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Posts Tagged ‘bird feeders’

10 Myths About Feeding Birds

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Blue Jay

1. If you feed birds, they won’t migrate and will be caught in the winter cold.

Birds know when to migrate based on sunlight, weather and their natural instincts, that give the urge to migrate. It doesn’t matter how much food is available to them, in the bird feeders or where ever, when it’s time for them to go, they go. Migrating birds do need to eat though, especially during migration, and if you keep your feeders well stocked, you will get a bigger variety of birds at your feeders during migration.

2. Birds will starve if you stop feeding them in the winter, so once you start, you can’t stop.

It is best to keep your bird feeders well stocked in the winter for the hungry birds. You’ll want them to think of your yard and garden as a place for food, so they will hang around all year. Birds in the garden are very beneficial and aren’t just pretty things to look at. They eat a lot of bugs and larvae that would be eating your garden. So attracting birds to your yard year round is a good thing. If you suddenly had to go away, though, they would find food somewhere. They can range far and wide in search of food, they may have to work harder for it, but they will find something to eat. If you know you will be away though, it is better to arrange for a neighbor to refill your feeders for you. If not, then you may have to be patient and lure them back to your yard.

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Goldfinch on Finch feeder

3. Feeding the birds is really good (or bad) for the birds.

In reality, birds do not need for us to feed them. They are perfectly capable of finding food on their own. So is it good to feed the birds? Well, it certainly is for us, since we get to enjoy watching them and listening to them, not to mention all the good they do in our gardens. Feeding them is also good for them, because they get a better variety of food at the bird feeders than they would normally get during the winter, and it’s more accessible to them. It’s not “bad” for the birds because birds eat what they like. If the food you put into the feeders for them gets spoiled or ruined, they will avoid it. If you put food they don’t like, they will avoid it and go somewhere else to eat. That’s a very good reason to use good bird seed mixes in your bird feeders.

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7 hummingbirds at feeder

4. The bags of mixed seed found at the grocery stores are bad for the birds.

Actually, it’s bad for your pocketbook, not the birds, because the birds will just toss out the seeds they won’t eat. Bags of cheap bird seed, whether it’s from the grocery store or not, usually has so much filler seed in it that the birds won’t touch, or it has red milo, wheat and other things in they don’t eat and it will have none of the good stuff like, millet, black-oil sunflower seeds, broken peanuts, safflower or sunflower hearts. So it’s a waste of money. However, even the grocery stores are beginning to carry higher quality birdseed, with very good combinations of seed, fruit and nuts that appeal to many kinds of birds. Buying bird food at feed/hardware stores or specialty bird shops is usually best, but high quality mixes can be found other places as well.

5. Squirrels and blackbirds won’t eat safflower seed.

Many people who feed birds will use lots of safflower seed in their mix, believing that it deters the squirrels and blackbirds from feeding at their feeders. If that was ever true, it doesn’t seem to be true any longer. Many people report that any bird (including blackbirds) or mammal (including squirrels) that will eat sunflower seed, will also eat safflower seed.

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One of 10 birdfeeders in the garden.

6. Only one species of hummingbird is found east of the Rocky Mountains.

I’m not sure of where this myth came from and if it were ever true, but it certainly isn’t true now. There is a wide variety of beautiful hummers at hummingbird feeders all over the east, north and south.

7. Birds won’t eat milo.

I’ve always considered milo to be one of the filler seed in the cheap bags of bird food, but I’ve recently learned that in the southwest it is a favorite of doves and quail and some other birds. So whether this myth is true or not depends on where you live.

8. Hummingbird food with red dye in it is bad for the hummers.

The truth about this myth is that we really and truly don’t know. There is no proof that it’s harmful to the birds, but there is no proof that it isn’t either. If you buy hummingbird food ready mixed, then it will probably be red. If you mix your own (1 part sugar dissolved in 4 parts hot water and cooled) then you don’t need to add the food color. The red food color really isn’t necessary because the red that attracts the hummingbirds is usually found on the feeder.

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Cardinal enjoying lunch

9. There is a bird feeder that is 100% squirrel proof.

I’ve bought enough “squirrel proof” bird feeders to know the fallacy of this myth. Squirrels are ingenious, resourceful creatures and when there is a large population of them, and they are hungry, they will find a way. It may take them a while, but they WILL succeed.

10. Hummingbird feeders shouldn’t have perches because it is bad for the hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds can feed while hovering, and they can feed while stationary on a perch. There is no proof that the perches are either good or bad. I have feeders of both kinds in my yard and the hummers seem to stay longer at the feeders with perches (I don’t blame them, I’d rather sit to eat as well) and the other hummingbirds linger nearby awaiting their turn.

So, in reality, there is no good reason not to feed the birds, yet there are lots of really good reasons why we should. Watching the different species of birds that show up at our feeders and watching how they interact with each other can be so amusing and enjoyable. If the birds come to think of your yard as a haven with available food, they will stick around and come back season after season, year after year. This is a good thing for you, because it means you will have less bugs and creepy crawlies in your yard, eating on you and your garden. If you are lucky enough to have songbirds in your area, then you will have added reason to feed the birds.

For more information on feeding the birds and what foods to use to attract them to your yard have a look at this site: http://www.ourgardengate.com/2011/10/31/10-best-foods-for-birds-in-the-winter-2/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6662151

Accessorizing The Garden With Color and Fun

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Ceramic Pots for sale

We visited an amazing place this week, and I’m not talking about the hotels, fabulous shows and restaurants. There is just so much to see and do in Las Vegas, that I doubt very many of the visitors who come here get to see the acres of pottery and garden decor we walked through. I’ll bet the locals know about it though. It’s a place called Little Baja Garden & Design and it’s located at 3033 W. Ford Ave. in Las Vegas.     You can find them online at  http://www.littlebaja.com

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Ceramic Bird Bath

 

The selection of pottery was astounding. We’ve shopped for beautiful pottery in Mexico, Arizona and Florida, but I’ve never seen a place with so many choices. It’s fun to have beautiful colored pots on the deck or patio. If we had room in our garden for even one more large pot, I would have had to spend the day selecting just the right one. We decided to buy a couple of beautiful, colored plant saucers. We’ll put these on pedestals around the yard to use as bird baths.

We also like to collect sun faces and other yard art. Again…what an amazing selection to choose from.

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Garden Columns

I loved the columns. I would have loved for our grape arbor to be on columns. Let’s see…they are on sale right now for $500 apiece, and we would need 12 of them. Hmmm….$6,000 for the columns alone, not counting the treated lumber and the cost of the grape vines. Guess that’s why we didn’t do it. Even if I had been able to afford using columns, I wouldn’t have known where to get them. Now I know.

Nothing beats the sound of rushing water, it’s so relaxing and soothing. This place had about a half acre of fountains of every size and shape, from rustic to ultra modern, from tiny ones all the way to gigantic.

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Huge Garden Fountain

 

What a fun time we had, just strolling around and wishing we had more room in our garden… and more $ to buy some of the gorgeous things we saw.

Oh, and a big truck to get it all home in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Suet On Your Shopping List? And Don’t Forget The Birdseed…

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Cardinal enjoying lunch

I know…how could our lives get any busier. Right? It’s hard to remember every single thing we need to, or want to do.

Besides, who pays that much attention to what’s going on in the yard in the dead of winter, when it’s cold and miserable out there. It can be a nuisance to trudge outside, into the cold weather to check to see if the bird feeders need filling.

 

 

 

(Actually, if you can’t see them from your window, then it is more of a bother, and what’s more, you’re missing out on watching the birds at your feeders.)

So…this is just one of those little reminders.

Need more information on feeding the birds?

See

http://wp.me/P1OXDF-10c

http://www.ourgardengate.com/birds-in-the-garden/bird-food/

Remembering the Hummers

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4 hummers at feeder

Hummingbirds are a favorite with a lot of people, with their antics at the feeders. Most of the time, many hummers will feed at the same time, but not always. It’s always been amazing to me how a creature that is so tiny, can also be so feisty and aggressive. I’ve watched one little male fend off all other hummers at the feeder, except for what appears to be one female. Since they can look so much alike, it’s hard to know if it’s the same female or not. But it is obvious that it is the same male. He will sit on the arch above the feeder and when hungry, dip down for a sip. Otherwise, he is perched on his holding spot and will only leave it to chase off other hummers. Fearless little bugger.

I had a lot of flowering hanging baskets this year that had plenty of long, cascading stems loaded with flowers. On one particularly hot day, I watched as a hummer would feed at the flowers, then swoop underneath to hover in the shade of the hanging basket. It seems like just the effort of

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7 hummingbirds at feeder

hovering would warm him up.

We enjoyed seeing them this fall, as they were passing through, and look forward to their returning next spring. These are some pictures of hummers visiting our feeders when I lived in the south (zone 8 ).

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hungry hummers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hummers at the feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Missing The Mockingbirds

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Mockingbird on fence

Even though I love watching the birds from my kitchen window (I’ve moved the feeders in closer so that I can get to them easier to refill and so that I can see them better), I am reminded of the birds I love to watch the most, the mockingbirds. I don’t recall ever seeing them eat from any of my feeders when I lived in the south, but they were fun to watch. They have an attitude and  are so independent, yet seem to love to be near people. They are the top music makers in the bird world, because they mimic the songs of other birds, stringing them all together.  They will sing this string of songs over and over for about three times. I understand that each bird has his own repertoire of songs he has put together, so his song will depend on the kinds of birds living in his vicinity.

I use to walk on a mile track every morning, very early, and there was a mockingbird that would go around the track with me, as he   flitted from tree to tree. He would wait until I was almost to him before flying ahead to the next tree to wait for me there. His song was beautiful, but even though he didn’t always sing, he was good company on my walks.

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mockingbird in grass

There was also one who dominated our deck, which was just off our master bedroom. Every morning we would wake to his song (or string of songs) as he sat in the fig tree over-hanging our deck. Such a pleasant way to start the day.

I’ve been told that mockingbirds have been spotted out here in the west, but it is rare. I do miss them and would surely love to see one from my kitchen window again.

 

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Feeding the Cold, Hungry Birds

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Birds feeding in the winter

Now that the weather is getting so much colder, the natural food for the birds is getting scarcer. They will still be able to find food, but they will have to work harder for it. If you are a bird lover, like me, then you want to make sure these beautiful creatures stick around your yard all winter, so that you can enjoy watching them. Birds are so different and so is their eating preferences. That’s why it’s important to have different types of bird feeders placed in your yard.

Some like to eat at the platform feeders and some like the tube feeders. Some prefer the height, while some like to eat off the ground (which is great because of all the seeds the elevated feeders toss out). In the winter though, there are other things to consider.

Location: If possible, locate the feeders out of windy areas, or in as sheltered an area as possible. Consider visibility too, if the feeders are nearer the home, the birds will be easier to watch and the feeders will be easier to refill (for those of us who live where the snow gets deep). Also, place the feeders near enough to places of refuge, such as evergreen hedges etc,. but not too close, as predators can be lurking there.

Cover: Feeders without covers are fine in warmer weather, but may not offer enough protection from snowfall or cold rain. The wider the cover, the better. After a storm it helps to go out and brush the snow off, so the birds can get to the seeds. Same with the ground feeders, shoveling or moving some of the snow out of the way lets them get to the seeds that have fallen.

Size: Cute little bird feeder are fine, but not so much in the winter. Just think about how often you really want to go out into the freezing weather to refill the feeders. On the other hand, if the cover isn’t wide enough, the seed can get wet and ruin, so a lot of seed wouldn’t be a good thing then. (See how important the cover is?)
To learn more about the types of bird foods, refer to an earlier posts:
Storing Birdseed: You can stock up on bird seed in the fall, when it is usually on sale. It should be stored in a cool, dry place, in containers that bugs and rodents can’t get into.
Watering:With all the tips on feeding the birds, it’s important to remember to put water out for them as well. In colder climates this can be a challenge, like putting warm water out, so that it can be used before freezing. This should be done daily. You might want to consider putting a safe heating element in the birdbath to insure the birds have a steady supply of water.
As many of you already know…it really is worth the effort.

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Blue Jay

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