Summer activity around the feeding station is like watching an animated movie. Adults fly down with their young for lessons in getting food and water, flitting from one antic juvenile to the next in a rapid-fire exhibition of maneuvers. Now you can experience the frenzy with your own bird. Using the diagrams and instructions below, turn a simple piece of paper into a complex pattern of folds for flapping.
By: Kaylee Paffrath
Helping birds has never been more important than it is right now. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has released a devastating, first-ever, comprehensive assessment of the net population changes of the North American bird populations. The report finds that our common backyard bird populations such as warblers, finches, blackbirds, and sparrows have taken the hardest hits accounting for more than 90% of the 2.9 billion birds lost since 1970.
Ken Rosenberg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology conservation scientist, said: “These bird losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support bird life and that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.” The scientists involved in the study stated that their work doesn’t just show a massive loss of bird life, but a pervasive loss that reaches into every biome in North America.
What can you do to help? There are many ways you can help birds in your own backyard. The 2019 Project FeederWatch kicks off on November 9th and runs through early April. This event is held annually and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Project FeederWatch is the winter long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locations in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and submit their counts online to Project FeederWatch. The data collected from these submissions help scientists track broad-scare movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance such as that released in the Cornell Lab study citing bird decline.
The scientists at Cornell Lab of Ornithology say there are 7 simple ways to help birds:
1. Make Windows Safer, Day and Night.
2. Keep Cats Indoors
3. Reduce Lawn by Planting Native Species
4. Avoid Pesticides
5. Drink Coffee That’s Good for Birds
6. Protect Our Planet From Plastics
7. Watch Birds, Share What You See
Although many results from the study were devastating, there were also many positive results. Raptors saw a population growth of 15 million since 1970 and woodpeckers saw a population growth of 14 million all thanks to conservation efforts and pesticide reductions.
To Learn More Visit: www.ProjectFeederWatch.org www.Birds.Cornell.edu
By: Kaylee Paffrath
They scurry about your yard chasing each other up and down your trees. You laugh as they make laps around your freshly filled feeder and then it happens… you watch the squirrels as they stuff their mouths full, as if they really needed half of the fresh seed in the first place! Squirrels are notorious pests when it comes to stealing bird seed, but many of us find them cute and fun to watch. So, how can you have the best of both worlds – a feeder bustling with songbirds and a backyard of playful squirrels? Easy! Squirrel proof you bird feeders and offer goodies specific to your squirrels’ interests.
Remember the 5-7-9 rule when picking the location of your bird feeders. Squirrels don’t typically jump more than 5 feet off the ground, 7 feet across, or drop more than 9 feet down. If your bird feeders sit on a pole, consider a Songbird Essentials Squirrel Defeater SnapOn Pole Baffle that snaps right on to the pole without having to remove the feeder or make adjustments.
Are raccoons a problem as well? No problem! Try a heavy-duty Predator Defeater Pole Baffle from Songbird Essentials. Hanging baffles aid in more ways than just keeping squirrels away from seed, they also help protect seed and feeders from rain. Hanging baffles like the Songbird Essentials Hanging Baffle are great for feeders hung from hooks or in heavily wooded areas. Squirrel-proof feeders and cage feeders are designed specifically for keeping squirrels out and songbirds happy. Our most popular squirrel-proof feeders in-store are the Squirrel Buster Classic from Brome Bird Care and the Songbird Essentials Squirrel Defeater. The Squirrel Defeater features weight-controlled seed ports that close when a squirrel jumps on as well as a baffle top to keep squirrels off.
Are you still feeling defeated in the battleground that was once your backyard? Consider a HOT product like Cole’s Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce™ that you mix in your birdseed. Birds love it, squirrels don’t. Cole’s Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce™ is made with two ingredients; liquid habanero chili pepper and soybean oil. Birds like bluebirds, cardinals, wrens, buntings, and finches enjoy the taste while squirrels will feel like their mouth is on fire and have no desire to try the seed again making it a win-win. Squirrels are easy to please, offer them some peanuts, special blend seed, or ear corn and they will take claim to your backyard.
Squirrel’s Referral seed mix from Songbird Essentials’ name says it all – squirrels will refer it to all their furry friends like rabbits, chipmunks, even wild turkeys! You can get even more entertainment from squirrels with a Songbird Essentials Squngee Deluxe Squirrel Feeder or Squirrel Spinner, just mount and watch squirrels spin and bounce while going after ear corn. As always, we also offer a variety of classic squirrel feeders such as the new Songbird Essentials Squirrel Café Feeder or Squirrel Jar Feeder.
By: Grant Toellner
45- A partridge in a pear tree is a key component of the popular Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but did you know there are 45 formally recognized species of partridges in the world. Don’t forget all the great glass Christmas trees Songbird Station offers with some featuring great backyard birds and songbirds found right here in Missouri.
The Julenek- The Scandinavian countries have a beautiful tradition of encouraging the kind treatment of birds at Christmas time. Norwegians call the traditional food offering a Julenek and they believe that if you spread birdseed outside your doorstep on Christmas morning, thus including the birds in the feasting that takes place inside your home, you will have good luck in the coming year. Songbird Station offers small seed bag holders from Alice’s Cottage that allow you to share this tradition with friends and family.
College, Conclave, Deck, Radiance- In the winter months, Northern Cardinals forego their territorial ways and congregate together to form flocks also known as one of the terms above. A group looking for food collectively is more successful than a single cardinal or pair. Platform and ground feeders are a great option for feeding Northern Cardinals and allow multiple birds to eat at one time.
270 Degrees- Unlike other species of owls, snowy owls have flexible neck that can rotate up to 270 degrees. This is their adaptation for having smaller eyes than common owls. They are diurnal, meaning active during both the day and night especially at dusk and dawn. Songbird Station has great gift items for owl lovers including snowy owls that make great Christmas presents.
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.
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!
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.