create a wonderland and the best part… you don’t even need your own!
Resolve to help birds thrive in freezing weather…
When temperatures are soaring in the midst of summer, it’s pretty obvious to remember water for feathered friends and wildlife. We’re outdoors more often, gardening and relaxing- so filling the birdbath becomes intuitive. But throughout winter months, and especially in freezing weather we tend to prefer the cozy warmth of staying inside. But birds require fresh water regardless of the time of year or temperatures.
Some of the more hard core bird lovers will make the daily trudge through snow and ice to clear, clean and fill feeders (that’s us!). Several heated bird baths around our place remain ice-free (and worry-free) as resident birds are seen daily drinking from them. Although bathing is not as popular in freezing weather… water is critical for drinking!
A popular birding magazine with an expert article mentioned that birds can fend for themselves when it comes to water in winter. Melting ice and snow for example will provide water. BUT during a week-long deep freeze in Atlanta recently, there was zero precipitation (luckily) – which means there was no melting ice and no snow. So… that theory’s not really valid.
Fresh water is so important yet so easy with a heated bird bath or a simple heater added to your existing bath. It’s an oasis for year-round use (just tuck the cord) and they come in several styles like deck-mounted, tall pedestal or heated ground baths. In many cases, a heater will keep your ceramic or cement birdbath from freezing and cracking as well.
Nab a heated bird bath for this winter season. It’s a one-time investment that offers an ongoing, essential element to help wild birds thrive in cold winter months.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving… from our flock to yours!
May it be filled with friends, family, laughter and safe travels~
Don’t toss that pumpkin yet! They make great seasonal feeders for feathered friends. Scoop out the insides and add birdseed or suet. Extract pumpkin seeds and roast for a special treat. Poke three holes and use some heavy string to make a simple hanging pumpkin feeder. It beats tossing the big orange thing in the trash 🙂
And check out the deal below for some awesome and lasting gifts… for the holidays and well beyond!
Find the most Unique Birdhouses, some Very Wild Bird Feeders, Deck and Ground Bird Baths and Unusual Garden Art. Find thoughtful gifts for non-birders too!
Many bird houses, feeders and birdbaths are limited quantities and one-of-a-kinds because we’re rare birds ourselves!
So… this is why Early Birds really do catch the best selection.
Check this year’s gift guide for handmade birdhouses, bird feeders and one-of-a-kind gifts for all nature lovers.
12 themes with 3 suggestions for each, find cool yard art, recycled metal and more ideas for thoughtful and lasting gifts… for non-birders too.
Birdhouses, bird feeders and birdbaths are gifts with purpose, providing an unplugged connection with nature for the recipient and helping to sustain wild birds with habitat. Gifts of nature are always a win-win and there’s never a worry of the dreaded re-gifting!
Blackbird Friday Starts Now!
Nab 10% off and get a free thistle sock… a great stocking stuffer that Goldfinches and others adore)
Thru Monday 11/27 11:59 PM, EST
Use Code Sox
And a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Ya just can’t go wrong with two gifts in one that birds love. Not to mention that edible birdhouses also put a smile on the recipient’s face!
From the heartland USA made, premium quality seeds coat these fun and festive birdhouse-feeder delights. More than just a pretty little whimsy, underneath is a real wooden bird house that serves as nesting spot and winter roost once seed is consumed.
The Bed & Breakfast Chalet or Wren Casita will see lots of winter feeding, and then host many successful broods over the years!
To get the most from any edible birdhouse:
For use as a feeder: Best to hang in a sheltered area- away from squirrels and the elements. A weather guard or squirrel baffle is ideal, allowing it to feed more birds over a longer period of time.
Once the seed is consumed: The birdhouse may be stained, painted, or left natural. Simply hang from a branch in a quiet area to provide songbirds the perfect nest site. During the “off-season”, they offer swell roosting spots too.
A win-win holiday gift for any backyard birder or nature buff, edible birdhouses simply rock for their fun character and functionality. The birds will thank you too!
Think about it… before humans ever started offering bird baths for feathered friends, they got along just fine with shallow pools of water and puddles.
Freezing temperatures likely created some problems as the shallows froze over, making it more difficult for birds to find water. The concept of eating snow for water seems logical- but if you’re a bird it’s pretty much half baked!
The reason being is that it takes energy to convert the snow to liquid. This energy requires calories and it’s the calories birds spend all day consuming in cold weather. From dawn until dusk, most of the resident backyard birds will be at feeders and foraging for enough calories to make through another night. Calories provide the energy to keep warm, although nature has provided other mechanisms for that too!
You know when puffed up, big fat birds are hanging around feeders and they resemble little fluff balls? Feathers are fluffed as a way to trap heat beneath them close to the birds’ body. It’s one of the main reasons for late summer/fall molt when they shed old and tattered feathers. New feathers are sturdy, sometimes even brighter and more effective at keeping the bird warm.
So by offering shallow open water in winter, you help birds conserve energy. And since ground bathing comes more naturally, heated ground baths absolutely rock for winter! Easy to add a heater to an existing bath, or go for one with concealed heater- meant for year-round use.
Birds will flock to it in frigid weather as the design resembles those natural shallow pools and puddles. It helps create a perfect winter habitat along with feeders and shelter, and once weather warms up, simply tuck the cord underneath the bath!
Say it ain’t so?
That majestic dovecote birdhouse has seen better days. It now sites like an eyesore, rotted and crumbling. The only thing remaining intact is the beautiful copper roof.
Sad but true, in all cases wood eventually succumbs to weather. Our dovecotes are meticulously crafted of vinyl/PVC although they look like wood.
Folks think of vinyl as cheesy, slick-looking plastic… but it’s the furthest thing from the truth. Over the years, some customers have even had concerns they’d received a wooden birdhouse- when in fact it was a vinyl dovecote!
But do the birds use these birdhouses?
You bet! This male Eastern Bluebird is actually feeding mealworms to nestlings. How do we know this? The smaller dovecote happens to be our own! Installed about 6 years ago in an open area, it’s hosted many successful broods over the years. Yes, the copper roof could use a cleaning which simply entails a soft cloth, gentle soap and water… and time!
Stunning copper roof dovecote birdhouses are USA made and made to last a lifetime. Wood is never used in their construction, neither on finials nor decorative brackets. This means deterioration simply won’t occur because the material is inert. Resisting insect damage, the dovecotes will never warp, rot or peel as wood behaves.
Real estate’s tough out there! Consider Fall Spruce-Up and housong the birds at the same time 🙂
Celebrate Bats & Owls as October recognizes both cool species!
There couldn’t be a more fitting time of year to think about bats! The great thing is that bat houses and owl boxes help both species thrive, and they’ll take you up on cozy digs if offered in suitable habitat.
Beneficial to have around your property for rodent and insect control, bats and owls could use a helping hand as their natural habitats continue to shrink.
If you’ve ever climbed up in the attic to find a bat or two clinging to the vent screen… it can be a bit unnerving! But the flying mammals are fairly harmless and sadly, quite misunderstood. Popular at Halloween for their cryptic character, the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) has been established to educate and inspire people to save bats.
Installing a bat house is advantageous as these not-so mysterious creatures consume thousands of insects nightly, not to mention that as pollinators, bats help gardens thrive. Cool factoid: Being the sole pollinator of the agave plant, if it weren’t for bats there would be no tequila! Bat boxes are available from single- to 5-chambers, in durable cedar or recycled plastic.
WHHHOOOOO would’ve thunk it?
Owls seize every opportunity to find shelter and food sources wherever possible. When it comes to habitat, owls are versatile as they reside in wooded areas (most common), rain forests, grasslands, and open prairie. As long as owls are able to stake claim to their own territory and hide from predators during the day, they are survivors.
The common misunderstanding is that owls live in tree-tops but the reality is, they live in tree trunks, abandoned structures and barn rafters. Some live in shrubs and bushes where you would never think to look for them. Often, these birds are not found high off the ground as many people believe. Owls will use a suitable hollowed out log or opening in a tree for nesting, bud sadly dead trees and snags are often discarded by land owners.
Truth be told is that owls need not be perched up high to find their prey. They’ll hunt right from their nest location or owl house instead of using a perch like most birds. Some owl species like the Great Horned- will not start a new nest, instead claiming nests of other raptors or Common Ravens that have been left behind. Barn Owls are known to roost year-round in their houses, so clean-out is best during non-breeding months in January/February.
Because owls are an isolating and territorial species, it’s believed that habitat loss could become critical for future survival. Even though they’re highly adaptable, owls like other wildlife are limited in what they can do without their natural habitat.
Interested in learning more to assist these majestic raptors? Install a species-specific owl house to offer cozy habitat for nesting and roosting.
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