Welcome to my Bird Blog!
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.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Friday, June 6, 2014
Much to my surprise, a tall plant with dark blue buds suddenly appeared in my garden in early May. I never planted it, so the birds must have done it for me! I watched it grow taller, and eagerly awaited the blooming of the many flowers along the branched stalk. After several weeks, I was rewarded for my patience.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Hummingbird Haven successfully protected
Magnificent Hummingbird Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidbygott/4456740326/
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Hummingbirds and Lots of Other Birds Migrate from Colombia Every Year!
Friday, May 9, 2014
I am always amazed at the beauty of Northern Orioles, not just for their physical appearance, but for their lyrical songs and enchanting call notes. They have honored me once again with their presence in my yard after a long migratory journey from South America.
|Male Northern Oriole Just Arrived, and he's looking thin and very hungry, but very handsome!|
|Beautiful Feather Colors of the Northern Oriole include yellow, orange, black and white.|
7 Natural Ways to Entice Orioles to Your Yard
Oriole Nectar Feeder
Thursday, April 24, 2014
- Newspaper or old tablecloth to cover your work surface
- Large straw hat with a 4" (approx.) deep crown to accommodate most backyard birds
- Glue Gun
- 12" x 12" piece of bubble wrap or other thick plastic to cover back of hat
- Wire cutters
- Assorted silk flowers of your choice
- Bottle cap measuring 1 1/2" in diameter
- Marking pen
- Start by tracing around 1 1/2" bottle cap or jar lid with marking pen in the middle of crown top; and then cut on marked line with scissors.
- Turn hat over and place bubble wrap over the back of the crown opening.
5. Use your glue gun to attach each flower over the staple points along the top of the straw hat brim. Then begin to fill in empty spots with more flowers and some leaves.
Building the Ultimate Brush Pile for Your Birds
Pearl's Backporch Scrapbook
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Help Out Mom & Pop!
Adult birds work their feathers off providing protein-rich insects and creepy crawlies for their offspring.
Offering easy meals at the bird feeder helps them tremendously. They don't have to spend time and energy foraging for themselves, and they can devote more time to poking good stuff down their babies' throats!
So make it easy on your poor mom and pop birds, and continue to feed them until their babies have 'flown the coop'.
If you have bears in your area, they will be waking up about now, too. So I totally understand if you have no choice but to hide your bird feeders from the big hungry animals!
Otherwise, do make sure your feeders are well stocked during this critical time in your birds' lives.
Photo Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/harpers/2507688238/
- Mount your bird house securely on a post, pole, or tree with the entrance hole facing away from the prevailing winds. In most cases that would be facing east; and the morning sun will gently warm the inside of the bird house. Facing towards the south is not a good idea because of the excessive heat and sun glare.
- Keeping your bird houses up year round can provide much needed shelter from harsh climates and strong stormy conditions. Birds will huddle together inside a birdhouse to keep warm and dry during bad weather. They will remember the safe, secure structure and return to use it for raising their families.
- Selecting different sizes of birdhouses will attract a variety of birds. They prefer rustic and primitive wood structures that mimic what they would find in the wild. The appearance and thickness of barn wood is ideally suited to maintain insulation against both heat and cold, and tempt nesting site seekers. Old barn wood’s very nature suggests just the right stuff to attract a wide variety of cavity nesters!
- Birds like to have their own territory, so spacing bird houses about 20’ to 25’ apart helps to minimize squabbles between neighbors. The outer perimeter or edge area of your property is the ideal place to hang or mount a bird house.
- Chickadees especially seem to favor a bird house that is close to shrubs like lilacs, honeysuckle or weigela. The density of those plants gives them a chance to survey their area for any possible predators before proceeding to their bird house. You see they don’t want to give away the location of their eggs or nestlings. Bushes also provide lots of protein snacks your birds need when they have a bunch of mouths to feed!
- Most nesting birds like a home that is between 5’ and 10’ off the ground. Bird house entrance holes should be between 1-1/4” and 1-3/4” in diameter to accommodate most backyard birds. Make sure your mounting pole is sturdy and does not sway or wobble in the wind. Our feathered friends need a secure and reliable place to raise their young.
- Be sure to add a baffle to your mounting pole to discourage critters from seeking out birds’ eggs or nestlings. A torpedo baffle works well against raccoons, while a cone-shaped baffle will deter snakes.
- Keep mice from setting up housekeeping in your bird houses by adding mint to the inside of the house. Mice hate mint! You can also plant a tub full at the base of your bird house pole. That works well for me because mint can be very invasive. Planting peppermint, spearmint or chocolate mint in a large pot and training it up the pole makes a pretty and fragrant garden statement.
- Fire ants can be a nuisance at best, and are downright lethal to baby birds at worst. Peel fresh oranges and throw the peels on top of the ant hill. You can use any kind of citrus because fire ants hate the oils in the fruit’s skin. Fire ant deterrents containing the volatile oils of citrus fruits are sold online and at local plant nurseries.
- Keep your bird houses clean! Birds will pass up a bird house if stuff from a previous tenant has been left inside. Before nesting season begins, clean out any debris, old nesting material, spider webs, etc. Then wash the inside of your house with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 9 parts of clear warm water. Rinse thoroughly, and set out in the fresh air to dry totally before remounting. It is vital for the health of the next generation of birds to take just a few minutes to perform this cleaning. In doing so, you destroy any parasite infestation or bacterial diseases that might otherwise claim the lives of your baby birds.
- Birds need a nearby source of clean water, either natural or provided by you in the form of a bird bath or fountain. Feathers need to be preened and cleaned on a regular basis; plus, birds get thirsty just as we humans do. Providing clean water is always a great way to attract birds to your yard.
- Plant a vegetable and/or flower and herb gardens. Color and fragrance attract birds and give them a reason to nest nearby. The critters that appear on your flowers and veggies are tasty treats for your birds and their youngsters. Most of our feathered friends require a steady diet of protein-rich bugs and creepy crawlies.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
|Male Purple Finch (a/k/a Raspberry Finch)|
|American Goldfinches Male and Female, Mourning Doves in the foreground.|
by Grandma Pearl
|Goldfinches in their winter plumage, lining the tree branches, waiting their turn at the feeders.|
by Grandma Pearl
- Nyjer (Thistle) Tube-style Feeder
- Sunflower Tube-style Feeder
- Ground Tray Feeder
- Platform Feeder
- Gazebo-style Feeder
- Fruit Feeder
- Basket Feeder
- Heated Bird Bath or Fountain--Finches are 'heavy drinkers' year round, and need a constant open water supply to help digest all that plant fiber. They also love to be clean, and bathe often.
|Male House Finch enjoying a sunflower seed.|
by Grandma Pearl
|These little finches love to swing as they pluck seeds from this easy-to-make Basket Feeder|
by Grandma Pearl
- Nyjer (Thistle) seed
- Black Oil Sunflower seed
- Peanut Hearts
- White Proso Millet
- Cracked Corn
- Rock Salt or Salt Block
- Sugar Water (hummingbird nectar)
|American Goldfinches foraging for sunflower seeds in the snow.|
by Grandma Pearl
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
|Barn Owl is Angry!|
from Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
- Food Source or Sources
Friday, February 21, 2014
Birds Need Calcium Just Like Humans
|Chicken Egg Shells that have been rinsed and dried.|
WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO PREPARE EGGS:
|It helps if you put a kitchen towel under the baggie. Some tiny small pieces may pop through the bag!|
- Zip-type baggie
- Rolling pin
- Kitchen towel
- Empty, dry chicken eggs
HOW TO PREPARE CHICKEN EGG SHELLS TO GIVE TO WILD BIRDS:
- Rinse each egg shell inside, then set aside to dry.
- Once the egg shells are dry, add them to a large plastic zip bag.
- Use a rolling pin to crush the egg shells, turning the bag over several times. You're looking for tiny pieces the birds can easily ingest.
- Store the baggie in the fridge until you are ready to serve the shells to your birds.
The shells can be added to a platform or tray-type feeder.
If you like scrambled eggs, hard-boiled, or even eggs over easy, remember your wild birds this spring. Cook an egg for them. Chop up the egg and add some of your crushed shells to the mixture, then stand back and enjoy watching the birds gobble them up! You will be ensuring that the next generation of backyard birds has enough calcium, as well as protein, to start out right.
Want more fun ideas for helping your backyard birds? Check out Pearl's Backporch Scrapbook
Free Bird Identification Apps
Fun Homemade Bird Treat Recipes
How to Make a Bird Nesting Ball!
Monday, January 27, 2014
These beautiful blue jays are suckers for pieces of bread crust, or day old bakery items like rolls, whole grain bread, etc. My chickadees and juncos also enjoy smaller pieces of the same items. Fat and starches help birds maintain their metabolic rates. Bakery products should not be offered exclusively, though. Here’s a list of the top five foods to help wild birds stay warm even in the coldest weather:
1. Black oil sunflower seed
3. Peanut Butter, offered on a special feeder, or slathered on bark
4. Bacon grease soaked up by pieces of white or whole grain bread
5. Fruit & Nut blend available commercially
Because many birds can easily assimilate black oil sunflower seeds, I have listed it first. It contains all kinds of good fats, and vitamins and minerals to help maintain birds flight feathers as well as their metabolism.
The above image shows some of my Goldfinches in their winter plumage. On top of the fresh snow I often toss sunflower seeds, which they seem to relish!
You can make your own suet, or buy it at your local big box hardware store, garden center or wild bird food center. I have also found it in my grocery store and at large discount retail stores. It isn’t hard to make your own, though. And I find it more cost effective. Here’s How
If you wish to offer peanut butter, you need to remember that it is oily and will leave a residue on any surfaces it contacts. Slather it on tree bark that you don’t mind becoming a little discolored. Keep in mind that other critters can easily find it, like my persistent red and grey squirrels, flying squirrels, raccoons, possums and mice. Any tree-climbing animal will adore you!
Every now and then I crave bacon—real bacon, not the turkey kind! When I do, I break up pieces of bread into the still warm grease. Once it has cooled completely, I serve it to my birds on a platform feeder. It doesn’t last long! Birds love bacon just as much as people.
The fruit and nut blend I buy includes unsalted shelled peanuts, canary seed, grit (which is essential for bird digestion), pieces of dried cherries, raisins, white proso millet**, black oil and grey striped sunflower seeds, dried pumpkin seeds and bits of shelled walnuts. A little goes a long way, so I offer a small amount each day in my basket feeder. Blue jays, finches, chickadees, tufted titmice and woodpeckers all stop by many times during the day for this special treat.
**White Proso Millet is a favorite with my Dark-Eyed Juncos.
This basket feeder is easy to make, and it attracts a variety of wild birds all day long.
How to Make an Easy Basket Feeder
How to Make Suet
How to Make an Easy Bird Feeder Basket
Peanut Butter Feeder
Fruit & Nut Blend
White Proso Millet
The Juncos I Have Come to Know
Beautiful Blue Jays
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The snow was falling hard and fast. Accumulations were predicted to reach an inch per hour, if not more. Apparently my birds knew about this ahead of time, because there were dozens of them lining the tree branches awaiting their turn at the feeders.
I needed to add another place for them to eat, but I had no more feeders handy. Keep in mind that there are 8 more feeders in other parts of my yard that were also filled with woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, blue jays, juncos and more finches, among others!
Scratching my head, I finally came up with a solution that I had stashed in my sunroom—an old basket with a long handle, and not too deep. The perfect bird feeder because it was rather loosely woven, and provided plenty of holes for drainage.
But the holes in the basket were obviously way too big to keep my bird seed from falling through. Aha! Also in my sunroom was an aluminum pie pan I had used under a large pot at one time. I washed the pie pan thoroughly and dried it so that the seeds would not mold. The pie pan needed drainage holes, so I hunted up my trusty hammer and a small nail. I punched several holes in the aluminum pan, and filled the bottom with black oil sunflower seeds and a little bit of fruit and nut seed mixture.
I looped a flexible piece of wire under the handle and up through the hole in a weather shield I had used before for other open bird feeders. That shield works very well to keep snow and rain from soaking the seeds. Then I finished the loop over my clothesline. If I had had another bird feeder pole, I would have used that instead, but the clothesline was very handy and easy to see from my living room window.
An alternative to the weather shield might be another larger aluminum pie pan with a hole punched in the middle, or even an old aluminum pizza pan. Anything that will keep the seeds dry so the birds can enjoy them will work.
I was very pleased to see some of my goldfinches taking advantage of their new food source. I have even had woodpeckers jump in for a seed or nut and then take off to the nearest tree with its treat. I spent a lot of time that day watching my birds out the window. There were breaks in the snowfall at times, but it snowed heavily other times. The birds didn’t seem to mind, and continued to visit all the feeders. It tickled me to see that I had provided yet another good spot for them to eat.
So if you have a basket, an aluminum pie plate, hammer, nail, pizza pan and a bit of wire, you have the makings for a fun bird feeder!