About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are the hummingbirds gone?

It appears the hummingbirds have left. True?
 
I usually leave my feeder up at least until mid-October or maybe even a little later. The rule of thumb is if you haven't seen a hummingbird for two weeks, it's probably safe to take it down.

Individual adult males get the urge to leave first, followed soon after by the females, and then finally the juveniles. Amazingly, once the young have gained enough weight, they find their own way to the same winter habitat as their parents - someplace where they have never been, using the GPS in their head.

Hummingbirds migrate thousands of miles south every fall to reach their winter homes in Mexico and Central America under their own power. They fly about 23 miles a day by themselves, not in flocks or on the backs of geese.

It's not necessary to take down feeders to force hummingbirds to leave. The initial urge is triggered by the shortening length of sunlight as autumn approaches, and has nothing to do with temperature or the availability of food. However, weather is a factor. Hummingbird will take advantage of the winds to push them in the right direction.

Many hummingbirds migrate around the Gulf of Mexico, through Texas and northern Mexico to winter in Central America. Others will fly from Florida across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula.

The hummingbirds aren't in as big a rush to go down south as they were to find nesting grounds in the spring but they will leave us when the winds and weather are just right.

Related Articles:
Hummingbird Information on Habitat and Habits http://bit.ly/It2WwE
Where have my Hummingbirds gone? http://bit.ly/IHzxy3
How Do I Know If It's a Baby Hummingbird? http://bit.ly/IHzCSh
Gardening for birds http://bit.ly/It58nR
Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder? http://bit.ly/FQ9kxU

Monday, September 29, 2014

5 things you might have wondered about birds

1. How birds are related:
Appearances can be deceiving. Birds that look or act similar are not necessarily related. All animals with feathers are in the Class called Birds or Aves. Humans and all the other warm-blooded vertebrate animals with hair and females that produce milk are in the Class called Mammalia. There are about 10,000 species of birds. So the difference between the American Robin and the Downy Woodpecker is similar to that between sharks and goldfish (fish), or dogs and cats (mammals), or lizards and snakes (reptiles).

2. How birds migrate:
So how do birds that migrate know where to go? The upper beak of a bird has magnetite receptors that act like a GPS to determine which way they're flying. Along with this internal compass that uses the Earth’s geomagnetic field, birds use light, stars, and other external cues to guide them on remarkably long journeys.

3. How birds find food:
Most birds find food by sight. Some birds fly in flocks and may send out a scout bird to forage for new feeding sites. Or solitary birds may see a lot of birds at a feeder and go see what all the fuss is about.

4. How birds communicate:
Bird vocalizations are a complex collection of sounds that can be divided into at least three general categories: chip notes, call notes, and songs. These sounds impress and attract a mates, declare territorial boundaries, identify family members, announce the presence of a predator, and convey information about food. But it doesn't stop there. Pigeons and Mourning Doves use a wing whistle noise to warn their flock about approaching enemies and woodpeckers use drumming to communicate.
Wild Birds Unlimited Seed Cylinder feeder

5. How birds fly:
Flight is the main mode of locomotion used by most of the world's bird species. Birds have evolved many unique adaptations to survive. The most obvious adaptation to flight is the wing, but because flight is so energetically demanding birds have evolved several other adaptations to improve efficiency when flying. Birds' bodies are streamlined to help overcome air-resistance. Also, the bird skeleton is hollow to reduce weight, and many unnecessary bones have been lost, along with the toothed jaw of early birds, which has been replaced with a lightweight beak. The skeleton's breastbone has also adapted into a large keel, suitable for the attachment of large, powerful flight muscles.

Related Articles
How do so many tiny birds migrate so far? http://goo.gl/k4gn9u
Can birds crossbreed? http://goo.gl/sWz0JW
Best place to put bird feeders http://goo.gl/HvWf2N
How birds communicate besides singing http://goo.gl/Uno75B

What Weighs More, Bird's Feathers or Bird's Bones? http://goo.gl/qEIYcb

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chestnut-sided Warbler transforms

Chestnut-sided Warbler in breeding colors from Wikimedia Commons
Chestnut-sided in winter colors from Wikimedia Commons
During the breeding season (spring-summer), the chestnut-sided warbler has a yellow cap, black mask, plain white belly, yellowish wing bars and chestnut streaks along his sides. The breeding female is a little duller. After nesting they undergo a complete transformation. They have a gray and olive green coat with a white eye ring.

The chestnut-sided warbler is insectivorous predominately. Look for them as they hop from branch to branch with their tail cocked in search for insects on the underside of leaves. They may also be seen at suet feeders.

They are nocturnal migrants that may join other warbler flocks and occasionally forage with them from mid-August to October as they fly south to spend their winter in Central America.

Related Articles:
Michigan warblers begin migrating http://goo.gl/37QhV
Michigan's Kirtland's Warbler Continues to Exceed Recovery Goal http://goo.gl/Q3xQ0
Small Mysterious Black & White Bird Visits Mid-Michigan http://goo.gl/VOl3s
When is bird migration over? http://goo.gl/1Fiq6
Birds of Michigan Field Guide http://bit.ly/uMSTs6

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chickadee song sounds like he has a mouth full of marbles

Chickadees on Seed Cylinder Character
One of the birds that always sticks around when I’m filling the feeders is the Black-capped Chickadee. Whether they are encouraging me to fill the feeders faster or ignoring me completely, they always seem a constant in the fall.

Of course when I see them I’m compelled to try and imitate their common call, Chicka dee-dee-dee. Male and female chickadees use this call to announce good food available, help reunite separated flock-mates, or signal “all clear” when danger has passed. And at the beginning of the year I always wait for the loud whistled fee-bee-beeyee chickadees use to announce the beginning of nesting season.

When I was filling the feeder last night I heard one softly talking to himself. He seemed to be almost practicing words like a toddler. All chickadee species give chick-a-dee calls and whistled fee-bees but an often-overlooked chickadee vocalization called the gargle may actually be more accurately called the traditional song.

No marbles!
Individual chickadees seem to have fifteen or more different gargles. Like traditional songs, gargles are learned. The gargles are given primarily by males and associated with dominance establishment and territorial defense. They are extremely complex and are made up of many different note types, often with trills and repeated motifs. The little guy I was watching seemed to be concentrating very hard, obliviously to me, making noises similar to what I can only describe as a bird singing with a mouthful of marbles.

So if you happen to be outside take a minute to listen for the chickadee gargle song.

Related Articles:
What the 'dee' in Chick-a-dee means http://goo.gl/8rde3a
A closer look at the fee-bee song of the chickadee http://goo.gl/X4qLRV
Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
After chickadee babies have fledged http://bit.ly/yAYbP4
Fun Facts About Chickadees http://bit.ly/zIDkCi

Friday, September 26, 2014

Photo Share: Tail Wagging Palm Warbler

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
While the Palm Warbler winters in the subtropics it nests in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, according to Ted Black in the Birds of Michigan Field Guide, it could have just as easily been called a "Bog Warbler" because of its preference for nesting on the ground in northern bogs.

Look for them migrating south through mid-Michigan yards from the middle of August to the end of October. The rusty-capped Palm Warbler can be most easily recognized by the tail-wagging habit that shows off its yellow undertail.
  
If anyone would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.

Related Articles:
Michigan warblers begin migrating http://goo.gl/37QhV
Michigan's Kirtland's Warbler Continues to Exceed Recovery Goal http://goo.gl/Q3xQ0
Small Mysterious Black & White Bird Visits Mid-Michigan http://goo.gl/VOl3s
When is bird migration over? http://goo.gl/1Fiq6
Birds of Michigan Field Guide http://bit.ly/uMSTs6 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Instinct tells chipmunks to gather more, more, more...

How do chipmunks and other animals know that they should hoard food for the impending winter months?

Studies have found that some animals never stop hoarding. This could mean the animals don't understand why they hoard, what it means for their future or even what future is. They simply do it out of instinct.

Eastern Chipmunks’ lifespan on average is only one year due to predators and man made dangers. They have two breeding seasons. The first begins in February and the second in June. They can have up to nine babies but average four.

Many people are frustrated by the amount of food they take away from bird feeding stations but chipmunks do have a purpose. They eat a lot of bugs and small rodents which humans can appreciate. And Mother Nature uses the chipmunks to spread plant seeds and fungi all around.

Eastern chipmunks live in shallow burrows made by digging and carrying away the dirt in their pouched mouths. These burrows can be up to 30 ft. in length with several different exits concealed with leaves and rocks.

The chipmunks’ cheek pouches also transfer food to their tunnels. They keep large stores of food in their burrows and build nests on top of this treasure. Eastern chipmunks, however, do not hibernate continuously through the winter, nor do they "fatten up" before retreating to their burrows. When the temperatures reach freezing, chipmunks go into their burrows to hibernate but wake up periodically to snack on their stored nuts and seeds.

Related Articles:
How much food can a chipmunk hold in his mouth? http://bit.ly/yD6Bn8
When do Chipmunks hibernate? http://bit.ly/yIfqFT
How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/A2wG1g
Will Safflower seed keep squirrels and chipmunks off my bird feeder? http://bit.ly/wYGDBi
How many different types of chipmunks are there? http://goo.gl/UmwZH5

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

All signs point to a good bird watching winter!

Pine Siskin
There is some good news for backyard bird watchers, and not so good news for the birds. Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder than normal winter with a lot of snow beginning mid-December until early February. And the annual Finch Forecast reports the seed crops in the boreal forest are thin to average.

Common Redpoll
Snow means a lot of natural foods will be covered and that our regular winter feeder birds will be visiting more often. Weak seed crops mean more birds will be traveling south to Michigan to look for food. You should expect to see more visiting redpolls and siskins at the finch and sunflower feeders. And I’m looking forward to the little, laughing Red-breasted Nuthatches beginning in October at the suet and nut feeders.

But while I’m excited about all the bird activity we’ll have this winter, this is just the first week in Fall and we are experiencing a variety of birds passing through right now! Each migratory species has its own characteristic route between its nesting and winter ranges. Weather conditions often affect the migratory dates, direction as well as altitude as birds may fly higher or lower to avoid or take advantage of prevailing winds.
BirdCast is a new website that has real-time predictions of when birds migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will be flying. According to this week’s forecast, species on the move right now include the Northern Flicker, Eastern and Say’s Phoebes, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Marsh and Winter Wrens, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warbler, Savannah, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Lincoln’s, and FoxSparrows, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

So keep your feeders and baths full and clean and your eyes and ears open for new visitors.

Related Articles:
- 10 Winter Finches in Michigan: http://bit.ly/oL3iCF
- Birds of Michigan Field Guide http://bit.ly/pXv5ZN
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/nImz5g
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
- How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter Birdwatching http://bit.ly/q93Men
- What is the best bird feeder? http://bit.ly/qVr7i8

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The difference between suet cakes


Why is it that the birds like Wild Birds Unlimited suet the best? ~ Eaton Rapids, Michigan

When you come into Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI you can choose from a variety of high quality seed and suet cakes that will attract a wide number of different bug eating birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and wrens.

What is suet?
Our Suet is made with only the highest quality processed beef kidney fat. It is the most concentrated source of energy you can offer wild birds.

Is there really a difference in suet cakes?
Not all suets are created equal. When you are choosing your breakfast cereal, you might choose a less healthy, colorful, sugar loop and pay the price later with less energy and a blah afternoon. But birds must always be on alert and in top form, especially during times of stress like nesting season feather molting or long winters. You should always read the nutritional labels and strive to provide wild birds with food that is healthy and has the proper nutrition.

How do I read suet labels?
The first ingredient should always be rendered beef suet. Some people feed straight suet only. If you want to offer more protein the next ingredient should usually be peanuts or tree nuts. Never, never buy suet where milo, oats, wheat, processed grain by-products or artificial flavorings are in the ingredients. These filler ingredients are used to make a cheaper cake but the birds have to pick around and pick out all this filler to reach a little suet.

The Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store’s best seller is the peanut butter suet cake, which has only three ingredients: rendered beef fat, chopped peanuts and peanut butter. Again, no milo, no wheat, no corn, and no millet - no filler ingredients!

What is the Guaranteed Analysis?

Looking at the Guaranteed Analysis, you will see several lines of information: Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. What does all that mean to a consumer? A good suet cake will have a minimum crude protein of around 6% and crude fat of 35% (the more the better). And it’s acceptable for suet to have a maximum crude fiber of 12% and moisture of 10%.

I know this can get confusing. You just want to feed the birds. That’s OK. At Wild Birds Unlimited we are dedicated to the promotion of responsible feeding. Anything we sell in the East Lansing, Michigan store is good for the birds; no fillers, no by products, just top-quality food. If you have any questions feel free to ask and we can suggest what will work in your yard to attract the best birds.

Related Articles:
What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje 

Can I make my own suet? http://bit.ly/rsc1JT
How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq
How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/tJ7e6S 

Fun Facts about Woodpeckers http://bit.ly/tQ5lwt

Monday, September 22, 2014

Different groups of migrant birds in Michigan

I'm new to the area. Do a lot of birds winter in Michigan? ~ Lansing, MI 

That’s a very good question. In general, it's estimated that of the over 200 species of birds nesting in Michigan, about 90 percent migrate to some extent. Whether it’s from the U.P. to mid-Michigan or from our state to Mexico or Central America depends on the bird.
.
.In Michigan, birds can belong to several groups:
.
Male & Female Cardinal along with Black-capped Chickadee
Other bird species seen at the feeder year round may also be migratory. While we see American Goldfinch throughout the year, some of the ones we see in the winter may have nested in Canada. And Song Sparrows that breed in Michigan may migrate to the southeastern United States, or may remain a year-round resident.

They are obligate partial migrants, meaning only part of the population migrates annually. And sometimes circumstances such as a good breeding season followed by poor winter crops can lead to irruptions of bird species not normally seen in our area like the Pine Siskins or Redpoles.

It’s not easy getting every bird’s travel plans straight. For example one of my favorite birds, the Northern Cardinal, has expanded its range greatly since the days of John James Audubon. Originally a southern bird, the cardinal began expanding its range into northern states around the 1900’s. During the early days of the expansion, the birds would migrate back south during the winter, but in time they became a year round resident in Michigan.

Migration isn’t an exact journey. Using published literature, bird observer reports, and observations of bird watchers it has been found that many factors like the temperature changes and land development are very likely influencing birds’ migratory patterns and will continue to alter patterns in the future.

Related Articles:
- Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://goo.gl/H42e6s
- What seeds wild birds eat http://goo.gl/Un35yR
- What to do if you have soggy seed in your bird feeder http://goo.gl/kfTpi
- How to Prevent Window Strikes during Migration http://goo.gl/KZRzKb

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Several species of warblers spotted

American Redstart female photo from Wikipedia Commons
September is a great time to see a wide variety of birds as they swing through our area. Several species of warblers have been spotted in mid-Michigan the last few days. Several customers have spotted American Redstarts. They are identified easily by the two white or yellow spots on the tail.
Pine Warbler
And I saw a Pine Warbler last night in the bird bath. Many warblers that we see are similar in size and coloring to a female goldfinch. They are seen mainly in the bushes trying to flush out bugs, at the bird bath and occasionally at the suet or seed feeder that offers nuts.

Related Articles:
- The Journey North: Bird Migration Maps http://bit.ly/pbk4Eb  
- How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d
- Most common winter birds in Michigan http://bit.ly/ow20ZD
- Birds only in mid-Michigan during the winter http://bit.ly/ojcyP7
- What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/qa0CVU

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 tips to attract migrating warblers to stopover

It can be an exciting time for Birdwatchers during the fall migration! Mid-Michigan gets a lot of traffic as birds make their long journey South for the winter. If you're not sure when the birds will make it to your area, BirdCast is a new website that has real-time predictions of when birds migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will be flying.

When you think about migration you may not realize that a majority of small song birds begin their journey at dusk and fly throughout the night. There is no set date for migration, but birds are sensitive to weather conditions. They can literally be blown in your yard for a pit stop and then ride out on the next good wind.

Black and White Warbler
To provide a safe habitat that will encourage migrating birds to stop at your yard, you just have to follow five easy steps:

1. Keep Your Feeders Full
Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights, and this fat must be replaced every day. The busier the feeders, the safer your yard will appear to passing birds, which will result in more birds stopping to investigate. Most visiting warblers are bug eaters so you might see them at feeders that have suet or nuts.

2. Provide a Source of Water
Birds continue to need a source of water for drinking to maintain their metabolism during dry or cold weather. Clean feathers help birds stay warm, and a bird bath is often the only way for some birds to drink and keep their feathers in top condition when it’s cold. Warblers and other birds that aren’t normal feeder birds will also be attracted to a clean water source.

3. Protection from the Elements
As the sun goes down, some birds head for a perch in leafy bushes, evergreens, vines or dense brush piles for the night. You can also put up roosting and nesting boxes to give birds a warm, dry place to stay overnight. Shelter is also necessary for protection against natural predators, such as birds of prey and cats.

4. Keep feeders and feeding areas clean
Ovenbird
To help reduce the possibility of disease transmission in birds, clean feeders and feeding areas at least once a month. You can purchase professional cleaners like Scoot at Wild Birds Unlimited, or use a mild one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to disinfect all of your feeders. Keep seed and foods dry by adding Feeder Fresh; discard food that is wet or looks moldy. Birdbaths also need to be scrubbed with a brush and water should be replaced every three to days to discourage mosquito reproduction. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned every three to five days, or every other day in warm weather.

5. Reduce window collisions
It is estimated that between 100 million and one billion birds are killed every year in the United States when they crash into glass windows. And even one billion deaths might be a conservative estimate. Decals like Window Alert placed on the outside of windows have had the most positive feedback from customers. Each decal contains a component which brilliantly reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but glows like a stoplight for birds.

And to help enjoy the full benefit of songbirds passing through, consider getting a good field identification guide that contains color pictures or illustrations and a quality pair of binoculars.

Related Articles:
- Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://goo.gl/H42e6s
- What seeds wild birds eat http://goo.gl/Un35yR
- What to do if you have soggy seed in your bird feeder http://goo.gl/kfTpi
- How to get rid of weeds under the bird feeder without using poisons http://goo.gl/fHlsE0
- Cats Indoors! http://goo.gl/YIOUpI
- How to Prevent Window Strikes during Migration http://goo.gl/KZRzKb

Friday, September 19, 2014

Photo Share: Charming Chickadee

Thought you might like this Chickadee for your website,  it was so tame I believe it would have eaten from my hand. All the best, Rodney 
I like it a lot! While I fill feeders they either encourage me to hurry up or just disregard me entirely and to do their own thing. They are at the bottom of the bird pecking order. Maybe even so low that a lumbering human might be seen as a potential ally.
  
You can see more of Rodney Campbell’s work at: http://rodney-campbell.artistwebsites.com/art/all/birds/all If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unique new bird food available for a very short time

Long worshipped by humans, long feared by birds...All are happy with the New Cat Seed Cylinders!
A bird's revenge!
They’ve finally arrived! Wild Birds Unlimited in East Lansing, MI just received the first shipment of Seed Cylinder Characters. Seed Cylinders are tidy, long-lasting, tightly packed seed shapes held together with gelatin that slip on a cylinder feeder.

Bird food cylinders are a win-win for you and your birds. The birds stay longer eating at the feeder instead of grabbing a morsel and flying quickly away to eat it elsewhere. And the cylinders are packed with high-calorie nuts to provide birds with enough energy stay warm. They can help attract many of your favorite birds, including cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers and goldfinches.

This year we have two new cat characters to join Rascal Racoon, Preston Penguin, Hoot Owl and Buttons the Snowman Seed Cylinders. While only here for a limited time, you can replace the fun-shaped cylinder with our exclusively-formulated Cranberry, Supreme Fare and Safflower seed cylinders here year-round. The Cranberry and Supreme Fare cylinders have pecans as the first ingredient. After I put out one of these pecan rolls, I like sit back and watch the action. Why pecans? Pecans are a very high energy food and the birds appreciate a good meal during this stressful time.

If you don't have a baffled Wild Birds Unlimited Advanced Pole System and worry about the squirrels, you can choose to use the Safflower cylinder to keep squirrels away and draw in more red birds.

I can tell you that Seed Cylinder feeders are undemanding. They are easy to clean, easy to fill, leave very little mess and attract a wide variety of birds. The feeders are popular with beginners and for people like me who have been feeding birds for over 40 years. They also makes great gifts and it is a nice way to introduce someone to feeding birds. 
Related Articles:
Product Highlight: Solid Seed Cylinders http://goo.gl/HbISQR
Exciting New Bird Food at Wild Birds Unlimited Stores http://goo.gl/LpVQne
Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
What to feed birds in the winter http://bit.ly/rCdQqM
Holiday gift ideas for nature lovers: http://bit.ly/v8L2va
Feeding the birds will not make them dependent. http://goo.gl/dqYQu

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bacon fat bad for birds' health

I was reading about suet in one of your articles and it said birds like bacon but it's not good for them with the added stuff in it.  I bought a box of uncured ends and pieces that has no nitrates or nitrites (except what is naturally in the added sea salt and celery powder).  The ingredients are pork, water, sea salt, turbinado sugar, black strap molasses, apple extract, and celery powder.
 

We started buying uncured, nitrate/trite free bacon for ourselves to be healthier.  It's been great but this box of ends and pieces was a bust.  It's luck of the draw...almost half of it was fat this time.  So instead of tossing it I though of the birds.  We usually feed suet in the winter and thought it might be fun to make our own since I  have all this fat.  Do you think this type of fat would be ok for them? - Thanks, Juliette

Every backyard birder wants to offer their feathered friends a healthy, nutritious buffet, and the key to attracting more birds is to use a variety of different foods high in protein and fat. Wild Birds Unlimited’s Suet is made with only the highest quality processed beef kidney fat. It is the most concentrated source of energy you can offer wild birds.

In spring, suet meets the increased energy demands of nesting birds. In the summer months, it provides a good substitute for insect-eating birds, especially in years when insects are not very plentiful. In fall, suet helps wild birds store fat to prepare for migration. And of course, in winter, suet replenishes depleted stores of energy and nutrients, to help birds survive the long, cold months.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, most bacon always has detectable amounts of nitrosamines, carcinogenic compounds formed from some of the preservatives used in bacon. In particular, the very high cooking temperatures used to fry bacon are conducive to nitrosamine formation. So despite the fact that birds love it, bacon and bacon fat pose too much of a risk to the long-term health of birds to warrant using it.

Turbinado sugar and black strap molasses also contain more iron and other minerals than a bird’s natural diet requires. The excess could result in a buildup in their organs. 

And foods high in salt are not good birds. While birds can process small amounts of salt without difficulty, large quantities are dangerous. Avoid offering birds any foods high in salt, such as salty meats, chips or other animal foods that include salt for nutritional value.

Having said that, a bird’s diet is varied and though I wouldn’t offer them the box of uncured ends, I don’t think a little would harm them.
  
Related Articles:
- What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje
- Can I make my own suet? http://bit.ly/rsc1JT
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq 
- Can I feed suet year-round? http://bit.ly/I4Ow8l

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to attract more chickadees

I think the chickadees are so cute!!! How do I encourage them to visit my feeders more often? - Jinny

New Cat Seed Cylinder available at Wild Birds Unlimited!
Lucky for birdwatchers, mid-Michigan's chickadees are non-migratory and will be around all winter. New fall and winter flocks have been forming for awhile. Flocks can consist of 2 to 18 birds. Normal suburban flocks range from 6 to 10 birds over a territory of 20 to 50 acres.

Young chickadees leave their parents about a month after they’ve hatched. They leave their natal territory and individually take up residence with other non-related chickadees several miles away. These first year chickadees have the lowest status in the group and try to pair up with a mate they can be with next breeding season and move up in rank as dominant birds die.

The average lifespan of a chickadee in the wild is 2.5 years. Keeping their little half ounce body working efficiently requires a lot of fuel. And the worse the conditions the more the chickadees need to eat.

Inquisitive, energetic, and strikingly marked, the Black-capped Chickadee is regular visitor to Michigan feeders especially in the fall. They may seem to be in a little bit of a frenzy. Attracted to sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suets at a bird feeding station, they are collecting food and hiding it for later just like squirrels. Read MORE on how chickadees cache their food.

At my feeding station I offer Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess Seed Blend in a squirrel proof feeder, Peanutbutter Suet, and Seed Cylinders. I have offered them every seed cylinder flavor and I they give no complaints, just very polite thank yous. I also think they are not only one of the cutest birds but one of the sweetest birds to feed.
Related Articles:
- How to get the chickadees to stay at the feeder longer http://goo.gl/2lwK5I
- Quiz on Chickadees http://goo.gl/0cI03 
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/jAtN5 
- Fun Facts about the different Chickadees in North America http://bit.ly/zIDkCi 
- Not a Shy Bird: How the Black-capped Chickadee Communicates http://goo.gl/1rlnh