Showing posts with label Bird feeder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bird feeder. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The CHICKADEES Rental War

English: Bird feeders in the snow Someone has ...
Bird feeders in the snow Someone have kindly put up these bird feeders on a tree in a public space
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After a long snowy winter as I get to work in the garden I discovered the need to completely redo the birdbaths, birdhouses and other bird-friendly aspects of my garden. Rain, snow, and ice did major damage to the pond, the birdbath fountain, the decorative birdhouses and all the bird feeders. Wow! I didn’t have this much maintenance on my own house. Of course, the bears took out their spring energy on the decorative bird feeders and the raccoons keep hanging off the more unique bird feeder because they appear to love that seed mix. Is there a seed mix that doesn’t attract as much wildlife as it does birds?

I love fancy birdhouses, so do my feathered visitors. They flock to the unique bird feeders and great designs of the decorative birdhouses and argue over who gets to move in. I have a decorative birdhouse shaped like a lighthouse and 2 sets of chickadees got into a rental war before one moved in and made it her own. Some of the residents of my garden prefer the birdhouse feeders. I guess that way they don’t have to go far for food, live upstairs eat downstairs. I also appreciate the more unique bird feeders, especially those designed to thwart the squirrel population. Will someone please explain to me how I can have 4 different kinds of squirrels in one yard?

The raccoons keep taking the pump out of the pond to play with it and they burn out the motor so I decided to switch to a birdbath water fountain where they couldn’t reach the pump. This works great but makes sure to place some rocks in the basin so if someone falls in they can get out again. Even if you have raccoons make sure to have running water in the form of a small birdbath fountain, a birdbath or a pond. Your birds need and enjoy the sound of bubbling water and the availability of fresh water especially as we go into the dog days of summer. Enjoy the finer things in life this summer, enjoy your garden!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Bully of the Bird Feeders or When MOCKINGBIRDS Destroy Your WILD BIRD Platform Feeder Plans

English: Two Northern Mockingbirds at a bird b...
Two Northern Mockingbirds at a bird bath in Austin, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mockingbirds are well recognized to be territorial, and they can seize bird suet feeders and force timid birds away. When other territorial birds, or bullies, take over a feeder, you can usually stop them by modifying the birds feed. Mockingbirds, however, would rather have foods like worms, suet, berries, and insects, but if you're handing out free feed, they will crash your wild bird feeder party every time. Not only do they try to power out other garden birds, but also challenge dogs, cats, and, at times, dive-bomb a human being to let him know who's in charge of the garden bird feeder. It can be really difficult to get rid of a mockingbird once he has made himself feel at home. Your wild bird feeder plans could be pushed off track by these dictatorial birds.

If you can't beat them, join them - or at the very least allow the mockingbirds to dwell in your backyard. Mockingbirds are usually not all bad, obviously; they are really following their natural inclination to assert themselves. They are able to help keep unwanted critters away from your garden, and learning to comprehend their sound is one thing any garden bird lover will enjoy. Even so, perhaps essentially the most prevalent reason why individuals allow mockingbirds to stay in their backyard is that they really don't have any alternative! Mockingbirds will stay for as long as they receive food, even if it is foodstuff that they might not favor if offered an alternative.

Many people try to post plastic or wood owl or hawk posters to stop the mockingbird from coming back, although this is unreliable, and on a regular basis, the mockingbird will catch on that these "fake enemies" are really no threat. A different rather time-consuming, not to mention foolish, a concept is to fill a big squirt gun with soapy water and squirt the mockingbird every instance it comes into your backyard or gets close to the hopper feeder.

What if you do not wish to give up putting out bird food or birdseed simply because you do want to encourage other kinds of garden birds to pay a visit to your backyard and you also want your mockingbirds to stay. How do you get across the really serious obstacle that the mockingbird presents? Try sketching up a different package of garden bird plans and making one more feeder to locate in a different area of your backyard. If at all feasible, make sure to place a green or artificial barrier in between the brand new bird tube feeder and the bird feeder your mockingbird has occupied. A lawn hedge or a wall can get the job done You might also put the other bird tube feeder on the opposite part of your house or a different building. The other birds will begin to come to this bird feeder, whilst the mockingbird is still left to rule over his.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

HUMMINGBIRDS

English: Male Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula c...
Male Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula calliope) at feeder in Albuquerque, NM, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many individuals are fascinated by hummingbirds. So much so, that they will do anything in their power to attract these petite creatures to their yards. So what is the best way to attract these wee feathered friends?

Here are some tips to help make your home a hummingbird hotspot:

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Hummingbirds usually feed off flower nectar and sugar water that is left out for them in birdfeeders. They also feed off of small insects like ants, slugs, and spiders. If you really want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, make sure your bird feeder is always filled with nectar and sugar water.

What Should My Hummingbird Feeder or House Look Like?

It is a well-known fact that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. That being said, if the feeder you already have isn’t red get out your paintbrush or stick a large red bow on it to get their attention. The best hummingbird feeders have perches for the birds to stand on while they feed. The holes in hummingbird feeders are just big enough for the little guys to fit their heads in, but they’re too small for squirrels and other larger animals so they can’t steal the food.

Refrain from painting your hummingbird feeder or house yellow because bees and wasps are attracted to these colors and also enjoy the taste of sweet nectar. You’ll want to keep insects as far away from your hummingbird feeders and houses as possible.

What Materials Should Hummingbird Houses or Feeders be made of?

Hummingbird feeders and houses are usually made of acrylic or glass. They are also available in wood and plastic; however, these do not work as effectively and may cause harm to the birds (slivers and cuts). Hummingbird houses and feeders come in a variety of sizes and shapes and usually contain numerous feeding areas throughout the feeder.

Where Should I my Hummingbird Feeder?

Ideally, a hummingbird feeder should be hung near a garden with bright flowers and plants. A flowery location is most likely to attract the attention of hummingbirds. For your viewing pleasure, you may want to hang your feeder in a place that can be easily seen from your home. For example, a hummingbird feeder hung in front of a window can be admired all day.

How Much Do Hummingbird Feeders Cost?

The styles and designs differ so much that it’s difficult to determine a specific price. Hummingbird feeders and houses can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 - depending on the style, design, and features.





Sunday, April 16, 2017

BIRD FEEDER Basics

Bird Feeders The fastest way to a bird's heart is definitely through their stomach. Put up a backyard bird feeder and birds will certainly come to feed in your yard. Where you live determines what you'll see because of differences in birds' range and habitat preferences. As words spread about your feeder, the kinds of birds and the size of crowd will increase. Even if you live in the city where it seems pigeons and house sparrows are the only birds on earth, you'll get surprise visitors that find your food or stop in on migration. 

A Acorn Woodpecker feeding from a bird feeder ...
A Acorn Woodpecker feeding from a bird feeder in Arizona, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bird Feeder Basics When you shop for bird feeders, you'll find your choices are almost limitless. You may wonder how to decide what to buy. Here are some hints. 

Ease of use - The most important factor in choosing a feeder is how easy it is to use - for both the owner and the birds. You want a feeder that's easy to fill and that holds a reasonable amount of seed. If you are just getting started, look for a feeder that displays seed in full view because birds are attracted by the sight of food and by the sight of other birds eating. An open tray is great for starters. 
Make sure your bird feeder has plenty of room for birds to eat without protrusions or decorations getting in the way. Birds also like a feeder with a raised ledge or perch that they can grasp while eating. 

Size - When birds come to a bird feeder, they want food, and they wait it fast. Choose a main tray feeder that's big enough for at least a dozen birds to eat at once. Supplement that with hopper- and tube-type bird feeders. Domed feeders are great for small birds like chickadees. Feeders inside wire cages give small birds a place to eat and peace without competition from starlings or other larger birds. Once you have one or two large bird feeder you can add as many smaller feeders as you like. 
Quality - Make sure your bird feeder is well made. A sturdy, simple, but beautiful feeder costs more than you'd think. Expect to pay $30 - $75 for a feeder that will last for years. 

Tray (Platform) Feeders A must have for any backyard is a simple wooden tray feeder. It's big, it's easy to fill, and it accommodates several birds. The other feeders pick up the overflow and they can be stocked with treats. Cardinals, finches, jays, grosbeaks, bluebirds, blackbirds, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, and buntings all prefer an open tray feeder. The only birds reluctant to us a tray feeder mounted on a post are ground-feeding birds. A very low tray on stumped legs will accommodate these birds, which include native sparrows, quail, towhees, and doves. You can put any kind of seed in a tray except for small Niger, lettuce, and grass seeds, which are prone to blow away or get wasted. Platform feeders are also good places to put out doughnuts, bread crumbs and fruit. 

Platform feeders with a roof are often called fly-through feeders. One problem with tray feeders is that plenty of seed gets kicked to the ground. Adding raised edges to a platform feeder transforms it into tray feeder. 

Tray feeders can be hung. A popular hanging model, the Droll Yankees X-l Seed saver is protected by a dome to keep seed dry and prevent squirrels from raiding. This feeder works especially well as a mealworm feeder. 

Hopper Feeders Hopper-style bird feeders with plastic or glass enclosures that dole out seed as they're needed, are an efficient choice because seed is used as needed and large amounts aren't exposed to wet or snowy weather, or kicked out by scratching birds. Many birds, including chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, cardinals, jays, and woodpeckers, eat eagerly at a hopper feeder. Make sure the tray of a hopper-style bird feeder has enough room for more than two or three birds to gather and eat, and check to see if the feeder will be easy to clean if seed spoils in bad weather. Be especially careful if you mount your hopper feeder permanently in the garden. If the hopper or frame blocks the tray, the feeder may be very hard to clean. 

Hopper feeders are not always rectangular. They can be many-sided or tubular, resembling a gazebo, lantern, or silo, and may be called by those names. A popular round hopper design is the Sky Cafe by Arundale, a hanging feeder made entirely of clear polycarbonate. The hopper and feeding platform are protected by a large, steeply sloped hood designed to detour squirrels. The idea of a large dome above a feeder to protect it from squirrels is incorporated in a number of feeder designs, including Droll Yankees' Big Top. 

English: House Sparrows at a bird feeder
House Sparrows at a bird feeder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most significant innovations in hopper feeders has been the "squirrel-proof" models created by Heritage Farms, such as The Absolute II. Birds must sit on a rail to reach the seed tray. The rail has a counterweight that can be adjusted so that a squirrel's weight or that of a jay or blackbird will cause the shield to lower in front of the tray. 

Wire-Mesh Feeders Perfect for holding shelled peanuts wire-mesh feeders are fun to watch. Blue jays, woodpeckers, and chickadees can cling to the mesh and pick seeds out one at a time. Squirrels can pick seeds too, but one seed at a time can be painfully slow. Wire-mesh feeders work equally well dispensing black oil sunflower seeds and most other larger seeds. Small, round millet grains pour through the openings and are not a good choice for these feeders. 

Most commercial wire-mesh feeders are tubular, but some are shaped like hoppers and may be attached to a platform where birds can perch to feed, rather than having to cling to the mesh. 
Mesh bags, often called thistle socks, are also available for dispensing Niger seed. Refillable socks made of fabric and disposable ones made of plastic are available. Squirrels or rain can quickly ruin thistle socks, so hang them in a protected place. 

Window Feeders Years ago, before the fancy screens and storm windows, many people simply scattered a handful of crumbs or seeds for the birds on their windowsills. You can mount a simple shallow tray feeder on the outside of a window, mounting it like a window box (but higher and closer to the pane). You can use wooden or metal brackets that attach below the sill or on the sill. Perfect for kids and indoor cats - many window feeders attach with suction cups. Typically made of clear plastic, models by Aspects, Duncraft and K-Feeders are among those available. 

The most popular window feeders are made by Coveside and the Birding Company. A one-way mirror allows the feeding activity to be observed while keeping the birds from being disturbed. The feeders need to be placed in a sunny spot for the one-way mirror to work. The feeder can be cleaned and food replaced from inside the house. 

Tube Feeders Simple tube feeders are a perfect example of form matching function. They're self-contained, so seed stays dry; they hold a good quantity of seed, so they don't need refilling too often; and they can accommodate several birds at one time. Not all tube feeders are created equal though. You should invest a few extra dollars in the more expensive feeders such as Duncraft or Droll Yankees. The tube itself is sturdier, the feeding holes are designed better so there's less spillage or feeds as birds eat, and the heavier metal used on top and bottom makes the feeder much more stable. Being heavier they don't swing as easily in the wind scattering seed on the ground. 

Tube feeders are welcomed by goldfinches, purple finches, pine siskins, chickadees, and house finches, who seem to know they can eat in peace there without being disturbed by the bigger birds. The size of the hole (port) determines whether you have a feeder that should be filled with Niger, birdseed mix or sunflower seeds. 

There are two styles of tube feeders. One is designed with small feeding ports for the tiny Niger seeds; the other has larger ports for such seeds as black oil sunflower, safflower, or mixed seed. 
Not all tube feeders are cylinders. There are tube feeders with three, four, or more sides. It is the idea of feeding ports built into the elongated seed container that makes a feeder a tube feeder. 

The Droll Yankees A6 Tube Feeder is still a top seller. Droll Yankee feeders have a lifetime guarantee. Other variations include Perky Pet's Upside-Down Thistle Feeder. Perches are placed above the feeding ports so that seed can be accessed only by finches that can feed upside down, a design that excludes house finches. 

Two or three tubes are sometimes ganged together, as the Opus TopFlight Triple Tube Feeder. With a total of 12 ports, it can feed more birds than a single tube, and it also has the option of being filled with a different seed type in each tube. 

Most tube feeders are made of transparent plastic, but Vari-Craft makes particularly attractive tube feeders of white PVC. Ports are made of a hard plastic. A squirrel-proof model is available with stainless steel ports.



Most tube feeders can be fitted with round trays underneath that catch spillage from birds like finches, which are notoriously messy eaters. The tray serves double duty as a small platform feeder for such birds as cardinals and doves, which benefit from the slung seed. 

Tube feeders are sometimes placed inside a wire-mesh cage for protection from squirrels. Cages also keep large birds like grackles from perching on a tray and reaching up to the feeder ports. 

Nectar Feeders Sweet sugar water, or nectar, is a huge draw for hummingbirds. Put up a nectar feeder and you're practically guaranteed to get hummers. The birds search for red and deep orange-red flowers, andanything that color will bring them in for a closer look. Your nectar feeder may also attract other birds with a sweet tooth, including orioles, house finches, and woodpeckers. In the wild these birds would satisfy that craving with real nectar from flowers, or a sip of sugary tree sap or fruit juice. The sugar boost gives them quick calories and the energy needed to live. 

As with other bird feeders, look for a nectar feeder that's easy to fill and easy to clean. Make sure you can remove the base to clean out the feeding holes. Bee guards of gridded plastic over the feeder openings are a necessity unless you like to watch constant battles between wasps and hummingbirds. 
Suet Feeders Suet feeders are not nearly as complex as some seed feeders. They can be as simple as a mesh sack - the kind often used for onions and potatoes. Toss a chunk of raw suet in an empty mesh sack and hang it on a tree trunk or from a branch or pole. 

A popular way of presenting suet is in homemade suet logs. Perches are not necessary and if used will attract grackles and starlings. Woodpeckers and small clinging birds can get a grip on the rough wood. Stuffed with suet, these logs have woodpeckers as regular visitors. Standing dead trees can be drilled and filled like giant suet logs. If meant to attract woodpeckers, a suet feeder is likely to be found most quickly if it is attached initially to a tree trunk. Once the woodpeckers have found it, the feeder can be moved to other spots and the birds will follow. 

Suet cages are sometimes combined with bird feeders. Health Manufacturing makes a beautiful redwood hopper feeder with suet cages at either end, the Classic Suet 'n Seed Feeder. Woodlink makes a similar model with a copper roof.

Author: Louise Desmarteau


Friday, March 3, 2017

Adding GOLDFINCES, CARDINALS and Other Birds of Color to Your Backyard Retreat is Easy - Here's How

When it comes to turning your backyard into a getaway or retreat, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a private outdoor oasis, complete with water features and an outdoor kitchen? Or is it adding a terraced effect with exotic plants, detailed retaining walls and hardscape patios and walkways that make you feel that you are enjoying the seclusion of a five star resort? Your home should be your haven, the place where the world stops at the beginning of your driveway and your retreat begins.

A European Goldfinch on a garden bird feeder i...
A European Goldfinch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To add exotic color to your outdoor haven, I have two words; Bird Feeders. You will be intrigued by the various types of birds you can attract to your yard. By attracting these birds, you will add color, sound, wildlife and create a sense of seclusion.

There is more to attracting birds than just nailing a bird house up to a fence post or hanging one off a tree limb. The species of birds you attract depends on the type of feeder you choose, the placement of the feeder in your yard and the type of feed you put in the feeder.

Here are five categories of birds you may want to consider. All come with their own distinct colors, sounds and traits.

1) Goldfinches: These birds are yellow in color, with the males being more vibrant in the spring season. They are small in stature and shy by nature. You can use everything from Thistle sacks, which are inexpensive and easy to reposition in the yard to small "clinger" only feeders to various types of triple-tube feeders. For the sake of the length of this article, I will give you a resource you can go to and learn more on the various types of feeders. The type of feeder is important to the type of birds you are trying to attract, but even more important is the type of feed you use to draw specific species to your feeders.

Goldfinches are partial to fine chopped Sunflower hearts and Nyjer seeds; Nyjer is a black seed cultivated in Africa & Asia and are high in calories and oil content. Another source of nutrition and a strong attraction for Goldfinches occurs in the autumn when the blooms from plants such as Marigolds and Zinnias are long past their pretty stages of summer. These create great feed for Goldfinches, so be sure to leave these in your garden or yard and you will attract flurry of activity from the Goldfinches, as they are storing energy for the winter.

2) Cardinals: A regal bird with its pointed crown and vibrant red color trimmed in black mask and neck. If you have ever seen a cardinal up close, you would remember it. It has a look like no other bird, in my humble opinion. Whether against the green of summer leaves or the white of winter's snow, Cardinals are a splendid attraction to any setting. Here is how you can seduce them to your haven. They like feeders either low to the ground or with a platform they can eat from when hung from above. This is due to the fact they are a larger bird and require some space to maneuver. They do not eat from tube feeders, like Goldfinches, unless the tube feeder has a tray on the bottom for them to perch on. Their favorite feed is Sunflower or Safflower seeds; their big bill makes it easy for them to crack these seeds. The addition of a bird bath is another draw for the cardinal, as they love water.

3) Blue Birds: The nesting sites of Blue birds differ according to your region of the country. For your specific region do a little research and determine the best type of nesting site to build to attract these brilliant blue colored birds to your private retreat. They prefer open spaces so they can feed on insects, their main nutrition source. Another favorite of the Bluebird is live meal worms, so you may want to keep some on hand if this beautiful bird is going to be added to your yards color pallet. For winter nutrition, Bluebirds feast on the berries from Bittersweet & Holly. Again, the addition of a bird bath to provide a water source, especially in winter, will help coax the Bluebird to your backyard paradise.

4) Orioles: An orange bodied bird with black head and back, its wings have traces of white and yellow mixed in amongst black. Orioles are shy birds that migrate to South America for the winters. A great tool in the attraction of Orioles is oranges. Cut a few oranges in half on secure them to a gate or fence top and use them to bait the orioles into your yard. Another weak spot for Orioles is jelly, they love jelly. You can go to your local bird store and pick up an adapter that fits over the open end of a jelly jar and viola; you have a feeder for the Orioles you hope to draw in to your backyard. Due to the fact that Orioles are shy birds, start off by setting the feeders further away from active areas and then slowly move them closer, once you began to gain their confidence. This will give you the pleasure of watching this beautiful bird up close; I guess you can say "You'd have a Bird's Eye view". 

I know, really bad, but I couldn't resist. Once you notice the Orioles you can leave twine, yarn and strands of hair for them to find and use in building a pendulum nest they will use for the season. Oranges, jelly and hosts who do not disturb them, they will love you for the season.

English: Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes ery...
Red-headed Woodpecker
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
5) Woodpeckers: Last, but not least, in this selection of vibrantly colored and distinctively different birds; Woodpeckers are showy birds with colored plumage. Described as a clinger, because of its ability to grab on with its feet and attach itself to the sides of trees with no or little effort. They have spiny tail feathers, which aides them in climbing and resting on tree trunks. Typically go up and down tree trunks scrounging for insects, it is advisable to hang your feeders for these birds close to the trunk at first, to get their attention. Once you have their attention, you can move the feeder further out on the limb away from the trunk. Tree nuts and peanuts is the secret to luring these birds to your collection of featured wild life. Beware though, once a Woodpecker begins its assault on the tree of its choice; it could get noisy for some time to come.

So there you have it, you have added gold,red, blue,orange and the rhythm of the Woodpecker to your Backyard Getaway. For more information on this subject I recommend The Backyard Bird Company. Take a minute and Google them, they are jam packed with great information.

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