Enjoying your summer birds!

In New England we experienced what I referred to as a reluctant spring. That weather pattern was in other regions of the country as well. But in spite of slower temperature increases and the continued cool nights, the birds followed their inner clocks and returned to their breeding grounds. We’ve been delighted by summer bird feeder favorites such as the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Oriole, Catbird, and of course the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This is just one of the many facets of wild birds that fascinate me – their ability to “know” where, when, and how, for the benefit of the species.

There are different birds at my feeders, along with the year-round residents, and they’re following different schedules and displaying different behaviors. They all combine into a fantastic combination that makes summer bird feeding my favorite time to feed. The best treat is when the parents first bring the fledglings to the feeder. The fledglings look similar to mom or dad, but they are still squawking for food as they did in the nest.

It’s logical to think about putting out different feeders. The Gray Catbird tosses seeds around like they were free, so I like to use feeders that give him less access. I reduce the port opening on the Jagunda to solve that problem. Mealworm feeders are a boon for nesting parents and fledglings to get their protein quickly, resulting in higher survival rates. Add an extra hummingbird feeder out of sight of the first one to keep your feeder from being dominated by one bossy bird.

Whatever feeders you add to your collection, please choose models that allow easy and thorough cleaning. I’ve seen some that are impossible to clean properly and when it comes to hummingbird feeders, that’s just not acceptable. No matter how conscientious you are about your hummingbird feeder hygiene, you need to be able to wipe all the surfaces to remove mold that might start growing on a hot day. Wash in warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Disinfect with a 50/50 white vinegar and water mix.

Enjoy your summer birds. All too soon they’ll be flying south again.

Just feed birds, Betsy Puckett, President

July 2014