Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

March 27, 2013

Birdfeeding: From Fruit to Nuts

Filed under: Bird Feeding,Birds — wbuomaha @ 5:30 pm
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Downy on peanut feeder
By increasing the variety of foods you offer, you can
increase the numbers and species of birds that visit your
backyard. A fruit feeder may attract many fruit-eating birds that might not come to traditional seed feeders.

Fruit may be offered in hanging or platform feeders, and there are specialty feeders specifically designed for the purpose of feeding fruit.

Grapes may be placed in a suet cage or on a platform feeder. They are particularly attractive to bluebirds, catbirds, cedar waxwings, house finches, mockingbirds, robins, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and scarlet tanagers.

Raisins can be offered on a platform feeder and are very attractive to bluebirds, catbirds, robins and cedar waxwings.

Orange halves, placed on a fruit feeder or spikes, are a delicacy enjoyed by Baltimore orioles, brown thrashers, catbirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks and scarlet tanagers.

Robin on apple

Apples, cut in half and offered on a fruit feeder or sliced and offered in a platform feeder, are favorites of robins, cardinals, house finches and red-bellied woodpeckers.

Attracting fruit-eating birds can take time and patience. And it is important to keep your fruit fresh and your feeders clean. If you have mature fruit trees, bushes or vines, or if you have seen fruit-eating birds in your yard or nearby, you will more readily attract fruit-eaters.

Peanuts and almonds and other tree nuts may be offered in hanging trays, platform feeders or specially designed peanut feeders. Shelled peanuts and tree nuts are attractive to many birds, including blue jays, titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches. Nuts are high in fat and protein, and quite nutritious for the birds that feast on them. Peanuts in the shell are a treat for blue jays, woodpeckers, and tufted titmice.

Nuts should always be unsalted, and if possible, peanuts should be roasted. You can roast them at 350-375 degrees for 10-20 minutes.

Your birdfeeding pleasure can be enhanced by offering a greater variety of choices to our feathered friends. Fruit and nuts will make wonderful additions to your backyard buffet.

November 29, 2012

Decorate a Tree for the Birds

Filed under: Bird Feeding,Birds — wbuomaha @ 12:58 pm
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     While you are enjoying the many tasty treats that abound this holiday season, don’t forget to share some goodies with the birds. Decorating a tree for wild birds and other wildlife is an activity the whole family can enjoy.

     Here are some ideas for edible decorations that you can make and place on the tree. String popcorn, fresh cranberries, peanuts in the shell, or dried apples on heavy string. Pack pine cones with suet or Bark Butter® and birdseed then hang them on the tree with heavy string. Hang fresh crab apples by the stem, rice cakes, dried baby corn bundles, dried ears of colorful corn with husks or red seedless grapes tied up in bunches. In addition, peanuts in the shell and whole walnuts can be scattered under the tree.

Bagel Feeder

Split bagels in half and harden overnight.                                                               Spread Bark Butter® on each side of bagel then sprinkle with birdseed blend. Tie a string through the bagel hole and hang on tree.

Natural rough brown string, cotton string, ribbon and raffia can be used for hanging food-based decorations. Also consider decorating with lengths of natural wool or cotton string. The birds will use this material for nesting in the spring.

Birdseed ornaments  in many designs and associated feeders are also available for purchase. Check out our snowman and penguin next time you are in the store.

Select a live, growing tree – preferably an evergreen or other tree that does not lose its leaves – that is strong enough to support animals other than birds, like squirrels, that come to dine. If possible, choose a tree somewhere near a window so that once you have completed decorating, you and your family can sit back and watch as the many beautiful birds and other wildlife come to enjoy their holiday treat.

Don’t know what to do with your evergreen Christmas tree once the holidays are over? Consider recycling your tree as a habitat for the birds. After the decorations have been removed, place the tree in a corner of your yard. Many birds and other animals will find your tree to be a cozy shelter from the wind, rain and snow.


August 30, 2012

Getting Started in Birdfeeding

Filed under: Birds — wbuomaha @ 12:11 pm
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    Birdfeeding can be as simple as placing a feeder full of seed in your yard and waiting for the birds to find it. If you have not fed birds before, it may take from one day to several months before the birds in your area discover the new feeder.

The types of birds you attract will depend on what kind of backyard habitat you have as well as the types of feeders and seed you provide. There are several ways that birds feed.

Some species prefer one or another almost exclusively. Others will feed wherever the food is available. Feeders come in a wide variety of materials and styles, so the first step is to decide how you want to provide the birdseed.

     If you are interested in feeding birds on the ground level, a slightly elevated platform feeder will help keep the seed contained. Most have some type of drainage system which will allow the seed to dry out after snow or rain. You will want to use a seed blend high in white proso millet, which is designed for ground-feeding birds like morning doves and juncos. A mix that contains some black oil sunflower seeds will also attract birds that feed at any level like cardinals and house finches.

     There are many varieties of feeders for feeding at elevated levels. Finch feeders are designed with small holes that allow only birds with small beaks to access the seed. Tiny seeds, such as Niger/Thistle or finely ground sunflower hearts will attract small birds like finches and chickadees to these feeders.

     A standard seed tube has larger seed ports, allowing bigger birds to feed. For these feeders a single seed or seed blend that contains little or no millet is best. Oil sunflower, striped sunflower and safflower will attract a wide variety of birds such as cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers.

     Hopper feeders are often designed so that some seed will spill on the ground for the ground feeding birds, while other birds feed. Consequently, this type of feeder will attract a wide variety of species especially if you use a seed blend containing sunflower and a small to moderate amount of white proso millet. Cardinals, finches, chickadees, blue jays, and many other birds will feed from the elevated hopper, while ground-feeding birds will eat what is spilled.

Birds generally find their food by sight, so placing your feeder where it will be visible to them should decrease the time it takes birds to start feeding. Sometimes, sprinkling seed on the ground or on top of the feeder will let birds know food is available. Bird species tend to prefer one or two seed types over others, so it is a good idea to find out what the birds in your yard like best and provide that. There are many types of specialty feeders, such as fruit, peanut and suet feeders, that you may add to attract even more kinds of birds.

Remember to keep your feeders clean and to change the food at least once a month. This will assure that the seed you provide is fresh and appetizing to the birds that frequent your feeder.



December 24, 2011

Help Birds Keep Warm This Winter

Filed under: Birds — wbuomaha @ 9:32 am
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      In the cold of winter, there are many things you can do to help birds survive the season. Here are a few tips that are easy to implement.
     Birds use a lot of extra energy to keep warm in cold weather. Therefore, they must consume more calories than they do in warmer months. You can help by feeding high-fat foods such as suet, peanuts and seed blends high in black oil sunflower content. This will provide the energy boost they need to survive.

    Unless raccoons frequent your yard, it is a good idea to fill your feeders in the evening to make sure food is available first thing in the morning for those early birds like cardinals and mourning doves. Most songbirds fill a special pouch in their esophagus with food to digest during the night. That is why you frequently see birds at your feeders as the sun sets.
     It is not a good idea to feed bread to the birds in winter. Bread does not provide the proper nutrition or fat content necessary for birds to survive below-freezing temperatures.

     Water is important to birds in winter not only for drinking, but also for bathing. Most birds fluff out their feathers, creating air pockets between the feathers for insulation. Clean feathers are warmer feathers because they can trap air more efficiently. They are also more efficient for flying, so less energy is expended in flight. A heated birdbath that provides a source of open water will attract birds on even the coldest of days.
     Some birds perch on one leg and draw the other up to their breast for warmth, alternating legs. Others seek the most sheltered areas they can find. Roosting boxes and nesting boxes give birds a dry place protected from the wind, to rest. Leaving these shelters out provides a haven from harsh winter conditions. Stands of tall grasses, brush piles, and evergreen trees offer birds a place to escape the wind and snow.
     Making your yard bird-friendly in cold weather helps birds survive our harsh winters. And you will be rewarded with colorful visitors all season long.

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