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)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Importance of Providing Water for Wild Birds Year Round

My chickadees often visit this bird bath for a drink and a splash!
from Grandma Pearl

Water For The Birds

Wintertime is not only cold, but dry!  I can't tell you how many times I've used hand lotion the last couple of weeks; nor how much water I've swallowed.  The cold temperatures rob all the moisture from the air, inside and outside.  The humidity in my house goes from a normal of 55% way down to about 25 to 30%. 

The wildlife around us needs just as much water as we do.  In the wintertime when all water sources are frozen solid, or have dried up completely, our birds still need essential water to survive.  Snow on the ground can serve as a source for the birds, but it costs them valuable energy they need to stay warm.  In order to metabolize that snow, birds have to use up some of their energy stores.  So that means more time spent foraging for food.  And then there are often times when there is no snow on the ground, but temperatures are still below freezing.
That's where we come in--By adding an inexpensive de-icer to our bird bath or basin.  It can literally mean the difference between survival and doom for our feathered friends.  These devices are safe to be submerged, and they will not harm the birds in any way.  Use a UL listed outdoor-rated electric cord and plug that in to your de-icer.  It will keep the water at about 40 degrees.   You must make sure that there is water in the bird bath at all times, otherwise the de-icer will keep trying to warm the air.  That can lead to a 'fried' de-icer.

There are thermostatically-controlled bird bath heaters as well.  They shut off automatically when there is no water in the bird bath.  Alternatively, you can also find heated bird baths that have built-in de-icers.  If you live in a colder climate that receives a lot of sun in the winter, then you might want to consider a solar-powered bird bath.

Whatever you choose, remember to keep your bird bath filled with water all the time.  Birds will come to rely on your water source, and as a result you may see many birds you might not have seen before. Your yard will become a very popular spot in the neighborhood!

To learn more about different options and materials available for bird baths and de-icers, click here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Ideas For Feeding Birds in the Wintertime

Blue Jay at my feeder last winter
Grandma Pearl

Some unique bird feeding ideas from Birds & Blooms magazine, and me!

I have always fed my backyard birds all winter long.  In fact, I feed them year round!  Standard bird feeders are great, but I recently found a couple of different ideas for feeding birds from the newest Birds & Blooms magazine (december/january 2014), and thought I would share them with you.

A fun natural bird feeder involves making a snowman!  from Connie Banet Miller of Wolcottville, IN comes this great idea:
Build a snowman, give him a wide-brimmed hat and fashion some hands.  Add sunflower seeds to the hat brim and to the palms of his hands.  She says she has been able to get some great images of birds eating out of the palms of the snowman's hands!

Lindy Franklin of Plano, TX fills up paper cups with bird seeds and then tosses the cups out on top of the fresh snow.  I can imagine how much fun it would be to watch the birds retrieving goodies from the paper cups!

I like to save egg shells for the birds to use as seed holders.  My husband is a big egg eater, so there are always tons of egg shells around here.  After I wash them out and let them dry, I add bird seed mixed with fruit and nut bird mixture, place them on the tray feeder and watch the birds as they discover their treats.  The blue jays especially seem to love to carry off the empty shells!

In the fall when the acorns are plentiful, I collect the extras to store in a cool, dry place.  When snow covers the ground, I toss the acorns on top of the snow under the bird feeders.  Squirrels are happy to have the nuts, and sometimes I am lucky enough to attract some wild turkeys this way!
Grandma Pearl

Meet 'Persistent Q. Squirrel', always ready to grab a free handout!
Grandma Pearl

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter Bird Treat Recipe

Nuthatch loves homemade peanut butter treat
from Grandma Pearl

Birds Can't Resist This Peanut Butter Treat!

Very Best Easy Peanut Butter Bird Treat

Prep. Time:  5 min.
Cooking Time:  15 min.
Total Time:  20 min.


* ½ c. crunchy or smooth peanut butter
* ½ c. shortening
* ½ c. flour
* 1-½ c. cornmeal
* ½ c. cracked corn
* ½ c. black oil sunflower seeds
* ¼ c. raisins or currants
* ¼ c. dried apricots, apples or cherries

Clean plastic containers. . . I use yogurt cups, but any small plastic container will do just fine.


In a saucepan over low heat, melt peanut butter and shortening.  Stir in cornmeal and flour until combined.  Add cracked corn and sunflower seeds.  Remove from heat and mix in raisins, currants, and dried fruit.

Transfer to plastic cups and allow to cool.  Refrigerate overnight and serve to your hungry, grateful birds!  You can use an offset spatula to fill the holes of a suet log with this yummy mixture.  Freeze any extra for later use.
Peanut Butter Bird Treat is very popular with the birds!
from Grandma Pearl

This recipe was inspired by Laura Klappenbach’s ‘Simply Nutty Bird Treat’ at About.com Guide

Grandma Pearl
Suet Log 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peanut Bird Feeder Wreath from Songbird Essentials

Whole Peanut Wreath Feeder

 I bought this feeder about a month ago, and was a little skeptical about the birds actually using it.  My fears were unfounded, as it took only a day for the woodpeckers to find it!  They have been regular visitors ever since.  Both the downy and hairy woodpeckers work at it constantly.  But they don't pluck each peanut out individually, rather they peck at the shells and pull out the nuts inside.

The wreath measures 12" in diameter, and is like a heavy-duty slinky with hooks that are connected to the central hanging hook.  The spacing is just right so that the peanuts do not automatically fall out, but can easily be plucked out by birds like blue jays.  I filled it with unsalted whole shell peanuts, which I was very lucky to find on sale at my local grocery store!  In fact, I picked up several bags at the sale price to keep my birds in peanuts throughout the winter months.

I have really enjoyed watching my birds using this new feeder.  The natural fats found in the peanuts help keep their feathers in good condition, and also help to maintain their body heat at optimum levels even in the coldest weather.  I think it was a good investment and a great addition to my backyard bird feeders!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Make a Holiday Bird Feeder Wreath and Stop Window Collisions

Chickadees enjoy grabbing seeds from these mesh feeders.
Photo by Grandma Pearl

Here's a Fun Project that will keep your birds from colliding with your windows, while you enjoy watching their antics!

Have you ever heard that heart-sinking ‘thud’ against your window; and you know immediately that one of your beautiful birds has met with a terrible fate?  Here’s a beautiful and easy idea to keep this from happening again.

Items you will need to make this easy bird feeder wreath.
Photo by Grandma Pearl
  • What you will need:

·         Scroll-type or other planter hanger installed on or above your outside window frame.     
·         Large grapevine or other wreath form—at least 24 inches across
·         A thickness of newspaper to cushion and protect your work surface
·         Wire cutters if working with silk flowers
·         Gloves
·         ‘S’ hook or flexible wire for making a hanging loop
·         Seasonal floral stems, or real holly or other evergreen branches
·         Seed ball, metal mesh, approx. 6” diameter, or other small bird feeder that can be hung inside the wreath   (I found mine at Amazon.com--click here)

Make sure your plant/wreath hanger is long enough to accommodate the thickness of your wreath plus the hanging bird feeder, so that birds have room to easily access the feeder.

How to Make a Seasonal Bird Feeder Wreath, Step by Step:

1.     1.         Lay thickness of newspapers on a flat work surface.  (Hint:  If you can do this outside, you will have a lot less cleanup to do!)
2.       Test fit your wreath to see which way you want it to hang.  Sometimes wreaths can be a little out of round or less full in one spot or another.  Fitting prior to working with it will prevent the ‘I wishes’;  ‘I wish I had put the hanger in another spot’, or ‘I wish the fullest part of the wreath had been on the bottom’, etc.
3.       Attach your ‘S’ hook through the desired spot on your wreath.  If you are using grapevine, make sure the hook is placed so that it will not slide around. 

         a.       If you are using wire to make your own hanging loop, measure approximately 8 inches of wire and snip with wire cutters.  Feed wire through the top of your wreath and twist the ends together to secure the loop.  Hide the twisted ends inside the wreath, if desired.
4.       If you purchased floral stems in a ‘bush’ or garland,  use your wire cutters to detach each stem from the bush as illustrated.  Garlands of holly and pine cones or poinsettias can be cut apart for use in this type of wreath.  Be sure to leave a long enough length to weave securely into the wreath form.
5.       I have holly bushes growing in my yard, so that is what I used.   If you have evergreen shrubs that you wish to incorporate into your wreath, cut the stems to lengths of 8” to 12” for a more natural look and ease of positioning into your form.
I have holly bushes, but you can add any real evergreens, or artificial floral stems you wish.
Photo by Grandma Pearl

6.        Envision a triangle overlaid on top of your wreath.  Start adding your stems at one of the 3 points of that virtual triangle.  Then go to the next point and then the third.  Fill in between those areas with more stems.  You can make your wreath as full or as sparse as you want—you are the designer and you cannot mess it up!
7.       When you are happy with the look of your creation, hang your bird feeder from the top inside of the wreath.

Finished Bird Feeder Wreath
Photo by Grandma Pearl

Other feeders that would work well with this window wreath:

  • Cedar log suet/peanut butter feeder
  • Hanging suet cage feeder
  • Hanging bird seed bell
  • Peanut butter/birdseed covered pine cones  ( Click Here for instructions)
  • Homemade popcorn ball*   easy recipe from food.com:  

Hint:  Add a hanging loop of thin jute twine as you form the popcorn balls, and before they harden.  
 I have enjoyed watching my birds from the comfort and warmth of my livingroom.  They visit these feeder wreaths regularly, and put on an interesting show.  My most frequent visitors are the chickadees and small woodpeckers.

The floral stems you use can be changed out seasonally, or for different holidays.  Either way, your birds will benefit greatly.
It is important to note that you will be refilling your bird feeder on a regular basis.   So make sure your wreath can be easily accessed to replenish seeds or any other nutritious foods you are offering to your birds.
After hanging my wreaths, it took my birds about a day to find them.  Since then, they have been regular visitors.  And the most important part:  NO BIRDS HAVE FLOWN INTO MY WINDOWS SINCE I HUNG UP MY BIRD FEEDER WREATHS!