Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Birdhouse Birthday Cake Design - Parenting.com

Birdhouse Birthday Cake Design - Parenting.com
This beautiful cake would delight any child!  Find the complete directions by clicking the above link.  Have fun!

Blue Bird Candle Holder, Chinaberry.com

Blue Bird Candle Holder, Chinaberry.com
I found an adorable blown-glass bird birthday candle holder.  You could use it in the center of the birthday cake and add regular candles to fill in with; or make it the star on a cupcake just for the birthday boy or girl.
                                 This is a cute way to get kids interested in bird watching!
Grandma Pearl

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rain Gardens -- Mini Wetlands for Birds

Rainwater Gardens have become very popular with home gardeners, communities and local and state governments because of their benefits and efficiency.  For that reason there are grants at the state level, as well as plant lists and all kinds of great information available for helping you in your rain garden efforts.

Rainwater gardens are both beautiful and practical; they filter and purify water runoff and provide a wildlife habitat for birds and butterflies, plus, they're easy to maintain.  Many wetlands have been taken over by farms and urban sprawl.  Returning some of that wetland habitat to the birds and other wildlife, while restoring clean water to our underground aquifers, is a win-win situation.  Read my article to discover how you can make a beneficial rain garden, step by step.

                                         My rain garden started 5 years ago--I love this garden!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hummingbirds Will Arrive Again Soon!

My male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is back 'home' for the summer!
by Grandma Pearl
If you are a hummingbird lover like me, then you will be interested in the newest Citizen Science Project from  Audubon coming in March, 2013.  Sign up to receive information in your email

Around about the last week in April, or the first week in May my hummers will be back!  I always look forward to their arrival.  The males will come first, with the females following about a week later.

I’ll never forget that warm spring day. I had just started outside to survey my gardens when a tiny shimmering green female hummingbird came speeding toward me at eye level. My first reaction was, of course, to move my head back to avoid what I thought to be a certain collision. Instead, she suddenly stopped about a foot from my face and hovered for a few seconds looking into my eyes, then sped away to the newly-hung nectar feeder.
After I gathered myself from being so startled, I had a flash of insight---she was saying ‘hello’ and showing appreciation for the ready food source after her long journey!  Read more about my very personal encounters with these little flying jewels.  
Tiny Hummingbird in silhouette perched in the tree right over my head.
by Grandma Pearl
Here is my own easy homemade nectar recipe:   
I use a 32 oz. Pyrex glass measure because it has a convenient spout and I can easily see the measurement lines.  Add pure cane sugar to the ½ cup line on the quart measuring cup.  Then fill it to the 2-½ cup line with cold water.  Stir with a wooden spoon and place uncovered into the microwave.  Times will vary with the size and power of your microwave, but mine takes 2 minutes on High to come to a simmer.

After removing my homemade nectar from the microwave, I stir again to make sure all the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.  Allow the nectar to cool to room temperature before filling your feeders.  Refrigerate any remaining nectar to use at the next refill.  I use a Mason jar with a regular, tight fitting screw-on lid.

It is very important to note that you must use only pure cane sugar.  Artificial sweeteners or honey are deadly to hummers and should never be used as nectar.  Hummingbirds cannot assimilate these sweeteners and therefore can gain no nutrition from them.
Bee Balm is a hummingbird magnet!
from my garden--Grandma Pearl

Here is a list of Hummingbird Attracting Flowers and Shrubs:

Foxglove, Agastache, Delphiniums, Larkspur, Azaleas, Flowering Quince, Indian Pink, Bleeding Hearts, Mexican Sunflower, fragrant Bee Balm, Lemon Balm, Day Lilies, Coral Bells, Honeysuckle, Impatiens and Columbine.
If the plant has a deep throat or spurs, it will attract hummers.  Every year I have a huge area that fills in naturally with wild Jewelweed, also known as Touch-Me-Not, a member of the Impatiens family.  My hummingbirds fly in and out of that patch constantly.   Salvia, Scarlet Runnerbean as well as Zinnias and Geraniums will also serve to beckon hummers to your yard and gardens.  My hummers are especially fond of the Weigela bushes as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

5 Ways to Attract Northern Cardinals to Your Yard

Male Cardinal Basking in the Sunshine
from Grandma Pearl

Before we moved to our present location over 20 years ago, my bird feeders were visited by male and female cardinals on a regular basis.  I always enjoyed seeing the bright red color of the males, and the lovely brownish-green tinted female cardinals savoring the sunflower seeds.  In fact, I took it for granted that cardinals would live wherever I lived.
Such was not the case, however.  At least 2 years passed and still I had no cardinals visiting my bird feeders near our new house in the wooded hills.  I had assumed they would automatically be drawn in just by providing sunflowers seeds, but I was wrong!
After much research I came up with a simple plan that would not fail to attract my beloved redbirds.
The best way to lure Northern Cardinals to your yard and gardens is to provide their favorite foods, a safe place in which to shelter and build their nests, a source of clean water and the right plants for their preferred habitat.  Here are my best tips for enticing cardinals to your property.
Grandma Pearl
Create a Bird-Friendly Cottage Garden in 5 Easy Steps

Cardinals like to forage on the ground for seeds.
from Grandma Pearl

Why Use Native Plants in Your Yard & Garden?

Today it is a cold 20 degrees, the wind is blowing and the snow is swirling.  Yet spring is not far off, and my thoughts turn to my newest garden for the birds.  I know that I want to plant native shrubs and perennials.  They have adapted well in this climate and environment, they won't be stressed by crazy weather conditions; and the birds, butterflies and beneficial insects all recognize and use the native plants to best advantage.    I love to use different columbines and bee balms as well as salvias and peonies.  Those are my favorites, along with astilbe and lilacs.  I'll use them for my basics and add on from there.  It's always so exciting to plan a new garden, especially to attract birds, butterflies, etc.  I hope the mulberry bush I planted last year has survived the winter and will grow fast this summer!  Once it sets berries, I will be looking for orioles, more grosbeaks, cedar waxwings and many more beautiful songbirds to enjoy its fruit.  I might even get a chance to sneak a few berries myself!
For more information on using native plants, and an extensive plant data base from which to choose, check out the Birds and Blooms Blog.  What are your favorite native plants?  Do you use them to attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects?
Grandma Pearl

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Indigo Bunting Video from YouTube

I could listen to and watch this beautiful bird and its equally beautiful song all day long!

Best Ways to Attract These Beautiful Birds to Your Feeders

Click Here: White Throated Sparrow  to discover more about these sweet birds.

                                          Photo by Roland Jordahl   from Birds & Blooms

Friday, February 15, 2013

Victory for Birds!

Each year millions of birds are killed by colliding with windows.  There are new special products that help birds to see and avoid windows.  Thanks to a judge in Ontario, Canada, many birds will now be safe from hitting windows.  The judge ruled on Monday that under Canada's Environmental Protection Act, building owners, especially of high-rise tower buildings, can be held liable if light reflected from their windows causes either death or injury to birds.

This sets a new precedent for landlords of these tall buildings to be required to retrofit their windows with a new film that makes the glass visible by use of ultraviolet light.  Birds are very good at detecting the ultraviolet part of the light spectrum.

For newer construction, window glass makers have perfected a special product that breaks up the reflection that birds see.  If you take a walk around your house and look at what is reflected in your windows, you will see how birds end up hitting windows.  To them it looks just like the sky, trees and open air in which they normally fly.

This new ruling will go a long way towards saving millions of birds from this avoidable hazard.  To Read more about what you can do to make your windows safe for birds, click here:  Why Do Birds Fly In To Windows?

Downy Woodpecker Playing Peekaboo With Me!

On this day there was a downy woodpecker playing peekaboo around the tree with me.  Any other time it would have been perched on the suet feeder chipping away at the suet.  View my one minute video by clicking on the arrow in the center of the picture. 


                                                                                                                                                                                     How to keep Woodpeckers from Damaging Your House

Male Downy Woodpecker Enjoying Suet

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Do Owls Turn Their Heads Almost Totally Around?

Have you ever wondered how owls can turn their heads almost all the way around without hurting themselves?  Scientists have been mystified up until now.  If humans try to do this, it will cause a stroke or worse.  Now, thanks to medical scans we can see into the anatomical structures that make it possible for owls to safely turn their heads up to 270 degrees without injury.  
Learn More

      Barn Owl from flickr.com,   

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lots of new Bird Cams available for viewing from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, including redpolls, grosbeaks and great blue herons!  Click here

                                                   Female Common Redpoll
                                                by Grandma Pearl

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cute little wren from flickr.com, CC-BY-SA http://www.flickr.com/photos/amayzing/8419556183/

"JENNY" WRENS ARE LIVELY LITTLE BIRDS, that eat many insects in a day.  So they will keep your yard and gardens in good shape.  Providing nesting houses for them will assure they stay in your area.  If you hear a loud repeat of 'tea kettle, tea kettle', you most decidedly have a Carolina Wren patrolling your property!  Leave your dryer lint or hair from your hairbrush out on the ground, and the little wrens will use it for nesting material! I have a wren bird house next to my front door on a shelf, and it is occupied every year.  These diminutive brown birds may be small, but they pack a powerful song that you will welcome!

Three birds to watch for in January and February - BirdWatching Magazine

Three birds to watch for in January and February - BirdWatching Magazine