Monthly Archives: October 2009

How to Help Your Backyard Birds Thrive in the Winter

The winter is the hardest time of the year for birds to survive outdoors.  With less vegetatation around for the bird to utilize, the food supply is decreased and the amount of shelter available is lessened by the increase in bare trees.  To help the birds thrive outdoors during the winter, it is a good idea to offer the birds shelther and a constant food supply in your yard.  Here are some tips to follow when offering shelter and food to the birds during the winter.

  • When offering the backyard birds shelter in your yard, it is a good idea to investigate what types of birds winter in your area for the winter.  Use a bird guide, such as the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, to make identification easier.
  • Once you have determined what type of birds are going to winter in your area, it is important to provide a good source of shelter.   The Audubon Cedar Bluebird House is a great home to have in your yard for the bluebirds.  Put a few of these well-built homes up around your yard to offer the birds a warm, cozy spot to live for the winter.  The bird will flock to the homes for shelter when the weather is harsh.
  • Offer the birds nesting material such as Bird Nester Refill.  The winter can be a difficult time for birds to find nesting material and offering them nesting material for their home is a great way to ensure that they are able to create a nest inside their home.
  • Keep a few bird feeders filled with bird seed.  If you know that the birds in your area enjoy a particular type of bird seed, fill the bird feeders with a seed that they are sure to love.  The Outdoor Bluebird Feeder is perfect for feeding bluebirds in the winter and has an overhang to help protect the birds from the elements. 

To survive the winter, birds need help from their human friends.  Don’t forget to offer plenty of the birds plenty of shelter and food during the winter.  Check out Rachel’s Robin to find everything you need for healthy, happy birds during the winter.

Easy-to-Clean Tube Bird Feeders for the Winter

Cleaning and filliird ng your bird feeder in the winter can be a hassle, but well worth your time and effort.  To make your job easier and more efficient, look for tube bird feeders that are designed for easy filling and cleaning.  It is important to continue cleaning your bird feeders in the winter to help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold that make birds sick.

One of my favorite easy-to-clean bird feeders for Nyjer bird seed is the Quick-Clean Nyjer Tube Feeder for Wild Birds.  This stylish tube Nyjer seed feeder is ideal for feeding a variety of birds that love thistle seed, including finches.  This feeder comes apart easily for cleaning and maybe cleaned quickly with a brush like the Birdfeeder Cleaning Brush by Droll Yankees.  For feeding the birds a variety of seed, the Quick-Clean Seed Tube Feeder works with a variety of bird seed and also comes apart easily for cleaning and refilling.

Another great tube feeder that is easy to clean and is available in both Nyjer or Sunflower/Mixed Seed Bird Feeders is the Onyx Clever Clean Bird Feeders that are also made by Droll Yankees.  Both kinds of feeders are easy to clean because the caps and seed ports are detachable, so that you can get into the crevices for cleaning.  Both the Onyx Clever Clean Sunflower / Mixed Seed Bird Feeder and the Onyx Clever Clean Nyjer Seed Bird Feeder are available in three sizes and can hold one to three pounds of seed.

Keeping your bird feeder clean in the winter is easy when you have a tube bird feeder that is easy to clean.  A clean bird feeder helps to keep the birds healthier throughout the winter.  For a variety of bird feeders that are easy to clean, check out Rachel’s Robin.

Wild Bird Lover Gifts for the Holidays

Give the wild bird lover in your life something special this holiday season with an unique bird gift that is sure to make a great impression.  Whether your wild bird lover just enjoys feeding the birds or has interest in attracting more birds to their yard, there are a number of great items available to suit your needs.  The following items are some of my favorite wild bird products for this holiday season:

  • Make a grand statement with a birdbath.  A great gift for any bird lover is the  Birdscapes Garden Sip and Seed BirdFeeder.   This feeder/bird bath combination is sure to a winner with any bird lover.  It has a classic, charming appeal and may be hung up on any post or tree branch.  The bird bath matches the bird feeder perfectly for a coordinated look.  It is easy to clean and refill with both food and water.  Any bird lover would be thrilled to receive this sleek bird feeder and bird bath.
  • Have fun with a colorful, wild birdhouse.  Nothing makes a statement in a yard more, than a colorful, printed birdhouse.  To liven up your bird lover’s outdoor living space, the Animal Print birdhouse is a creative way to express your love of wild birds.  This birdhouse is designed not only to look pretty, but it also has a galvanized steel roof to help protect wild birds from the elements outdoors.  To give you the perfect size hole for any bird, a reducer magnet is included to make the birdhouse more appealing to smaller birds.
  • Give some economical holiday cheer.  A decorative seed wreath is an economical way to show the wild bird lover in your life that you care.  One of my favorite seed wreaths is the Candy Cane Seed Wreath by Pine Tree Farms.  This clever seed wreath is shaped in the classic candy cane shape.  With bright green and red seed, the birds are sure to take notice.  An attached hanger makes this wreath easy to hang anywhere and looks great decorating a pine tree for the holidays.

These items are just a few of my favorites bird lover gifts for the holidays.  For a great selection in wild bird items, check out Rachel’s Robin.

Attracting Titmice Birds to your Feeders

The titmouse blends in with nuthatches and chickadees – so many wild bird hobbyists don’t pay alot of attention to the titmouse. 

Besides their unassuming beauty, titmice have unique qualities that are worth watching. After the nesting season, titmice don’t join bird flocks, but they stay together as a bird pair throughout the winter. Wild bird enthusiasts report
seeing titmice pairs at feeders all winter long.  In many cases, they are with offspring from the previous summer. 

Titmice are sociable little birds that get along just fine with other birds at your feeder. Known for their big black eyes and little crest on top of their heads make them easy to identify. They’ll enjoy suet, sunflower seeds and peanuts. 

8 Tips to attract Titmice to your backyard:

  • Plant seed and nut trees such as evergreens, beechnut and oak.
  • Plant berry bushes such as elderberry and bayberries. 
  • The Titmouse will be a frequent visitor to your feeders in the winter. Provide a feeding station with a
    hopper feeder and plenty of perching space. 
  • Since Titmice are agile birds, consider a peanut or sunflower feeder as shown to the right. Fill it with peanut kernels or black oil sunflower seed. 
  • Place out a platform feeder and fill it with peanut kernels, grapes, apples or berries. 
  • Offer a suet feeder placed near the trunk of a tree. 
  • Smear peanut butter onto tree trunks and branches periodically. 
  • Offer a birdbath as a source of water for drinking and bathing.

Keep Your Bird Bath Water Warm with a Heater

Finding a source of warm water for birds during the winter is critical for their survival.  An easy way to provide birds with water during the winter is to use a heated bird bath or a bird bath heater in your bird bath.  By offering a source of fresh water for the birds during the winter, you will not only be helping the birds to thrive, but will also attract more birds to your yard.

A classic bird bath that looks great in any yard is the Heated Bird Bath with Stand.  This stylish and streamline bird bath has a sturdy, weatherproof stand with a white basin.  The white basin is ideal for attracting birds because they will be able to see the bottom and it blends in well with the snow.  The heater in the bird bath is designed to keep the water from freezing in temperatures up to -20 degrees.  This bird bath also includes hardware for mounting it to your deck.

The Heated Ground BirdBath – 70 Watts is a fun and unique way to offer the birds with water.  This bird bath is designed to sit on the ground to provide birds with easy access to warmer water.  The unique shape of this feeder looks great in a garden, flower bed, or placed on your lawn.  It blends in well with any rock formation and looks like a real rock.  The birds will love the shallowness of the bird bath.

If you are just looking for a heating element to place inside your bird bath, choose one like the Heated Rock Bird Bath De-icer -75 Watts to warm up your bird bath water and keep it from freezing over.  This de-icer is thermostatically controlled to work when the temperature drops below 35 degrees.  Made of cast aluminum to be durable and weather resistant, this de-icer has a great rock shape that blends in well with any bird bath.

Keeping a supply of fresh water for the birds during the winter is important for the survival of birds and helps to attract them to your yard.  For a great selection of heated bird baths and bird bath heaters, check out Rachel’s Robin.

Winter and Fall Purple Martin Equipment Care

The fall and winter months offer a time to clean and care for your martin houses and make sure they are ready for the spring season next year. Purple Martin home maintenance is usually not too difficult.  It consists of making small repairs to your Purple Martin homes, checking your mounting hardware and possibly adding accessories to make your site ideal for Purple Martin colonies.

Many Purple Martin hobbyists remove their homes from the poles for winter storage. This protects the unit from harsher weather and keeps other birds from overtaking the nests. 

After taking down the home for the winter, remove all the nesting material and clean each compartment of the purple martin home thoroughly with a mild detergent. This prevents any parasites or disease from contaminating the home over the winter months. Place the house in your garage or basement for winter storage. 

If you choose not to store the home, make sure that you add door stops to the unit to keep house sparrows and European starlings from overtaking the nests. Next, do a thorough check of your mounting hardware. Martin house poles that are faulty and not maintained can be a safety risk for the birds, you and your kids. 

If you have a telescoping purple martin pole, check that all parts are present and the locking mechanism is seated properly. Clean any rusted areas with a sander. If your purple martin pole system includes a pulley, or other rope mechanism, oil the pulley. Replace the rope if necessary (frayed etc..). 

Inspect the concrete or soil surrounding the pole for foundation issues.  Ensure that the pole is study.  Make sure that your predator guard is seated properly on the pole and hasn’t been damaged by squirrels or raccoons. 

Fall and winter is an excellent time to maintain your martin house and equipment. By removing or closing the home for winter, access is denied to house sparrows or starlings, and gives you an opportunity to check for safety and health issues with the equipment.

Choosing the Right Bird Seed Tube Feeder

Tube feeders are a great way to offer your backyard birds some tasty and nutritious bird seed anytime of the year.  This type of bird seed feeder is available in a variety of styles and sizes that you are sure to find one that suits your needs.  A great feature about tube feeders is that they neatly hold the bird seed until the bird comes to take it and the seed stays fresher inside of the tube protected from the elements.  When choosing your bird seed tube feeder, here are some things that your should consider:

  • The type of bird that you want to attract.  Tube feeders can hold a variety of bird seed.  Some can hold only sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, and others can hold a variety of seeds.  Some birds, such as finches, desire thistle seed, so putting up a thistle seed tube feeder will help to attract these types of birds.  One of my favorite bird seed is the Triple Tube Wild Bird Feeder because it can hold either mixed seed or thistle seed.  It also holds 10.5 pounds of bird seed, so you won’t have to keep refilling it everyday.
  • The amount of seed you want it to hold.  There are several bird seed tube feeders that come in a variety of sizes to give you a coordinated look in your yard or you can use one length throughout your yard.  The larger amount of seed the tube feeder holds, the less you will have to fill it up.  A great tube feeder for any bird lover that is available in different sizes is the  Quick-Clean Seed Tube Feeder.   Not only is this feeder easy to fill, it is also easy to clean.
  • The type of material.  While most bird seed tube feeders are available in a clear, UV-resistant plastic, some manufacturers are now making bird seed tube feeders in an earth friendly material.  Whether it is glass, UV-resistant plastic or recycled plastic, it will be easy for you to clean and maintain.  The EZ Clean Recycled Bird Feeder with Green Seed Ports is a great feeder for any environmentally-conscious bird lover.  This feeder is made of recycled plastic milk jugs and has a snap-out base that makes it easy to clean.

With so many styles to choose from, it can be hard to choose a tube feeder.  It is a good idea to select a few different types if you are a new bird enthusiast to determine which feeder works best for you.  For a great selection of all your bird supply needs, check out Rachel’s Robin.

Easily Improve Your Knowledge of Birds with a Book

During the fall and winter, when most of the birds have migrated south, it is a great time to improve your knowledge of birds.  Improving your knowledge of birds is important when trying to attract more birds to your yard or when identifying a particular type of bird.  An informative book is a great way to increase your knowledge of both birds and attracting birds to your yard.

One of my favorite bird books is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds.  This informative book has great information on birds that are native to North America.  You will learn all about the birds that live in your zone and their feeding and living habits.  This type knowledge is ideal for learning how to attract the birds you want to see to your yard with seed, feeders, and shelter.  In addition, this book is great for taking with you as a guide on a nature walk in the park or the woods.  You will want to have this great book with every time you are bird watching.

For the beginning bird watcher, a great bird book to have is the Stokes Bird Feeder Book.  This book is very useful when planning out your bird feeder collection for the upcoming year.  It gives you imformative information on the various types of bird feeders available, what types of bird feeder shapes to start out with, and great pictures of both the female and male birds to help you identify the birds in your yard.  It also comes with a bird journal that is perfect for writing down the types of birds that visit you and the type of seed and feeder that they like.

In addition to these books, the Quick & Easy Attracting & Feeding Wild Birds, is perfect for the on-the-go bird watcher.  This quick read helps you to identify a number of birds that are the most commonly seen birds in North America.  It gives you tips on the types of plantings that are great for attracting birds and the type of seed that you should use.  With this easy-to-read book, you will become an expert in no time. 

A bird book is a great way for bird lovers to understand how to attract birds easier to your yard, helps with identification, and makes bird watching more productive.  Whether you are beginner or an expert, a great bird book is a must have.  For more great bird books, check out Rachel’s Robin.