Why are Ground Bird Baths More Natural?


October 29, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:15 am

Ground Bird Baths are More NaturalBecause Birds Bathe More Naturally at Ground Level!

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!

Fat male cardinal in winter conserves energyYou 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.

ground bird bath with heaterThe Four Seasons Ground Bath is ideal for it’s size, rough texture and hidden heater.

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!

Opt for Dovecote Birdhouses that Really Lasts


October 22, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:40 am

Wooden Dovecote Birdhouses will deteriorateSay 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!

Older Dovecote birdhouse with patina copper roofAfter these babies fledged, nest clean-out was in order. Climbing up and lifting the roof revealed that three other old nests had hosted chickadees, nuthatches and a prior bluebird family.

Dovecote Birdhouse with Copper Roof When making an investment in your landscape, it’s a good idea to opt for quality, and something that carries a guarantee is always best.

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 🙂

 

 

October is National Bat Appreciation and Raptor Month


October 14, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:12 pm

Celebrate Bats & Owls as October recognizes both cool species!

Bat Appreciation Month- install a bat house this monthThere 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.

Multi-Chamber Bat House hosts hundreds of bats daily

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?

Saw-whet Owlets in their cozy owl house

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.

Deter Unwanted Guests with Bird Seed Trays


October 7, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 2:07 pm

birdseed trays for hanging feedersAre rodents spoiling your bird feeding gig?

There’s a few easy ways to deter unwanted guests and get back to the most enjoyable hobby of feeding the birds!

Use Seed Trays: Adjustable bird seed trays aren’t just for hanging bird feeders, you can use them right on garden poles too. Depending on your set-up, there’s a seed tray that will work. Large birdseed trays may even be pole-mountedRecycled plastic and wooden birdseed trays (or seed catchers) feature tough metal screens that are easy to clean. These are perfect for 4×4 wood posts where the bird feeder is mounted on- or hanging from the top of post. The large platform areas also create additional feeding space for other birds who may not use the feeder itself, so it’s like getting an extra feeder for free.

Feed Clean: Because birds are like little kids, they tend to go for the good stuff- or rather the premium bits found in some seed mixes. Less expensive birdseed is really no bargain at all… when the seed is discarded and kicked out onto the ground, it becomes an open invite for pests!

Start with quality seed so there’s no waste left behind in the first place. No-Mess or No-Waste seed mixes may cost a little more but they do what their name implies. Sunflower hearts are also a great option for no-mess feeding because lots of different birds will partake. When high quality mixes are purchased in larger size bags, the cost is basically offset as to buying cheaper seed in small quantities. And everything is consumed by birds – not left on the ground for pests!

Use baffles: Keep pests (and squirrels) from climbing up to bird feeders. Some folks insist baffles don’t work- but they need to be installed correctly! You must be sure critters can’t jump sideways from something that allows them access to the feeder via super vault… a skill at which they’re quite capable!

Offer water: By far, the easiest and most effective way to attract birds! Fresh water is visited by birds who may not even use feeders, and especially during frigid weather- when natural water sources tend to freeze, it can be a life-saving element for your resident friendly fliers braving the elements.

Halloween squirrel with bird maskTry one or a few of these options if you’ve given up on feeding feathered friends… you may be pleasantly surprised as the results should prove successful!

 

 

Add a Bee or Butterfly Feeder & Help Pollinators Thrive


September 26, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:29 am

Natural Butterfly Feeder“I am currently turning my weedy flower garden into a bird station with flowers for pollinators! (no more weeds!) I am very excited about my project and will have it completed by next Spring. So I am having fun perusing your website and procuring items to begin installation after Winter. For now, I’m preparing soil and tweaking my plans. Thanks for your wonderful shop! ”  ~Nancy

The note above was recently sent in by a customer and  friend… it’s simply music to our ears! Consider adding a bee or butterfly feeder to help all pollinators and to ease the great monarch migration in fall.

Fall plantings beyond your traditional mum varieties will extend your garden’s blooming season and even better yet, continue to attract butterflies! By choosing some of these beautiful, fall blooming plans in your garden, you’ll enjoy an abundance of blooms and continue to attract butterflies.

Even though we see a plethora of butterflies in spring and summer months surrounding our flowers, there are still many that have a need for nectar in the fall. Some varieties have migration paths as long as thousands of miles, so good nectar sources are needed along the way. Many butterflies are not migratory and continue searching for nourishment locally. Try your hand at some of these fall plantings for an additional bonus of butterflies to your garden!

Bee and Butterfly Feeder
Think red, yellow, pink, purple and other bright colors as you design your garden’s artistic palette of blooms for fall. Many flowers attract butterflies and are suitable for almost any garden. Consider plants that can withstand the season’s first or second frost. Some recommended plantings are:

  • Sedums: Easy to grow plants in gravelly soil in full sun with decent drainage.
    Pink and Purple Asters: When sheared in the spring can produce a mound of pleasing, compact loads of daisy-like blooms
  • Salvia: Continue to bloom through the first hard frost come in many varieties and produce tubular blossoms to attract swallowtails, fritillaries, and other butterflies
  • Latana: A favorite of butterflies that blooms in the summer until a hard, killing frost.
  • Penta: A true love of the butterfly! Colors are typically bright red and work well in beds, borders, or in pots on a patio
    Dark Night
  • Bluebears: Drought-tolerant for those of you living in dryer regions. Produces clusters of deep-blue flowers and typically grows 3 to 4 feet tall.

Remember, these are just a few varieties of fall bloomers to get you started! Consider fall planting choices for beauty-enhancing blooms and the additional benefit of nourishment for our butterfly friends!

Try a Vertical Humming Bird Feeder for Busy Migration


August 27, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 5:42 pm

humming bird feederIt happened last year too, we skipped out on the blog from Mother’s Day until well after Father’s Day… hate when that happens, especially with all the happenings and splendor of spring backyard birding.

We hope you’ve been blessed with many successful broods, maybe you’ve seen a monarch or two, bluebirds fledge, and that your hummingbirds returned from last year to bless your garden for the season! If this is your first stab at the addictive hobby, we hope you found lots of joyous moments and wonder with new avian visitors and that you’ll continue enticing new feathered friends with food, water and shelter.

Now that summer is waning and daylight hours are fewer, hummingbirds are preparing for migration. It has nothing to do with temperatures and it’s a total myth that leaving feeders up will prevent them from going. So leave at least one feeder up for stragglers!

Their long journey south requires extra fuel, so they’re fattening up and absolutely owning their favorite humming bird feeders! If you think the sprites were a tad territorial before… just watch- it’s magnified ten times now! The show is mesmerizing as crowds gather and vie for a feeder to call their own. Have one of those hummingbird swings that was never really used much? Watch! Just watch the little guys fight over that too!

Triple Orb Humming Brd FeederThese cool humming bird feeders have a great feature for expansion or vertical linking without extra hooks or hardware to get lost. Recycled glass in a top-fill, no leak design just rocks!

They’re easy to clean and less likely to mold as plastic does. The coolest thing? Remove the lids for winter and you’ve got a great multi-use bird feeder for resident friends; use suet, peanuts, meal worms, nuggets, jelly or fruit.

 

The same feeder/idea comes stepped-up a notch in vivid red with circular perch. We think (but can’t promise) hummingbirds prefer to perch while eating as it conserves energy. Put 2 or 3 of these glass hummingbird feeders together and use them year-round for chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, bluebirds and other usual suspects!Linkable Humming Bird Feeder

And should ants ever become a problem… don’t forget the moat! The best investment ever for feeding hummingbirds- or orioles- or butterflies! Any time there’s sweet, sticky nectar, fruit or jelly, you can easily keep pesky ants at bay with plain water inside the moat. The birds will thank you!

 Celestial Ant Moat

Safe travels little ones… hope to see you back again next year!

For next season, here’s the simple nectar recipe and helpful guide for keeping nectar fresh. Cloudy nectar is always a sure sign the solution needs to be changed!

keep humming bird feeders fresh and clean

Red Neck Solar Bird Bath


April 29, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:47 am

one-piece solar bird bath kitCould it be… the red neck version of a solar bird bath? Maybe so, but we’re betting birds can’t tell the difference and won’t mind one bit!

Because fresh water is the best (and easiest) way to attract feathered friends, just about any vessel, bowl, container or bird bath works- provided the water is fresh and not too deep. Yes, even a frying pan!

A major misconception that’s actually dangerous for birds, is birdbaths that are too deep. There’s a good reason birds use shallow puddles to bathe as water should be no more than about 2 inches deep. No need to fill your bird bath to the top, it makes a scary encounter for birds, especially juveniles in spring and summer.

And if there were ever a few good reasons to keep bird bath water moving, think Zika, West Nile or EEE (that’s Eastern equine encephalitis) which are all mosquito-borne viruses.

Solar bird baths absolutely rock for feathered friends as moving water acts as a visual magnet to entice them for bathing. Water stays fresher and nasty mosquitoes are unable to lay their eggs.

Speaking of rock (or rocks), placing a few stones or large rock in your birdbath helps birds with safer footing. Possibly even a lifesaver, the stones or rocks may prevent a drowning incident should water be too deep.

Solar fountain pumps are available separately and allow you to add them to an existing bird bath. They create a whole new dimension for backyard birding that delights birds and hosts as well! Shown above is the one-piece unit which sits completely in the bird bath. Note that panels must be in full sun to operate, only the pump beneath solar panel needs to be submerged.

Separate Panel Solar Bird Bath KitAnother option is the separate solar panel (with 10 ft. cord) which allows the bath to be shaded while the panel is placed in sun. We prefer this as bath water is much more refreshing when cool, but the possibilities depend on your own set-up.

Lots of options besides solar fountains exist for offering birds some moving water; leaf misters, rock waterfalls & bubblers, and drippers provide the same. Some operate via outdoor spigot, while others run on electricity.

Whatever water feature you may opt for, we can promise the birds will love it… even if it happens to be a a red neck version solar bath in a frying pan!

 

Copper Roof Birdhouses for Earth Day- No Trees Please


April 22, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 1:09 pm

Earth Day Tidbit: No trees cut for these birdhouses or feeders

To celebrate Earth Day, here’s a few cool birdhouses & feeders that  don’t require cutting down trees… we’d much rather save the trees for birds!

 

Copper Roof Bird Feeder is vinyl that looks like woodCopper and Vinyl Birdhouses with wood-like texture

 

The real beauty lies in the textured vinyl because it looks like wood. Many folks do prefer a natural look in the garden, and our copper roof birdhouses and feeders really do pass for wood. In fact, some past customers have insisted they received a wooden bird house!

Vinyl, poly-lumber and recycled plastics have numerous advantages over traditional wood when it comes to birdhouses and feeders.

Wood is good but it will always weather. These man-made materials are inert, in other words, they’re impervious to the elements and to insect damage. They will never crack, split or rot, and there’s no maintenance (except for regular cleaning of bird feeders). A soapy rag and forceful spray from the garden hose will cleanup environmental grime in a snap, leaving the house or feeder looking new again.

The inside non-porous texture is much healthier for local birds in the yard because mold and bacteria can’t settle into cracks and crevices as it typically does with wood. It also makes cleaning much easier and more effective.

Color is integrated with materials so scratches, dings or dents are barely noticeable. Recycled plastic or poly-lumber helps keep plastics out of landfills. One manufacturer uses labels saying how many milk jugs it took to make the item.

Recycled and Reclaimed Wood Church BirdhousesOf course there will always be wood birdhouses too, but the trend has shifted to salvaged, found, vintage and reclaimed wood from barns and other structures. These unique birdhouses are usually handmade by artisans with a passion for birds, with each piece possessing an individual character and charm.

Many styles are even one-of-a-kinds. Birds love them too and will be quite happy calling these places home to raise a brood or two!

Happy Earth Day… time to go get out and garden!

Hang a New Bird Feeder- it’s Good for the Soul


April 5, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:45 pm

Porch Swing Bird FeederBe it a feeder for seed mixes, or nectar feeder for hummingbirds, attracting and watching backyard birds is simply good for the soul!

We’re not sure if the popular pastime is something that coincides with age or the crazy world of being hyper-connected all the time… maybe a bit of both perhaps?

 

A bird feeder makes life sweeter, though it’s hard to put your finger on the actual feeling of how. Unplugging, communing with nature (from the comfort of your home), being detached from daily chaos… it’s a connection that’s intangible. And until you’ve tried enticing birds with a feeder or two, it’s difficult to explain. It is a well known fact however that many folks become hooked, simply addicted to backyard bird watching!Hanging Pagoda Bird Feeder

The kind of “learn as you go” hobby, there’s not a whole lot you can do wrong, but there are a few easy hacks to make the experience more enjoyable.

With migratory birds now making their way across the gulf and lower states to summer breeding grounds, many folks eagerly await their arrivals. Hummingbirds, orioles, martins and others will be welcomed with opened arms, specialty housing and bird feeders made just for them! These birds generally claim the same territories every season, something John James Audubon discovered in the 1800’s using a simple silver thread for banding a few birds!

ceramic humming bird feederSo what are a few hacks or tips for better bird-watching?

Baffles: Foil squirrels before they become a problem! Baffles work beautifully if used correctly!

Feed Clean: Birds are like little kids and go for the good stuff. If using cheap birdseed, you can bet much of it will land on the ground. The fillers aren’t nearly as tasty as the main seed, so why not just buy better quality seed? Seed trays also assist in a clean feeding strategy.

Ant Moats: Need we say more when feeding hummingbirds? The ever critical accessory helps keep nectar fresh and pest-free. Because ants can’t swim, hummingbirds and hosts will be much happier!

Make Your Own: Nectar for hummingbirds, orioles, even butterflies. It’s just pure cane sugar and water with different ratios. Mix up a batch of suet and store in the fridge, same for Bluebird Banquet. Use recipes which omit lard for summer feeding as the gunk will turn rancid in heat.

Feed The Birds Garden PoleCleanliness is important for your feeders and the areas around them. Because birds gather in unnatural groups at feeders, disease is spread more easily. Keep any bird feeder free from nasty build-up of bacteria and mold… they’re air-born killers for birds via respiratory infections. Keep ground below feeders clear of spilled seed as well.

Add some fresh water in a bird bath and keep it shallow, plant saucers works great! And for those who “don’t feed the birds in summer” you’re the one who’s missing out. The birds can get along just fine without your bird feeders, but scenes of parents with fledgelings are most entertaining, something you won’t see in winter!

Happy Spring… now go Feed the Birds 🙂

 

Let Them Decorate Their Own Birdhouse


March 19, 2017
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:45 pm

Birds prefer to build their own nest inside a birdhouseYears ago, in a well-meaning gesture, the nice lady only wanted to help the birds. She’d purchased 4 or 5 birdhouses but phoned us a few weeks later to advise there were no takers. In the Southeast, nesting season was in full swing, and she related the many species of birds in her garden.

Since none of this made much sense, we asked about birdhouse placement? Clustered together, attached to a once mighty tree that succumbed to storm damage, this was not the ideal locale as most birds prefer solitary housing on a post or hanging from a branch in a quiet, secluded area. Strike number one.

Upon further discussion, she told us that placing dryer lint inside each birdhouse was meant to lure the birds to their new homes. Say what… dryer lint? Would a bird ever really find dryer lint and use it for nest construction? Chances are slim to none because it’s not natural, it’s not something found in nature. Strike number two.

Birds prefer to decorate their own digs, be it inside a birdhouse or natural cavity found in trees and snags. They use materials that suit their liking, materials readily found among nature. Things like grass clippings, mosses, feathers, pine needles, weed stems, twigs, leaves, wood chips, hair and fur, bark, mud and plant fibers. The list is varied and mostly species-specific. They’ve been doing it a really long time too… before we ever started offering birdhouses or feeders.

To celebrate spring’s arrival and the start of nesting season, we’re in the midst of our spring promo… free nesting materials with all orders! No codes, no minimum purchase required. You’ll receive a bag containing horse hair, alpaca fur, 2 kinds of moss, a bit of short raffia strands and feathers. An instruction sheet is included with easy ideas for offering the materials. The main trick is to be ready before the birds start claiming territories and nesting!

Natural nest materials in suet cage, hang near birdhousesThese natural materials (not dryer lint) will further entice friendly fliers to new birdhouses. Please steer clear of this man-made material as birds are unfamiliar, and it retains moisture as well. Also if saving pet hair for birds’ nests is up your alley, please avoid doing so if your pet has been treated with flea/tick medicine.

Help house the birds at your place… but allow them the courtesy of decorating their own birdhouse 🙂

The commercial below absolutely rocks, definitely worth a view!