Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tips for Feeding Wild Birds

Have you discovered the magical feeling when you observe wild birds and their activities?

I was young when I was first introduced to watching birds.

My grandmother ran a seasonal business which opened in May and closed in November. During those summer months she spent very little daylight hours in her home. When winter came, she and my grandfather spent many hours getting caught up with household chores and duties.

Many a snowy winter day at gram's house was spent eating a lunch of fried egg sandwiches or perhaps a hot bowl of cream of mushroom soup. We'd watch [black and white] television programs, (which were nowhere near sophisticated as today) or we might play a game of rummy with Grampa. On a day when the icicles hung off the eaves of the roof, she'd get out her ice cream maker and make homemade ice cream!

But most memorable on a day visiting my grandparents was the twitter of wild birds feeding at my grandmother's window.

The window ledge was sunny and wide. I never saw a traditional bird feeder at her house, but she always placed a tin pie plate full of birdseed on the ledge of the outside windowsill.

It was so much fun to watch the birds!

The birds would perch on the side of the pie plate and break apart the seed. Sometimes there would be wild fights between the birds.

I didn't know the names of any of the birds at the time, except maybe the blue jay. But as I grew older and could pick up her bird identifying book laying close by on the table, I gradually learned that there were many different types of birds in this world.

And they were all very interesting to get to know and watch!

So, are you ready to feed your wild birds?

Obviously, the birds aren't particular about what kind of bird feeder you put out for them. But there are a few tips and a few bird feeder choices to consider.

Your choice of bird feeder will determine what kind of bird visits your bird feeder.

  • A platform bird feeder will attract the most variety of wild birds. However, a platform birdfeeder (such as my grandmother's pie plate) doesn't offer much by way of protection from rain, snow and (yes) the dreaded cat! However, because platform feeders are open and can be placed on the ground, some larger wild birds such as doves and pigeons will likely make a visit to your platform feeder. Squirrels and other wildlife may visit a platform bird feeder.

  • One of the most common types of bird feeders (and usually inexpensive) is the hopper-type bird feeder. The features of a hopper bird feeder are a platform with sides and a roof. The seed is contained within the confines of the "hopper." You usually are able to see your birdseed so that you can see when your feeder needs to be refilled. A hopper bird feeder offers some protection from the weather - but if the seed gets wet, you will need to dump out the spoiled seed and replace with fresh. This type of bird feeder also offers little protection from squirrels.
These are just two examples of common wild bird feeders that are used for feeding wild birds.

There are many different types of wild bird feeders that also cater to specific birds such as hummingbirds, finches, and woodpeckers.

Tips for Feeding Wild Birds
  • Keep your seed fresh by keeping it in a cool dry place. Remember, heat and moisture will encourage mold. If your bird seed shows signs of mold, throw it away and start fresh.
  • Store your seed in a "rodent-resistant" container. Rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, mice and even rats love bird seed! Some rodents may even chew through plastic to get to the seed.
  • In some parts of the country, bears will also feast on bird seed. If you live in an area where there have been bear sightings, seed should be stored within a structure such as a shed or garage.
  • Many birds love fruit. But skip any food that contains chocolate. As in dogs and cats, chocolate contains toxins that will harm your birds.
  • Never add food coloring to your hummingbird or oriole nectars. If you make your nectar from scratch, it's important to follow the recipe. Here is a recipe to make your own hummingbird nectar and oriole nectar.
Feeding your birds can be a wonderful and enjoyable past time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer songster - Brattleboro Reformer

At least two female indigo buntings enjoyed my bird feeder largess along with the three males, but there was none of the wild antics among the males or between the sexes usually associated with pairing and mating. That would come soon -- the task for ...

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Summer songster - Brattleboro Reformer

The Owl Hoots at Night

Not far away from him and a little below was one bird feeder, and another was located a little distant from that one. There for bird seed? Not a chance. That hooter was there because he knew if he hung around long enough some bird or varmint would show ...

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ED GILBERT: The owl hoots at night - themorningsun.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bluebird Houses

January has always been a reflective month for me. Thinking of the past year and lessons learned - and hope for a new and better year.

Spring is a welcome thought right now, although Winter has hardly begun! Thinking about the return of the bluebird in the Springtime always gives me a ray of hope helping me through the doldrums of winter.

I am reminded that when the bluebirds return here in the Northeast, they will be looking for a place to hang their hats.

You can help them by providing a place for them to return and nest in - and January is not too early to think about this! February is the recommended time to mount your bluebird house.

Yes, think bluebirds! Think Spring!

Wildbird Blog - Bird Watching for Fun

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Bird Bath Raft

Birdbath Raft

Turn a simple garden pot into a water feature for the birds, or easily make a deep bowl birdbath shallow.

Birdbath Raft floats exposing just the right amount of water for your songbirds to use!

One-of-a-kind, durable, simple, easy to clean, UV protected, made in the USA. 

Dimensions: 14.25L x 14.25W x 1.25H
Weight: Less than 1 lbs.
Manufacturer: Songbird Essentials
Price: $13.99

Monday, October 8, 2007

Watching Any Birds Lately?

Have you been watching any birds lately?

I can't help but notice. One of my bird feeders hangs just outside the window where if I look to my right I can watch them easily.

Usually the first hint of a bird at the bird feeder is the noise. I hear the twitter of a finch or soft tweet of a chickadee.

I recently bought a new camera - a Kodak EasyShare Z712. Have been taking many pictures with it (or trying to). It has a nice 12x optical zoom that allows you to zoom up close without undue disturbing of the birds.

Here's a picture of a chickadee at my bird feeder:

I also managed to catch a nuthatch and a chickadee bathing at the birdbath:

Yes, the camera takes really nice pictures!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wild Birds for Beginners - Introduction

I'll venture to say that you are not really new to watching wild birds.

No, my guess is that you have been watching wild birds for a long time. But now you're getting more serious about joining the "growing force" of existing and established bird watchers.

I'm not suggesting that you go out to join a group or society of professional bird watchers. You can if that's what you want. This article is for those getting started in watching birds as a more serious hobby!

Looking at the bigger picture, bird watching WILL benefit you. But - learning more about wild birds also helps them. The more you know, the more you will be able to "act correctly" and perhaps help contribute to the protection of life on this planet. Yes, wild birds are very important to the delicate balance of our environment and yes, the entire plant Earth!

Who can imagine one day waking up to the sound of dead silence?

So, hoping I can share some bird watching tips - especially written for aspiring bird watchers!

One really enjoyable and effective way to watch birds is by inviting them to visit your home and surroundings. 

Would a bird feeder, a bird house, a birdbath be in order?