Each season of the year brings with it new reasons for feeding our backyard birds. Fall provides its own unique pleasures, while ensuring future enjoyment for the bird watcher. Although there is an abundant supply of natural foods available, such as mature grains, seeds, berries and insects, keeping your feeders full during the autumn months offers several benefits to the birds. In turn, the songbirds provide a great deal of enjoyment for you and your family. Continue reading
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There are some memories that never fade from one’s mind. As we get older, we tend to hold on to the special occasions that define a moment in time. Each season of change opens the gates to the reflections of the mind’s eye. Each year the flashbacks grow stronger until you wonder if the moment is a memory or occurring for the very first time. Continue reading
Autumn is a season of change. To the average backyard birder, it is also a time of excitement and anticipation. We are witnesses to our songbirds as they prepare for the onslaught of winter. Food sources are investigated and memorized. Shelters are given a look see and once over. Mixed flocks happily flirt about as the constant pursuit for dependable, natural food sources is dampened by the diminishing daylight hours.
Each of us who feeds wild birds should be using this time to prepare our feeding stations for the ice and snow that is sure to be a daily ingredient of our bird watching this winter.
During the warm seasons, we tend to locate our bird feeders and bird baths at the edge of our properties, away from the backyard areas that are prone to human activities. Our children and pets use grassy lawns for recreation. Wild birds feel more comfortable alongside tree lines of properties during the egg laying and hatchling stages. This arrangement works best for both parties involved and is the optimum solution for birders who wish to entertain wild birds while pursuing normal family activities. Continue reading
Most of us who feed birds all year long have a group of regulars that visit our backyards. Depending on where you live, this list will likely contain cardinals, different finches and sparrows, a nuthatch or two, chickadees and mourning doves. But what about the other wild bird species?
Chances are that you have more species around than you realize. Almost every neighborhood has diverse habitats nearby, such as a stand of trees, a bunch of shrubs, an abandoned patch of old fields or a combination of these areas. These islands of green can be magnets for a number of species.
Nearly any bush or shrub of reasonable size will harbor song sparrows. Look for the typical “small, brown birds” you see in commercial areas of you community and you will recognize these species. Continue reading
When people think about feeding backyard birds, the first thought is usually bird seed and water. These two ingredients are essential for attracting wild birds to your area, no matter where you may reside.
However, another attractive food element that should be included in your offerings, especially during the winter months, is suet. There are many choices available in the suet marketplace for your backyard bird feeding needs. Continue reading
For backyard birders everywhere, autumn is one of two seasons relating to change, the other being spring. We put our clocks to rest and rely on nature to tell us that changes are approaching. Listen carefully, do you hear the silence?
Birds generally use songs to announce danger, establish nesting territories or to simply attract a mate. The silence you hear is the end of nesting season and the conclusion of mate selection. Danger lurks everyday, so you may hear it occasionally when cats or hawks are nearby. One certain sound you will hear comes from the geese formations traveling south for the winter.
If you look closer, you will see mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and downy woodpeckers. This only occurs during the cold seasons. Many scientists believe this is due to the “more eyes” theory. Many eyes can find more sources of food and have a greater attention to danger lurking about. Continue reading
Every now and then a survey or scientific study arrives in our mailbox that requires a comment. This is one of those times.
A new study has determined that birds that are abused during the maturation stage are very likely to become bullies as adults, similar to studies done relating to humans. (I can only hope my brother reads this study.)
Off the coast of Ecuador, on the Galapagos Islands, seabirds known as Nazca boobies live in colonies. Observations have shown that adults often beat up on their neighbors’ young. This new research has ascertained that these bullied nestlings turn into domineering, harassing adults. Continue reading
Have you noticed the daylight hours are waning, nights are cooler, and mornings are turning frosty? Nature has noticed these phenomenons for a number of weeks. Wild birds migrate for a variety of reasons; to escape foul weather, to search for a nesting site, or to locate consistent food sources.
The real mystery of migration is not why birds perform this ritual but how. Just exactly how does a hummingbird that weighs less than 3 dimes travel each year for a total of 5,000 miles, including a 500 mile non-stop journey over the Gulf of Mexico, and arrive within a yard of last year’s home territory? How does an artic tern accomplish an annual, roundtrip of over 22,000 miles from Alaska to Antarctic? Continue reading
Why do birds migrate? Wouldn’t it be simpler and safer for wild birds to stay in the same regions they nest in rather than risk flying thousands of miles twice each year?
In truth, if birds did not migrate their lives would be even more difficult to survive than making their vast journeys. If no birds migrated, natural food sources in their breeding areas would be depleted very quickly and many baby chicks would starve. Competition for nesting sites would, ultimately, be extremely fierce and the population of predators would increase due to the higher concentration of breeding birds and the easy meals of the nestlings. The main reason some birds migrate is for food and nesting purposes. Continue reading
There…I said it. Veteran backyard birders do not need a calendar to know the time of year. We do not need to watch the media outlets to understand that a season of change is rapidly approaching. Back to school ads have been around for weeks, much to the chagrin of children everywhere.
If you are spending your relaxing time watching your birds in the trees and bushes, you should be noticing all the signs that wild birds are showing you.
Are the mourning doves gathering in the early daylight hours in larger numbers? Have starlings, grackles or blackbirds, once again, taken over your bird feeders? Are the woodpeckers showing up in greater numbers along with the nuthatches, titmice and chickadees?
Are the goldfinches back with a vengeance and do they appear to be duller in color than ever before? How about those blue jays? Have you seen so many blue jays gathering in large flocks since springtime?
Two of the most wide-ranging and common woodpeckers are the downy and hairy species. These two birds are almost identical in appearance. Some people consider the smaller downy woodpecker to be the offspring of the larger hairy woodpecker. However, these two wild, clinging feathered friends are very different in many ways. Continue reading
As long as there have been test tube hummingbird feeders, the most commonly question asked is; “Should I use glass or plastic test tubes?” Is there a difference in attracting hummingbirds? Does one material last longer than the other and is one easier to clean?
The most obviously difference in test tube hummingbird feeders is that glass will break easier than plastic. If you drop a glass test tube versus a plastic tube, it will probably shatter. However, a plastic tube scratches very easily. Under normal outside elements such as sun and rain, a plastic tube will turn a dingy yellow, whereas glass test tubes are more resilient to weather conditions. Continue reading
The cardinal is relatively new to this area of New England. Prior to the popularity of backyard bird feeding, the northern most boundary of this brilliant red bird was the Connecticut and Rhode Island regions.
As more homeowners enjoyed this hobby of feeding wild birds in the last two decades, attracting the cardinal has almost become an obsession. The chase was on. Just how do you keep this majestic bird in your area year round?
Attracting cardinals to your backyard is not a difficult task if you have the right habitat to start with. Unfortunately, most backyards have eliminated the environment necessary for maintaining nesting cardinals. Continue reading
Each year, we get asked the same questions regarding bats. There are many misconceptions about bats and, although not a bird, this winged creature is associated with many faults not of its own doing.
Bats provide humans with many benefits. Bats eat millions of pounds of insects nightly, saving farmers millions of dollars in pesticides and saving the average homeowner a great deal of money in insect repellent and other expensive bug toxins.
Because bats mate in the fall but do not become pregnant until spring, scientists have used certain hormones for birth control studies. Continue reading
Many backyard birders have a favorite song bird. Based on our customer’s inquiries in New Hampshire, the chickadee, cardinal and hummingbird top the list. The average backyard has the ability to attract over 25 different species of wild birds each and every day, no matter what the season. How to attract each species depends on your natural environment, feeder and seed selections.
For some birders, so-called nuisance birds can be a concern due to intense flocking and the monopolization of bird feeders created by mobbing activity. Starlings and grackles are the usual culprits of these observations. Continue reading