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Squirrel-defeating Birdfeeding

Feeder PlacementAs with real estate, it’s “location, location, location” when feeding birds but defeating squirrels. A pole system feeding station set up 12 feet from over-hanging limbs or deck railings with a baffle on the pole 5 feet off the ground provides for squirrel free bird feeding.

If your yard does not allow such a set up, there are other options to defeat the squirrels. Squirrels have thousands more taste buds than birds and therefore react strongly to the deterrent of hot pepper added to bird food. Birds, on the other hand, don’t seem to notice.

Hot pepper suets

A few of our hot pepper products we have available.

Suet cakes, seed cakes and seed cylinders containing hot pepper are a ready-made solution. If you prefer using tube feeders and hopper feeders with loose seed, adding hot pepper oil or powder works great too. All of these products are available at All Seasons Wild Bird Stores.

Of course, there is a whole array of squirrel resistant feeders to choose from at all of our neighborhood stores. Some of our favorites can be found on our web site in the squirrel resistant section.

For more information, visit our Troubleshooting Pests page. We can help you keep the “peace” in backyard bird feeding.

Video: House Finch or Purple Finch?

Both reddish-colored finches, House Finches and Purple Finches are frequently confused for one another. We prepared a brief video to help you get to know the defining characteristics of each species to aid in your identification efforts. Take a look!

Welcome Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls

Pine Siskins on bird feeder

Photo by Jim Weisman

This is the time of year when you may begin to see some less-common visitors to your backyard feeding stations. Every few years, we experience an “irruption”—an influx of typically northern-dwelling birds—into our Twin Cities Metro Area and beyond in Minnesota. The irruption is often due to poor crops of conifer seeds (pine and spruce) and catkins (birch and alders) that birds like Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls consume.

Irruption events are lucky for us as backyard birders, because we are fortunate to be able to see species of birds that may otherwise live out of our range. We can support these birds by providing Nyjer, Nyjer and Chips, sunflower chips, or Finches’ Choice in finch feeders. Flocks of visiting Pine Siskins and/or redpolls will greedily thank you for the gifts!

Get to know these two species a little better with the following video.

 

Video: Bird Alarm Calls

Backyard Bird’s Alarm Call Network

Real-time reports from backyard birds can give those around them advance warning to seek cover. Alarm calls can be wide-bandwidth, loud and short to attract birds from farther away to come mob a predator. Other calls can be shorter bandwidth, high-pitched “seets”that don’t travel as far as individual sounds, but spread quickly from bird to bird to warn of a predator on the move.

Beyond simply indicating the presence of a threat, researchers are learning that warning calls can contain messages about the type or level of threat. For example, scientist Erick Green at the University of Montana reported in the journal Science that a higher number of -dees in a chickadee’s call translated to a higher, more serious threat.

Take a look at the following video for some examples of alarm calls you may hear in your backyard.

Discover the Convenience of Home Delivery

If you live in the Twin Cities Metro Area, you are eligible to take part in our Store-to-Door Services! We offer one-time, recurring and vacation delivery services. And, for a small additional fee, we’ll check and fill your feeders and even clean and fill your birdbath for you as well.

Busy families, customers with limited mobility, and some of our older customers find new freedom to watch their backyard birds without the need to visit our store or lift heavy bags. Learn more about our Store-to-Door Services by visiting our Services page, or simply watch the short video, below.

Holiday Gift Ideas

Discover this season’s picks for birds and bird lovers at all of our All Seasons Wild Bird Store locations!

 

We won an award!

We are honored to have been nominated  and to have won the 2017 Wild Bird Expo Retailer of the Year  award. It’s always great  to be recognized for something that you  spend much of your time and energy doing  on a daily basis. We want to extend a  heartfelt thank you to our amazing staff and  to our loyal customers. Please see this brief  press release regarding the award:

 

Wild Bird Retailer of the Year awards

See full article from http://www.wildbirdexpo.com/

All Seasons Wild Bird Stores of Minnesota was named a Best Birding Retailer Award winner at the 2017 Wild Bird Expo™. A panel of industry experts and peers picked the All Seasons Wild Bird Store locations as the Best Large Store over 1800 square feet with a Birding Emphasis.

Nominees for the awards were submitted by a Candidate Search Committee, who were tasked with determining who, in their opinion, demonstrated a conscientious effort in advancing the birding hobby and industry. The required criteria to qualify as a nominee included several factors such as:

  1. Sales volume (total and per sq. ft.)
  2. Growth history and advancement of new trends
  3. Best practice systems
  4. Product selection offered
  5. Merchandising
  6. Advertising, customer communication and education (websites, social media, etc.)
  7. Overall impact within their community and beyond

All winning retailers were selected by birding industry leaders. With five metro locations, the family-owned All Seasons Wild Bird Stores have seen steady growth for over 25 years. Their Vacation Feed-and-Fill Service, where they maintain and fill local birders’ feeders while they’re away, their Frequent Feeder Member Program , Project Lights Out Campaign , Feeder Swap Campaign , in-store literature takeaways, newsletters, and seasonal tips are just a few ways that they give back to the community. Store owner, Dave Netten, also serves as President of the Wild Bird Feeding Industry (WBFI) Board of Directors.

Minnesota’s Winter Birds

Many times people are surprised by some of the birds they can see in their backyard during our harsh winter months. If there are sufficient natural food sources on their breeding grounds even American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds will sometimes remain in the area where they spent the summer.

Blue Jay and Cardinal at feeders by Jim Weisman

A Blue Jay and Northern Cardinals visit feeders in the winter. (Photo by Jim Weisman)

Our beautiful cardinals will remain with us all winter. It’s wonderful to see the bright red cardinals against a backdrop of winter snow. Our Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches are with us through the winter. Sometimes we will get an influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches during the winter.

Most of our woodpeckers also stay all winter too. The Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, the large Pileated, and the Red-bellied Woodpecker can be seen at suet feeders on the coldest of winter days.

American Goldfinches stay in Minnesota all year, and are busy at backyard feeders, but the males lack their bright yellow breeding plumage. As a protection against being seen by predators the goldfinches molt in the fall to an olive drab, the males now closely resembling the females. Because of this dramatic change in color, they can be mistaken for other species and lead some people to the errant conclusion that their goldfinches have left. Feeding goldfinches all winter will ensure that some will stay in your area to nest this spring.

Blue Jay populations shift about in preparation for the winter cold. You will likely have Blue Jays brightening your winter landscape but they may not be the same individuals that were here this summer. Some of these jays will be travelers from northern territories and some of our summer Blue Jays will move a bit south.

House Finches will be here all winter. In fact, most of the raspberry-colored finches we see are male House Finches. The first-year juveniles will likely not be as brightly colored as the older adult males. The plumage of male House Finches can vary greatly, from an orange-y hue to very raspberry.

Brown Creepers are a year-round resident in most of their range, but the northern Minnesota populations do engage in some migratory behavior, moving several hundred miles south to our yards here in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Look for them spiraling up and around tree trunks and limbs as they forage.

Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins are unpredictable and irruptive in their migration patterns. Failures in seed crop production in spruce and other conifers can force the redpolls and Pine Siskins to venture south in search of food. Every few years the redpolls show up in great numbers.

Dark-eyed Junco in tree by Jim Weisman

A Dark-eyed Junco (Photo by Jim Weisman)

The first Dark-eyed Juncos arrive in late September; the males sporting an executive charcoal gray and white look. Juncos glean seeds and insects from twigs, leaves and the ground cover of leaves on the ground. They are entertaining as they hop forward and kick their feet back scratching the ground for food. Juncos prefer poking around on the ground below feeders but can be attracted to hanging feeders as well. Maintaining a clean water source by using a heated birdbath attracts juncos as well as birds that don’t normally eat at seed feeders.

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK

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Video: A Guide to Feeder Types

Here’s a guide to selecting the right feeder or feeders for your yard. As always, ask any of our local backyard birding experts for help finding the perfect feeder for they types of birds you would like to attract.

 

Seasonal Notes: September

keep hummer feeders upOrioles Out; Hummers Still Here

We lament the migration of the orioles as they leave this week. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will continue to visit feeders well into October. Male hummingbirds migrate first so we will be seeing mostly females and juveniles at the feeders. Change your nectar every three days or so. Apply mint extract to the nectar ports to deter bees and wasps.

Welcome, Juncos!

Dark-eyed Juncos arrive in September and forage on the ground under the feeders. Sprinkle a little Finches’ Choice on the ground to welcome them.

Other Migration Movements .  .  .

American Crows are seen in noisy communal roosts as we move into autumn.  American Coots begin to arrive on area lakes.

Dark-eyed Junco

Welcome Dark-eyed Juncos sometime this month by sprinking some Finches’ Choice below feeders.

Migration begins in earnest for monarch butterflies, various warblers, sandpipers and Broad-winged Hawks.

 

By CAROL CHENAULT, Manager of the Minnetonka All Seasons Wild Bird Store location