The birds are back and they are very busy!
The males, in most species, spend a lot of time and energy staking out a territory. This exercise can be taxing after such a long journey as migration.
Next, on our feathered friends’ agenda is finding a mate. The wooing process is never simple and straight forward. It can be a stressful time for any species!
Once a mate has been found, much effort is spent preparing for the arrival of the young ones. Not all parent birds participate including male or female, but most do, and it is always a big project.
Then the incubation period, after of course the eggs are laid in the nest. When the baby birds hatch, there is increased activity to keep the baby birds’ insatiable appetites as gratified as possible.
Now add to all this a colder than usual spring with late snow storms, as has been this year’s experience in the northern US and Canada and the “what now?” requires a cold sober answer with plenty of action.
Here are some suggestions:
- Put out a variety of types of bird feeders and keep them full with different kinds of seed. Suet will also contribute a source of high energy to sustain the birds through the cold nights and active days.
- Erecting bird houses for the cavity nesters will assist them by providing the bedroom accommodation within a safe distance to the dining area.
- A bird bath will also provide the wild birds with a necessary element for survival and greatly reduce their stress levels.
What about the wild birds that don’t eat seed?
We sometimes forget that not all wild birds consume seeds, some wild birds eat bugs, worms or fruit as their staple food (at least the wild birds we hope to attract closer for bird watching). All of these food sources will be in short supply during a spring snowstorm.
But bug eaters such as Bluebirds and worm eaters like Robins, are not accustomed to accepting food from humans. It is not in their habit (although things may be changing for Bluebirds as more backyard bird watchers are using Bluebird feeders.) to come to bird feeders. So this poses a problem of being able to assist them during inclement spring weather.
This is where a bird bath will also serve another very important purpose. Most birds are highly attracted to water and bug and worm eaters will indulge themselves too. This may be the only way to attract bug or fruit eaters to your yard for bird watching.
The success of attracting these particular types of wild birds, and all species for that matter, to a bird bath, will be greatly increased by causing the water in some way to make a sound. You can use something as simple as a hose suspended over the bird bath or pond and set it to a slow drip. Or you can purchase one of the many excellent drippers, misters or pond bubblers on the market.
It still may be difficult to get them to come to whatever food you put out. You will have to be patient and persistent.
I would suggest placing the food for these birds on a flat surface, out in the open where it can be seen.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Use a platform feeder, tray feeder, table feeder or any flat surface, three or four feet off the ground. This will be the easiest for them to see and the only method the Robins will be able to manage. Ten feet or so from a tree or bushes for protection would be ideal.
2. Suet is a very high energy food that they will benefit from the most. Crumble it up and spread it out on the surface.
3. Suet can be purchased ready made from stores for wild birds or raw from the butcher. Suet with fruit - raisins, cranberries, cherries, apples etc. would be well accepted. Suet with "bugs" in it, is ideal. Here is more information on suet and suet recipes.
4. But many bug and fruit eating species will eat seeds when necessary as in this situation. Hulled seeds are better as they are not accustomed to shelling seeds and may find the shells a little difficult to manage. Sunflower seeds and broken peanuts are best.
5. If you have a wild bird store or a pet store nearby, you may be able to purchase meal worms, either live or roasted. (Ask at the pet store for the smaller variety of mealworms, the larger ones are not suitable for the birds you want to feed.)
You may also find this information helpful too.
What are the Benefits of Attracting Backyard Birds in the Spring?
Tips for Nest Building?
Only assisting of course, by way of providing nesting material.
Tip #1: Don’t sweep down the spider web around your house. Let the wild birds, like Hummingbirds have a chance to use them in their nest building. (Not to mention the nutritional meals the spiders themselves provide.)
Tip #2: Baskets, suet feeders and onion bags make excellent holders for nesting material.
Tip #3: Place the nesting material out in the open where the birds will be sure to notice it.
Tip #4: Yarn, string, wood shavings, small twigs, human or pet hair and broken wicker baskets make excellent nest building material.
Tip #5: Simply drape nest building material over the limbs of trees.
If you have never tried this activity you will be pleasantly rewarded!
News & Reviews
Mother’s Day will be arriving soon! We would like to recommend giving Mom a bird feeder or a bird feeding accessory. We would also like to introduce you to a reputable manufacturer, Duncraft. They have quality, wild birds and bird watchers in mind when they produce their backyard bird feeding products. Here is a link to their site from our site for your convenience. (Don’t forget about Dad and yourself when you’re browsing their items!)
Quips & Queries
Q: When is a good time to put up a bird house?
Wild birds need to become accustomed to any new changes to their home territory. A freshly erected bird house will seldom get any takers right away. It could even take a couple of years.
If you put up a bird house in August, then the birds in the neighbourhood will have a few months to become acquainted with it’s presence before they head south for the winter. Then when the wild birds return in the spring, the new house will be more familiar and the birds may decide to move in.
For more information about bird housing go to Hosting Wild Birds for Bird Watching or How to Build a Bird House: The Right Way
If you have a question or comment, click here. If you don’t want your name listed with the question you ask, we won’t include it. We always ask permission first.
Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?
TRUE or FALSE:
The Native American’s called Hummingbirds “flying jewels”
(You will find the answer in the red and yellow box at the bottom of this e-zine.)
Wild Bird Ballyhoo
In the June 2007 issue =>
Have you ever dreamed of being a great chef, catering to the needs of many, if not hundreds of appreciative diners?
But, then you stopped and said, “Whoa, that would be just too much work!”
If I could show you a way to make this happen, would you be interested?
In the July 2007 issue =>
- We’ll be covering a “snagging” issue!
- Can you keep your bird feeders clean and still have time to enjoy them? We’ll show you how!
BACKYARD BIRD TIPS TO BE ON FRD TV
Starting on Tuesday, May 1, at 8:oo p.m. EST, and running for the next 26 weeks, a new show called “Animal Makeover TV” (sponsored and coordinated by Land O’Lakes Purina Mills Brands) will air on RFD TV. The premise of “Animal Makeover TV” is to discuss topics such as nutrition, housing, health management and to show animal owners how to make better animals and how animals help make better people. RFD is available as a program option on Direct TV Channel 379, Dish Network Channel 9409, MediaCom Channel 78, as well as various cable channels across the United States. According to Lynn Smith of Penguin Productions, the Field Director of the show, each week the new show will include a segment called “Backyard Birding Tips.”
Here is our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
In the next few months for our reader’s convenience we will open OUR OWN STORE ON OUR SITE. We hope you will be as excited as we are, when you see their wide ranging and unique lines of backyard birding products and experience their impeccable service.
We really hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this newsletter, even half as much as we enjoyed preparing it!
… and that’s "The Scoop" for now!
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Answer to Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?
False! The early Spanish explorers called Hummingbirds “Joyas voladoras”, “flying jewels”. You can read more about Hummingbirds here.
Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.