Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Does anyone know what kind of butterfly this is? Thanks in advance.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The video of the squirrel performing acrobatic acts is very intriguing but most squirrels turn tail and run after their first encounter. I tell people there is always hope that in the spring a new potential "flipper" could be born.
THE YANKEE FLIPPER is the definitive squirrel proof bird feeder. Birds love to eat from it, but squirrels are prevented from eating from it in a way that will make you smile. The weight activated feeding perch is calibrated to react to a squirrel's weight. When a squirrel steps on the perch, a connection is made with a motor that makes the perch spin, and the squirrel is flipped off the feeder. Thus, the name YANKEE FLIPPER.
The unit comes equipped with rechargeable nicad batteries and a battery charger. Would you expect anything less of Droll Yankees? It is easy to clean, easy to fill, has a lifetime guarantee, and is made in the USA.
21' long, 4 ports, 4 qt. cap.
Monday, March 29, 2010
So how do birds produce such a complex variety of notes?
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Description: Large, hawk-like bird with dark brown body and white head and tail. Heavy bill, legs, feet, and eyes are yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is dark brown with variable white mottling on wings and tail for the first four years of life.
General: Today, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are an estimated 9,789 breeding pairs of bald eagles. There are over 482 breeding pairs in Michigan. The Bald Eagle has been the symbol of the United States of America since 1782. At one time, the word “bald” (balde) meant white, not hairless, referring to the white head and upper neck of the adult Bald Eagle. They can live up to 40 years in the wild and even longer in captivity. A group of eagles has many collective nouns, including an "aerie", "convocation", "jubilee", "soar", and "tower" of eagles.
Behavior: Bald Eagles hunt mainly fish or scavenge for carrion. They don't mature until their fourth or fifth year only then receiving their characteristic white head and tail plumage. Bald Eagles generally mate for life and renew their pair bonds each year by adding new sticks and branches to their massive nests, the largest of any North American bird. Pairs perform dramatic aerial displays where a pair flies to a great height, lock talons and then tumbling perilously toward the earth. The birds brake off at the last second, just before crashing into the ground.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Earth Hour is upon us! Together, we have grown the movement in over 120 countries and all 50 states to include millions of people and thousands of communities and landmarks. Tomorrow night at 8:30pm local time, the world will unite in the largest mass action in history to call for action on climate change. We're turning off for Earth Hour because we care about our planet and our future. We are ready to create a cleaner, safer, more secure future.
You can watch a slideshow of the highlights tomorrow as Earth Hour sweeps across the globe at EarthHour.org. More than 1200 landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, Bird’s Nest Stadium, Great Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, and the Golden Gate Bridge will all be going dark with us!
CELEBRATE WITH US
When it's your turn to turn out the lights, be sure to share your experience with the world. Tag your tweets with #EarthHour and add your voice to the global call for action on climate change. You can follow the global conversation in real-time here.
We need your help to capture history in the making with photos and video. Once Earth Hour starts, this button will be available on earthhour.org to upload your photos. Please tag your photos with Earth Hour, Earth Hour 2010 and the name of the city and country where the photo was taken so they can be added to the global Flickr group. Any videos you take can be uploaded to YouTube and added to the Earth Hour Global group.
This will be a night worth remembering, the night the world comes together to make the switch to a low carbon economy that protects us from dangerous climate change. Tomorrow we unite to change the world.
Thank you for all your support. Meet you in the dark!
The Earth Hour US Team
Use this button on websites, blogs, and in social media to link to NestWatch at http://www.nestwatch.org/. I do hope you’ll be a part of NestWatch this year and help us monitor the birds we love in this ever-changing world!
Laura Burkholder, project leader NestWatch
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The cover is bright to attract hummingbirds and has raised flowers to prevent rain from running into the bowl. Both the cover and the clear bowl are constructed with UV stable poly carbonate, the most durable plastic available and are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The hanging rod is solid brass. Feeders can be hung or post mounted. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and is made in the USA. And now WBU saucer style comes in different sizes and colors too!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The most frequently asked question this month has been when to put out the hummingbird feeders?
In mid-Michigan you have to pay your taxes and put out your hummingbird feeders by April 15th. You can track the migration of the Ruby throated hummingbird on http://www.hummingbirds.net/.
The hummingbirds we see in April probably won’t stick around but continue on to nest in the Upper Peninsula or Canada. The hummingbirds that choose to nest in our area (the regulars) usually arrive by Mothers Day, the second Sunday in May.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Spring and Summertime is a great time to feed birds. You may see different birds at your feeders during summer than you do during winter. And many, such as finches and warblers, may sport their vibrant spring and summer plumage spreading color throughout your yard.
For much of North America summertime is a great time to see hummingbirds and other nectar-eating birds. Hummingbirds are frequent feeder visitors because they eat nearly half their weight in nectar every day!
You'll also be in for a treat when woodpeckers, bluebirds, and other nesting birds bring their babies to your feeders to teach them how to eat at the feeder. The young fledglings put on such a show!
Birds only supplement their diet up to 10 to 20 percent at feeders. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office of Bird Management states: "If you enjoy feeding the birds, there is no reason to stop feeding the birds in the summer. You can do it year round. Feeding the birds in the summer will not make them lazy or too dependant."
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientists state; " Keep the restaurant open year round and offer a variety of seeds and suet."
Talk with our Certified Bird Feeding Specialists about the many ways you can enjoy feeding the birds in summer and all year long.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Right now, as the photograph shows the birds are in transition. Just as the daffodils bloom, the male goldfinches exchange their dull winter coat for their bright yellow plumage.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Earth Hour, which takes place Saturday, March 27th at 8:30 p.m. local time, is an event in which millions of Americans will turn out their lights for one hour in support of action on climate change and toward creating a cleaner, safer and more secure future.
This year marks the third year of the event, which attracted an estimated 80 million participants in the U.S. last year, and nearly a billion people around the world, as lights dimmed on such global icons as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney’s Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Gaza and New York’s Empire State Building.
“The significance of Earth Hour is that it demonstrates that by both working together and also taking personal responsibility for turning off lights, unplugging electrical items and making our homes more energy efficient, each of us can make a positive difference,” said Mary Wenzel, director of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo.
We’d like to encourage you to join us in this important effort. Participation is free and easy:
- Sign up at EarthHour.org- Show your support, find out what Earth Hour events are happening near you and get tips on organizing fun events in your community.
- Spread the Word- Invite your friends and family to join the movement, become a fan on Facebook and post a link to EarthHour.org on your profile page.
- Turn off the Lights- Turn off your non-essential lighting at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, March 27.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Whereas, A wholesome diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains promotes good health and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, which take the lives of approximately 1.3 million Americans each year; and,
Whereas, The number of those who choose to live the lifestyle of a vegan or vegetarian has increased and so has the availability and selection of meat and dairy alternatives in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations; and,
Whereas, Reducing the consumption of meat or not eating meat at all can significantly decrease the exposure to infectious pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter, which take the lives of several thousand Americans and sicken millions more each year; and,
Whereas, The benefits of a plant-based diet can consist of increased energy levels, lower food budget costs, and simplified food preparation and cleanup; and,
Whereas, It is encouraged that the residents of this state get into the habit of healthy living by consuming a diet that is rich with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and by staying active;
Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2010, Michigan Meatout Day in Michigan.
In observance of this day, I encourage the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat. Eating a healthy diet can be fun. Explore the different recipes that can be created by using fresh ingredients and by having a sense of adventure.
There is a Pigeon population around our center. Pigeons and sparrows. That's all I have (not to mention the Long Island bird - the seagull).
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Preparing Your Yard for the Spring:
Birdbath Cleaning Brush: This 8" brush is well suited for cleaning birdbaths, as well as for many other household uses. It has stiff, tough polypropylene bristles that will do the job well, and features a comfortable molded poly handle.
Microbe-Lift BirdBath Clear is a bio-enzymatic product specially formulated for birdbaths to prevent organic contaminants from forming including white scale deposits, iron, copper and hard water stains. It uses two unique proprietary technologies; one system helps to prevent the buildup of stains and mineral deposits on the birdbath surfaces, while the second system keeps water clear and free from the organic debris that can make the water cloudy.
Healthy Ponds Birdbath Dispenser treats birdbaths up to 7 gallons. Delivered with two disposable, floating plastic dispensers; each refill is effective for up to 30 days.
3. Clean Feeders - Feeders should be cleaned at least once a month, year round. Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI- will clean your feeder for $5.00. Or you can purchase professional cleaners like Scoot or Poop-Off at Wild Birds Unlimited, or use one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to clean all of your feeders. Disassemble feeders and immerse them completely for three minutes. Scrub with brushes (we have these too), rinse thoroughly, and let air dry. Also clean the area around the feeders to help eliminate the build up around the feeder.
4. Feeder/Hardware Maintenance- Check your feeders to see if there are any repairs that need to be done. Make sure feeders are hung so they are easy to reach and fill. Find where you've stored your hummingbird and oriole feeders and give them a good cleaning.
If you are going to need a new Advanced Pole System to hang your feeders, now is a good time to come in to Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI and get help designing a new feeding station.
5. Fill Feeders- Wild birds are already making decisions about which back yards they will nest in this season. Natural food sources are scarce right now and birds are definitely taking note of which yards have food available.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This tiny starling didn't stand a chance after a hungry bald eagle chose it as a mid-air snack. These incredible pictures are from Photographer Rob.Palmer in Littleton, Colorado.
If you haven’t already cleaned out your birdhouses, that should be done as soon as possible. To clean the nest box I usually place a plastic bag over the nest and just sweep everything in and twist the bag shut. You can rinse out the house with a water hose or diluted bleach spray. Make sure the drainage holes are unplugged and leave the house open to dry for a couple days. Finally dispose of the old nest in the trash and wash your hands thoroughly.
Whether the same bird comes back to your nest is determined by several factors. Is the nest box clean and still in good condition, did they have a successful breeding season last year, and did they get there early enough to claim the nesting sight again and defend the territory? It’s possible to have the same wren family move in the same house year after year or a wily chickadee or sparrow may spot the house and try to claim it first.
WARNING: Please remove all winter wreaths from your doors. We get calls every spring about birds making their nests in holiday wreaths. Anyone who places hanging plants on a covered porch in the spring or leaves a holiday wreath hanging on the door may find that by April a female House Finch has begun to build a nest in it.
Once a House Finch pair has built a nest in a hanging plant, on a wreath, or over a light fixture, etc., there is little to do but enjoy the experience and wait for the young to fledge (three to four weeks). You can continue to use the door or water the plants but the nest should not be relocated.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
“For well over a century, migratory birds have faced stresses such as commercial hunting, loss of forests, the use of DDT and other pesticides, a loss of wetlands and other key habitat, the introduction of invasive species, and other impacts of human development,” Salazar said. “Now they are facing a new threat--climate change--that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply and push many species towards extinction.”
The report, a collaboration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and experts from the nation’s leading conservation organizations, shows that climate changes will have an increasingly disruptive effect on bird species in all habitats, with oceanic and Hawaiian birds in greatest peril.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I’m so glad you are appreciating your Red-Winged Blackbirds! People usually ask me how to get rid of blackbirds.
Winter is my favorite season but we all know February feels like the longest month and by March you’re anxious for any harbinger of spring. .
The melting snow, the cleansing rains and the sweet smell of spring in the air followed by the garden waking up, the buds popping and the faces of old friends flying home to nest is always exciting. When you hear the loud konk-a-ree or ogle-reeeeeee you know it’s mid-March and the male Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived in mid-Michigan. The females will arrive a little later.
They most often settle in marshes and brushy meadows during the breeding season and feast on insects, including dragonflies, damselflies, beetles, butterflies and moths mostly. They often use a feeding technique known as gaping. They expose insects that are hiding under sticks and stones or in the bases of leaves by forcibly spreading open their bills. If no bugs are available in early spring they may initially frequent your feeder where they will look for suet, mealworms, nuts, or sunflower seeds.
Interestingly, the Red-winged Blackbirds are one of the most polygamous of all bird species. They have been observed to have as many as 15 females nesting in the territory of a single male. On average, a single male has roughly five females in its territory. Once he is done wooing the females, over a quarter of the male’s time is spent vigorously defending his territory from other males and predators.
Meanwhile the female Red-winged Blackbirds start building a nest among cattails in four stages. Initially they weave together several supporting pieces of vegetation and then intertwine the walls of the nest onto these supports. The nest cup is then lined with mud, and the final step is to line the nest with a layer of fine grasses.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Spring is a great time to watch the different types of birds at your feeders. Woodpeckers are busy eating mouthfuls of suet. Juncos hurriedly scour the ground for millet. Finches squabble at the finch feeder. Jays raucously steal peanuts and nuthatches industriously horde sunflower seeds. New faces pop up every day. Some staying for the summer nesting and some just taking a much needed break on the way to their final stop.
Bird feeding is a fun and educational hobby, and this is the season to share it with everyone. With Easter and Mother's Day fast approaching you should stop by the Wild Birds Unlimited store for the best seed and answers to any wild bird questions. You'll also see the newest baths, feeders, and nature gifts available to help introduce this wonderful hobby to your friends and family.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I think Spring might be springing here. The snow melted next to the front of the house and the Crocus woke up to sing Hello. It makes me feel so happy to see the plants come back.
P.Z. in Lansing, MI
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Swallows (Hirundinidae)
• A compartment size of at least 6” x 6” x 6.”
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Over one million North Americans maintain housing for Purple Martins. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of these folks successfully attract breeding martins. Below is a list of the top ten reasons why so many people fail.
- House placed too close to tall trees or in yards that are too enclosed. The Martin house must have the correct habitat and be placed in the proper place. There should be no trees taller than the martin housing within 40 Feet of it, preferably 60 feet. The farther the martin housing is placed from trees the better.
- Landlord allows other bird species to claim the housing first. If any other species is allowed to settle into a martin house before martins at unestablished sites, those houses will rarely attract nesting martins. To attract martins to unestablished sites monitor the house and remove the nest of any bird other than the Purple Martin.
- Housing placed too far from human housing. Research has shown that martin housing placed more than 120 feet from human housing has a lower chance of being occupied. This is because martins have “learned,” that the closer they nest to man, the safer they are from predators.
- Housing not painted white. Although martins have been known to nest in houses and gourds painted other colors, white housing seems to attract them best.
- Housing opened up too early. Most ‘would-be’ martin landlords rush to get their martin housing opened up so as not to miss the arrival of martin “scouts” in their particular area. This is 4-5 weeks too early for unestablished breeding sites!!! Opening a martin house too early (or leaving it open all winter) just results in instant occupancy by other birds. Prospective martin landlords should not open their housing until about four weeks after the first martins are scheduled to return to their area!
- Failure to open the martin housing. In an effort to keep undesirable birds out of their martin housing, many ‘would-be’ martin enthusiasts leave all their entrance holes plugged ‘until the martins come around.’ This is a disastrous mistake at unestablished sites.
- Vines and shrubs are allowed to grow up under the housing. Unoccupied martin housing that has tall bushes and shrubs around the base of the pole, or has vines growing up the pole, will rarely, if ever, attract breeding martins because it is much more accessible to predators, such as cats, raccoons, snakes, and squirrels.
- Housing not really ‘built to specifications. A martin house must have compartments whose floor dimensions measure at least 6" x 6," but compartments measuring 7" x 12" are far superior. The entrance hole should be placed about 1" above the floor and have a diameter in the range of 2" to 2-1/4," although martins are known to use holes as small as 1-3/4."
- Housing attached to wires, or placed too close to wires. Martins love to perch on wires, but they tend to avoid houses that are attached to wires or are placed within leaping distance of them.
- Landlords buy or build housing that can’t be easily managed. Most people rush into the hobby not realizing that to properly manage for martins, they’ll need housing that allows for easy raising and lowering, and nest compartment access. Landlords need to vertically lower their housing often (sometimes daily) to evict nest-site competitors and to check on martin nestlings. Martin housing should be mounted on poles that telescope up and down.
Written by James R. Hill, III
Founder and Executive Director Emeritus
Purple Martin Conservation Association
For further information on Purple Martins please contact:
Purple Martin Conservation Association
301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 6
Erie, PA 16505
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
- Squirrel resistant feeders- The easiest way to feed the birds and not the squirrels is to have a squirrel resistant feeder. Now I know people come in to Wild Birds Unlimited all the time and say they don’t work, but ours do and most come with a lifetime guarantee! They are going to cost more than the cheap, “pretty” feeders the critters destroy every year, but they are easy to clean, easy to fill, backed by a lifetime guarantee, and the birds love them.
- Seed selection- If you don’t want to invest in a new feeder, the next solution is to switch your seed to straight safflower seed. Safflower is a small, white seed that is high in protein and fat. The shape of the shell and the bitter taste makes this seed unattractive to starlings, blackbirds, and squirrels. While popular backyard birds including Cardinals, Chickadees, Blue Jays, House Finches, Mourning Doves, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, and Nuthatches, savor safflower. Squirrels also avoid Nyger Thistle feeders which feed the Goldfinches.
- Baffles- Squirrels can jump 4-5 feet high and across 5-10 feet. A baffle will make it harder for the squirrels to reach the seed. There are several types of baffles that you can use too. You can put a baffle around a pole to stop them from reaching your feeder. Or you can buy a baffle that goes over your feeder that protects it from squirrels dropping down from the trees.
- Hot pepper-I don't usually recommend this product. Mammals have receptors on their tongues that send messages (too hot!) when they eat hot peppers, but these receptors are missing in birds. “Squirrel Away™” is made from Capsicum peppers, known colloquially where they are grown as “bird peppers.” With “Squirrel Away™” treated bird seed in your bird feeders, a squirrel quickly learns not to visit and continues to find a new source of food. But you have to be careful because you are a mammal too and there is a caution on every bag about wearing gloves to protect yourself.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Birds of Michigan by Ted Black is a good book to have around if you’re unsure of a bird’s timetable. It includes a range map and the status for each species in an average year.
You can also click here to view an earlier blog with informative websites. Below is a list of the most frequently asked about birds and their migratory arrivals and departures:
Bluebirds are year round in mid-Michigan and can begin scouting out possible nesting sites as early as January.
Robins are year round in mid-Michigan but you’ll see them more frequently in your yard~mid-February
Red Winged Blackbirds ~ Beginning of March
Sandhill Crane ~ March
Turkey Vulture ~ late March
Ruby-throated Hummingbird ~ April 15 (tax time)
Purple Martin ~ Mid April
White-crowned Sparrow & White-throated Sparrow~ pass through mid-Michigan from mid-April to late May. White-crowned is usually a week behind the White-Throated.
House wren ~ end of April
Baltimore Oriole ~ beginning in May
Canada Goose ~ are year round in mid-Michigan shifting to nesting grounds March to May
Wood Duck ~ Mid-March
Tundra Swan ~ Not a Michigan resident. Migrates through late Feb. to mid-April.
Dark eyed Junco ~ leaves mid-MI end of May
Red-breasted Nuthatch ~ leaves mid-MI in May
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Even though the Northern Cardinal has northern attached to its name, it’s really a southern bird. However scientists have noted that their breeding range has been expanding up and out west gradually from the 1800s. This could be due to the milder winters or greater food availability (bird feeding stations). The increase of distribution range of the cardinal is also associated with man changing the landscape. Cardinals prefer the edges of forests and suburban areas, both types of habitat associated with increasing land development.
First recorded in south east Michigan in 1884, the cardinal was more frequently spotted in the early 1900’s across the lower and middle parts of the state. By 1960s they were colonizing further north and in the early 1990’s they were making their way to the Upper Peninsula. They’re still not as common up north as they are further south but just give them time.
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis