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Feed Backyard Birds; Entertain Your Cats!

Cat watching birdsMost cats love watching small animals, especially when it comes to birds.

Setting up a window bird feeders for your indoor cats will provide hours of entertainment for them. Stalking their prey through a window helps them become more active during the day and hopefully less active at night. Your cats can suffer from boredom just like we do. Set up easy viewing for your cats by creating a comfortable place where they can watch the feeders. Make sure to secure your window and window screens so that your cat is safe and can’t fall out.

You may even get to hear the cats do some “chirping” or chattering of their own when watching the birds.

BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Melissa Block

Apply for our Holiday Artisans Pop-Up

Calling Local Artisans!

All Seasons Wild Bird Stores are proud to be locally owned and operated for over 25 years. This holiday season, we are partnering with local artisans to offer high-quality, locally made products to our customers for holiday gift giving.

Now in its second year, our boutique-style Holiday Artisans Pop-Up seeks local artisans who create nature and bird-themed art and gifts, including paper goods, jewelry, pottery, woodworking and more. Up to 10 artists will be selected by a jury to sell their high-quality, handmade gifts in one of two All Seasons Wild Bird Store locations during the holiday season.

Artists will be required to be present for a meet-and-greet at their assigned location during Small Business Saturday (November 30th) for 3 hours between 10am and 3pm. Following the Holiday Open House, artists will be asked to leave stock for sale until December 24th. We may ask artists to restock items as needed throughout the pop-up sale.


To Apply: Download a pdf of the application here. Email the completed application with 3 digital images representative of your work to dave@wildbirdstore.net

Application fee: None. All Seasons Wild Bird Store will take a 35% commission fee from each sale.

Application deadline: September 15th, 2019. Artists will be notified by October 1, 2019.

Prevent Window Collisions

Each year, 350 million or more wild birds perish from collisions with windows in America. You can do something to help! Apply UV-reflecting WindowAlert™ decals to your picture windows. The decals shine like a beacon to birds, but are hardly noticeable to humans.

What birds see
What we see

Nesting for Many Birds is Not “One and Done”

Nesting season is well under way for our backyard birds. Although “one and done” is not true for some of our backyard birds when it comes to nesting. Just as soon as they have one brood off, they start another brood.

American Robins can do 2–3 broods a season; Eastern Bluebirds have 2–3 broods; House Wrens do 2 broods a season and Northern Cardinals do 2–3 broods a season. Oftentimes, each brood can take up to a month from laying the eggs to fledging of the babies. Even our latest nesters, the American Goldfinch, can produce 2 broods a season.

Most songbirds do not reuse the old nest, no matter how clean they’ve kept it. Moving their nest site because predators are less likely to find the nest before the babies fledge.

Think of all the work these birds go through in a single season. Building 2–3 nests, incubating the eggs for days, feeding the hatchlings for days, and then starting over. It’s a high energy consumption period for our backyard birds!

You can make things a bit easier for songbirds that are in the midst of the busy nesting season by providing high-energy no-melt suet dough, live or dried mealworms, and a variety of backyard seeds like Joe’s Mix, golden safflower, and Nyjer and Chips (a favorite of nesting finches!).

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK

Summer Suet

Suet isn’t just for winter anymore. In the spring and summer, it is a great way to provide brooding birds and their nestlings with a generous amount of calories in an easy-to-eat form. Suet with insects or fruit added appeal to a wide range of birds and may provide a source of insects when they are scarce.

Birds that enjoy suet include bluebirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, cardinals and warblers. Suet is ideal for summer because adults need more calories to forage for food for their young or defend the nest from intruders. It is also beneficial for young birds because it provides easy energy, which leads to quick growth. The fat in suet provides twice the caloric energy of protein. This fat energy helps the birds sustain activity levels between meals.

Originally, suet came from the fat surrounding the organs of butchered animals. It was traditionally hung out in the winter to help the birds through the cold weather. This practice was fine as long as the cold preserved the fat. As the temperature warms, suet can spoil or become rancid and harbor bacterial and fungal growth that may be harmful to birds. In addition, melting suet can coat feathers and interfere with their natural waterproofing and insulating functions. The smell of melting suet may attract predators and cause damage to hard surfaces and plants. Finally, it makes a terrible, wasteful, mess.

Fortunately, today’s suet cakes and plugs are rendered, or melted repeatedly, to remove impurities and raise the melting point. Today’s processed suet products typically won’t melt until temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. No melt formula suet is mixed with grain, cornmeal or seeds to bind the cake together. These may also be called suet dough.

Other precautions can be taken to safely provide suet for warm weather birds. First of all, place the feeder in a cool, shady area. It is preferable to receive that shade later in the day when temperatures are higher. Add a baffle or cover to provide shade. Secondly, portion suet cakes or plugs out in halves or thirds so that you only put out what the birds will eat in a day. Another trick is to freeze the suet. A hard cake will not put off birds because the edges will soften first while the center stays frozen. Finally, use a tray to catch drips for easier clean up and to preserve hard surfaces and plants under the feeder.

Although feeding suet used to only be a wintertime activity, modern processing and innovations have allowed us to continue providing energy packed treats for our birds year round. By implementing a few guidelines, you may soon see parents bringing their young to the suet feeder to show them where to find “the good stuff”!

By Bloomington Assistant Manager TRISH WAGLE
Reprinted from Volume 21 Issue 4 | July/August 2014 Bird’s-Eye View

Video: Tube Feeders & Accessories

Learn about tube feeders including: advantages, types and helpful accessories.

VIDEO: Coexist with Woodpeckers

tail prop style suet feeder with Pileated Woodpecker

Woodpeckers are attractive and outgoing members of our community of backyard birds. Occasionally, though, their pecking habits can create some conflict with humans. Never to worry—there are plenty of solutions you can implement to make sure that you and visiting woodpeckers can happily coexist.

Review: Birds of Minnesota–3rd Edition

Purchase the book at any of our 5 local All Seasons Wild Bird Store locations.

The newly released 3rd edition Birds of Minnesota, by local but internationally known naturalist and author Stan Tekiela, is also published in Minnesota at Adventure Publications in Cambridge.

This third edition includes 14 new species of Minnesota birds from the first edition, updated photographs and range maps as well as expanded information in Stan’s Notes- naturalist tidbits and facts.

This book features a simple color guide- “See a yellow bird? Go to the yellow section.”

The “Compare” section of each bird page includes notes about other birds that look similar and pages on which they can be found. This section may include extra information to aid in identifying birds.

By Minnetonka Manager CAROL CHENAULT

Birds’ Life Stages Defined

GLOSSARY OF BIRDS’ LIFE STAGES

Throughout our website and newsletters, you’ll likely see us refer to birds’ life stages by name. We thought it’d be a good idea to give a short review in case any of the terms are unfamiliar.

Examples of life stages in a finch, thrush, robin, chickadee and robin

HATCHLING. A bird just out of the egg. Generally a bird is called a hatchling while it relies on its remaining yolk supply or until it is capable of regulating its own body temperature.

NESTLING. A bird that remains in the nest until it is able to fly.

CHICK. A young bird that leaves the nest soon after hatching and typically walks or hops near its family group until it is able to fly.

FLEDGLING. A bird that has left the nest and is acquiring its first set of flight feathers, but is still dependent upon parent birds for food and care.

JUVENILE. A young bird, not yet capable of breeding, in its first plumage of non-downy feathers. This plumage is mostly soft feathers that quickly abrade and are replaced by a later molt.

IMMATURE. A young bird capable of breeding; in its first plumage of hard feathers having already gone through its first molt. These birds are not yet identical in pattern or color to adult birds. Another name for this stage is sub-adult.

ADULT. A mature bird capable of breeding and in its definitive plumage.

By Minnetonka Manager CAROL CHENAULT, as appeared in the May/June 2012 edition of our Bird’s-Eye Newsletter

Hummingbird and Oriole Feeder Pest Prevention

Ants and bees can take the fun out of feeding hummingbirds and orioles. Luckily, there are some simple tricks and products that will help you deter pests and still provide meals for your favorite nectar-eating birds!

Hang your hummingbird and oriole feeders from an ant moat filled with water.  The ants can’t swim across the moat and are prevented from getting into the nectar or jelly. 

Add a drop or two of cooking oil to slow down evaporation.

Wipe the nectar ports with mint extract to deter bees. If you grow mint in your garden, crush the leaves a bit and rub them on the feeder.

Lightly spray the jelly with cooking spray to prevent bees from landing.

Fill your cup feeders with mealworms at the same time every day; such as 6 am and 6 pm.  The orioles will learn when to expect food to be present and will perhaps learn to defend the feeders from other birds.

Use Nectar Fortress Natural Ant Repellent (available in our stores) in a line around the pole or along the window sill. The cinnamon and palm oil prevent the ants from crossing and climbing into the feeders.

Use Nectar Fortress Natural Ant Repellent (available in our stores) in a line around the pole or along the window sill. The cinnamon and palm oil prevent the ants from crossing and climbing into the feeders.

By Minnetonka Manager CAROL CHENAULT