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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Natural ways to relax

Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. As the holiday season comes into full swing, it is important to take time to relax and rid yourself of some of that seasonal stress. What better way than to enjoy bird watching in your own yard!

With over 25 years of research and experience, Wild Birds Unlimited® is proud to offer you the highest-quality birdfeeders and birdfeeding equipment on the market today. Any feeder you choose should be easy to fill and easy to clean. Look for quality too. Most Wild Birds Unlimited feeders come with a Lifetime Warranty. Next determine what birds you want to attract. There are certain feeders that are made for specific birds (i.e. finch feeder, hummingbird feeder, squirrel proof feeder). Finally decide where you are going to put the feeder. Is it going to hang in a tree, on an Advanced Pole System, on a window, or off a deck? The best place to put a feeder is where you can view it easily.

Selecting the proper bird foods to place in your feeders is also important, because different birds have different food preferences. All our blends are made of the stuff birds like to eat! We learned long ago the better the blend, the better your bird watching! Bargain bird seed may have inexpensive seeds like milo and wheat mixed in to bulk up the bag. However, in most regions these seeds are not eaten by bird feeder birds and is left to sprout, rot on the ground or worse, attract rodents. No-mess blend is our most popular blend. With sunflower seeds, peanuts, and millet with the shells removed, everything in the bag is devoured leaving no mess behind.

Michigan has over 400 species of birds. A few of the most common birds seen at a seed feeder in mid-Michigan are the Cardinal, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, House Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, European Starling, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, and Mourning Dove.

Bird watching is a wonderful hobby for people of all ages. It can be enjoyed almost anywhere at any moment of the day. All in all, bird watching is relaxing, fun, and educational.

Related Articles:
Close-up look at the seeds wild birds eat http://bit.ly/IET0hP
How to keep moths out of bird seed http://bit.ly/IESK2h
How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://bit.ly/rTLSqJ
Seed Storage Cans and WBU Seed Scoops http://bit.ly/uBaSwO
The strange journey of the sunflower plant http://bit.ly/uFlz65

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lapland Longspur winters in open fields across the US

Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
From November to March, Lapland Longspurs arrive from their wet meadows in the Arctic tundra to wheel about in large numbers over fields looking for waste grain. Flocks can be inconspicuous until they erupt suddenly into the sky. They arrive in their mottled, brownish, drab non-breeding plumage. In the spring they grow bold black crown, face and bib feathers for the breeding season.
Related Articles:
- Horned Larks in Mid-Michigan http://goo.gl/XqmnQi
- 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, November 28, 2015

Why birds don't sing in the winter

Photo by Nigel
Although many birds do use song as a mechanism of individual recognition and contact, the primary reason for song especially in males is advertisement of themselves! The male bird sings to declare his individual territory and to attract a mate and mating is not one of the biological functions for most birds in the winter season.

An exception to the rule is owls. One of  the best things about December is hearing the first calls of the Great Horned Owls as they begin their courtship. The hooting of the owls becomes noticeable mid-December in Michigan. On a clear night, even in the suburbs where I live, you'll hear the birds calling back and forth usually from midnight until dawn. Their distinctive territorial call, "hoo-hoo hoooo hoo-hoo," can be heard from miles away.

Related Articles:
- Snowy Owls http://bit.ly/ylJmQq
- Eastern Screech Owl http://bit.ly/wMQBZj
- Great Horned Owl http://bit.ly/zmlFqY
- Barred Owl http://bit.ly/yAoDx8
- Great Gray Owl http://bit.ly/tAewYm
- Fun Facts on Owls http://bit.ly/z9q3Dg

Friday, November 27, 2015

Photo Share: Two White-tailed Deer

Photo by Brett Billings
Deer start to prepare for winter months before the temperatures begin to drop. They do this by storing fat around internal organs and under their skin which insulates and provides energy reserves for the lean months ahead.

The coat of the White-tailed deer also plays a major role in keeping them warm. Coarse, hollow, dark guard hairs cover soft, woolly underfur. Guard hairs can absorb solar energy and sebaceous glands in the skin produce a water-repellent oil that coats hair. Then the underfur that provides the insulation. Half the length of guard hairs, underfur is 5 times as dense and traps layers of air, with warmer layers closer to the skin.

Related Articles:
Remember to leave wildlife in the wild http://goo.gl/s5S0l4
Deterring Deer at the Bird Feeders http://goo.gl/nUzM3e
When did Reindeer Learn to Fly? http://bit.ly/veTLpT
Mammals have amazing strategies to cope with winter's cold http://goo.gl/KlJY1V

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to get rid of unwanted visitors

Chickadees eat safflower.
Me, I’d love to feed the whole world. But I know that some people have trouble with uninvited guests like hawks, squirrels, House Sparrows, starlings and blackbirds at the bird feeders.

If you switch over to straight safflower seed you will decrease the activity of all those guests except hawks. Safflower is a small white seed about the size of oil sunflower that is savored by Cardinals, House Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, and more. Blackbirds, starlings, squirrels, and sparrows avoid safflower. When you start feeding safflower there will be a dramatic drop in the number of birds at the feeder but then different birds will appear gradually.

It’s also important to buy suet without seed in it because that's what the sparrows like. Our Wild Birds Unlimited Peanut Butter Suet contains just suet and peanuts no seed or we have the straight beef suet that the just the chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches like. And the Hot Pepper Suet repels all mammals including squirrels.

Most squirrels, House Sparrows, hawks, starlings and blackbirds also leave the finch feeders alone when you feed straight Nyjer thistle. If they still are a problem you can use an upside down finch feeder. Goldfinches can eat upside down comfortably. The feeding port is below the perch and the goldfinches have to hang by their toes to reach the seed.

If you’re still overrun with flocks of sparrows and starlings, hawks may actually help you take care of a few of those unwanted guests. Unfortunately they may also tote off a couple of the birds you like.

To deter hawks, place your feeders where there is ample natural protection. Evergreen shrubs and trees can provide an easy escape for the birds. Federal and state laws prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks and owls. So keep in mind that hawks may eat a few sparrows and squirrels but only tend to settle in at feeders for two or three weeks and then they are off again to different territory. Ultimately, the only thing you can do when a hawk comes to dinner is wait it out.

If you want to attract the widest variety of birds Wild Birds Unlimited has several other blends that are formulated to attract the birds that live in our area. We do not include cheap filler grains like oats, wheat and milo that decrease the price per pound of a mix and aren't eaten by the birds in Michigan. Wild Birds Unlimited blends actually end up costing less to use while attracting more of the birds that you want to watch.

The only blend I use is Wild Birds Unlimited's unique No-Mess Blend which features seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. No hulls on the seeds means no hulls on the ground and the seed won’t sprout either.

Pound for pound, our No-Mess Blend offers the best value because you do not pay for the shells. The birds eat everything. One 20# bag of No-Mess contains at least twice as much seed as a bag with shells.

Whichever seed you choose to use, you'll know Wild Birds Unlimited always has fresh bird food full of the high fat and protein the birds need right now. Seed comes in every Tuesday. If you come early enough you can watch me load tons of seed into the store. And if you want to buy bags of seed right off the pallets, you are very welcome.

Related Articles:
- 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
- Best food for birds in the winter http://goo.gl/WXXcp

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Passing on the tradition of the Love of Nature

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ― Rachel Carson

Thank you for your support in helping us celebrate the 10th holiday season of our local Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop! We will continue to do our best to fill your nature niche needs, feature items made in America and to focus on product quality. This year we have many nature focused gifts including bird seed houses, balls, bells, wreaths, and angels. You can find just the right thing to share with someone special on your list.

J.B., Eli and Dolly (cats) also want to say thank you for all the treats, blankets, cat grass, catnip, and cat beds given to them throughout the year. At over 20 years old, J.B. is the oldest working store cat and I'm sure it is because of all the love he has received over the years from his customers.
Feeding the birds is a time honored tradition practiced by many kind people. After harvests, bread crumbs, seeds or a sheaves of grain were set out for the birds. The very act of giving to the birds signified a reminder that no matter how lean the times, when people shared, good fortune would follow. Passing on the love of nature, we hope to enrich your family's traditions and create a sense of wonder of the natural world in the next generation. We wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Seed Angel provides bounty for the birds!

A beautiful decoration to please those who feed birds and a delectable treat for the birds they feed. - See more at: http://www.mrbird.com/shop/holiday-gifts/seed-angel-all-season#sthash.OumzXZhO.dpuf
A beautiful decoration to please those who feed birds and a delectable treat for the birds they feed. - See more at: http://www.mrbird.com/shop/holiday-gifts/seed-angel-all-season#sthash.OumzXZhO.dpuf
A beautiful decoration to please those who feed birds and a delectable treat for the birds they feed. - See more at: http://www.mrbird.com/shop/holiday-gifts/seed-angel-all-season#sthash.OumzXZhO.dpuf
A beautiful decoration to please those who feed birds and a delectable treat for the birds they feed.

Natural grapevine shaped into an angel and "dusted" with millet and safflower seed. Trimmed with millet sprays, cranberries, evergreens with juniper berries and a bow. Each piece is handmade in America and measures approximately 12 inches.

Related Articles:
- Fun Bird Food Treats to decorate the yard http://goo.gl/l7M7gx
- Let's all share Nature's bounty http://bit.ly/tgPkrv 
- Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
- Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/tUElnw

Monday, November 23, 2015

Uses for old Peanut Butter

Can I feed my birds old peanut butter?

You can spread old peanut butter on the bark of a tree to attract woodpeckers and nuthatches. You can also make bird “cookies” to hang outside in the trees for all the birds to enjoy.

Bird Cookies:
Mix in a bowl until crumbly:
1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Cornmeal
1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess Blend Bird Seed
Add:
2 Eggs
Just drop in the whole egg, shell & all and mix well. Pat a golf ball size piece of the batter flat onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, make a hole for hanger with the straw. Remember to wash your hands after working with raw eggs.
Then:
Bake at 325 approx 15 minutes until hard and a nice golden brown.
Once cookies have cooled, loop twine or natural fiber yarn through hole and hang on outside trees to feed the birds!

Related Articles:
- Let's all share Nature's bounty http://bit.ly/tgPkrv 
- Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
- Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/tUElnw

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wild Turkey in tree

Photo by secpnc
Although turkeys prefer to feed on the ground and travel by foot (faster than 19 miles per hour) they can fly short distances and like to roost in trees at night. This charismatic bird has acute senses and a highly developed social system. Early in life both male and female turkeys gobble. The females eventually outgrow this practice, leaving males to gobble competitively for the honor of mating.

Related Articles:
Fun Facts on Wild Turkeys http://bit.ly/rI3Ki7
Why is a Turkey Is Called a Turkey? http://bit.ly/uKNZe5
Wild Turkeys came close to extinction in the 1930s: http://bit.ly/rgjosF
What do Turkeys Eat? http://bit.ly/uUiDsN

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Best place for your bird feeders

The magic numbers in hanging a bird feeder is 3 and 30. Windows that reflect the sky and trees around them or that are very transparent can confuse birds, causing them to see a clear flight path, rather than an obstruction.

Prevent collisions by placing feeders either closer than 3 feet or more than 30 feet from a window. A feeder that is 3 feet prevents a bird from building up enough momentum for a fatal collision, while one within 30 feet or more from a window is a safe distance from confusing reflections.

Breaking the reflection of your window helps, too. On the outside of the window place static-cling Window Alert decals that reflect ultraviolet light that is visible to birds, but not to humans—about four inches apart.

Birds are most likely to eat where they feel safe from predators, including free-roaming cats. Place feeders near a brush pile, evergreen tree, or bush. Birds can fly quickly a few feet to reach the safe cover, yet predators cannot use it to hide within striking range of the feeder.
Related Articles: 
- What Month Do You Stop Feeding The Birds? http://goo.gl/wuKbTI
- Keep your feeders clean http://goo.gl/UGfVGT
- Would the birds starve to death if I stopped feeding them? http://bit.ly/xOFgb9
- How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://goo.gl/AdJPBO
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/vsBxVs
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/rTCbHB

Friday, November 20, 2015

Photo Share: Pine Grosbeak

Photo by Greg Schechter
The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch found mainly in the boreal forest in Canada. Every so often flocks of these birds find their way south to mid-Michigan in the winter.

Related Articles:
Fun Facts About Evening Grosbeaks http://goo.gl/JCzRq5  

House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/opD7kb
Birdwatching: Look for the Out-of-Towners http://bit.ly/q6Pkco
10 Winter Finches in Michigan http://goo.gl/C9WUqx
Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/p4XHU4

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What to feed Evening Grosbeaks

Photo by Andrew C
According to AllAboutBirds: The Evening Grosbeak, a heavyset finch of northern coniferous forests,  adds a splash of color to winter bird feeders when large flocks depart their northern breeding grounds en masse to seek food to the south. The yellow-bodied, dusky-headed male has an imposing air thanks to his massive bill and fierce eyebrow stripe. The female is more subtly marked, with golden highlights on her soft gray plumage. This declining species is becoming an uncommon visitor, particularly in Michigan and other eastern states.

Although they may not visit your backyard every year, Evening Grosbeaks show up irregularly at feeders during the winter that offer sunflower seeds. They are also attracted to the seeds, berries, and buds of trees and shrubs—especially maples.

Related Articles:
Fun Facts About Evening Grosbeaks http://goo.gl/JCzRq5
Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/pEuMKo
House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/opD7kb
Birdwatching: Look for the Out-of-Towners http://bit.ly/q6Pkco
10 Winter Finches in Michigan http://goo.gl/C9WUqx
Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/p4XHU4

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Treat your birds with a cranberry seed cake!

When cold weather hits many bug eating birds have to switch their diet from bugs to fruit nuts and berries. Wild Birds Unlimited cranberry seed cakes, like suet cakes, attract many seed, fruit & nut-eating birds such as woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, wrens & more.

The birds stay longer eating at the feeder instead of grabbing a morsel and flying quickly away to eat it elsewhere. The cakes are packed with high-calorie nuts to provide birds with enough energy stay warm. The ingredients, pecans, sunflower chips, peanuts, safflower, black oil sunflower, and cranberries are bound together safely and compactly with gelatin. Measures 4-3/8" x 4-3/8" x 1-1/4" thick. Fits any single-cake suet feeder.

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
- Product Highlight: Solid Seed Cylinders http://goo.gl/HbISQR

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fancy red bird attracts the girls

Photo by Nigel
Like the House Sparrow, the House Finch has house in their name because they like living near human dwellings. The female is a striped brown and whit bird, the male House Finch's plumage varies in color from light yellow to bright red. The healthiest foragers usually have the reddest feathers and the best change to attract a female.

Related Articles:
- House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/oOPJYR
- Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/qr78Dd
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/rT5Hfj
- Why male and females are a different color http://bit.ly/ueILUf
- Remove all winter wreaths before finches begin nesting in them http://goo.gl/OeyOS

Monday, November 16, 2015

It is all about pecking order at the feeder

Why do the birds land on each other at the feeders even if there is another perch available?

The scuffles at the bird feeders is all about pecking order. They aren’t bully-birds but acting naturally for the bird world. Usually it is the older, more dominant male that will displace a younger bird.

Within the bird species there is a hierarchy. Hard billed woodpeckers seem to poke other birds to give them the advantage over most other feeder birds including the jays.

While the doves use some fancy wing-work and their large presence to shove competitors away at the feeder. The old one two, wing and then peck method is a favorite of goldfinches to get the best seat at the feeder. You’ll see that subordinate birds will either leave and wait their turn or move over a little and try to make themselves look smaller.

At my house the feeders are always full and the garden also provides natural foods so hopefully nobody goes hungry. Otherwise these subordinate birds will have to venture out to forage in less reliable places and have a more difficult time in bad weather.

The worse the weather, the more the birds depend on feeders. When it’s especially bad outside, seed eating birds flock to feeders no matter where you live to build up their energy reserves. And remember everyone should clean their feeders about once a month. When birds are stressed they are susceptible to diseases and so it’s best to serve them on a clean plate.

Related Articles:
Do Birds Eat Only at Certain Levels? http://goo.gl/vgE94
Why feed birds in the fall http://goo.gl/Jq4Aj
You get more birds if you feed year-round http://goo.gl/IsJKJ  

Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/huYuE2

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Native fruit trees attract Cedar Waxwings

Photo by Rachel Kramer
Description:
A wonderful surprise I happened upon on this beautiful (but cold) sunny afternoon.
According to Birds of Michigan by Ted Black: Flocks of handsome Cedar Waxwings gorge on berries during late summer and fall. Waxwings have a remarkable ability to digest a wide variety of berries, some of which are inedible or even poisonous to humans. If the fruits have fermented, these birds will show definite signs of tipsiness. Native berry-producing trees and shrubs planted in your backyard can attract Cedar Waxwings and will often encourage them to nest in your area.

Related Articles:
Bird of the Week: Cedar Waxwing http://goo.gl/gwQma2
Red Maple flower make a tasty treat for Cedar Waxwings http://goo.gl/Lo72NS
Cedar Waxwing Nesting Season Begins in the Summer http://goo.gl/F3erQl
Keep your eyes open for Bohemian Waxwings! http://goo.gl/Bu67BV

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How long seed lasts

Under optimal conditions, in a cool, dry place, out of the sun, bird seed can be kept for up to three months. One excellent way to store bird seed is to leave it in the original bag and put it in the freezer. Suet and seed kept in the freezer can be kept up to 3 months.

If don’t have freezer space, Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing has galvanized steel containers with locking lids to keep out water and unwanted guests. If the container is kept outside in the winter it will keep out moisture from the air and also keep out the drying sunlight. I always leave the seed in their original bags so you are never dumping old seed on top of new.

If you keep your seed in the house at room temperature, it is best if you use it up within a month.

It is never good to store seed for too long. Birds know the difference between fresh seed and older, stale or moldy seed. In a world where every meal counts, fresh seed is sought after for its higher oil content which makes it much more nutritious for the birds.

These few steps when storing bird seed and suet will extend the shelf life of the food and also attract more birds!

Related articles:
- What is No-Mess Bird Seed?: http://bit.ly/pl516I
- What birds like peanuts?: http://bit.ly/qKbHT0
- Seed Storage Cans and WBU Seed Scoops: http://bit.ly/q6th9R
- Do I need to clean my bird feeder?: http://bit.ly/nYKz40
- The best bird feeders at Wild Birds Unlimited: http://bit.ly/pv36W6

Friday, November 13, 2015

Photo Share: Golden-crowned Kinglet

Photo by Nigel
Birds of Michigan by Ted Black states that the Golden-crowned Kinglets are seen mainly in the spring and fall in mid-Michigan. As they refuel on insects and berries, kinglets use tree branches as swings and trapezes, flashing their regal crowns and constantly flicking their tiny wings.

Not much larger than hummingbirds, Golden-crowned Kinglets have an extremely high-pitched call. In the winter they are seen commonly among multispecies flocks that often include chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers.

Related articles:
What is Michigan's smallest bird?
Shilly-shallying Golden-crowned Kinglet: Adorable!
Black-capped Chickadee: Nature's Backyard Charmer
Small Mysterious Black & White Bird Visits Mid-Michigan
Keep Your Eyes Open for Migrating Warblers

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cool bird feeders

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 characters, Millie and Blossom, to join Rascal Racoon, 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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day observed on November 11th

Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served have sacrificed and done their duty.

We Honor you and Thank You for your service.

Related Articles:
Patriotic Red, White and Bluebird http://goo.gl/OQrUY 

National Birds http://bit.ly/tCORyh  
War Pigeon Remembered http://t.co/5yiXSNS
Why is the Dove a Symbol of Peace? http://t.co/Br4EnlB
War Birds http://t.co/t7WJp99

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bird feeding tips

Seed Cylinder feeders are very easy to maintain!
What is the best way to begin feeding birds?

Bird Feeders come in a wide variety styles. The best feeder to begin bird feeding is the one that caters to the birds that already find your yard a suitable habitat. Birds are sometimes wary of new feeders. So by targeting birds that are already in the area, the time it takes birds to utilize the new food source will be much shorter. 

Things to remember:
• Make sure you can see the feeder from a comfortable spot in your home. The whole point of adding a feeder to your yard is so that you and your family can enjoy watching the activity.
• Place your feeder where it is visible. Birds generally find their food by sight.
• Sprinkle some seed on the ground to encourage the birds to a new feeding area.
• Use a seed type or seed blend based on the birds in your area.
• Keep your feeders clean and the seed fresh.

Don’t be disappointed if you only see little brown House Sparrows at first. Birds are attracted by activity. If a flock of sparrows deem your feeder good, other species will check out what all the fuss is about and the word will spread quickly.

It’s good to understand what kind of backyard habitat you have and what birds you might attract depending on the season. If you’re not sure, come in to Wild Birds Unlimited to get answers to these and other issues from our Certified Bird Feeding Specialists. Good luck and enjoy your birds!


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Water for birds in the winter

I woke up to a frozen bird bath this morning. What should I do?

Most people understand that birds need to drink but many do not realize just how important it is that birds also bathe, especially in the winter. A good part of a bird's day is spent grooming their feathers by bathing, scratching, and preening. The feathers covering the body give the bird a water resistant, aerodynamic shape for efficient flight. And properly fluffed up feathers also trap body heat close to the skin.

So when temperatures drop think about adding a heater to your bird bath or switch to an all-in-one heated bird bath to provide an open water source.

Heated bird baths are not like a hot tube. The Wild Birds Unlimited heated baths have a built-in, fully grounded heater that is thermostatically controlled to conserve energy. As soon as temperatures reach freezing the bath will turn on to heat the water just enough to thaw ice. You can mount it easily to deck rails or place it in a stand sold separately.

Water sources in winter are an easy way to attract a variety of birds including the American Robin, Eastern Bluebird and other birds that don’t usually visit feeders.

Related Articles:
- Are there heated birdbaths that are solar? http://bit.ly/tnTrK4
- Last Minute Gifts for Birdwatchers http://bit.ly/tXwHJ8
- How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter Birdwatching http://bit.ly/uduvLm
- Attracting Bluebirds in the Winter http://bit.ly/sw0H6P
- Most common winter birds in Michigan http://bit.ly/vSkLTn

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sharp-shinned hawk diet

I don’t see this bird very often, so it’s a treat when he showed up in the tree outside my window today. The Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) looks like a mini Cooper’s Hawk. They eat small songbirds like sparrows and small rodents, such as mice and voles, and an occasional moth or grasshopper.

Sharp-shinned Hawks are the smallest hawk in North America (males average 9 – 12 in. long and females 11 to 15 in). The name Sharp-shinned comes from the long and narrow appearance of the hawk’s legs just above its toes.

Adults have blue-gray backs, with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast and red eyes. Immature sharpies are mostly brown, with coarse vertical streaks on white belly and yellow eyes. Female Sharp-shinned Hawks are about a third bigger and heavier than males. Both the adults and young have broad dark bands across their long square-tipped tails.

They are seen year-round in mid-Michigan, but you will see more from August to November as the hawks from further north migrate through to the rest of the continental United States or migrate as far as southern Central America.

Related Articles:
Hawks at Feeders http://bit.ly/wzE35r
Can You Scare a Hawk Away? http://bit.ly/xpVocG
Michigan’s Top 20 Winter Backyard Birds http://bit.ly/ykIZ7L
Red-tailed Hawk Fun Facts http://bit.ly/AaK61o
Coopers's Hawk http://bit.ly/y5cNMz
Northern Goshawk http://bit.ly/xcEcW7

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fun Bird Food Treats to decorate the yard

If you come into the Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI store you will see a lot of new items that will decorate your yard and make a great treat to serve your birds.

Fun Holiday Bird Food Treats
Birdhouse Dipped in Birdseed
We have bird houses that are decorated with a mixture of fresh bird seed and dried fruit or flowers. Birds will flock to the sides to eat during the winter and then a chickadee couple can use the house to roost in for the winter.

Birdie Bells & Solid Seed and Nut Ornament
Give your backyard friends a gift they'll really enjoy. Extra-large wild bird seed ornaments and birdseed bells are solid, compact mix birdseed and pecans. They can be hung on outdoor trees, porch hooks, or shrubs as a treat for clinging birds. This is a perfect gift to have on hand to pass out to teachers, hostesses, unexpected guests and other friends and family.

Seed Cylinder Characters
Available for a limited time only, our Seed Cylinder Characters are seasonal mix of safflower, sunflower chips, peanuts, cherries, blueberries and papaya to attract a variety of birds. Simply slide the Seed Cylinder onto our WBU Seed Cylinder Feeders enjoy the feathered holiday visitors. This is an adorable and unforgettable treat birds really love!

WBU Cranberry Fare Seed Wreath
The Seed Wreath does double duty during the winter season. Not only is it a dining delight for birds, but it also adds festive cheer to any yard. This wreath is full of seasonally-appropriate ingredients including sunflower seeds, peanuts and pecans.

It makes the perfect gift for friends that love nature but might not need another feeder. The wreath is 100% edible. Birds will eat this treat until it disappears completely.

Each wreath comes in a clear wrapped gift box and includes a red hanging ribbon and seed net.

Related Articles: 
- Let's all share Nature's bounty http://bit.ly/tgPkrv 
- Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
- Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/tUElnw