In the company of feathers

Hopper style bird feeders are not my favorite and here's why... July 02 2015, 0 Comments

This is a tray feeder. This is a mesh cylinder feeder. .'

 

This is a hopper feeder .

Notice how much more of a surrounding view the birds have at the first two feeders compared to the hopper? When songbirds feed at a hopper feeder, they are being pinned up against a wall, of sorts, and have no view of the opposite side of the feeder. Cardinals, especially, are very skittish and want to see any potential predator danger. Cardinals will feed at these feeders, but I believe, they would prefer the other two styles pictured above.

Platform tray feeders and our mesh cylinder seed feeders are the best type of bird feeders, in my opinion, because they offer birds more of a view of potential predator attacks, plus you get to see more of the birds feeding at your feeders, too!

The advantage of Hopper bird feeders, is they offer great weather protection of the seed, and hold a large amount of seed so you don't have to fill as often. I find that our 5 quart metal mesh cylinder feeders also hold plenty of seed. And the mesh allows great cross ventilation to dry out the seed after rain. Just do not fill these type of feeders with feed that has tiny seed like millet. Feed that has tiny seed like this will cake up much more than non-millet or small seed type feeds.

On a side note, please position your feeders within 15 feet of dense protection such as tall shrubs or trees. I think it is unethical to make your feeder birds "sitting ducks" for predator attacks,by putting feeders in a wide clearing with no trees or tall shrubs for them to escape into from hawks hunting at yard bird feeders.

I think the ideal feeder station set up is to have an ornamental size tree, like fruit trees, or arborvitae like, tall, shrubs between 10 and 15 feet from the feeders. Having both of those type of landscaping plantings would be even better! Any closer than 10 feet and you may have squirrel-jumping issues when you put a baffle on the pole as a squirrel deterrent.

 

 


Add a roosting box to your winter yard October 13 2014, 0 Comments

Many people put out bird houses in the Spring for nesting birds. But did you know you can also offer shelter for birds for the upcoming cold months of Winter?  When you take down your nesting boxes in the Fall, consider putting up a winter roosting box for your backyard birds, to provide warmth and protection from the cold and wind this Winter.

Here's what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about roosting boxes .....

"Roosting boxes differ from nest boxes in several ways. A good roost box is designed to prevent the birds' body heat from escaping, so, unlike a nest box, it has fewer ventilation holes. Also, its entrance hole is near the bottom of the box so the rising warmth doesn't escape.

Inside a roost box there may be several perches made from small wooden dowels, staggered at different levels. The inside front and rear walls may be roughened, scored, or covered with hardware cloth so that woodpeckers can cling to them. A hinged top allows easy access so you can clean the box.

Some people modify their empty nest boxes for winter to make them better for roosting. Techniques include turning the front panel around so that the entrance hole is at the bottom, adding twigs for perches, and plugging some of the ventilation holes."

Here's a nice roosting box/nesting box combination piece, we, at Go Wild With Birds, offer our customers. It's made right here in Wisconsin!

   I recommend you mount it in a good viewing spot outside a window you can see out of when you are relaxing, eating, watching tv, etc. It's enjoyable to see curious birds like nuthatches, chickadees, and downy woodpeckers, go inside and out of this type of shelter.

What a great way to keep your backyard birds close and entertaining you all winter long!

 

Warmly Yours, in the Company of Feathers,

Marie


House Sparrow Chaos at the Feeder October 06 2014, 0 Comments

   House Sparrows can prove to be a nuisance at many backyard bird feeders. Their crazy flock behavior, non-stop flying in their "gang" between shrubs and feeder, causes lots of chaos and stress for other songbirds trying to compete for food at that feeder. The shy Cardinal will have nothing to do with that "gang" and may prefer to find other more quiet "restaurants" to dine at. Plus, that group of birds can certainly eat you "out of house and home". They eat non-stop, and as their flock grows, so does your bird feeding bill, trying to keep up with them!

So what's a bird lover to do? Let me help with some steps I have found to be effective.

CAUTION: This process should be done only between mid-Summer to early Fall. Do not attempt to do this during late Fall through early Summer, since natural habitat food may be scarce at this time, and your yard birds may be depending on your feeders as their "pantry" and only food source.

  1. First, and foremost, stop feeding any wild bird mix with corn and millet, in your hanging or mounted bird feeders. This type of feed is actually ATTRACTING House Sparrows to your yard and feeder. They like cracked corn and millet. If you have any of this left, find a far away corner of your yard, possibly under an evergreen tree, or under the shrubs the sparrows like to roost in, and sprinkle it on the ground. 
  2. If you are not feeding any of this type of feed, move on to step 3.
  3. Remove all of your bird feeders for two weeks. This is a good time to wash them up and let them air dry in the sun. Plan on not feeding birds for a full two weeks.That is why I stress doing this only from Summer into early Fall. They need to be able to find natural food during this process.
  4. During the two week feeding hiatus, purchase a new, Cardinal-friendly, bird feeder. See the feeder section in my Shop' for Cardinal-friendly feeders. I say a new feeder, because it needs to be a feeder the House Sparrows are not familiar with already. If you already have a cardinal-friendly feeder stored away that you have not been using, feel free to bring this one out and use it for this purpose.
  5. After the two weeks, hang or mount that Cardinal-friendly feeder in a good viewing spot, ideally within 15 feet of an ornamental size tree, or tall shrubs the Cardinals like to perch in, in order to attract them. Put about a cup of Stripe Sunflower in the feeder.
  6. Be Patient. The House Sparrows may come to this feeder and eat the Stripe Sunflower. Again, Be Patient! House Sparrows can, and will, eat anything in your feeder for the time being. It is over time that the flock should thin out and look elsewhere for a more attractive feeding spot. It could take a few months for them to leave. And they may not leave entirely, but the flock should be severely thinned out during this process.
  7. You may add new, or previously unused finch feeders at this time, also, filling them only with nyjer seed. Do not use any finch mixes whatsoever. Again, the House Sparrows may eat the nyjer seed, too. And again, be patient. It may take time for them to move on and decide these feeds are not their favorites.
  8. As time goes on and the House Sparrows have moved on, hopefully, you can add black oil Sunflower and Safflower seeds to your feeders. We would recommend our Black Tie BirdBait TM, as a good quality songbird feed at a competitive price.
  9. During very cold temperatures, do not feed Stripe Sunflower, as the meat inside this very tough shell is minimal for the work it takes to shell it. The meat is smaller than the black oil sunflower meat, which is easier to shell for the birds. Instead, during bitter cold temperatures, i recommend you feed Premium Meats, an "imperfect" blend of sunflower chips and hearts, with a few seeds still in the shell, and various chip sizes mixed together.

Cardinals like protective coverage near feeding stations October 05 2014, 0 Comments

Cardinals are starting to flock together for the Fall and Winter. Keep them coming with additional flat and open viewing feeding options spread out, with plenty of protective habitat nearby. They do not like to be crowded with other Cardinals at the feeders.

Fall is a great time to add more protective and varying heights of inviting habitat to your yards. I say that ornamental size trees, like crab-apples, lilacs, pear, and other similar sized trees, serve as "stepping", err..."perching" stones into our yards, and then to our feeders. Cardinals especially like to have that protective coverage near feeding stations, so they can quickly duck out of danger when hawks come hunting.


Feed the Blue Jays by throwing a Lumber Party! October 02 2014, 0 Comments

Seeing any Jays' visiting your yard lately? Invite them to stay with an attractive Whole Peanut Wreath feeder from Go Wild With Birds in Neenah! Giving them their own feeder will allow other birds to feed at a separate feeder peacefully
Photo: Seeing any Jays' visiting your yard lately? Invite them to stay with an attractive Whole Peanut Wreath feeder from Go Wild With Birds in Neenah! Giving them their own feeder will allow other birds to feed at a separate feeder peacefully :-)

Keep seed from growing below July 15 2014, 0 Comments

There are several ways to eliminate, or decrease, bird seed from growing below the feeder. 

  • Use feed that doesn't grow. Those would include, sunflower meats or shelled sunflower, nyjer (thistle), shelled nuts, or NutraSaff (safflower hybrid with a thin coating).
  • Use our All Metal Caged mesh cylinder feeder. It has a wide bottom tray that contains seed that may fall from the inside mesh seed cylinder. This also keeps large bully-like birds from monopolizing the feeder.
  • Add a bottom tray to hanging tube feeders. The feeder must have a screw-in receptor underneath to attach the tray to the feeder.
  • Use a tray or platform feeder with high sides.


Why not feed the squirrels, too? June 05 2014, 0 Comments

I encourage squirrel proofing bird feeding stations, not to keep the squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons from our yards, but to simply control where and what they eat. By doing so, this will allow you to fill your feeder(s) with a high quality feed to attract the most variety of birds and be able to keep the critters from monopolizing the feeder where you wish to attract the shy Cardinal and other attractive birds.

The ideal way to squirrel-proof a bird feeding station is to ....

  1. Hang or mount the feeder from a shepherd hook/staff, pole, or post. 
  2. Position that station in a location where you can easily view the activity from a favorite viewing spot.
  3. "Tweak" that position, if need be, so that the 8-10 feet space surrounding the feeder is free from any squirrel launching spot.
  4. Mount a squirrel baffle on the pole or post, 3.5 - 4 feet from the ground. (Our metal baffles are the best working ones and are made in the U.S.A!!) Other less expensive ones can cut corners and use less material making them less effective!

Using the baffle, and having the 8-10 ft. free space, will keep the critters from climbing up the pole or jumping to the feeder and monopolizing it. You are now free to feed the squirrels and critters somewhere else, if you wish. In fact, we have squirrel feeders, or ground feeding platforms where the birds, squirrels, and other critters can all share our Wild Bird III feed!

If you wish to hang your feeder from a tree instead, you can either use a hanging plastic, see thru baffle or a squirrel deterrent feeder, or try feeding safflower seed instead. If you want to try the plastic hanging baffle, you will need clearance from lower hanging branches and the trunk to be further than the squirrels can launch to the feeder from. See the recommended distances, above.

Hopefully, this has helped you enjoy your feeding station more with less frustration.

Happy Backyard Birding!

Go Wild Marie


My Great Spring Warm-Up May 30 2014, 0 Comments

After going through the Winter from hell this year, here in Wisconsin, the Spring green-up was a couple of weeks behind. But the birds were right on migration schedule. So what do those two things bring to our yards, but Indigo Buntings and Scarlet Tanagers!! Yes. Due to the birds returning and no insect food to be found, many of us were treated to yard visits by Indigo Buntings, and some of us also spotted Scarlet Tanagers.

Personally, in my yard, I had about 12 Indigo Buntings and had three Scarlet Tanagers. I consider those visits my reward at having to go through the Winter we just had, and that would never end. There's nothing like seeing such colorful delights surprise you, warm your soul, and take your breath away. For me, it never gets old. It surely was enough to thaw this cold dreary heart, seeing those visits day after day for about two weeks.

Because of the lag of foliage to the trees and shrubs, the Buntings occasionally came to the feeders, but preferred to eat the wild bird mix I sprinkled at the woods edge for them. And the two male Scarlet Tanagers each had their favorite feed, too. The younger male frequented the shelled peanut feeder, while the other male preferred the Oriole's grape jelly. I didn't care what they wanted to eat, I was going to provide it for them so they would grace me with their presence! And did they ever. All I can say is, Thank You. 


Spring Melting Horrors (or black mess under feeders) March 03 2014, 0 Comments

As we get closer to spring after the "Wicked Winter of 2014", the melting of snow will eventually happen. When it does, you may begin to see a horrific sight under your existing bird feeders. It is the shell debris left from a long winter of bird feeding. To avoid such a horror, you can purchase one of our several no-mess bird feed options and you can also add one of our trays to hanging feeders, or a seed catcher platform beneath mounted feeders. These options will help keep the black mess from accumulating all winter and greeting you in the spring.     

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Positioning your feeder station February 09 2014, 0 Comments

I recommend people position their feeder station keeping the following in mind ....

  • a spot that provides a good viewing vantage point for you to watch the entertainment
  • use a feeder pole (not a plant hanger pole) that keeps the bottom of the feeders higher than 4 feet from the ground
  • within 11-15 feet of a full sized ornamental, fruit, or similar type tree
  • further than 10 feet from a tree, fence, birdbath, bench, or other squirrel launching point
  • use a squirrel baffle on the pole between 3 and 4 feet from the ground to keep squirrels from climbing the pole or jumping from the ground 

The ornamental type tree will serve as a "staging area" for the birds to land in just prior to flying to the feeder. I believe these type of trees serve as "stepping stones" from tall, mature trees to the feeder pole area. In other words having lower height trees that lead the birds from the tall, older mature trees to safe places to be prior to landing at your feeder pole. These are the stepping stones and the safe invitation to your feeder. I think by offering this type of set up you make it easier and more inviting for the birds to use your feeder station.


A "peace" from my heart January 23 2014, 0 Comments

An excerpt from our November Newsletter:

Nature's surprises are also great medicine. I was driving home yesterday and saw two turkeys crossing the road in my neighborhood. They have been scrounging under my yard feeders for the past couple of weeks, but it was a surprise to see them on the road. It just made me smile. I love being surprised with glimpses of natural beauty. I feel like they are precious moments of time that need to be relished. 

And speaking of relishing, I experience moments where I am extremely grateful for the ability to continue this business that I have chosen. I absolutely love what I do and you are the reason for it. Because all of you shop with me in this small business, I can keep at it. I am grateful for you. Thank you for supporting me and Go Wild With Birds.


First Post November 09 2013, 2 Comments

Hi! Welcome to my new site. I hope to communicate with you here about products I use or have discovered in my bird feeding world. I will also share tidbits that I think would be helpful to many of you who enjoy the company of backyard birds like I do.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts and also hearing from you. I like to "stay on top of my game" and give good information. With that in mind, I learn a lot from my customers and welcome their sharing about what they see happening in their yards and feeders, too. So, please give me feedback on your experience with my products, too.

So, "Cheers" and "Bottoms up" to this new site and the next turn on my journey into online sales.