How about a relaxing cleanup this fall? Instead of raking up all those leaves and trimming off berries and old flowers during your fall clean-up, do yourself, birds, bees, and butterflies a big favor by doing less. With significant amounts of native habitat loss, our backyards and gardens have become essential habitats supporting all kinds […]
Birding Tag: Feeder Birds
Backyard: Help Nuthatches Nest
Nuthatches – those intrepid little balls of energy that travel up and down and basically all around a tree are great birds to have nesting in your yard. They prefer dead trees where they excavate their own nesting holes, so keeping dead trees in the ground when safe and feasible is a life-saver for […]
Want More Birds? Let Them Control Insects
To keep your garden and yard safe for birds and provide the food they need, don’t use pesticides! A healthy garden is an ecosystem that is host to a lot of different insects from butterflies and caterpillars to spiders, aphids, and even mosquitos. All these insects are food that birds need and they make […]
The Right Seed Gets the Birds!
It’s winter and your feeder is stocked – with few takers. What’s going on? Arent all those birds out there freezing and need calories? If birds aren’t at your feeders in winter there could be a lot of reasons why that is happening, but one you can easily test and control is what food you are putting […]
Is Your Home Bird-Safe?
Every year, in North America alone, up to 1 billion birds are killed by flying into glass windows – both year-round resident birds, as well as those on migration, are affected. This is a huge number of birds that are being unnecessarily killed, as there are many ways to avoid these collisions. Our homes, […]
Getting Your Garden Ready For Winter
It’s fall – what should you be doing with your garden? If you want your native plants and shrubs to thrive next spring and your garden to be a wildlife haven all winter, here are a few things to do now: 1 – Don’t clean up your yard! Clipping back the underbrush removes valuable hiding habitat […]
Help Birds on Migratory Bird Day
Want to help birds and have fun at the same time? Migratory Bird Day is October 9 – it’s also a Big Day – when birdwatchers around the globe go birdwatching and submit their sightings on eBird. This gives the folks at Cornell Lab of Ornithology a snapshot of what birds are where around the world. It […]
The Case For Hummingbird Feeders
Everybody loves to watch hummingbirds at the feeder. But once their migration is underway, is it fair to keep the feeders up for them? Will they not migrate if there is easy food around? The primary food sources for hummingbirds are insects and flower nectar, and nothing really replaces those. But, hummingbirds require a lot […]
How Many Birds Can You Find?
Give it your all February 12-15 in the Great Backyard Bird Count! Run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this annual bird count is a really fun way to help birds as birdwatchers around the world record all the birds they have seen on these 4 days into their eBird accounts so Cornell has a snapshot of bird […]
Make Your Own Vegetarian Suet
In cold weather, nothing gets most birds’ attention like suet! They need the calories and fat to keep their body temperature up when the insects they would be eating in warmer weather aren’t around. A good substitute in cold weather is yummy fatty suet. Making suet the old-fashioned way can be a greasy, messy […]
Make the ID: Red-breasted vs White-breasted Nuthatch
There are four species of Nuthatches in North America, but the two most widespread species are Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches. These compact little steel-blue birds, often found hanging in some acrobatic fashion around feeders, other times, lifting up bark to insert a seed and then hammering it open to “hatch” the seed, are great to […]
Make the ID: Downy vs Hairy Woodpecker
Two woodpeckers who look very much alike are busy inspecting tree bark around North America looking for food. Both look natty in their checkered plumage, but how to tell them apart? Beak Size: The most pronounced field mark is beak size. Downys have small beaks – almost unnaturally so, and Hairys have much larger thorn-like beaks. Size: Hairys […]
Why Are Birds So Quiet Now?
For months now, early every morning the songs and calls would Molting Northern Cardinal Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel start – sometimes before dawn – and the raucous, beautiful and energetic bird sounds from birds like Carolina Wrens and this Northern Cardinal continued filling the soundscape until sundown. Then one day….suddenly the yard was oddly quiet. While some juvenile birds were still […]
3 Billion Birds Gone – What Can I Do To Help?
If you are asking this question after reading about the study showing 3 billion birds are gone since 1970, you White-throated Sparrow Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel are not alone as the enormity of the numbers of birds lost is difficult to comprehend. Some of the hardest hit birds are ones we see most often – White-throated Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern and Western […]
Helping Birds: Create Habitat For Them
Mature Native Plant Meadows in a Small Yard Having safe and undisturbed habitat is critical to keeping our birds and planet healthy. Research published last year by Cornell Lab of Ornithology showing 3 Billion Birds have been lost and the enormous impact this has had on bird populations over the past few decades cited habitat loss as the […]
Helping Birds: Plant Native Trees
Baltimore Oriole Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel What better way to be outside, productive, socially distanced and helping birds than gardening! Spring is here whether or not we are sheltering inside, and now is a great opportunity to make progress on your native plant garden. Being in nature benefits all of us, and when we are limited in what […]
Birdwatching During the Corona Virus
Birdwatching Solo Photo Credit: John Chao If you’re sheltering at home, or at the very least practicing social distancing – and especially if you live in an urban environment – getting outside to see spring migration may seem like a challenge at best. Migration is starting, and is it safe or even wise to go birding? It’s critical […]
BOOK REVIEW: Birdsong For The Curious Naturalist: Your Guide to Listening, by Donald Kroodsma
Released just as spring migration is starting, this timely book bringsunderstanding and learning birdsong to a new level. Don Kroodsma is a world-renown authority on birdsong. And apart from understanding it he knows the positive effect of an immersive nature experience. Birdsong For the Curious Naturalist opens with the line “birdsong fills our lives with beauty and […]
How Birds Survive the Winter
Hairy Woodpecker Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila It’s cold and windy outside, a heated birdbath offers relief to dehydrated birds, and the ever-growing brush pile I started a few years ago is getting a lot of use by birds darting inside to huddle and find respite. I am delighted that the little native plant meadow I planted four years […]
Fall Garden Cleanup….Or Not?
Song Sparrow in native plant meadow Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Putting your garden to bed for the winter can mean clipping, raking and maybe throwing things out. But if you want to maintain your property for birds and wildlife, think first before you do any of these things, as birds and wildlife depend on what […]
In The News: 3 Billion Birds Lost
Last week, a group of conservation organizations led by Cornell Lab of Red-winged Blackbird Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Ornithology released a stunning report of a detailed study which shows a loss of 3 billion birds in North America in 50 years. It’s a staggering amount of birds – a net loss of 29% of the breeding […]
Don’t Forget the Water!
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Fresh water for birds is important year round, and as the summer heats up, water is a priority. When temperatures soar, birds need fresh water to avoid dehydration, keep cool and bathe to keep their feathers in good shape. Fortunately, there are many different ways you can provide fresh water whether you have a […]
Make the ID: House Finch vs Purple Finch
Purple Finch Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila Two beautiful reddish finches which can be easily confused…but just as easily identified! Well, they are very similar…or are they? Interested in making the ID? Here are some things to look for to tell them apart: 1 – Field Marks – Male House Finches are a rosy red around the […]
Uh Oh, I Found a Baby Bird – What Do I Do?
Northern Cardinal Fledgling Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Nesting season’s most asked question is: “I found a baby bird on the ground – what do I do? ” Well, that’s not entirely scientific, but the question gets asked a lot right now! We expect to see baby birds in the nest being fed and cared for, but what […]
Berry-Important Bushes for Backyard Birds
Gray Catbird Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel It’s time to plan your spring gardening. Whether you are just starting a native plant garden or already have native plants in your yard, we have some ideas that can make your garden a bird magnet year round by providing food and shelter regardless of the season. Diversity is critical to providing the […]
Get a Headstart on Spring By Learning Bird Calls Now
Gray Catbird/Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Up your birding ID game this spring by starting now to learn to ID birds by their songs. Often birds are only heard, and by recognizing their calls you can easily add more birds to your list. Not all birds have calls that are instantly recognizable – like the unmistakable call […]
Is Your Backyard Ready For Winter Birds?
Black-capped Chickadees/ Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila As temperatures drop, it’s time to winterize your backyard to make it a popular and safe place for birds. Birds need to stay warm and have adequate food and shelter during cold or stormy weather. What does your backyard provide? Here are some of the things you can provide for birds to […]
Make a Difference – Sign Up For the Christmas Bird Count!
Have a blast birdwatching and make a contribution to science by joining a Christmas Bird Count in your area. Photo Credit: Camilla Cerea/Audubon This marks the 119th year since Audubon co-opted the annual bird shoot and make it into a much bird-friendlier bird count! This year you can join over 70,000 people in the US, Canada, Latin America, […]
Family Fun: Birdcrafts
One of the best ways to get kids interested in birds is to get them working on a fun bird project. Photo Credit: Melpo Apostolidou, BirdLife Cyprus Our friends at BirdLife International have some great ideas that kids can do themselves. And they can reap the reward of learning about and doing something to help birds. From making […]
In the News: Pesticide That Makes Birds Lose Their Way on Migration
Indigo Bunting Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Its important to be gardening with organic fertilizers and pesticides, and to keep chemicals out of your bird-friendly backyard. If you find this difficult to do, be aware that some pesticides contain neonicotinoids – a type of neuro active synthetic insecticide chemically similar to nicotine – which affects much […]
A Safe Backyard For Nesting Birds
A Safe Backyard for Nesting Birds Northern Cardinal Fledgeling Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel Nesting season is upon us, and we are thinking about our backyard and gardens from the birds perspective. Here are few things the birds you are attracting right now will appreciate your doing for them! 1 – With baby […]
Complete Your Winter Backyard With a Roost Box
Complete Your Winter Backyard With a Roost Box Chickadee checking out a roost box Nest boxes and roost boxes are important components of a well-maintained bird-friendly backyard. In winter, birds really need shelter from cold, winds and predators. Leaving nest boxes up may help, but during really cold times, birds can best maintain their body […]
Vegetarian Suet Recipe
Vegetarian Suet Recipe Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila Everybody likes a little variety! Whether or not you are a vegetarian yourself, you may want to try this recipe for suet which doesn’t use animal fat. It has the nutrition birds need and birds seems to prefer this one to regular suet. And it lends itself […]
Setting Up For Hummingbirds
Setting Up For Hummingbirds Rufous -tailed Hummingbird Hummingbirds are on their way to you! In fact, they may already be in your area waiting for your backyard to be ready for them to nest and live in this summer. Sure you can put out a hummingbird feeder, but with a little planning and innovation, […]
Which Feeders and Seeds To Attract Backyard Birds
It’s great to feed and care for birds in your backyard and its a great way to get your kids involved in nature. Here are some helpful resources and ideas for making sure your backyard birds get what they need and you reap the benefits of a safe feeding station and the right food — […]
Making Your Backyard Finch Friendly in Winter
It’s winter, and if you keep your feeders stocked and make sure you have a heated open water source for birds to drink and bathe,what else can you do to attract different birds? Winter finches are a good choice as they are both beautiful and extremely hardy. But they are also picky about what they […]
Winterizing Your Backyard For Birds
Cold weather is a reminder to make your backyard inviting for birds overwintering in your area.With some simple preparations you can have birds visiting throughout the winter and create a safe spot for them to eat, get water, and even bathe when its needed. In the summer there is plenty of natural food available for […]
FAMILY FUN: Feeding Hummingbirds
Hummingbird feeders are a great project for birders of all ages. Seed feeders attract many different types of birds, from sparrows to cardinals and finches and more. But feeding hummingbirds requires a little more thought and is very rewarding, as once hummers find your feeder, they will be there consistently for you to see. […]
FAMILY FUN: Backyard Birds Need More Than Seed!
FAMILY FUN: Backyard Birds Need More Than Seed! Spring migration is underway! It’s time to prepare your backyard to welcome the spring migrants. Bird seed is great for winter birds, and many migrating birds will appreciate it, but there are other things you can do in your backyard to welcome the new birds. A beautiful […]
Welcome Winter Birds To Your Backyard
January brings a new year, and a new year birding list. Keeping a list of the all the birds you see in a year is an excellent way to review what birds you have seen and track your birding accomplishments throughout the year. Although January marks a new beginning, most songbirds, shorebirds and raptors have […]
Making a Winter Haven For Backyard Birds
Your backyard birds are counting on you to keep them going through the winter. Keeping their body temperatures high enough to survive the cold is a battle for birds, and they face a constant struggle for food, water and warmth throughout the season. You can do a few simple things to help your favorite backyard […]
Getting Your Backyard Ready for Winter Birds
Want your backyard to be a haven for birds this winter? Fall is a great time to start planning and planting native plants to help birds and wildlife during the tough winter months. When there is little else to eat in the late winter, Berries just when this Cardinal needs them birds rely heavily […]
Make Your Backyard a Summer Bird Haven
Water is often the main attraction in the summer as temperatures rise and birds become both thirsty and overheated. In hot weather, fresh water helps birds keep hydrated, keep their body temperature down and keeps their feathers in optimum condition. Often clean, safe-to-visit water isn’t readily available, so leaving fresh water in a shallow basin […]