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Tips for BIRD LOVERS

10 Tips for INSTALLING A HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER

1. Choose a feeder
that is attractive to hummingbirds (with some red parts), easy to clean (dishwasher-safe), functional on windy days, and equipped with insect guards.

 

2. Choose a feeder size that is large enough to prevent constant refilling but small enough to keep the solution from fermenting or going sour.

 

3. Hang your feeder near blossoming, bright flowers, especially red ones, out of direct sunlight and heavy wind, and close enough to enjoy the birds.

 

4. Feeders near windows should be hung close to the glass to prevent spooked hummingbirds from colliding at high speed.

 

5. To make a sugar solution, bring to a boil one part white sugar (do not use honey) and four parts water (perhaps three at first), let sit, and store in fridge.

 

6. Adding red food colouring is not necessary to attract the birds and may be harmful; tying a red ribbon or painting with red nail polish works just as well.

                                                                                                               

7. Hang the feeder with an easily visible (red is best) string or wire to prevent collisions.

 

8. Keep your feeder up as long as possible in the fall, as it will not keep hummingbirds from migrating and may provide food for stray migrants.

 

9. If there are several hummingbirds frequenting the yard, put up several feeders to minimize fighting.

 

10. Most important, wash the feeder with a warm, soapy solution every time it is filled.

10 Tips for INSTALLING A PURPLE MARTIN HOUSE

  • SELECT THE RIGHT LOCATION
    30 feet away from obstructions, but near your house
    * Water body within a mile or two and presence of wires for perching
      may be helpful

    Height above ground should be 12 to 20 feet
    * Hole diameters 2 1/4 to 2 1\2 inches
    * Cavity space 6 by 6 by 6 inches
    * Hole 1 inch above floor of cavity

     

  • CHOOSE LIGHT COLORS, preferably white, to reflect rays of hot sun
     

  • ENSURE PLENTY OF VENTILATION with no chemical treatment on inside
     

  • THE HOUSE SHOULD BE RAINPROOF and well drained
     

  • RAILINGS ON LEDGES will prevent falling youngsters at fledging time
     

  • LIGHT INTERIORS in compartments will discourage starlings
     

  • EASY ACCESS (easy to raise and lower on a pole is best)  should facilitate annual cleaning and removal of sparrow nests
     

  • BOTH METAL AND WOODEN HOUSES are suitable if they are durable
     

  •  AVOID sharp edges and splinters
     

  • PREDATOR GUARDS should be installed to keep out snakes, raccoons, hawks and owls

10 Tips for Installing NEST BOXES

  • Do some homework and ensure that the habitat in which you wish to install the nest box is appropriate for the kind of bird you wish to attract.
     

  • Functional homes will attract birds to use them; cute bird houses will usually not, especially if they are conspicuous to predators.
     

  • Well-insulated houses are preferred by birds because they keep the cold out and the heat in; walls should be at least 3/4 inch thick.
     

  • Nest boxes should be made of wood that naturally sheds water, such as cedar; using waterproof stain or paint is okay as long as it is on the outside; earthy colours, e.g. greens, grays, browns, work best.
     

  • The bottom of the cavity should be at least 8 inches below the entrance hole to prevent predators from reaching in; cutting grooves or providing ladder-like steps will assist the young in leaving the box.
     

  • Since nest boxes stand out more than natural cavities, it is important to install baffles to thwart predators. By installing the box on a galvanized pole which does not rust, you can employ the same kind of conical or tubular baffles used to keep squirrels and raccoons out of feeders. These will also prevent bull and rat snakes from gaining access.  The worst place to install a nest box is on a tree or on a fence post.  The ideal height at which to install a typical nest box is 5 feet or at eye-level. 
     

  • An all-purpose bird house has sides 4 inches wide, an interior depth of at least 8 inches measured from the bottom of the hole downward, and a hole diameter of 1 1/4 inches. 
     

  • Nest boxes can be put up at any time of year, so that the local birds get accustomed to it. Some may be used for winter roosting
     

  • Minimize your visits to examine the nest box. Parents will desert their eggs during incubation if bothered frequently, but not their young;  young over 10 days, i.e. with well-developed wing feathers,  may jump prematurely out of the nest.
     

  • Whether to clean out the nest box each year is controversial; generally it is safe to remove the old nest if it is exceptionally messy

Nesting Material SUGGESTIONS

  • burlap threads 

  • rope threads 

  • Spanish moss

  • string 

  • furniture stuffing

  • thread 

  • wool

  • strips of paper

  • cotton batting

  • fine twigs

  • rootlets

  • cedar bark

  • mud

  • bulrush

  • paintbrush bristles

  • cotton gauze

  • dental floss 

  • dried grass

  • dried moss

  • excelsior

  • wood shavings

  • pillow feathers

  • poultry farm feathers

  • human hair

  • horsehair

  • pet hair

  • yarn

  • soft cloth strips

      Keep less than six inches long to avoid entanglement and strangulation

Feeder Preferences for NORTH AMERICAN BACKYARD BIRDS

Ground Feeders           Raised Feeders (Low)    Raised Feeders (High)        Hanging Feeders                 Suet Feeders

American Goldfinch

American Tree Sparrow

Black-Capped Chickadee

Blue Jay

Common Grackle

Dark-Eyed Junco

Evening Grosbeak

House Finch

House Sparrow

Mourning Dove

Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker

Northern Mockingbird

Pine Siskin

Purple Finch

Downy Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Red-Winged Blackbird

Song Sparrow

Starling

Tufted Titmouse

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Throated Sparrow

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

 

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X

 

 

 

 

 

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X

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

X

 

X

 

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X

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

   

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

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X

 

X

 

 

 

 

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X

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X

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SOURCE: Adapted from K. Burke, How to Attract Birds (San Francisco: Ortho Books, 1983)

Food Preferences for COMMON FEEDER BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA

Species                                                                  Preferred Foods

Cracked corn, millet, wheat milo

 

Millet, cracked corn, wheat, milo, niger, buckwheat, sunflower, baked goods

 

Meat scraps, hamburger, suet

 

Plant nectar, small insects, sugar solution

 

Suet, meat scraps, sunflower hearts/seed, cracked corn, peanuts, fruits, sugar solution

 

Peanuts, sunflower, suet, meat scraps, cracked corn, baked goods

 

Meat scraps, suet, cracked corn, peanuts, baked goods, leftovers, dog food

 

Peanut kernels, sunflower, suet, peanut butter

 

Suet, suet mixes, sunflower hearts and seed, peanut kernels, peanut butter

 

Suet, suet mixes, peanut butter, peanut kernels, bread, fruit, millet (wrens)

 

Halved apple, chopped fruits, baked goods, suet, nutmeats, millet (thrashers), soaked raisins, currants, sunflower hearts

 

Suet, suet mixes, mealworms, berries, baked goods, chopped fruits, soaked raisins, currants, nutmeats, sunflower hearts

 

Suet, suet mixes, baked goods

 

Berries, chopped fruits, canned peas, currants, raisins

 

Suet, suet mixes, fruit, baked goods, sugar solution, chopped nutmeats

 

Suet, fruits, sugar solution, mealworms, baked goods

 

Sunflower, safflower, cracked corn, millet, fruit

 

Millet, sunflower, cracked corn, peanuts, baked goods, nutmeats 

 

Millet, sunflower hearts, black-oil sunflower, cracked corn, baked goods

 

Cracked corn, milo, wheat, table scraps, baked goods, suet

 

Halved oranges, apples, berries, sugar solution, grape jelly, suet, suet mixes, soaked raisins and currants

 

Thistle (niger), sunflower hearts, black-oil sunflower seed, millet, canary seed, fruits, peanut kernels, suet mixes

Quail and Pheasants

 

Pigeons and Doves

 

Roadrunner

 

Hummingbirds

 

Woodpeckers

 

Jays

 

Crows, Magpies and Nutcracker

 

Titmice, Chickadees

 

Nuthatches

 

Wrens and Creepers

 

Mockingbirds, Thrashers and Catbirds

 

 

Robins, Bluebirds and other Thrushes

 

 

Kinglets

 

Waxwings

 

Warblers

 

Tanagers

 

Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Pyrrhuloxias

 

Towhees and Juncos

 

Sparrows and Buntings

 

Blackbirds and Starlings

 

Orioles

 

 

Finches and Siskins

Twenty Tips for CHOOSING BINOCULARS

  1. Always buy the best you can afford.
     

  2. Buy them to best suit the kind of birding you will mostly use them for, e.g. rugged, backyard, marine, etc.
     

  3.  Ensure that they feel good in your hands, whether mini- or regular-sized.
     

  4. Roof prism binoculars are more expensive, but easier to hold and more rugged than porro prism versions.
     

  5. Binoculars weighing over a pound and a half can get heavy in time.
     

  6. For rugged use, armoured binoculars are better.
     

  7. High-quality optics are denser and heavier than low-quality ones, but preferred for a sharper image.
     

  8. Fast-focusing binoculars are invaluable for fast-moving birds.
     

  9. Focus wheels are superior to lever levers because the latter require two hands and are less durable.
     

  10. Non-focusing binoculars will not permit close-focusing; close-focusing binoculars are very useful in woodland birding and for looking at beetles and butterflies.
     

  11. Magnification between 7 to 10 times is preferable, as higher magnifications can increase hand-shake and provide a smaller field of view, a darker image and a shallower depth of field.
     

  12. Zoom binoculars generally offer inferior optics and a lower field of view.
     

  13. "Fully multi-coated" optics cut glare and reduce light loss.
     

  14. A wide field of view is preferable for fast-flying birds, scanning a vista quickly, and locating small birds in thick cover.
     

  15. A generous depth of field minimizes the need to continually focus on birds moving closer or farther away.
     

  16. Eyeglass-wearers need binoculars with a minimum of 15 mm of eye relief.
     

  17. Well-sealed binoculars with internal focusing will minimize entry of dust, pollen and moisture;  fully waterproof binoculars are usually heavier and more expensive.
     

  18. Custom-fitted rain guards are useful to protect the lens and adjustable, wide leather straps are recommended to relieve neck strain.
     

  19. A lifetime warranty will ensure that your binoculars last you - a lifetime.
     

  20. When shopping for binoculars, insist on taking them outside for a quick try-out.

Most Widely Recommended
NON-SEED FOODS

Rolled oats

Mealworms

Meat scraps

Orange halves

Oyster shell

Pear halves

Pie crust

Raisins

Strawberries

Watermelon

Cooked sweet potatoes

Tomatoes

Cooked potatoes

Figs

Salt

Beef suet

Mutton suet

Pokeberries

Peaches

 

American cheese

Baked apple

Raw apple

Bananas

Bayberries

Blueberry

Biscuits

Dog biscuits

Baked goods

Cottage cheese

Cream cheese

Cherries

Coconut

Corn bread

Cracker crumbs

Cranberries

Cooked currants

Cooked eggs

Crushed eggshells

Grape jelly

Grapes