Archive for the ‘Attracting Birds to your Backyard’ Category

Annual event attracts 300 on hot day

June 29, 2011

Photo by: Douglas Collier/The Times

Jackson, a Mooringsport Elementary fourth grader, had stopped at booth No. 9, the Environmental Education section during Saturday’s 20th annual “Get Hooked on Fishing Day” at Earl G. Williamson Park on Caddo Lake.

A bird feeder, crafted from a used water bottle, was caressed tenderly between Jackson’s hands.

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Young bird fledglings experience life away from the nest

June 10, 2011

Families opting to stay close to home this summer won’t have to travel any farther than their backyards for fun and entertainment. Across the country, millions of adult wild birds are introducing their young fledglings to a whole new world of experiences.

People who only feed the birds during the winter miss out on seeing the different things that happen during summer bird feeding. It is both educational and fun to observe wild bird ‘family life’ activities. By mid-summer, fledglings begin leaving the nest and are fed and taught to eat from bird feeders by their parents — a fascinating interaction to observe.

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Be Careful When Choosing Food For Bird Feeders

May 31, 2011

Many of us try to keep attractive lawns and just as often, we use a single decoration that can give it fits: bird feeders.

It has sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, canola, mustard and thistle seeds that attract birds of all shapes and sizes. Just remember, that only the cracked corn is “sterile” and will not germinate if it gets buried under your grass. The thistle seed is one of the smallest and one of the most aggressive noxious weeds in the bunch and if you have a bird feeder, you’re going to have to treat that thistle sooner or later.

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How to feng shui your flowers

May 27, 2011

From northamptonchron.co.uk

You can plan your entire garden or just individual flower beds. Where you position different coloured plants, objects and paths is important and before you begin planting you will need to establish what parts of your garden are in the north, south, east and west.

Water: A pond, birdbath, fountain or an area of flowing water to the south east of your garden is said to increase wealth. Other good places for water features are in the east, which is symbolic of health and family or the north, which represents your career and life path.

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Creating a Garden for the Birds

May 24, 2011

Photograph: Alamy

One reason Jim Howard looked forward to moving to Half Moon Bay was that the growing season in the Lake Tahoe area was so short. He would now be able to garden year-round. {…]

What was the result? Before the restoration, Jim recorded only Anna’s Hummingbirds and American Robins in his yard. Since the restoration, he has recorded at least 37 different species of birds visiting his garden, from Chestnut-backed Chickadees to Sharp-shinned Hawks (for the full list, see PDF in the media box to the right). This was accomplished without feeders or bird houses.

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Water Features in the Garden

May 24, 2011

Taken from: patch.com

Adding a water feature to your garden does not have to be expensive or elaborate. Anyone can create a unique, no cost or inexpensive water feature in a few hours or over a weekend.

A bird bath is a quick and easy project that can be completed in a few hours. All you need to create a bird bath is a base and a bowl. An old table leg, plant stand, tall candle holder, ceramic chimney liner, pedestal sink base or decorative planter can be used to make an attractive base.

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St. Landry Parish couple create unique bird feeders

April 25, 2011

Photo credit: theadvertiser.com

One St. Landry Parish husband and wife team’s creative landscape design brings awes from onlookers year around rather than just during the Spring season.

Bird Feeders by Gregory” began when Melony Davis of Washington gave her husband, Gregory, a mason jar and requested the popular canning tool be redesigned into a bird feeder.

Melony commented, “I had no doubt that Gregory with his engineering background could make the jar into something spectacular.”

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Robins sing ‘Cheer up, cheerily, cheerily’

April 25, 2011

Photo credit: Al Batt

Q and A

“When do wild turkeys nest?” April and May. They incubate the eggs for 28 days and sometimes renest after a failure.

“Any suggestions for taking photos of birds from the window of my house?” Use bird feeders or a birdbath to attract the birds. Sunlight coming from behind you and on the bird is good. Shooting through a dirty window or a screen isn’t good.

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There may be snow, but spring is springing – Grouse Leks!

April 18, 2011

Photo Credit: Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In March and April, almost anywhere there’s a grassland or sagebrush plain, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Sage-Grouse, and Prairie-Chickens are flocking to lekking areas to perform displays to win breeding rights. Birders will wait for hours in blinds (many in cars) at lekking grounds to catch sight of the spectacles. Dozens of males gather to perform their displays on spring mornings. While displaying, males magically transform from drab brown birds to spectacularly frocked strutting ornaments. Ornamental feathers are raised, colorful air sacs near the head and on the chest are inflated, and tails are splayed and cocked. Displays include stomping, strutting, running, jumping, calling, and posturing. Fights may break out among males, as small and highly-coveted individual leks are fiercely defended. Female grouse creep towards the lekking area while males are performing to select their mate. Upon mating, the female leaves to lay her eggs and raise her brood alone, leaving the male free to continue impressing as many females as possible during the short breeding season. All grouse display in the spring, but only open-country species form group leks. If you do visit a lekking area, there are rules of engagement. So as not to disturb the birds, arrive at lekking grounds before dawn and do not depart until the birds disperse on their own. Lekking grounds may be abandoned if they are too frequently disturbed.

Grouse are short, plump, ground-loving birds. Flights of grouse are short and low and characterized by dizzying flurries of wingbeats interspersed by glides. Birds are usually encouraged to fly only when they feel threatened, and then only when a predator (or you) approaches very closely. As a result, finding grouse can be quite exciting, as you usually have to suppress the fight-or-flight instinct yourself during the burst of activity from the bushes right beside you when you startle one! This flushing maneuver is partly to extend concealment from predators and partly to disorient the intruder for long enough for the grouse to make good its escape. Luckily, forest-dwelling grouse usually head straight for a high tree branch from which to peer at the object causing the alarm (you), and on which you can usually get a pretty good look at them.

There is an established viewing area for Gunnison Sage-Grouse just east of Gunnison, Colorado called the Waunita Lek. The area is open for viewing from April 1 to May 15. Dubois Grouse Days is held this year on April 15 and 16 in Dubois, Idaho, to celebrate Greater Sage-Grouse lekking. Sharp-tailed Grouse viewing is available in April and May at many National Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  The Central Wisconsin Prairie-Chicken Festival is held on April 15 through 17 this year. The point is, if you live anywhere near where these lekking areas are, you won’t regret checking it out!

Wild Bird Profiles: Northern Cardinal

March 16, 2011

Photo credit: Terry Sohl

Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Cardinalidae

Characteristics: Northern cardinals are distinct, medium-sized songbirds. The males have a bright red plumage with a black mask and orange bill. Females are grayish-brown with hints of red in their plumage. Both have an obvious crest on their head.

Distribution: Cardinals are found year round in the Great Plains to the east coast except in North Dakota and northern Minnesota. They are also found year round in southern Arizona and parts of Mexico including the Gulf coast and southern Baja California.

Movement: They do not migrate and have been typically found close to where they were initially banded.

Food: Cardinals eat both invertebrates and vegetable matter. They will eat buds and insect larvae in the spring and will opportunistically eat seeds in fields and forests. Natural food is highly dependent on location of bird.  At feeders, cardinals enjoy black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, hulled sunflower, safflower, and nuts. They will use most types of bird feeders.

Sound: They have a few different songs in their repertoire. One of their primary songs is a whistle that sounds somewhat like “weeeet woooo.”  They also have a deeper song of “what cheer, cheer, cheer.”

Nesting: Cardinals breed from April through September but typically maintain pairs throughout the year. Nests are cup-shaped and their eggs vary in color but typically grayish or off-white with brownish spots.

Similar species: Northern cardinals are distinct from all other species except for Pyrrhuloxia.  Their range only overlaps in their southern distribution in Mexico.

Interesting fact: In most species, only males sing. In cardinals, both males and females sing!