Have you ever found a baby bird?
Have you ever found a baby bird and wondered what to do with it? Birds fall out of nests sometimes; what should you do? If you can see the nest above, it’s OK to pick it up and put it back in the nest. The parents won’t abandon the baby because you touched it.
Just feed birds, Betsy Puckett
You don’t feed hummers??
It's hard to believe, but I've heard that some people don't feed hummingbirds because they think it's bothersome to mix up the nectar and care for the feeders. I can promise you that it's really quick and easy and gives you great return on your investment. Use table sugar (sucrose), as it is chemically very similar to flower nectar and the most abundant sugar in the nectars of hummingbird flowers. And as a win/win, it's much more economical than buying prepared mixes.
Years ago I tested two commercial nectars against plain old table sugar and water. My testing was conducted like this: I hung two Little Flyer (LF-4) feeders side by side, one with a commercial mix and one with sugar water. Besides observing the feeders, it was easy enough to determine which one they preferred because of the nectar level. After a week, I switched the position of the feeders. I happened to be watching when a hummer landed on the feeder that had been sugar water but was now the commercial mix. She took one sip and backed off and went to the other feeder containing the sugar water. I only tested two mixes, but those observations in addition to the advice of hummingbird expert Sheri Williamson* convinced me that the best I can do for my hummers is also the best solution for my pocketbook.
To make the nectar: Boil a quart of water and add 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. If you're lucky enough to have loads of hummers, then you'll need to increase your batch. When your mixture has cooled, fill your feeders and put the leftover into the fridge. It will keep up to two weeks. You can also make it without boiling the water, and when in a time crunch, that’s what I do.
Just remember to give your feeders a good cleaning every time you fill them. Dump them out and wash them if the nectar has been there for 5 days. Tiny bits of mold will grow in the sugar water in the heat and we don't want to give our hummers stomach aches. Using the Perfect Little Brush (PLB) included with each of our feeders to clean the ports lets you do a great job quickly. Then sit back and enjoy the magic!
*Sheri L. Williamson is the author of Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds and A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North AmericaAnd as a win/win, it's much more economical than buying prepared mixes.
I know Spring is coming because the crocuses are blooming, in spite of the snow around them. And the birds are also telling me that it’s Spring. If you like feeding birds, you probably like having them in your yard and learning about them. Have you noticed any birds that are starting to build nests? This morning I watched a Mourning Dove with a twig in its mouth and sure enough, she tried to start a nest on the light shield over the door. Mourning Doves are notorious for building flimsy, poorly constructed nests and she soon decided that she needed a better support. If you’d like to learn more about nesting birds, you can become a certified Nestwatcher and record your observations. You’ll learn some helpful tips for finding nests and through your input, you’ll help scientists understand the impact of climate change, habitat degradation and loss, expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants and animals. Visit http://nestwatch.org to get started.
Just feed birds,
Important Message from Betsy - to Our Retailers
You might have heard that Droll Yankees has developed both a Private Label product as well as a line of basic entry level feeders that bear the Droll Yankees name. These feeders were designed to attract a more diverse consumer through larger retailers. Many of you are now aware that Walmart is stocking some bird feeders that are labeled with the Droll Yankees brand name. This decision was made with great regard and concern for you and your business, and was not made lightly.
The initial impetus was a period of several months when very few orders came in and I had to cut our warehouse and production departments' hours. I recognize that many dedicated bird stores have gone out of business and our customer base has decreased. I had to consider the long term view and our ability to stay profitable, and the options available to me.
Feeding Birds Teaches Hard Lessons
Our first hummers were later than in other years, but only by a couple of days. They’re landing on their favorite branches and seem to be enjoying the feeders as much as we’re enjoying them. We think we recognize the ‘little’ female (aren’t they all little?) and the way they make themselves at home, they must surely be the old gang from last year. But there is one newbie who doesn’t know the rules. She attempted to share the LF with another female, who reacted tentatively about the breach in anti-social behavior. The lunch date was short lived, but ended civilly.
Despite our best intentions, we unwittingly created a bad situation for our bluebirds. The peanut feeder was still where it had been all winter, about 10 feet from the nest box, and on occasion a wily red squirrel would manage to scamper up the pole and grab a nut. We’d seen one of the pair of bluebirds swoop by the squirrel on its way to the next box, and had just thought it was interesting.
But one morning as I was getting ready for work, I glanced out the window to see the ‘red’ rocket up the pole to the feeder for breakfast. Almost immediately both mama and papa bluebird were on the attack, swooping in arcs, harassing the squirrel. Then there was just one bluebird swooping and I grabbed the window handle, yelling at the squirrel, fearing that the squirrel had gotten the bird. Then I saw papa bluebird drop to the ground beneath the squirrel. I dashed down the stairs yelling for Tom to come help, and we both ran to rescue our beloved bluebird.
He had indeed been bitten by the squirrel and died just minutes later. Although we had tried to provide a safe habitat for them to raise their young, instead we had welcomed a predator to a zone that they needed to defend. We had heavy hearts that day and will always carry that very hard lesson with us. We’re diligent with our mealworm feedings for mama, hoping that she’ll hatch her five eggs, but she spends a lot of time sitting on her favorite perch, watching and to our eyes, waiting for papa.
I’m reminded of the words I’ve spoken to customers before: that when we invite nature into our yards, we invite all of nature and it isn’t always what we think it will be.
Just feed birds,
Betsy Puckett, President