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, February 29, 2016

What Carolina Wrens eat in the winter

Carolina Wrens are primarily insect eaters, but they will also eat some fruits and seeds. Suets, mealworms and peanuts are good substitutes for scarce insects. They can be attracted to your feeders by providing a brush pile close to your feeding area. They feel more secure with a place to seek refuge nearby.

More Facts:

• A single male Carolina Wren can sing up to forty different songs – up to 3,000 times in a single day.
• Unlike other wren species, only the male Carolina Wren sings the loud song.
• A pair bond may form between a male and a female Carolina Wren at any time of the year, and the pair will stay together for life. Members of a pair stay together on their territory year-round, and forage and move around the territory together.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bluebird/ Tree swallow competition

Last season the barn swallows beat the bluebirds to the house and took it over. They nested in it last summer. Will the bluebirds use that nest or do I need to clean it out before they return? I would much rather have the blue birds nest there than the barn swallows.

Bluebirds and Tree swallows both like to nest in the fairly open areas interspersed with trees and shrubs. Experts recommend that bluebird boxes be 5 feet high and spaced at least 300' apart facing east or southeast.

To reduce the competition between bluebirds and swallows for houses it is recommended to pair houses. Setting up a pair of houses, with each house no more than 5-10 feet apart every 300 feet, is one proven technique that allows both songbirds to nest together successfully. Pairing boxes has the advantage of allowing more birds of both species to coexist peacefully within the same habitat and battle any predators or interloping sparrows. More information on this technique can be found HERE.

Bluebirds will not clean out old nests by themselves typically. They may build a nest on top of another previously used nest, but this may promote disease and parasite infestation, and increases the likelihood that a predator will be able to reach in and nab eggs/nestlings that are closer to the entrance hole.

It is best to clean out nestboxes in September so that when they are ready to nest again in the spring, the house is all set! If you didn’t get a chance in the fall, try to get out there before March to clean them out. Bluebirds can already be checking out houses in February and begin building new nests in March. They would never skip the building of a new nest and use an old nest, they would just build on top of an old nest.

Both Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows are beautiful native birds. While bluebirds will entertain us with their song, the swallows dancing and darting in the air is something to watch. Besides having fun watching these birds, farmers, gardeners, and others enjoy both birds because they are consumers of many pest insects.

Related Articles:
Ultimate Bluebird House http://bit.ly/xeGs0e
Feeding and Raising Bluebirds http://bit.ly/A39dAh
How to Protect My Bluebird House http://bit.ly/zI48Ts
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/yNT6Ye
When is the best time to put up a bird house? http://bit.ly/yAI123
Bluebird House Designs http://bit.ly/w7FWRE

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Photo Share: Cardinal in snow

Birds are warm-blooded. In general, this means that they maintain their body temperature within a certain range even when the temperature around them changes. The maintenance of body temperature within a normal range depends on the amount of heat the bird produces.

On cold, wintry days, most birds fluff up their feathers, creating air pockets, which help keep the birds warm. The more air spaces, the better the insulation. Some birds perch on one leg, drawing the other leg to the breast for warmth.

To keep up their high metabolic rate, most backyard birds eat rich, energy foods such as seeds, insects and suet. There are some times, however, when birds are not prepared to deal with sudden drops in temperature or sudden winter storms. At times like these, it is especially helpful to have feeders full so that birds can find food easily.

Related Articles:
- Northern Cardinal Fun Facts http://bit.ly/twE6NV
- How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/tSKZYs
- Cardinal Bird Feeders Made in the USA: http://bit.ly/qXJPFM
- How to Attract Cardinals: http://bit.ly/pjh7mO
- What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/rAArXw

Friday, February 26, 2016

How to help the birds

Provide clean feeders and bird baths
Feeder maintenance: Feeders should be cleaned at least once a month, year round but especially during times of migration. Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing - will clean your feeder for $5.00. Or you can purchase professional cleaners like Scoot at Wild Birds Unlimited, or use a one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to clean all of your feeders. That's really important to stop transmission of disease between birds that are under stress.
Bird bath maintenance: Whether they are feeder visitors or not, birds need water for drinking, bathing and preening. Offering a dependable source of water is the simplest and most important step you can take to increase the variety of birds in your yard and help them maintain healthy feathers for flight.

Prevent contact with predators and pesticides
Reduce or eliminate your use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides: According to the (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center, many birds die each year from landscape pesticides, when they eat pesticide granules or eat poisoned insects. It is best to use disease- and pest-resistant plants, cultivate native plant species, and reduce the lawn area.
Cats Indoors! Even the sweetest cats still have the instincts of their wild ancestors. When something flutters by, they must swat it down. Cats allowed to roam outside stalking the songbirds kill billions of birds each year, and for that reason you should never allow your kitty outside.

Keep your windows dirty
Window Decals: This will delight a lot of people about to start spring cleaning. Leave those spotty windows alone so birds will see them. Or you can help prevent collisions with a simple, easy to apply window decals.

Feed your feathered friends
Feeding birds in the Spring: Many prime food sources are depleted in the Spring making it the hardest time for birds to find food. Bird feeders provide an easy source for birds after a long winter or arduous migration. Many birds migrating to their nesting grounds may see yards with lots of bird activity a safe stop-over point.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Feeding the birds becomes critical in extreme weather

The mild November and early December in mid-Michigan allowed birds to seek natural foods easily. Though it might seem strange to humans, wild birds prefer to forage over visiting feeders.

Last night, however, the natural food sources may have become covered with snow or locked in ice. If this ice sticks around for 2 or 3 days, birds can starve to death. When ice coats the seeds and berries in the wild, the birds can’t eat them. At those times, bird feeders are often their only source of food available.

When it’s especially cold, birds flock to feeders to build up their energy reserves. A seed blend with sunflower seeds and peanuts is great to offer in the winter. It has a high calorie/ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content. At Wild Birds Unlimited that would be our most popular WBU No-Mess Blend or WBU Choice blend.

Suet or seed cylinders are great foods to offer many of the birds that will visit backyards in the winter. Suet is a high energy, pure fat substance which is invaluable in winter when insects are harder to find and birds need many more calories to keep their bodies warm. I would recommend our peanut butter suet.

Your feeders serve only as a supplemental source of food for birds in your yard except during cold, long, severe winter weather. So today your birds may be utilizing them as the critical source of food that enables them to survive the day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New seed cylinder flavors at Wild Birds Unlimited

If you are looking to feed just the birds and not the squirrels, hot pepper may be the problem solver. Your favorite birds will enjoy the Hot Pepper Seed Cylinder, without the squirrels or other mammals joining in the feast.

Made of tree nuts, black oil sunflower, sunflower chips, peanuts, and hot pepper, the Hot Pepper Seed Cylinder is perfect for enticing a wide variety of birds to your yard, while deterring squirrels.

Or give your backyard birds a feast like they've never had before. Bugs, Nuts & Fruit treat cylinders offer wild bird visitors a bountiful variety of entirely edible pieces. This blend attracts a number of species because it contains dried mealworms for insect-loving birds, as well as a nut-blend of sunflower hearts, peanuts, and tree nuts. It also contains raisins and cranberries, for fruit-loving birds, and the ingredients are bound together safely and compactly with gelatin. Because there are no seed hulls, there is no waste or mess to clean up on the ground. This blend easily attracts every kind of clinging bird, and its center opening also lets you slide it onto a seed cake feeder like the Spiral Seed Cylinder Feeder to attract perching birds.

Related Articles:
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/xbZ9lR
- How to get the chickadees to stay at the feeder longer http://goo.gl/Q9pxHq
- Product Highlight: Solid Seed Cylinders http://goo.gl/HbISQR
- No-mess Seed Cylinders: http://goo.gl/SPCYIK 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to use suet for birds

The fastest way to get woodpeckers to find a new suet feeder is put it in a place they are already looking for food. Woodpeckers cling to tree trunks in search of insects. A good place to locate suet feeders is at eye level and in close proximity to a tree.

Suet is one of the top three foods to feed wild birds because of their high metabolic rates. It is not unusual for birds to consume 1/4 to 1/3 their body weight worth of food a day! Offering suet cakes provides a high caloric energy source. Before long, you'll see a steady stream of chickadees, woodpeckers, warblers, titmice, kinglets, nuthatches, jays, wrens, and other birds visiting your suet feeders eagerly.

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. It does not contain any filler ingredients (no milo, no wheat, no millet or artificial flavors or colors)! I use it year-round. The squirrels don’t seem to bother mine but if they did I would switch to the straight beef suet cake or the hot pepper cake. Most mammals will leave those two cakes alone.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

The best way to store suet

It is best to store suet in a cool, dry place. Cases of suet in a cool basement secured in a steel can or in an extra freezer/refrigerator extends the shelf life of suet. You don't have to worry about birds eating frozen suet. In fact we recommend freezing suet to keep it fresh and make it easier to remove from the package.

Woodpeckers are some of the toughest birds in the backyard. As their name suggests, they frequently peck on the wood of trees to look for or hide tasty treats, and to build nests. In addition to drilling holes, woodpeckers will knock their heads on anything that will make a noise to send sound signals. Frozen suet wouldn’t be any challenge at all.

Suet is beneficial to birds year-round. In spring, it meets the increased energy demands of nesting birds. In the summer months, it helps assist parent birds to feed their families, especially in years when insects are not very plentiful. In fall, suet helps wild birds change feathers and store fat to prepare for migration or the coming winter. And of course, in winter, suet replenishes depleted stores of energy and nutrients, to help birds survive the long, cold months. So, bring out the suet!

Related Articles:
How do I stop woodpeckers from pecking on my house? http://bit.ly/KGItqF
What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
Michigan made suet feeders: http://bit.ly/rbKskX
Fun Facts about Woodpeckers http://bit.ly/tQ5lwt
How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Selecting a Birdhouse: Make sure your house is suitable

I really want to watch birds raise a family this year in a bird house. When do I put it up and do you have houses in stock? ~ Lansing, Michigan

It's never too early or too late to put up a bird house. If you listen, you've probably already noticed the excitement in the air. Every day the sun is rising a little earlier and the days are getting longer. Pretty soon when I wake up in the morning, I'll be able to watch the birds outside my window sitting on the tips of branches and breaking out in song to mark their territory.

Home Tweet Home
It's hard to believe, but a lot of the birds that winter in Michigan have already begun to scout for good nesting areas. At Wild Birds Unlimited we can help you choose a good, functional bird house that is right for where you live. Not all birds are going to use birdhouses. Depending on where you live, some birds that use houses are House sparrows, wrens, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, flickers, bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Purple Martins, Screech Owls, American Kestrels and Wood Ducks.

Best Nest
Just like feeders, it's best to find a house that is designed well and easy to clean. Look for homes with an easy clean out, proper ventilation, drainage holes, untreated wood, or recycled plastic houses with the proper design. Not all birdhouses are equal. Studies show the inside dimension, the shape and the diameter of the opening determine what birds it will attract. Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, Michigan store always has a wide selection of functional bird houses available.

Create Habitat
People provide bird houses or "nest boxes" because in nature most of these birds use tree hollows or old woodpeckers' nests. But today we are quick to remove dead and decaying trees with holes because they could become dangerous and fall in storms. So we help Mother Nature by providing alternate homes.
 
In return the birds will do their best to decimate the bug population in your yard by stuffing their kids' mouths. And they are also educational and entertaining to watch!

Related Articles:
Building bird houses http://bit.ly/wUogMl
How to Protect My Bluebird House http://bit.ly/ylogXa
When do birds begin nesting? http://bit.ly/A8OFNi
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/x16Dqr
When do you clean bird houses? http://bit.ly/zpTAiX

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Best bird seed mix

February is designated National Bird Feeding Month because it's one of the most difficult months in the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild. In mid-Michigan the plants are still dormant and haven’t begun to produce new food for the birds and the bugs are still scarce.

Also, low temperatures force birds to burn up to 10% of their body weight in stored fat each night to stay warm and this fat must be replaced every day. Be sure to keep your feeders filled with the high-energy, high-fat foods that provide your birds with the crucial nutrition they need to survive.

No-mess is the only blend I use personally and Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess bird seed is our most popular blend with our customers by far. I have to order so much that it is sometimes hard to find a place to stack the extra tonnage on the floor.

The first ingredient in No-Mess Blend is sunflower seed with the shells removed. This is the favorite of most of the seed eating birds like finches and cardinals. Then there are peanut pieces without the shell to attract the bug eating birds like the chickadees, nuthatches, wrens and more. Finally there is a little millet without the hull for the ground feeding birds like the juncos and doves.

There is about twice as much seed in a bag of no-mess because you are not paying for the shell. That means it should go down twice as slow and leave no debris on the ground to clean up. Pound for pound, our No-Mess Blend offers the best value because you do not pay for the shells. The birds eat everything.

Each of our blends is mixed to attract the widest variety of 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 but aren't eaten by the birds in Michigan. Therefore, there is no wasted seed left on the ground to attract rodents. Wild Birds Unlimited blends actually end up costing less to use while attracting more of the birds that you want to watch.

Related Articles:
What birds like peanuts? http://bit.ly/zispJK
What seeds do wild birds eat? http://bit.ly/wKyQNB
How can birds survive this cold weather? http://bit.ly/xbkaPP
Why pay more for seed at Wild Birds Unlimited? http://bit.ly/xJZMFe
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh

Friday, February 19, 2016

Photo Share: Red-tailed Hawk (I think)

Hi Sarah, As promised, I am sending you some pictures I took 3 weeks ago. This bird was magnificent!!! - Marie-Eve

Many people are used to seeing Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks at their backyard bird feeders but a Red-tailed Hawk is a little more unusual. Mammals make up the bulk of most Red-tailed Hawk meals. They hunt from perches then they descend swiftly, to snatch a squirrel, rabbit, vole or chipmunk off the ground.

Immature red-tailed hawks look similar to adults, but immatures have yellowish-gray eyes that become dark brown as adults. Red-tailed hawks usually begin breeding when they are three years old. They are monogamous, and mate with the same individual for many years. In fact, red-tailed hawks usually only change mates when their original mate dies.

Thank you so much for sharing these fabulous photos!  If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A sure sign of spring: Bird song!

There is still a snow on the ground but you may have noticed that as the days get longer, the birds are beginning to sing more. What triggers this change in behavior?

A key part of a bird’s brain is affected by seasonal change. When birds are exposed to longer days, the cells start to release a thyroid-stimulating hormone, previously associated only with growth and metabolism. It indirectly stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete further hormones called gonadotrophins, causing male birds' testicles to grow and, results in increased singing during breeding season.

So now is the time to be thinking about providing nesting material and nesting boxes to attract wild birds in your yard because there is nothing like birds’ songs to herald the approach of spring.

Related Articles:
How Birds Sing http://bit.ly/xxf2vn
How Birds Mate http://bit.ly/wYSqwb
How Birds Court http://bit.ly/A2qGqS
Dryer Lint is a NO NO for Nesting Material http://goo.gl/31x9i
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/xETceZ
When do birds begin nesting? http://bit.ly/wbJ3kE

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A sure sign of spring: I see yellow!

The first sure sign that spring is near is the squirrelly behaviors at the feeders. If you feed the squirrels and think they are looking especially fat right now, it may be that the females are eating for three or four. You can spot the experienced momma black squirrels because they look like they are running around with only their fluffy pants on. They pluck out the top half of their body hair to line their nest.

Another sign I've noticed is the increased activity at the finch feeders. American Goldfinches are the only finches in North America to go through a complete molt two times a year. In the spring the duller olive green wardrobe of the male is switched over to the bright yellow feathers with a stylish black cap and black and white wings. The spring molt requires a large amount of nutrients and energy which probably explains their ravenous behavior at the feeders right now.

Related Articles:
Average dates for birds return to Michigan the in Spring? http://bit.ly/IMYNQe
When is bird migration over? http://bit.ly/IMZ7OQ
What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/IMZsB3
What to know about feeding birds in the spring http://bit.ly/I5s6h9

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to encourage birds to nest in your backyard

Bird feeders may contribute to a bird deciding to nest early in your yard. Recent research studies show that birds with access to bird feeders often lay their eggs earlier than those without feeders and typically have better rates of survival.

Many of the birds that visit feeders and baths may stay and nest in bird houses or nearby trees and bushes. Feeders also allow breeding females to spend less time searching for food and more time selecting better nesting sites and constructing higher quality nests. The adults will also have more time available for protecting their nest, eggs and young from predators.

Nesting season can vary depending on the species of bird, the weather conditions, food availability, and many other variables. Some larger birds like owls, hawks, and eagles may begin courting in December and nest in January and February.

Woodpeckers can begin selecting a place to nest in January through March. Tufted titmice breed from March to May. Blue Jays breed from March through July. American Robins, House finches, Carolina wrens and Northern Cardinals breed between March and August. We get calls every spring about these birds making their nests in holiday wreaths so please remove all winter decorations now before a momma bird selects it for a home.

Black-capped Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds usually begin scouting for bird houses in February and can nest any time from March to July. Most breeding for Tree swallows, House Wrens and White-breasted Nuthatches is done between early May and June. In some areas the Mourning Doves nest almost year round, from February to October, because they feed their young “crop milk”. While American Goldfinches wait to nest until late July to September when the thistles and other flowers are producing a reliable supply of fluff to make their nests and seeds for their young.

Related Articles:

Bird Nest Basics http://bit.ly/sqNq0u
Is it too early to put up a birdhouse? http://bit.ly/tmN9rj
How do you know when a nest is abandoned? http://bit.ly/usMPY8
Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/sqafTq
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/uWN7fE
Common Backyard Bird Nest Identification http://bit.ly/sVfipj

Monday, February 15, 2016

Chipmunks make an appearance

The first time a chipmunk looks for a mate can be as early February to April and in some areas a second season is from June to August. During these periods, if the female chipmunk is ready to mate, she gives a series of calls known as chips. Male chipmunks gather in a female's territory and compete for the chance to impress the female. After mating the female chases the male away to bear and rear the young on her own.

If it is still cold, she will return to her home underground to gestate. After a month long pregnancy, the female bears a litter of two to five offspring in her nest burrow. She nurses the young for about two months before she takes them on foraging trips. The offspring are ready to leave the nest and find their own territories after they are taught by their mother to hunt for nuts, berries, fruits, grasses, fungi, snails, and insects in a six week survival course.

They are fully grown after about 3 months and sexually mature the following year if they live that long. About half of all chipmunks in any given year are young that were born in that season. Chipmunks in the wild live, on average, just over one year.

Chipmunks are a valuable prey item for a variety of species including hawks, owls, falcons, foxes, snakes, cats and weasels.

Related Articles:

The 25 known species of chipmunks in the world http://goo.gl/mAs2T
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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

#GBBC: A Valentine for Mother Nature

Give Mother Nature a valentine this year and show how much you care about birds by counting them for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). The 19th annual count is taking place February 12 through 15. Anyone in the world can count birds at any location for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track changes in bird populations on a massive scale.

In 2015, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 100 countries counted 5,090 species of birds on more than 147,000 checklists! See the full 2015 summary.

During the count, you can explore what others are seeing in your area or around the world. Share your bird photos by entering the photo contest, or enjoy images pouring in from across the globe. New in 2016: you can add photos and sounds to your checklist. Read more.

Help make the most successful count ever by participating this year!

Then keep counting throughout the year with eBird, which uses the same system as the Great Backyard Bird Count to collect, store, and display data any time, all the time.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and show some love for the birds this Valentine's Day. Participation is free and easy. To learn more about how to join the count, download instructions, at www.birdcount.org.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A closer look at Red-shouldered Hawks

Red-shouldered Hawks belong to a group of hawks called “Buteos” or soaring hawks.  Buteo is the Latin name of the Common Buzzard. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in North America.

The Red-shouldered Hawk is a medium-sized raptor with a chunky appearance, broad wings and fan-shaped tail. They have a brown head, a dark brown back and reddish brown finely barred under parts. The Red-shouldered Hawk gets its name from reddish brown feathers on their upper wings giving the bird the appearance of having red shoulders, although this part of the wing is actually the hawk’s wrist. Their tails are dark brown/black with narrow white bands.

They range from the Great Lakes region east to Maine and south to Texas and Florida. They are also found along the coast of California. Populations of this hawk in the northeast migrate to northern Mexico for the winter.
Red-shouldered hawks usually live in deciduous or mixed deciduous-conifer forests and swamps. They like to perch on dead trees to observe and hunt animals on the forest floor. You may be able to locate them by one of their common calls, “keeyuur, keeyuur”. They hunt mainly small mammals, no larger than a rabbit or squirrel. They will also eat snakes, toads, frogs, small birds, and large insects.

Related Articles

Friday, February 12, 2016

Photo Share: Winter robin flocks

I don't know if these are clear enough to post to your Friday blog but they were fun to watch.  For the last couple of days large flocks of Robins have been filling up the crab apple trees behind the Plant Biology building at MSU.  There are at least a couple hundred birds that keep flying in and out of the trees and beneath to feast on the crab apples all day long. Any time I got close enough to take a picture they would scatter so I couldn't get all of them in one shot.

Common throughout the U.S., even in the winter, the American Robin is best known as a harbinger of Spring. After nesting season is over in the fall, robins gather in huge family flock to roost in the woods. Their diet switches over from bugs mainly to a more fruit, nut and berry diet.

They can fly miles to forage for food in the winter. You may see them in your yard for two or three days devouring a crab apple tree's fruit and then not see them again the rest of the winter.

At the end of February and the beginning of March the winter flocks begin to break up. Robins begin singing for mates and defending territories. Then you'll know it's spring when you see a robin bouncing across the lawn looking for insects and worms. This is followed closely by them checking out mud puddles and dried grasses for nesting materials. They like to nest near human dwellings, often on a porch ledge or a nearby tree in the yard.

Related Articles:
- Why Robins are Attracted to Water http://bit.ly/qP9aTs
- Bird of the Week: American Robin http://bit.ly/pnUKqk
- Fun Facts About The American Robin http://bit.ly/n9CSni
- Why robins are called Robin Redbreast and not orange breast http://goo.gl/OB4iT

Thursday, February 11, 2016

ID birds for #GBBC

We hope the Great Backyard Bird Count whets your appetite for more knowledge about birds. For more information we have Birds of Michigan Field Guides or you can visit our online Bird Guide to identify birds at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/.

More help with specific ID challenges:
Which Red Finch is It?
Is it a Black-capped or Carolina Chickadee?
Identifying Some Common Sparrows
Woodpeckers With Red Heads
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers
Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks

And I’ve listed some of the most common birds you’ll see in mid-Michigan and the food they like at feeders.
1. Northern Cardinal - Sunflower seed, Safflower, Peanuts, White Proso Millet
2. American Goldfinch - Nyjer Thistle, Sunflower Seeds
3. House Finch - Safflower, Nyjer Thistle, Sunflower Chips, Oil Sunflower Seed
4. House Sparrow - White Proso Millet, Oil Sunflower seed, Sunflower Chips
5. Dark-eyed Junco - White Proso Millet, Sunflower seed, Nyjer Thistle
6. Mourning Dove - Sunflower seed, Peanuts, Safflower, White Proso Millet, Nyjer
7. Tufted Titmouse - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
8. Black-capped Chickadee - Nuts, Sunflower, Safflower, Nyjer Thistle, Suet, Mealworms
9. Carolina Wren - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
10. Red-breasted Nuthatch - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
11. White-breasted Nuthatch - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
12. Downy Woodpecker - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
13. Blue Jay - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Suet
14. Red-bellied Woodpecker - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
15. Northern Flicker - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Safflower, Suet, Mealworms
16. European Starling - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Suet, Mealworms
17. Cedar Waxwing - Mealworms, Suet Nuggets, Berries and Wild Fruit
18. American Robin - Shelled peanuts, Suet, Suet Nuggets, Mealworms
19. Eastern Bluebird - Shelled peanuts, Suet, Suet Nuggets, Mealworms
20. American Crow - Peanuts, Sunflower seed, Suet
21. Cooper’s Hawk - Songbirds, Squirrels, Suet

Of course there are a lot more birds in Michigan during the winter and they don't just eat from feeders, but this gives you a start.