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.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Last Weekend of Summer

I hope everyone is taking advantage of this beautiful day! Weather forecasters are predicting a wet start to fall which officially starts this week. The birds seem to think harsh weather will soon be here too. I’m watching the goldfinch attack my nyger thistle feeder. The babies look so sleek and sharp in their new feathers and dark bill. The parents look ragged as they molt their bright summer feathers and change into their winter feathers. They all squeak and fuss when a chickadee plants himself on their feeder.

While the goldfinch flutter and flap and never fly in a straight line, the chickadees seem to be no nonsense flyers. They fly in like a guided missile and plant their feet on the feeder with such confidence, sometimes even upside-down. They grab a seed quickly and then shoot off to eat it or hide it for later.

Then a
hummingbird flies by and stops at her nectar feeder. Can you believe how round they have become? They are like giant marbles with wings.

blue jays and cardinals are no longer bald. Their winter feathers seem to be growing in nice and thick, although their heads still look a little small for their body.

There have been lots of reports about unusual birds migrating through. And don’t get me started on the antics of the squirrels this time of year. Just drive careful and be on the lookout for crazed squirrels darting in the street, stopping in the middle trying to decide if they should continue or abort their mission to cross the road.

Feed the birds! Enjoy the day!

Notes from Wild Birds Unlimited mid-Michigan


cindyzlogic said...

I really liked your post. You have an awesome amount of Goldfinches! We had several pairs this early Summer...they left...and we haven't seen them since. I'm hoping upon hope that they'll come back for Fall.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

You’re right. In Michigan we have lots of goldfinches year round. The states below us will see more finches very soon as the parents migrate south.

Before they come make sure your Nyjer seed is fresh. Finches are notoriously finicky. One way check your seed is to pinch the seed with your fingernails and see if any oil comes out. The finches use their bills to twist the seed and sip the oil and then drop the shell.

Next, make sure there is no mold in the bottom of your feeder. This can be dangerous to the finches and they will avoid your feeder.

Finally, remember sometimes finches will refuse to eat past a certain level. Don't just top off your feeder with fresh seed. Empty the older seed (if it's still good) into a different container, fill the bottom of your feeder with new seed and top it off with the older seed. The birds will probably eat down to that certain level again and you'll have to repeat the process.

Habitat can also be a key to attracting Goldfinches. Don't cut off the tops of your Marigold, Zinnias, Cosmos, or Coneflowers...Goldfinches love them.