Feeder Trade-In is Here!!
February is feeder trade-in month. Now is a great time to upgrade your feeders or replace those that have worn out. It only happens once a year, so don’t miss this opportunity! Bring in any of your old feeders (it doesn’t matter what condition they are in) and we will give you 20% off any brand new feeder. If we can, we’ll fix up the old feeder and donate it to a local school or retirement center. If we can’t, you’ll still save on a brand new feeder. If you have been thinking about a new feeder, you won’t find a better time to buy!
February is National Bird Feeding Month
This month also celebrates those who feed the birds by designating February as National Bird Feeding Month. It also serves as a reminder that spring is not the time to quit feeding birds. Natural food stores are nearly depleted and grasses and other seeds are a long way from being ready. Most people are surprised to learn that February, March, and April are some of the hardest months for birds to find food. Couple that with the fact that they are busy building nests and spending time sitting on their eggs, and you have a real need for that little bit extra offered by those who feed birds. Recent research from Millikin University demonstrated that survival rates were 38% higher in areas where bird feeders were present. Keep those feeders up and stocked as we head into the spring!
What is the name of the bird species below?
Answer at the bottom of the page.
How long does it take a Bald Eagle to eat one pound of fish?
Nesting Time is Near
A place to raise young is one of the most important habitat elements, and we can help some of our feathered friends in this regard. For those birds that nest in open cups (Cardinal, Goldfinch, Hummingbird) there is not much we can offer in the way of housing, but we can make a real difference for cavity nesters (Chickadee, Titmouse, Wren, Bluebird). These birds are always in search of the perfect location to build a nest and raise their young. Remember that almost all species of birds become territorial during nesting season and will not nest near others of the same species. If you want more than one house in your backyard, make sure you offer houses that attract different species. Another point to remember is that it pays to eliminate House Sparrows from your yard, particularly during nesting season. They are non-native, aggressive birds that will protect their territory by eliminating (yes, killing) the babies of other birds nesting in your yard. Eliminate them by denying them the opportunity to nest. Once you do that, you should see an increase in variety of birds in your yard. You can target certain kinds of birds by the type of house you use. Come in and talk to us – we’ll learn a little about your habitat and offer some suggestions for the right type of house for your backyard.
It’s time to think about Bluebirds!
It’s hard to believe, but it hasn’t been that many years ago that Eastern Bluebirds were seriously threatened. From 1920 to 1970, the population of bluebirds was in serious decline and extinction was expected. Prior to this time, they were as common as Robins across our area. Reasons for the decline include: loss of habitat, pesticide use, weather changes, dead tree removal, and an influx of the house cat. All of these things had an effect on the bluebird, but nothing impacted them more than the rise in population of the House Sparrow and the European Starling. Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters, relying mostly on old woodpecker holes for nesting sites. The House Sparrows and Starlings are also cavity nesters and much more competitive and aggressive in pursuing limited nesting sites. When man-made housing began to proliferate, the result was almost magical. Not only have bluebirds avoided extinction, but their population is stable or increasing in most areas. Food sources for Bluebirds include crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and caterpillars. They prefer their food source to be close to their nest sites, which is why it is best to locate a bluebird house in an open area. Every time you mow your lawn, you are creating ideal foraging conditions for these birds. They enjoy plenty of perches from which to watch for prey. You can enhance the habitat around a house by adding stakes or upright tree limbs that allow them to perch near their house. Water is another sure-fire attractant for bluebirds, who bathe daily. Don’t forget plantings that offer supplemental food sources. Although mostly insect-eaters, the Eastern Bluebird is fond of flowering dogwood, wild grape, cedar trees, sumac, and viburnum.
Water for Life
It may sound bizarre, but St. Louis can be like a desert to the birds! Whenever the temperature drops below freezing, most water sources that birds rely on can no longer offer them a place to drink or bathe. One thing that surprises most people is that winter offers an opportunity to attract very different species to your backyard. Water can be a much stronger attraction than food when temperatures dip. If you don’t already have a heated bird bath or deicer, think about adding this element to your habitat. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of birds you find taking advantage of your fresh, unfrozen water. During February, we are taking 20% off any heated birdbaths while they last!