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
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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.
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. Recycled 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.
Try 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!
“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!
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
- 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!
- Sedums: Easy to grow plants in gravelly soil in full sun with decent drainage.
It 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!
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!
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!
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!
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