We couldn’t have had a successful 2019 without the help of our loyal customers like YOU so we are giving back with the help of special sponsors like Brome Bird Care, HummBug, Songbird Essentials, and MANY more! You may earn entries now through December 24th. If your name is drawn you will get to pick a special present from under our tree. Prizes will be drawn daily on Facebook Live December 1st through December 25th. We’re giving away top of the line squirrel resistant feeders, binoculars, hummingbird feeders, and so much more.
How to earn entries:
For every $50.00 spent at Songbird Station now through December 24th, you will gain an entry into the drawing.
Watch our Facebook or Twitter pages for code words. When you visit Songbird Station and mention the code word you will gain another entry into the drawing.
Give to charity. We will be collecting monetary donations for the University of Missouri Raptor Rehabilitation Project. You will gain one (1) entry for every $10.00 donated.
So what’s holding you back? Stop in or call for more details. (573) 446-5941
Attracting Birds, Bird Baths, Bird Watching | October 22, 2019
By: Mary Douglas
Fall is upon us with winter close behind. A stroll through local parks amid our autumn colors is always a delight this time of year. Take note of the abundant natural foods available for wildlife as you go.
Seed heads heavy with seed will be bent over, acorns will be scattered about the undergrowth, and berries will be heavy on the stems. Native plants and trees you may find include Sunflowers, Serviceberry, Red Cedar, Wild Plum, Black Cherry, Oaks, Basswood, Beautyberry, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Sumac, Virginia Creeper, Coneflower, Liatris, Asters, Black-Eyed Susan, Native Grasses, Winterberry, and others. Many of our native plants look like a weed, yet they are nature’s grocery store for our wildlife. You will likely find some of these natural foods in your yard. Along with the wild food, fall provides leaf litter on the ground that is winter nesting material for birds, squirrels, and bugs.
The Missouri Department of Conservation recommends leaving the native foods and litter where they are for the birds and critters. We can help our local wildlife by leaving and encouraging such native resources in our yards. Fall is the prime time to expand your native perennial plants either by division and replanting or by purchasing starts from local growers. Adding a reliable source of fresh water, such as a heated birdbath, and seed and suet feeders to supplement the wild harvest will attract and help support your local wild residents through fall and winter. Future benefits will show themselves in years to come.
Fall also brings the shortened daylight hours that triggers the migration of birds. September is often the month we see the most activity at feeders from migratory birds. Birders have a great opportunity to take pictures in the fall as the birds offer unusual opportunities to see them as they move through on their way south. Cameras and binoculars are often in our pockets as we stroll about our parks. Songbird Station offers a wide variety of feeders, baths, and optics to meet your needs and budget. Utilitarian or decorative there is something for every bird lover and a variety of seeds and seed blends for every bird species. Take advantage of Nature’s bounty in the native plants, add a few strategically placed feeders, and use your binoculars to watch the show!
Informative | October 18, 2019
Wingman’s Fun Feather Facts
By: Grant Toellner
Sunflower seeds originated in South America and were used by Native Americans more than 5000 years ago. Today, the leading producers of this popular seed are Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, and China. Make sure you don’t miss out on the booking special currently going on at Songbird Station on the US produced black-oil sunflower seed.
When most people hear the word guano, they think of just bat poop, but in fact, the word “guano” has its roots in the Quechuan language and basically means “sea bird pooh”. For the Incans, it was so highly prized, that anyone that endangered the source of the stuff could be sentenced to death! Autumn is a great time to put up a bat house and Songbird Station has the best selection in town with most houses being made and produced right here in Central Missouri.
Bar-headed geese are the highest-flying migratory birds, regularly reaching altitudes of up to five and a half miles above sea level while flying over the Himalayas in India. The bird with the record for the highest altitude, however, is the Ruppel’s griffon vulture, which collided with a plane at 37,000 feet (seven miles) in 1975 and was unfortunately sucked into its jet engine. A new book from Adventure Publications called Bird Migration has some great facts on migration patterns of North American birds.
The Tufted Titmouse only live in areas where rainfall is greater than 24 inches per year and are more common where rainfall exceeds 32 inches per year. I have great luck attracted titmice to my yard by offering seed logs from Pine Tree Farms. They really seem to enjoy the Nutsie log the best, and there is a seed log variety of feeders available at Songbird Station.
Attracting Birds, Bird Baths, Bird Food and Feeders, Bird Species, Informative | October 15, 2019
By: Kevin Alferman
Welcome to the wonderful world of Warblers. Did you know that 37 species of warblers migrate through Missouri in the Spring and Fall? Fall viewing can produce some rewarding looks at the colorful and artistic patterns of warblers, however, they don’t come easy. Most warblers are secretive, hiding among the foliage. They feed actively, primarily on insects, so it seems like right when you’re ready to get a good look, it moves. But keep trying, because when you do get a good look it’s really worth it. In general, warblers are tiny (smaller than sparrows, slightly larger than a goldfinch) and their beaks are short and pointed. Common species that breed in Missouri include Northern Parula, American Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellow Throat, and Yellow-Breasted Chat. Uncommon breeding warblers include Blue-Winged, Yellow-Throated, Yellow, Pine, Black and White, Prairie, Cerulean and Worm-eating. Common migrating warblers include Tennessee, Yellow-Rumped, Black-Throated Green, Blackpoll, Palm and Wilson’s. Uncommon migrating warblers include Orange-Crowned, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Bay-Breasted, Mourning, and Canada. WHEW! As if that’s not enough, an additional 6 species wing through as rarities. Want to learn more – Check out “The Warbler Guide”.
Species Spotlight – Yellow-Rumped Warbler
The Yellow-Rumped Warbler is one of the most abundant warbler species throughout the country. In Missouri, they are abundant migrants from Early October through November, with their numbers reducing through December. A few even stick around through the winter! They spend the summer breeding in Canada and high mountains. Look for them in the higher portions of trees in your yard. Locate them by listening for their often repeated short call (sounds like “check”). It is a well-named species because the yellow rump is a good field mark. It looks like a pat of butter was placed above the base of the tail, giving them the illustrious nickname “butterbutts”. Also, look for the white spots on the black tail (especially visible in flight) and the yellow patches on the flanks. Color patterns and markings are bolder on the male. The male’s body has an overall bluish-gray look, while the female appears more brownish. This species is separated into two subspecies and both migrate through Missouri. The Audubon race is the western variety and has a yellow throat. The white-throated Myrtle race breeds mostly in the eastern U.S. and Canada.
Attracting and Viewing Warblers
Warbler migration peaks in mid-September so now is the time to get ready for them. Birdbaths, especially with moving and noisy water, are a great way to get warblers in the open for a nice look. Ground and elevated birdbaths also work well. The simplest way to things moving is the Solar Powered Birdbath Bubbler (pictured) that can be easily inserted in any type of birdbath. Despite being insect eaters, there are some good food options for attracting Warblers. Many species make occasional visits to suet for the high energy beef fat, especially varieties that include insects, and fruit. HAPPY HUNTING!
Q & A | October 14, 2019
Q & A With Kevin
Q. Should I feed the Wild Birds in the fall?
A. After feeding the birds throughout the winter, many people take down their feeders in the spring. Some people take them down in the early summer. Others don’t take them down at all and continue to feed year-round. I am one of those who choose to feed year-round, especially as we start moving in to fall. By feeding in fall we are helping resident birds build fat reserves for energy once they begin their migration. Did you know that by feeding a reliable food source that birds are likely to return to the same place in the spring? Another reason why I enjoy feeding this time of year is that I have the chance to attract the first winter bird species to my yard and encourage them to remain nearly all season.
Q. I enjoy watching the bird’s close-up out my window in the morning, but the mess that’s left behind from the seed is so unsightly. What can I do?
A. The answer to this is found in the type of seed you feed. Our #1 selling seed at Songbird Station is Hearty Hearts, which is basically just the nut meat of the Black Oil Sunflower without the shell. We like to refer to this as a “NO WASTE” formula. We also offer a Shell-Free Deluxe mix which consists of Hulled Sunflower Meats and Chopped Nuts. Both of these will draw many birds to your feeder and provide hours of enjoyment.
Q. Are the Goldfinches still here? I don’t see their bright yellow flashes at my feeders any longer?
A. The goldfinches are still here – the American Goldfinch follows this pattern. Beginning in September, and continuing for six to eight weeks, they molt all of their feathers, ending up with a completely new and pristine set of feathers (and drab colors) as they head into winter. While on the subject of goldfinches…… Have you tried the Yellow Spiral Finch Feeder from Songbird Essentials? This feeder is by far my favorite as it has 18 feeding ports to attract many more birds than the traditional tube feeder, birds love to run the spiral! This feeder is also very easy to clean and can be filled from either end. Pick one up today from Songbird Station and let me know what you think.
Q. I enjoy watching the antics of the squirrels in my yard, but they sure know how to empty a feeder! What can I do to keep them away from my bird feeders?
A. There are several things that you can do to help curb this problem. The first thing you can do is add Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce to your seed mix. This product is intended to make the seed not so tasty to the squirrels due to the hot and spicy flavor, but don’t worry ….. Birds do not have saliva glands and therefore can’t taste the heat. You can also set them up their own feeding area away from your bird feeders and treat them to Squirrel’s Referral which consists of Corn, Black Oil Sunflower, Peanut Pieces, Whole Peanuts, Grey Striped Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds. One more suggestion is purchasing a squirrel resistant feeder such as Squirrel Buster by Brome Bird Care, they guarantee it to be squirrel resistant!
Attracting Birds, Bird Baths, Bird Food and Feeders, Bird Houses and Nesting, Bird Species | October 13, 2019
Clean Up Your Act
By: Kevin Alferman
Keeping feeders clean is an ongoing part of feeding the birds and will keep the feeders looking good and minimize the spread of disease. They should be cleaned as needed, but you should plan to clean them at least every two to three months. If you notice sick or diseased birds visiting the feeders, it’s time for a cleaning to stop it from spreading. If the seed gets wet and moldy in your feeder, be sure to disinfect the feeders as the mold can be harmful to birds. The cleaning task is typically an outdoor activity, so your schedule should include cleaning in November before it gets too cold, then again in February when it starts to warm up. A 10% bleach or vinegar solution is best for cleaning because it effectively disinfects the feeders. Be sure the feeders are thoroughly dry before refilling as these solutions are non-toxic once they dry out. Fill up a large container like a trash can, with the solution and submerge your feeders. If you have the time this is a good method to clean all of your feeders at once. Let each feeder soak for a few minutes as the scrubbing will be easier. The Songbird Essentials birdbath and feeder cleaning brushes are specifically designed with long sturdy bristles to clean all of the nooks and crannies. Use one of our many shapes and sizes of bristled bottle brushes to clean tube feeders. While you’re at it, dump out the birdbath and disinfect it too. Be sure and dump as much water out of the feeders and baths as you can and place them in the sun to dry. For stubborn cleaning jobs use a product like Poop-Off that is specially designed to remove bird droppings. Remember to pick up a bottle of Birdbath Protector that helps minimize algae growth and mineral and sludge deposits.
Migration | October 11, 2019
Flight of the Hummingbirds
By: Tristan Palmgren
Though it seems to us like the weather has only gotten a little cooler, our hummingbirds sense a big change coming. They know that migration season is on us, and they’ve started to prepare. Some of them are already on the move. You may have already noticed changes in your yards as some of the hummers you’ve been feeding all summer have left, and that you have some new arrivals that have migrated from farther north.
Hummingbird migration is one of nature’s most fascinating phenomena. When hummingbirds realize they’ll need to migrate soon, they start bulking up for the trip. They know instinctively that they’ll be expending a large number of calories soon, and they increase their energy consumption to compensate. Hummingbird nectar is typically made at a concentration of four parts water to one part sugar (and this is as true for Songbird Essentials nectar mixes as homemade nectar). During the migration season, we recommend increasing that concentration to three parts water to one part sugar.
They need all that energy for a reason. Though some ruby-throated hummingbirds spend their winters in the very southern tip of Florida, the majority of those we see here in Missouri will cross the Gulf of Mexico to winter in Central and Southern America. Their journey will take them hundreds and hundreds of miles over the ocean in just twenty hours. And they’ll do it all in one trip, as there are few to no islands for them to stop on. They’ll traverse all this distance on wings that are just about an inch and half long, and that they need to beat forty to eighty times per second to stay aloft. It’s no wonder they eat more before they go.
Hummingbirds increase their body weight enormously before migrating, nearly doubling their pre-migration weight. They then expend nearly all of that crossing the ocean. It’s one of the most arduous journeys any migratory species undertakes, let alone a species as small and vulnerable as the hummingbird. Imagine the toll on your body if, every year, you were to drastically increase your body weight and then expended of it in one concentrated burst of exercise. Hummingbirds are more adapted to these sudden gains and losses than our bodies would be, but it is still quite taxing on them.
Hummingbirds have been migrating in this style for millions of years. Their lifestyle well predates human civilization. If only for our mental well-being, it’s important to remember that hummingbirds are not dependent on humans to survive. Our goal in feeding these birds is not to replace or micromanage an ecosystem, but to supplement it, and to encourage desirable and colorful visitors to come to our backyards. However, their migration does mean that the hummingbird’s dietary needs change, and those of us who provide food for them need to be aware of that fact. The same hummingbirds that frequented your feeders in spring will be looking for something different, and stronger, at the end of the season.
The fact that hummingbirds not only survive this trip but have thrived as a species is one of the many traits that make them wonders of nature. Another trait is their fantastic memory and sense of geolocation. Not only do they migrate incredible distances, they can pinpoint specific locations, and return to the same backyards that they left months and months—and thousands of miles—ago. If you’ve been feeding hummingbirds regularly throughout this season, you can place a good bet that you’ll see those same birds next spring.
Kids Corner September 2019
Fun Facts About Bats:
• Did you know bats have a thumb and four fingers just like you?
• Bats are mammals! They are the only mammals that can fly (without an airplane)!
• There are over 1,000 species of bats and they can be found in forests, deserts, jungles, and cities!
• Bats are nocturnal which means they feed at night and sleep during the day in caves, treetops, or the bat house in your backyard.
• Did you know that baby bats are called “pups”?
•Bats only have one baby at a time. On occasion, a bat may have twins.
•Bats have the best hearing of all land mammals.
Songbird Station Open House
We invite YOU to our Fall Open House for a day filled with fun, educational opportunities and
discounts! Refreshments available while you shop plus door prizes every hour.
When: Saturday, October 26th Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Where: Songbird Station, 2010 Chapel Plaza Court, Suite C Columbia, MO 65203
Local photographers have been working hard all year to capture the perfect shot of their backyard birds. Please view their wonderful photos and cast your votes in-store the week of October 21st – 25th during regular business hours.
Attracting Birds, Bats | October 02, 2019
Going Batty? It’s October!
October is “Bat Appreciation Month” and we sure appreciate our flying mammal friends. Attracting bats to your backyard can be simple with proper bat house placement.
FUN FACTS ABOUT BATS
Did You Know?
Bat houses should be placed on a pole, house, barn, garage, or any other structure that is at least 15’ tall.
The higher the bat house is placed, the better your chances of attracting bats.
Two bat houses placed back to back on a pole offer the greatest chance of attracting bats.
Houses should be positioned so that they face south or southeast, preferably so that they get morning sunlight.
Bats eat almost their full body weight nightly, they are the major predators of night-flying insects.
The United States has nearly 50 species of bats, most of which consume insects. The bats most commonly found in the Midwest consist of Big Brown Bats, Little Brown Bats, Red Bats, Hoary Bats, and Silver-Haired Bats.
Of all the bat species in the United States, only the colony-roosting bats will use bat houses, such as the Big Brown Bats and the Little Brown Bats.
If a bat gets caught in your house, open the doors and windows and calmly sit down. The bat will use echolocation to find its way out.
Once a colony of bats has found your bat house, they will use that same house every year.
Untreated cedar or exterior plywood increases durability and attracts bats.
Interior walls are grooved or covered with mesh to help adults and pups cling.