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Checking on a Bluebird Trail

This morning I had the opportunity to tag along with George Brown as he checked nest boxes along the bluebird trail he maintains. You may recall from a previous blog post that George is the Ramsey and Washington counties coordinator for the Bluebird Recovery Project (BBRC). Checking on the nest boxes weekly is a critical function of maintaining a bluebird…

Precocial or altricial? Describing hatchlings' degree of development

Altricial vs. Precocial Bird Young

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK Have you ever noticed that newly hatched birds all look different? For example, baby cardinals are born helpless, bald, eyes closed and heads bobbing. In contrast, Wood Duck babies—which look like miniature versions of their parents— jump from their nest box after just 24 hours. Ornithologists classify birds as either altricial or precocial  to describe…

Joe's Mix

The Joe’s Mix Story

In a small garden center south of Saint Paul, Minnesota, an enterprising Irishman named Joe Murphy began experimenting with seeds. His passion for birds compelled him to attract them to his feeders. Mixing seed by hand in a 55-gallon drum eventually led him to a recipe that birds couldn’t resist. It wasn’t long before customers at the garden center discovered…

Hummingbird sipping nectar from a feeder

VIDEO: Tips for Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds

Watch the short video below for tips for attracting and feeding hummingbirds.  • When to put hummingbird feeders out in the Twin Cities of Minnesota • Don’t use pesticides because hummingbirds eat insects • Select feeders that are easy to fill and clean • Make nectar from concentrate or mix your own nectar • Apply mint to ports to keep bees and wasps away • Prevent…

COVID-19 Update

April 3, 2021 White Bear Lake store open until 6pm weekdays! We’re delighted to report that we’re able to extend our Monday–Friday hours at our White Bear Lake store! The new hours for White Bear Lake are identical now to all of our other locations. Mon–Fri: 9am to 6pm Sat: 9am to 5pm Closed Sundays Same-day curbside delivery for orders…

Video: Bluebird Nestbox Recommendations

All Seasons Wild Bird Store (wildbirdstore.com) put together recommendations for nest boxes based on information from the following sources: http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/fact…​ https://bbrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2…​ https://bbrp.org/​ See also: https://wildbirdstore.com/resources/a…​ https://wildbirdstore.com/2021/03/08/…​ This video discusses placement for bluebird nestboxes, selection of bluebird houses, monitoring bluebird nests, and resources for learning more about hosting bluebirds. Special thanks to George Brown, the BBRP and Ray Marshall for photographs…

Eastern Bluebird young and adult at feeder

Interview with Bluebird Recovery Project County Coordinator George Brown

Last month, I had an opportunity to interview George Brown, the Ramsey and Washington counties coordinator for the Bluebird Recovery Project. I’ve been aware of the work that Brown has down in coordination with the White Bear Lake All Seasons Wild Bird Store location—setting up their successful bluebird nest boxes and hosting in-store bluebird seminars. I’ve also seen the incredible…

Great horned owl

Where to find Minnesota’s Owls

In this quick video, you’ll discover where and when you can find Minnesota’s 12 owl species. Some, like the Barred Owl or Great Horned Owl, are permanent residents and can be found throughout the state. Others, like the Burrowing Owl or Snowy Owl, are only found in isolated locations at certain times of the year. For more information about where…

Great Horned Owl looking right

Minnesota’s Owls

Minnesota Hosts 12 Species of Owls By Minnetonka Manager CAROL CHENAULT Twelve species of owls can be found somewhere in Minnesota but not throughout the whole state. These are the Barn, Barred, Boreal, Burrowing, Eastern Screech, Great Gray, Great Horned, Long-eared, Northern Hawk, Northern Saw-whet, Short-eared and Snowy Owl.   Not all owls are strictly nocturnal. Owls can see perfectly…

The State of Irruption (so far)

Report by guest contributor MELISSA BLOCK (Minnetonka, Minnesota) This has been a crazy winter irruption this year—for some locales. It was predicted that we would not get a big influx of Pine Siskins this year, but we did, only early in the season. Most of them have now moved farther south. I know I was excited when I saw some…

a crookedness of crossbills

Specialty Flock Names

When is a flock of birds not really a flock? Not every group of birds is automatically called a flock. The two characteristics that constitute a flock are numbers and species. Two or three birds are generally not thought of as a flock, but there’s no set number of birds that is needed to call it a flock. For birds…

Pine Siskin

Be ready for irruptions!

Minnesota’s occasional winter birds An irruption is defined as a sudden change in population density of a species in a location. Simply put, it’s an influx of a bird species (or multiple species) that we don’t usually see in our area. Irruptions can occur in response to an increase in a species populations or a change in movement patterns based…

Blue Jay spreading its wings

Rhapsodies in Blue: Blue Jays

The Blue Jay is one of our loudest and most colorful backyard songbirds. The mighty jay is fearless, great at mimicking and an outstanding survivalist known for intelligence, complex social systems and tight family bonds. Here are some insights into the life and habits of this gregarious species. That Amazing Color and a Fantastic “Mohawk” This large-crested bird has various…

Identifying: Red-Bellied, Red-Headed Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is often confused with the Red-headed Woodpecker because, despite its name, it has a rather prominent red cap. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is also often confused with the Northern Flicker because it has a similar size and markings. In this video, we point out the distinguishing characteristics of all three species to help you become a master in…

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Five Common MN Woodpeckers

The Downy Woodpecker, at about 7”, is the smaller version of the Hairy Woodpecker (I always remember that it’s “downsized”). The males have a small red patch on their back of their heads, females do not. These woodpeckers remain with us all winter and are frequent visitors to our suet and sunflower feeders. Their main diet, however, is insects. Downies…