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)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

On this overcast Easter Day my birds are busily flying back and forth to and from the feeders; chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, juncos and blue jays, as well as red polls and gold finches.  I can't wait for the gold finches to shed their winter coats and don their bright yellow sunshine feathers. 
Goldfinches on Tube Feeder
photo by Grandma Pearl

Yes, spring is on its way even if the temperature is below average and the sun chose not to shine today.  The birds seem not to care a bit.  The robins are calling for rain, which is in the forecast by the way; the nuthatches are combing the trees and the Little Brown Creeper haltingly works its way upward, spiraling around the tree in search of a juicy meal.

I heard the dawn chorus yesterday morning, for the first time this year. I'm thinking the birds know something I don't, so my hopes are for a real change in the weather coming soon! 
Crocus photographed by Grandma Pearl

Grandma Pearl

Log Cabin Bird House with Stone Chimney
from rusticbarnwoodbirdhouses.com

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Black-Capped Chickadees are Nesting!

Black-Capped Chickadee in my Weigela Bush
photo by Grandma Pearl

My sweet and friendly little chickadees have been building nests since the beginning of March.  They are very busy all day long, and make frequent stops at the bird feeders to refuel.

Black-Capped Chickadees love the black oil sunflowers seeds!
photo by Grandma Pearl

I've seen them grab tufts of cotton from this bird nest pumpkin I made for them.  Unfortunately, so far they have been too fast for me to snap a good picture of them!
Pumpkin-shaped grapevine is perfect for making into a bird nesting material holder.
photo by Grandma Pearl

I purchased this inexpensive pumpkin-shaped grapevine ball at a local craft store and then added pieces of cotton batting, clean animal fur I had collected, and cotton yarn cut into 4" to 6" lengths.  There are plenty of spaces in which to tuck the materials; plus the grapevine has little natural hooks that seem to hold the stuff in place until birds tug on it.

You can also use a clean suet holder for this same purpose.  Be sure to hang your creation where it will be protected from rain and snow.  Birds will start to nest in late February right on through to June.  This is a fun project to do with your kids and grand kids as well.

I happened to capture a very short video of this little chickadee as it was working at some fluff it had found for its nest.  As luck would have it, my batteries ran out!

It takes about 12 days for chickadee eggs to hatch; then look for baby chickadees to fledge and take their first flight about 14 to 16 days later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Migratory Birds Are the Original Inventors of GPS Systems and Heads Up Displays

Spring is a wonderful time when the Earth begins to yawn and stretch. She turns over in bed several times before getting up, and that's why March is such a crazy month here in the Northeast! One day it feels like spring has arrived, the next day we have 3" of snow covering the crocus. Soon, though, she will decide it is time to begin her morning. And that's when we'll start to see our birds arriving from their southerly homes.

I know they have flown thousands of miles to come stay with me for the summer. So I make sure my bird feeders are well stocked. They'll be hungry and tired, and searching for a meal is the last thing they need to do after that arduous journey.

Noting the date of each bird species' arrival helps me to determine when bird houses should be cleaned and in place for this year's new generation. Even if you don't want to bother to keep track, you can find birding festivals in your area, which are held at peak migration times. It's a fun family outing to attend a migration event. Make sure you bring your binoculars and or camera. You might be pleasantly surprised to see birds you've never observed before!

Find out all about the latest scientific findings about birds' built-in GPS systems and Virtual Heads Up Displays by clicking here
Grandma Pearl

                                                   Drawing by Grandma Pearl

Find information about rusticbarnwoodbirdhouses.com Here
Create a Beneficial Rain Garden--Mini Wetland for Wild Birds
Attracting Birds to Your Yard With Flowers
The Perfect Bird-Friendly Evergreens

Friday, March 15, 2013

Briar Patches Are For the Birds

That’s right--they love ‘em!  Plant even a small briar patch and you’re almost guaranteed to see birds that have never visited your yard before.  There’s  a large variety of berry plants from which to choose, including thornless.  Plant enough bushes for you and your backyard birds to enjoy.

It started out to be a leisurely day with lots of sunshine and crisp temperatures.  I was minding my own business flying around looking for a suitable nesting spot or two, when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a hawk!  My heart began to race; and the blood pumped hard into my chest and wings. I flew as fast as I could, but knew I would not be able to outrun this predator.

Frantically I looked around for a safe harbor.  There in front of me was a beautiful thick tangle of thorny branches!  I skillfully maneuvered between the prickly stems and found a spot on which to land.  With my beak wide open I started to pant; trying not to let the anxiety overwhelm me, I looked around for the hawk.  The hawk was flying away.  Whew!  That was a close call.  This briar patch saved my life.  Come to think of it, this would be a wonderful place to build a safe nest!
Grandma Pearl

Attract Birds by Planting a Raspberry Patch
Recipe for Raspberry Cobbler
Chart for Raspberry Varieties, Zones, Ripening Time

photo from greenlimbs.com

Monday, March 11, 2013

What To Do If You Find a Baby Bird

Oh my goodness!  There's a little bird on the ground.  I don't see any adult birds around.  Should I try to put it back in the nest, should I leave it alone and hope the parents find it?

The first thing you need to do is clear the area of children and pets.  Keep them inside until you can monitor the situation.  Some baby birds are on the ground for a reason.  Robins, for instance, are ground foragers.  So it makes sense that their offspring get used to the idea of being on the ground when they are very young.  That can be hazardous to their health, however, if predators are near.  If the baby bird is old enough, it will probably make its way to a nearby bush under which it can hide and be more camouflaged.

If on the other hand the baby bird has been pushed out by older, stronger siblings, that poses a different problem.  Putting it back in the nest will most likely end up with the same result.  Birds lay multiple eggs so that as many healthy and strong baby birds survive as possible.  You've heard the old saying 'survival of the fittest'.  Well, that applies to birds, too.  The youngster that makes the most noise and eats the fastest will receive more attention and therefore more food from the adult birds.  The more it eats, the stronger and larger it becomes. The weakest sibling is vulnerable to being forced out of the nest, and most often that is what happens.

Sometimes when a baby bird ends up on the ground, one or more of the parent birds will respond to the calls of its youngster and continue to feed it while it is on the ground.  Again, the survival of this little guy depends upon how well it can hide and stay quiet if and when predators come around. 

If the baby bird appears to be injured or abandoned, it is best to call in a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.   CLICK HERE for more information written by a wildlife rehabber.
Grandma Pearl

15 Myths About Wild Birds
What Would You Do If You Found an Injured Raptor?
How Do Birds Know What to Sing?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Young Deer Visiting

This beautiful young deer still sports its winter coat, but will soon be getting ready for spring!
                                                  image by Grandma Pearl

Mouse and Rat Poison--What They're Not Telling Us!

Second generation rodent killing chemicals are indiscriminately poisoning our children, pets and wildlife. In fact, rodenticides are killing off the natural rodent controls at an alarming rate, leaving us to face the real possibility of a rodent infestation that‘s beyond help. Find out why this is happening and easy ways you can help.

Grandma Pearl

What Would You Do If You Found an Injured Raptor?
How to Create a Beneficial Rain Garden--Mini Wetland for Birds
Find Great Nesting Boxes Made by American Craftsmen Here

Friday, March 1, 2013

Northern Cardinal in Winter Plumage

Image by Grandma Pearl
This beautiful male Northern Cardinal is still decked out in his winter plumage.  Even though it's the first of March, here in the Northeast winter seems to be hanging on tight!  He'll soon be displaying mate feeding behavior, and searching for a suitable place in which to nest.  Cardinals prefer thorny thickets, rose bushes, vine-covered trellises or dense shrubs to nest and keep their youngsters safe from would-be predators. 

12 Fun Ways to Get Kids Interested in Birds and Bird Watching

When my brothers and I were young, my grandfather took us on an adventure right in our own backyard.  Actually, since we lived in a rural area near large pastures, forests areas and a swamp, wetland and beautiful woodland streams, we ventured much further than our own backyard that day.

Grandpa pointed out all kinds of ferns, wildflowers, bugs, butterflies, tadpoles, deer and birds as we walked from habitat to habitat.  Obviously after all these years I still remember that wonderful day.  It opened my eyes to so many different things that I now talk a walk in my woods every day that the weather allows.

The first way to get kids involved in birds and bird watching is to take a nature walk.  Look to the trees, shrubs and sky no matter where you live.  In the city you can go to the park.  Even if you think you won't discover anything new, I'll bet if you look hard enough nature will surprise you!
Read my article on "12 Fun Ways to Get Kids Interest in Bird Watching" for all kinds of activities sure to spark their interest in this amazing hobby!

                                   First Nature Walk from flickr.com, peter rawsthorne, CC-BY-SA

Your comments are most welcome and appreciated!  Thanks, Grandma Pearl