About us: We own a wild bird feeding supply 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.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Where are the hummingbirds?

We had a lot of hummingbirds and now there are none and the sugar water went cloudy. What happened? I've cleaned the feeder and still no hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds hit the feeders hard in early spring when they first arrive. Then nesting territories are established and the increased availability bugs and blooms helps the birds forage naturally. There is always a dip in activity during June.

But don’t give up on them! Hummingbird feeding is most successful in late summer and early fall. Territories have now relaxed since nesting is over. The babies are out with their mommas which means the highest number of hummingbirds are feeding right now. Keep your feeder clean and filled with fresh nectar so when they do come back to investigate they get a happy meal. I recommend changing the nectar at least twice a week when the weather is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Late July some hummers may begin fueling up to migrate south. Some people fear that feeding hummingbirds into the fall may delay their departure and expose them to freezing but there is no evidence that feeding slows their migration. In fact hummers that are born late in the season are vulnerable. Leaving your feeders up may provide a critical opportunity for these hummingbirds to build reserves and “catch up.”

September is typically the most satisfying month to feed hummingbirds. As the days shorten, ruby-throats begin to migrate south. This occurs in Michigan late August and by mid-October they are usually gone. That's a good time to bring in the feeders and clean them for winter storage. 

Related Articles:
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://goo.gl/MK3AU
Fun Facts about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds http://goo.gl/jcjcr
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/L4yY3i
Why the color on a hummingbirds’ throat flashes http://bit.ly/JZ31qX
When did people start to feed hummingbirds?: http://bit.ly/o8Y8HR

Friday, June 29, 2018

Photo Share: Baby Red Squirrel visits

Adorable! This little baby red squirrel came to the Wild Birds Unlimited store to investigate. We get seed delivery every Tuesday and Friday and if a bag of seed just happens to break during shipping, these little guys help with spilled seed clean-up.

Red squirrels already look like babies but this especially fresh faced kid was just finding out how the great big world works. Distinguished from other tree squirrels by its smaller size, the American Red Squirrel, as its common name suggests, is a deep reddish brown in color, with white underparts and a white ring around the eye.

When it's not nibbling bird seed, the American red squirrel feeds on conifer cones, nuts, and seeds. They also eat a variety fruits, buds, bark, flowers, fungi, and even insects.

The American red squirrel usually breeds from February to April, sometimes with a second litter from June to August. Born naked and helpless, the young squirrels are weaned by 7 to 8 weeks, and become independent by around 18 weeks. The female will sometimes relinquish all or part of the territory to one or more juveniles, and move away to establish a new one, giving the young squirrels a greater chance at becoming territory holders.

Related Articles:
Red Squirrel Nest Identification http://goo.gl/OHyF0
How can I get rid of Red Squirrels? http://goo.gl/DgXw4
How Many Species of Squirrels are in Michigan? http://goo.gl/ZWalH
What American Red Squirrels Eat
Why squirrels chew http://goo.gl/IUOrv
Can Squirrels and Birds Eat Together? http://goo.gl/tEyrj

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Bird Feeders made in the USA

Almost everything in Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, Michigan is Made in America. We are a little business and we support other little businesses. Most of our products are from small companies that don’t sell to big box stores:

1) Tube Feeders, Hummingbird Feeders, WindowFeeders - Aspects, Inc. out of Rhode Island is our main supplier of tube, window and hummingbird feeders. Their philosophy is to make the best feeders possible in their USA facility and stand confidently behind it with a Lifetime Guarantee. I consider both their products and customer service to be excellent! I have several of their feeders and have sold thousands more to satisfied customers.
2) Hoppers, Houses, Suet Feeders – Birds Choice out of Chilton, Wisconsin have reused and saved over 6 million plastic jugs from going into the landfills by manufacturing products from recycled materials. Quality materials, excellent workmanship, patented unique designs, and customer service are the core of all Birds Choice products made in Chilton, Wisconsin, U.S.A. by a team of conscientious employees. So if you buy a recycled hopper feeder with a lifetime guarantee, you are not only supporting an American worker but you’re also supporting the environment!
3) Squirrel Proof Feeders – Droll Yankees was started in 1960 by Peter Kilham and his boyhood friend Alan Bemis. Peter cared about using quality materials, in innovative designs that birds loved and people found easy to use. Droll Yankees out of Plainfield, CT, strives continually to maintain those high standards of design and functionality, and are proud to be recognized as makers of “The World's Best Bird Feeders.” They make the popular Squirrel Proof Flippers, Whippers, and Dippers. They all work fabulously and come with a lifetime guarantee. The only complaint I receive from customers is that they buy them to watch the squirrel “flip” from them but the squirrels just leave them alone instead!
4) Houses– We have some really nice functional bird, bat, duck, owl, and squirrel houses made using environmentally green practices.
5) Bird Baths - We have basic bird baths that come out of Indiana. Easy to clean, in different sizes and heights, they make the perfect place for birds to relax and refresh.

That is just a sampling of the products we carry. Come in any time and I can tell you where all our products are made and help you find appropriate gifts for anyone that appreciates nature.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Recommended suet

Suet (so͞o′ĭt) is animal fat that birds eat. When you offer suet cakes you are giving wild birds food with the most concentrated source of energy. It attracts insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and more.

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. There are no filler ingredients that take up space. To repel squirrels and other mammals you can also use the straight beef suet cake or the hot pepper cake. Most mammals will leave those two cakes alone. 

You may think of suet as only a food to feed the birds in the winter months. But today rendered beef suet cakes meet the increased energy demands of nesting birds in the spring. And in the summer it provides high fat, high protein substitute for insect-eating birds, 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.

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. 

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, June 26, 2018

Baby Woodpeckers

Baby downy boys have a red top instead of a red neck like daddy.
Baby woodpeckers have fledged! Their flutters and squawks remind me of baby dinosaurs. I have been watching the downy babies for a week now at the suet feeders.

Most woodpeckers in mid-Michigan only nest once a year and average a brood of three or four. I have also seen the Hairy Woodpecker babies. I'm still waiting anxiously for the Red-bellied to show up with his brood at the suet feeder. I see the adults flying away with occasional hunks of suet that I'm sure they are taking back to the nest, but no babies yet.

Males and female Downy Woodpeckers look the same, except that males have a small red patch at the back of their neck. To identify young males, look for a red patch on the forehead instead of their neck. Young females do not have any red at all. But both the male and female young will look much better with brand new clean feathers. The parents look a little ragged and will go through their annual molt soon.

Two things you can do to help woodpeckers:
1. Food: Keep your suet feeder full of high fat, high protein suet, or make sure your seed blend contains nuts. (I use peanutbutter suet and No-mess bird seed).

2. Window Decals: Make sure you have your Window Alerts in place. Woodpeckers are slower to develop than some other birds. They don't understand that they can't fly through windows. Put up window decals to help save their necks! 

Related Articles:
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/rxU9cu
- What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq
- Michigan made suet feeders: http://bit.ly/rbKskX

Monday, June 25, 2018

How to tell a male from a female House Wren

How can I tell if it is a male or female House Wren at the nest?

The males tend to be more vocal while the females more behind the scenes. Both the male and female House Wrens look similar to our human eyes but their actions may be revealing. According to AllAboutBirds.org: Both males and females sing but males often sing 9-11 times per minute in the spring. Songs are a long, jumbled bubbling introduced by abrupt churrs and scolds and made up of 12-16 recognizable syllables. Females sing mainly in answer shortly after choosing a mate. Females' songs can include high-pitched squeals unlike any sounds males make.

Also during breeding season, Male House Wrens start building several nests at once in hopes of persuading a female to mate with him. He looks for any crevice, old woodpecker holes, and man-made nest boxes. You will see him bring in sticks up to 5 inches to build a twig platform. Then the female is the one to find all the soft stuff, (feathers, grasses and other plant material, animal hair, spider egg sacs, string, snakeskin) to build the nest cup.

Related Articles:
- Do the same House Wrens nest in the same house every year? http://bit.ly/uDBbIb
- Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
- Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses http://bit.ly/rBLsGQ
- The best suet for wild birds http://goo.gl/yY7bGt
- House Wren vs. Carolina Wren http://house-vs-carolina-wren.html

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Should you clean out the bird house after the birds leave

My wrens have just fledged. Should I clean out their house?

By cleaning out a nest box you help deter parasite infestation, a predator’s ability disturb a nest through the entrance hole and it’s a good time to evaluate the house’s condition. You should definitely clean out all bird houses at least once a year. I like to clean them in September after the nesting season.

I encourage people to clean out bluebird boxes after each nesting or at least every fall because they aren’t good excavators. Bluebirds just build on top of old nests until the babies are sometimes are too close to the entrance hole and fall out before they are ready to fly.

Wrens can clean out their own box and the presence of a used House Wren nest may actually encourage wrens to re-nest. But you should check to make sure the nest doesn’t have any unhatched eggs or pests. If it’s a mess inside and the drainage holes are plugged go ahead and clean it out. You can leave some sticks below the house to help them rebuild. There is usually at least a two week window before they nest again.

To clean the nest box I usually place a plastic bag over the nest and just sweep it all in and twist the bag shut. You can rinse out the house with a water hose or diluted bleach spray. Make sure the drainage holes are unplugged and leave the house open to dry for a couple days. Finally dispose of the old nest in the trash and wash your hands thoroughly. 

Related Articles:
- Do the same House Wrens nest in the same house every year? http://bit.ly/uDBbIb
- Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
- Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses http://bit.ly/rBLsGQ
- The best suet for wild birds http://goo.gl/yY7bGt
- Roosting Pockets: Warm Shelter from Frosty Winds http://goo.gl/QOPbMw

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Photo Share: Growing up baby bird

It is not easy, to grow up being a baby bird.
A lot of things to do. One has to eat a lot, grow really fast, open eyes, form ears, grow beautiful feathers, stretch and exercise wings, pump up legs. and, not the least, look like a cute tiny baby dinosaur! Here are the pictures of five days in the life of a baby bird. Just look, how much was achieved!

Thank you Faina for sharing your photos with us and all your work as a volunteer at Nottingham Nature Nook.
Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in East Lansing that raises and releases wildlife babies as well as cares for injured adult animals. Any donations are greatly appreciated. Monetary donations can be made at Wild Birds Unlimited (East Lansing, MI) or a check can be made directly to Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) 16848 Towar Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823. (517) 351-7304. You can also go to Amazon's Gift registry and look up Nottingham Nature Nook to send some much needed supplies.

Friday, June 22, 2018

What happens to egg shells after birds hatch

The shells of eggs generally disappear from the nests of American Crows within a few hours of a baby hatching. I saw this beauty on the way to Wild Birds Unlimited.

Many birds remove eggshells from their nests soon after their nestlings have hatched. There is only speculation on why. Perhaps the sharp shell edges could injure newly hatched chicks, or interfere with mama's brooding. Hatched shells could also just be in the way, create an issue with nest hygiene, or interfere with nest camouflage.

Also an important factor affecting the evolution of eggshell removal in birds could be a phenomenon referred to as “egg-capping” where an unhatched egg gets trapped inside a hatched eggshell.

During the last two days the chick inside the egg begins to breathe with its lungs for the first time. To do this it needs an air supply inside the egg shell. At the round end of the egg there is an air space. If you examine an egg carefully with a magnifying glass, you'll see that there are tiny little holes, called pores that let the bird breathe. Egg-capping could lower hatchability by suffocating the baby or by interfering with baby being able to pecking out if an extra eggshell makes a second barrier.

Related Articles:
Types of Bird feathers http://bit.ly/GOwsuu
How Do Birds Lay Eggs? http://bit.ly/H8omO0
Do birds have belly buttons? http://bit.ly/GVqhpT
Is there a bird without feathers? http://bit.ly/Aora0F
What happens inside a bird egg https://goo.gl/544o1h

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Funny looking black and red bird

Now that it is Summer you should expect to see some bald birds. Just as people make seasonal wardrobe changes, many birds are beginning a transformation of their own, losing and replacing their feathers in a process known as molting. This complicated process requires a lot of energy and may take up to eight weeks to complete.

Most birds’ feather loss and replacement is gradual and you may notice they look a little ruffled. But then there are also a select few that go bald.

A bald bird at the feeder is a somewhat common sight to see from the end of June to the end of August in mid-Michigan. After the breeding season, most birds go through pre-basic molt that results in a covering of feathers, which will last until the next breeding season.

However, some Cardinals, BlueJays, and Grackles go through an abnormal molt or replacement of feathers. There are no scientific studies on why some of these birds go bald and some don’t or why it’s just the head. Whatever the reason, we know feathers are made of more than 90% protein, primarily keratins, so every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation.

For the next few months, it’s best to offer high-protein bird foods, such as Nyjer® (thistle), sunflower seed, peanuts, suet and mealworms, to ensure that your birds have a reliable source of protein to help them during this stressful time.

For the customers at the East Lansing Wild Birds Unlimited store, we recommend feeding the No-Mess Blend. Our unique No-Mess Blend contains sunflower seeds, peanut pieces and white proso millet without the shells. No shells on the seeds make for a tidier feeding area, since there's nothing 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 and the best food for the birds because it's fresh and full of protein.

Related Articles:
There’s more to a jay than any other creature http://goo.gl/8OrUq
Common Grackles http://bit.ly/LAkwxl
Northern Cardinal http://bit.ly/LAkGoG
When is bird migration over? http://bit.ly/M2FgUD

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Important tips for your summertime backyard buffet

Any backyard bird watcher knows birds flock to feeders in summer especially as the babies fledge and approach the feeders with their parents. Summer bird feeding also can bring you different species that aren’t around in winter.

Studies show the average bird forages for food about five hours per day to meet their energy requirements. As the seasons change, consider the following tips to meet your summer backyard birds’ nutritional needs as well as attract some migrating visitors.

Some tips for creating a summertime backyard buffet:

1. Clean your feeders regularly
It is super important to keep your feeders clean, especially now when so many baby birds visit. The stress can make birds vulnerable to disease. Wet weather can also produce mold and mildew which can be fatal to birds. Dump out any moldy seed and disinfect your feeders with a 1 to 9 parts vinegar to water solution or bring your feeder to the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing, Michigan to be cleaned for a small $5.00 charge.

2. Keep your seed dry
Hot, humid summer weather creates the potential for mold. My favorite secret weapon against soggy seed is Feeder Fresh which is available at the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing, MI. This is a desiccant that I stir into the seed to absorb the moisture.

3. Choose Food that Produces Less Mess
Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Blend features seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. No hulls on the seeds means there's 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 happily.

4. Keep suet feeders full
By adding suet to your wild bird's summer menu, you will attract wrens, warblers, thrushes, brown creepers, brown thrashers, and blue jays. You can also attract orioles, chickadees, titmice, and the ever popular bluebird.

5. Discover Foods that Last Longer
Seed Cylinders are also a high-fat, quick-energy food source that is specially-designed to meet your birds' hearty appetites. The Wild Birds Unlimited popular no muss, no fuss Spiral Seed Cylinder Feeder holds cylinders of tightly packed seed held together with gelatin so there is no seed spray. The whole block is completely edible. And depending on bird activity in your yard, a large cylinder packed with energy rich pecans, peanuts and sunflower seeds can last weeks.

6. Attract Different Birds
Mealworms, nectar, fruit, and jelly attract many different birds. Hummingbirds and orioles, can be immediately attracted to feeders with nectar (and fruit and jelly for orioles), making summer a sweet time to feed the birds. Some birds attracted to mealworms include: wrens, robins, bluebirds, jays, sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, and even Purple Martins.

7. Just add water
Baths not only provide clean water to quench thirst, baths also help birds maintain their feathers. A good part of a bird's day is spent just cleaning and grooming their feathers by bathing, scratching, and preening. It’s so important that it is often the first place parent birds bring their newly fledged babies.

Related articles:
Do I need to clean my bird feeder? http://bit.ly/HNX410
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/umlwXg
Can birds predict the weather? http://bit.ly/HNZTPx
Where Do Birds Go At Night? http://bit.ly/uoQOBw

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cowbirds flocking

Outside my window at Wild Birds Unlimited East Lansing, MI
Brown-headed cowbirds are at the end of their nesting season and they are beginning to gather in flocks. Soon they will be joined by their babies from this season. Cowbirds are a brood parasite which means they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species to incubate. Once hatched the young cowbird is fostered by the host parents sometimes even at the expense of their own young.

But several published studies on the subject have found that adult cowbirds don't just abandon their parental duty. They check to make sure their egg is still in place and then later monitor their youngsters while they are still living with that other species. They also teach fledglings cowbird-specific behaviors before they leave their foster homes.

Juvenile cowbirds, which fledge during the summer months, leave their foster parents after hatching to flock together with other cowbirds. Chatter calls, as well as other visual cues help with recognition of their own species. The theory is that cowbirds and other parasitic birds possess a simple behavioral trait or cue that is species specific and helps them recognize themselves as cowbirds.

You can listen to the song of a Brown-headed Cowbird here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/267970. Its chip call can be heard here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/267956.
Related Articles:
- How Do Cowbirds Learn to Sing? http://goo.gl/n6kYS 

- Brown-headed Cowbirds http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2009/05/cowbirds.html 
- How young cowbirds know they're cowbirds http://goo.gl/hYSyUV 
- Basic Instinct: Cardinal Feeds Goldfish http://bit.ly/Kgv2Mi
- Starling and sparrow nesting together http://goo.gl/5aQftb

Monday, June 18, 2018

How do your squirrels eat, mine eat upside down

How can squirrels swallow upside down?

At first the thought of swallowing while upside down seems impossible - many people think that food just sort of 'drops' down into the stomach. In reality, food is actually pushed toward the stomach through the esophagus, a muscular tube leading to the stomach. Once food or water reaches the end of the esophagus, a valve called a sphincter closes so it can't come back up.

A lot of squirrel territory is the vertical, navigating up and down the trunks of a trees. They find a seed or nut on the ground and run to a tree trunk to eat out of the view of predators. Because they have the treat in their hands, they only have their feet to secure them to a safe perching area. Fortunately they have well-developed claws in both the front and hind feet to latch on to rough surfaces.

They also can feed comfortable headfirst down trees by swiveling their back ankle joints. Squirrels can maneuver quickly and gracefully thanks to a special adaptation where their ankles, or wrists, articulate. The squirrel may be heading down the trunk but its feet and claws point upward, enabling a good grip on the bark and a speedy dexterous descent.

Related Articles:
Squirrel Dancing http://squirrel-dancing.html
Red Squirrel facts & figures http://squirrel-funny.html
Where flying squirrels live http://flying-squirrels-live.html
Squirrels Like to Work for Their Food http://squirrels-like-to-work-for-their-food.html
How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders? http://bit.ly/yiZsML
Squirrel proof bird feeder reviews http://bit.ly/waJs9o
Why are Squirrels Called Squirrels? http://bit.ly/yhktkr

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Photo Share: Father's Day Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks visit bird feeders frequently in early spring, where they eat Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess blend or safflower seeds and drink water. Then sightings may decrease as they move off to make nests in more wooded habitats. Both females and males incubate the eggs and feed the young once hatched.

In the next few weeks expect more visits as babies begin to leave the nest and parents show them where to find food and water. Adult males are black-and-white birds with a brilliant red heart on their chest. Females and young Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are brown and heavily streaked, with a bold whitish stripe over the eye. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks will stay around mid-Michigan until August-September. Then they migrate back to Panama and northern South America.

Related Articles:
Large brown sparrow-like bird http://bit.ly/IrwgVk
Juvenile Rose Breasted Grosbeak http://bit.ly/IoVuSG
When is bird migration over? http://bit.ly/IMZ7OQ
Daddy and Baby Red-Breasted Grosbeak https://goo.gl/9F19oo
Photo Share: Rose-breasted Grosbeak male and female https://goo.gl/ruJUyZ

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Watch for ducks in the road

I saw the saddest thing yesterday. It was a mama duck leading her little ducklings. The problem is they weren't near any water. They were in a parking lot with nowhere to go. The little ducklings were doing their best to keep up with mama, but they were just landlocked. I wanted to do something to help, but felt helpless. Is there any hope for this little duck family? Should I have tried to capture them and relocate them?

Mama ducks nest in seemingly inappropriate spots (not near any water) every year. But this is actually a strategy to keep the female safe from other male ducks and predators that hunt around the water's edge.

If the nest is far away from water, this first journey can be the most perilous time in a duckling’s life. In most instances it is best to leave the mother duck and her brood alone, because interference can cause extra stress and risk the mother panicking and abandoning her brood.

All the viable eggs hatch the same day and within 24 hours mama takes them to water where the ducklings can feed themselves through trial and error. They depend on their mother to keep them pointed in the right direction, safe and warm until they can fly and then become independent after 50-60 days.

Thanks for replying. I don't feel so bad now.

Related Articles:
New Bird Sighted: Hooded Merganser http://bit.ly/yI7HjD
Wood Duck Nest Box http://bit.ly/y89U1v
Mallard Nesting Behavior: Can I move the nest? http://bit.ly/xawSdh
Bufflehead: Black and white duck http://bit.ly/MjFhnm

Bird of the Week: Long Tailed Duck http://long-tailed-duck.html

Friday, June 15, 2018

Photo Share: Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) baby updates

Dear Sarah, here are some Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) photo baby updates.
They are doing great. Phoebes and robins are big birds now, learning to fly and looks like they are to be releases soon.

Squirrel babies are very mischievous, as they should be. Princess Aurora, grey fox baby, is growing fast and is getting more beautiful every day. Little baby mink is getting his gorgeous fur coat. He is doing great, already eating by himself and he is definitely a king.

Little chubby baby groundhog is full of surprises. She is so curious that it became impossible to take her pictures: her nose is in the camera before there is time to focus on her. Or she is running around so fast I can’t follow her with the camera. She is also a great nibbler and tries everything on her tooth. Who would think that such a chubby baby can be so hyperactive? She is the most adorable. Sorry, no usable pictures of her, though.

And the link to the new YouTube upload: https://youtu.be/Vmtk1274FE8

Also, Cheryl posted a video yesterday on her Facebook, first time Aurora is going outdoors: https://www.facebook.com/nottinghamnaturenook/videos/2107837842577714/
Thank you! Faina

Thank for all the updates! 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, June 14, 2018

Thoughts on the names of birds

Singing wren photo from Wikimedia Commons
Today I was listening to the chickadees, jays, and Chipping Sparrows while walking to Wild Birds Unlimited. It's not hard to guess how all these birds got their names. Some other local Michigan birds that have names that describe the sound they make could include the hummingbirds, crows, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Screech Owls and perhaps the Mourning Doves for their soulful song.

Goldfinches, bluebirds, starlings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and Red-winged Blackbirds all have names based on their looks. Even the Baltimore Oriole received its name because the male's colors of orange and black were the same as the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. And of course the cardinal was named by colonists for the male's red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal's biretta and our Robin Redbreast was named because their reddish breasts reminded early British colonists of the European Robin they left behind.

While woodpeckers and nuthatches have a common name that describes the actions they are found frequently engaging.

And the House Sparrow, House Wren, and House Finch were all named house because of their association with people's homes. These birds all like to nest alongside us and even look to us to help them find food, water, and shelter.

Related Articles:
Facts every backyard birder wants know about Nuthatches http://bit.ly/tBbDbQ

Black-capped chickadee is a bird named after its own call or song https://goo.gl/78Ls58
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/syLYbe
Why are they called Blue "Jays"? http://bit.ly/sKHEDK
Why is a Turkey Is Called a Turkey? http://bit.ly/uKNZe5
How birds are classified http://bit.ly/vMmSY8
How birds are named http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-are-birds-named.html

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What to do if you find an animal that looks like it needs help

Care of Orphaned Wildlife by Nottingham Nature Nook

During this extremely busy season at the Nook, it is not always possible for us to respond to phone calls and messages immediately, as much as we would like to. Please utilize the information on our website to learn more about what to do it if you find wildlife that may need help. And please rest assured that we will return your call or message just as soon as we can!

Before you try to rescue an orphaned wildlife baby, it is important to be sure that your help is needed. Here are important tips for determining if a wild baby does need your help, and how to help.


  • Most birds have a poor sense of smell. Replace an infant bird back in the nest if you can find the nest and reach it safely.
  • Bird nests that have fallen can be wired back in the tree as close to the original site as possible.
  • Fledgling birds are learning to self-feed and fly, and are usually on the ground for long periods of time with parents nearby. Children and pets should be kept away from fledglings. Do Not pick them up!


  • Young animals will explore away from their nest or den. If you see a young animal on the ground moving and crying, observe them quietly from a safe distance (for less than an hour) to see if a parent retrieves them.
  • Wild babies only need help if they are cold, injured, dehydrated or emaciated. However, mother squirrels will rarely retrieve a baby that has fallen from the nest.
  • If you find a nest of baby bunnies pour a ring of baking flour around the outside of the nest and wait 10-12 hours to see if there are footprints in the flour. If you do not see footprints contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you find a fawn, do not approach it or attempt to touch it. Does’ will leave their fawns in a safe hideaway during the day and will not return until night. If a dog or person scares the fawn, it will usually run and hide in a different location. When the mother returns at night, she will call out to the fawn until she locates it. Fawns may lie in the same location for several days. As long as the doe feels it is safe, she will not move her fawn. Please contact us before doing anything with what you believe is an injured or abandoned fawn.

What to do if you find a Baby Animal or Bird

  1. Warm the baby by cupping it in your hands until you can put it in a safe container with a heat source such as a heating pad on low or a hot water bottle. Be sure that there is s part of the container where the baby can get off of the heat source. Put a small, thin blanket, polar fleece or towel with no loose loops or strings between the baby and the heat source. Roll a hand towel into a doughnut shape to create a nest and place the baby in the center of the ring with a small piece of polar fleece both below and above the baby so that he feels as though he is still in the safety of his nest. Make sure the container has air holes for the baby to breathe.
  2. Do Not Attempt to Feed or Give Liquids of Any Kind to the Baby! Do not ever give cows’ milk to any baby – this can cause diarrhea and Aspiration Pneumonia if done incorrectly!!
  3. Keep the baby in a quiet, dark, warm and safe location to avoid further stress.
  4. Call an experienced Wildlife Rehabilitator Immediately!

Recommended Rehabilitators

Cheryl at Nottingham (517) 488-7451 or (517) 351-7304
Carolyn Tropp (517) 927-7578
Wildside Rehab. Center (517) 663-6153