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Tag Archive | "National Bird-feeding month"

National bird feeding month


Choose the right bird food, and you may see something like this unusual shot of a male (lower) and female Pileated Woodpecker, feeding at Nelson Township resident David Marin’s feeder. David sent us this photo last spring.

Choose the right bird food, and you may see something like this unusual shot of a male (lower) and female Pileated Woodpecker, feeding at Nelson Township resident David Marin’s feeder. David sent us this photo last spring.

Feeding Wild Birds

If you have a bird feeder in your backyard, you’re in good company. Bird watching is one of America’s fastest-growing hobbies, and surveys show that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds.

The appeal is obvious—by feeding birds we bring them close so we can see them more easily. Their colorful, lively company brightens up our lives, especially through the dreary days of winter.

Setting up a backyard bird feeder can make birds’ lives easier, too. In much of North America, winter is a difficult time for birds. Finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold.

What should you serve your bird visitors for dinner? And how should you serve it? The shelves of supermarkets, home and garden stores, and specialty bird-feeding stores are stocked with bags, buckets, and cakes of many food types, as well as numerous different feeders. You may find the task of selecting the best foods and feeders a bit daunting.

Choosing Bird Food

With such a variety of bird foods on the market it’s often hard to choose which is best.

In most areas, black-oil sunflower seed attracts the greatest variety of birds. It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and a high fat content. It’s small and thin-shelled, making it easy for small birds, such as the Tufted Titmouse, to handle and crack. Striped sunflower seeds are larger with thicker seed coats.

Although sunflower seeds are the all-round favorite, particularly for tree-dwelling birds, some birds prefer different foods. Blackbirds relish corn, for instance, whereas doves, like many ground-feeding birds, prefer white millet or red milo. Certain species may even have different food preferences in different parts of their range.

Check out birdsource.org to find out more, then visit local stores that supply birdseed, such as Cedar Springs Mill and Supply, to get just what you need for your backyard birds!

 

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February is national bird feeding month


This is the second in a four part series. 

By Ranger Steve Mueller

This little guy was seen at a feeder after the blizzard last year, at Bob and Mary Lou Fuller’s home, south of the Cedar Springs city limits.

This little guy was seen at a feeder after the blizzard last year, at Bob and Mary Lou Fuller’s home, south of the Cedar Springs city limits.

 

Bird feeder variety will attract more birds. It is not necessary to become elaborate but some features may cost more upfront and will save money over time. A coming article will discuss feeder options.

Cost and value (energy content) of seed is important for you and the birds. Days of free suet are gone. When I began using suet, meat markets gave animal fat away. It was a waste product. About 40 years ago, they learned to market the high-energy food and began charging. Their cost was the wrapping paper and of course the butcher’s time. Since then, processed suet cakes have become popular and some have seeds encased.

Your preference might be for simple suet cakes that fit easily into a rectangular wire basket or possibly a larger basket that holds chunks of suet from the meat counter. Baskets are better than bag holders. Hang the suet from tree branches. Rubber coated wire baskets look sharp and last longer. It was rumored that a bird’s eye may freeze to bare wire and blind it in the manner a person’s tongue will stick to frozen metal. I have never heard of a case where an eye was damaged. A real danger is suet holding onion bags made of string or plastic. While I was a ranger at Traverse City State Park, I came home to a dead Downy Woodpecker hanging by the head from my string suet bag. It got caught and could not free itself. That was 1969 and the last time I used the bags.

_OUT-Birdfeedingmonth2-Woodpecker-maleWoodpeckers especially find suet favorable but chickadees, nuthatches, and even crows come to the hanging baskets. Pieces fall to the ground when birds peck at it where ground-feeding birds like juncos and cardinals clean up.

Cost of feed is important and birdseed has doubled in price since sunflowers and corn are now used to make bio-fuel. Other agricultural products are better for that purpose but a shift has not occurred yet.

I consider black oil sunflower seed the biggest bang for the buck. Local feed mills are great and often are more cost effective than chain stores. Locally owned feed mills keep money in the community and provide personal service with a hometown feeling. The black oil seed has a better ratio of seed “meat” to hull compared with striped sunflower seed. One can buy hulled seed but it is prohibitively expensive so I let the birds hull the seeds themselves. If you live in an apartment, the landlord may allow hulled seeds but not seeds with hulls.

When comparing prices, check bag weight. Larger bags are less expensive per unit than 5 or 10-pound bags. Large bags weigh 40 or 50 pounds. I buy the larger ones to keep costs down. Some of you know I am challenged with multiple myeloma cancer that resulted in seven spontaneous spinal fractures. Doctor orders limit my lifting to 25 pounds to help prevent more fractures. That means I cannot move the large bag of seeds but the local mill loads them in my car and at home family members move them to the storage bin. Imposed on many of us are limitations that may require the purchase of lightweight bags. Check your local feed dealer in the yellow pages.

To prevent mice, shrew, and vole access, use a tightly sealed storage bin. Mine holds 100 pounds of seeds but I only buy 50 pounds at a time unless the price is excellent. Keep seed dry to avoid rot. I only feed during the winter and cold weather aids seed storage. Sometimes I feed birds during summer but mostly use yard landscaping to provide bird food. A coming Nature Niche will describe landscaping for wildlife.

Thistle seed is a bird favorite, but expensive. I put it on my Christmas wish list and use it sparingly. Other excellent protein sources are peanuts and live mealworms. More on feeding will be in the coming Nature Niche.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433 or call 616-696-1753.

Read part one in this series here: http://cedarspringspost.com/2013/01/31/ranger-steves-nature-niche-4/

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National bird-feeding month


Judy Porter, of Nelson Township, sent us these photos of birds eating grape jelly from her back deck last summer. She said they are two different types of Baltimore Orioles, and that she also feeds them orange halves.

Judy said she feeds the birds from early fall to late spring. “We have pine, wild cherry, young maple and wild crabapple trees, with a pond in back, so get a big variety of birds,” she explained.

They also get a variety of food, including wild bird seed, plain sunflower seed, cracked corn, peanut butter, suet cakes, old bread and nuts.

So how do birds know what’s good for them to eat? Click link for Ranger Steve’s article, “How birds know.”

Send your bird photos to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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February is national bird feeding month


These two pileated woodpeckers were spotted in Cedar Springs last winter, by two different people. Send your bird photos to news@cedarspringspost.com.

Calling all bird lovers!  The National Bird-Feeding Society (NBFS) is pleased to announce that February is National Bird-Feeding Month!  The theme for 2011 is “Most Wanted–America’s Top Ten Backyard Birds.”

Throughout the month, the NBFS will highlight the joys of bird feeding by providing tips and techniques to create a successful bird feeding and watching experience.

“While many of the top ten birds can be found year round, others may only visit during spring and fall migration or during the breeding or wintering season,” commented Dr. David Horn, director of the NBFS and associate professor of biology at Millikin University.  “By providing bird seed and bird feeders year round, offering alternative bird foods and water, putting up bird houses, and making your yard safe for birds, you can enjoy America’s ‘Most Wanted’ backyard birds.”

The Top Ten Backyard Birds east of the Rocky Mountains are the American Goldfinch, Chickadee (Black-capped/Carolina), Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

With the exception of the hummingbirds, who feed on nectar, the top ten birds eat bird seed.  Among their most preferred bird foods are black-oil sunflower, Nyjer® (thistle), sunflower hearts, and white proso millet and are attracted to tube, hopper, and platform bird feeders.

“Whether you live in a rural, suburban or urban environment, there are always birds that can be attracted to your yard,” continued Horn.  “Having the right combination of food and feeders is the key to a successful bird feeding experience.”

“Whatever the reason you feed wild birds, bringing America’s ‘Most Wanted’ backyard birds to your yard will be an enjoyable experience,” remarked Stacey Johansen, manager of the NBFS.  “It’s an entertaining, educational and inexpensive pastime that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.”

National Bird-Feeding Month was established in 1994. Over 55 million Americans over the age of 16 feed birds around their home, making bird-feeding the second most popular hobby in the United States behind gardening.

For more information on National Bird-Feeding Month, visit www.birdfeeding.org.

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February is National Bird-feeding month


This little guy was seen at a feeder Wednesday morning, after the blizzard, at Bob and Mary Lou Fuller’s home, south of the Cedar Springs city limits. Thanks, Mary Lou! Send your bird photos to news@cedarspringspost.com

Calling all bird lovers! The National Bird-Feeding Society (NBFS) is pleased to announce that February is National Bird-Feeding Month. The theme for 2011 is “Most Wanted—America’s Top Ten Backyard Birds.”
Throughout the month, the NBFS will highlight the joys of bird feeding by providing tips and techniques on their website to create a successful bird feeding and watching experience. We’ll do the same here in the Post.
“While many of the top ten birds can be found year round, others may only visit during spring and fall migration or during the breeding or wintering season,” commented Dr. David Horn, director of the NBFS and associate professor of biology at Millikin University. “By providing bird seed and bird feeders year round, offering alternative bird foods and water, putting up bird houses, and making your yard safe for birds, you can enjoy America’s ‘Most Wanted’ backyard
birds.”
The Top Ten Backyard Birds east of the Rocky Mountains are the American Goldfinch, Chickadee (Black-capped/Carolina), Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, and White-breasted Nuthatch. The Top Ten Backyard Birds west of the Rocky Mountains are the American Goldfinch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Chickadee (Black-capped/Mountain), Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Rufous Hummingbird, and White-breasted Nuthatch.
With the exception of the hummingbirds, who feed on nectar, the top ten birds eat bird seed.
Among their most preferred bird foods are black-oil sunflower, Nyjer® (thistle), sunflower hearts, and white proso millet and are attracted to tube, hopper, and platform bird feeders.
“Whether you live in a rural, suburban or urban environment, there are always birds that can be attracted to your yard,” continued Horn. “Having the right combination of food and feeders is the key to a successful bird feeding experience.”
“Whatever the reason you feed wild birds, bringing America’s ‘Most Wanted’ backyard birds to your yard will be an enjoyable experience,” remarked Stacey Johansen, manager of the NBFS. “It’s an entertaining, educational and inexpensive pastime that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.”
National Bird-Feeding Month was established in 1994. Over 55 million Americans over the age of 16 feed birds around their home, making bird-feeding the second most popular hobby in the United States behind gardening. The NBFS is the proud sponsor of National Bird-Feeding Month, helping make the backyard bird feeding and watching hobby better for people and wild birds.
The NBFS accomplishes its mission by connecting hobbyists with education and research about backyard bird feeding. The goal of the NBFS is to help bring some of nature’s most beautiful sights and sounds right outside your window.
For more information on National Bird-Feeding Month, visit www.birdfeeding.org.

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