Bird Feeding with George Petrides
Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.
Sharing ideas and topics related to feeding and attracting wild birds in your backyard.
Cedar Waxwings are in the southern part of the United States during the winter. These beautiful and distinctive birds are described in the Bent Life History series as follows:
Cedar waxwings impress us as being unlike most of the birds we know. We see them commonly in flocks or small companies through the greater part of the year, but we never know just when they will appear, or how numerously, for the movements of these flocks do not conform to the regular northern and southern swings of migration that the majority of North American birds make to and from their breeding grounds. Moreover, unlike most birds, there is no close relationship between the time of their arrival on their nesting grounds and the commencement of breeding.
When we become well acquainted with the waxwing we look upon him as the perfect gentleman of the bird world. There is in him a refinement of deportment and dress; his voice is gentle and subdued; he is quiet and dignified in manner, sociable, never quarrelsome, and into one of his habits, that of sharing food with his companions, we may read, without too much stress of imagination, the quality of politeness, almost unselfishness, very rare, almost unheard of, in the animal kingdom. His plumage is delicate in coloring: soft, quiet browns, grays, and pale yellow: set off, like a carnation in our buttonhole, by a touch of red on the wing.
1. Provide water for your birds in a bird bath, small pond or other water feature. Remember that moving water is a magnet for birds. Add a water heater in the winter to provide open water. Pumps or the birdbath may need to be drained if a heater is not used.
2. Although it may be shocking to see a hawk taking a bird in your backyard, there is no need for alarm. High mortality rates are normal for songbirds and balance their high reproductive rates.
3. Select a variety of trees and shrubs for your yard to provide food, shelter and nesting sites for birds year-round.
4. Remember that birds prefer feeders that give them easy access to food. Some feeders designed to keep squirrels and larger birds away often receive fewer visits from small birds as well. Always choose a bird feeder that has high bird appeal and, if necessary, use baffles or other methods to keep squirrels away. Then make sure all feeding ports and feeding areas are kept clear of debris so your birds have easy access to food.
Many bird species will cache food in the fall for retrieval in the winter, including Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees, nuthatches, and Tufted Titmice. Most try to hide their food cache from other birds. A champion at storing the food, right in the open, is the Acorn Woodpecker. They will often drill hundreds of holes in a selected tree, power pole are even in wooden shingles. They carefully place acorns in the holes for consumption when food is less plentiful. These interesting birds will also "hawk" for insects (capture insects in flight). They will visit feeders for peanuts and suet.
Acorn Woodpecker © Greg Lavaty
One exciting way to enjoy the upcoming fall migration is by supercharging your yard and feeding station for hummingbirds. The hummingbird nesting season is pretty much complete, and you may already have noticed increased activity in your yard. As this pre-migration period kicks-in, hummer numbers at your feeders will increase as the birds prepare for their journey south. Migrating is an energy-intensive activity and hummingbirds must bolster fat reserves to fuel their migration flights. Adding an additional feeder or two and providing natural food sources will benefit the birds and provide some fun high-speed entertainment when hummingbirds flock to your yard.
There are several hummingbird festivals around the country, here are a couple of the more popular events.
Aug. 23 - Aug. 26
Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration
Fort Davis, Texas
Sept. 13 - Sept. 16
30th Rockport-Fulton HummerBird Celebration
Many garage doors have a cord with a red handle for lowering the door. When the door is up, the red handle will sometimes draw a hummingbird into the garage, where it can have a difficult time escaping. Paint the handle black or cover it in black tape to prevent this problem.
If a hummingbird does get trapped in your garage, try closing the door and turning off the light. Hummingbirds do not like to fly in the dark and can sometimes easily be picked up and taken outside. Hold the hummer gently, open your hand slowly and give the hummer a chance to orient itself before it again takes to the air.