Uncategorized  |  June 13, 2020

Central Missouri Native Host Plants for Butterflies

All native flowers are good food source for native pollinators like bees and butterflies; they have evolved with one another. Fall blooming natives are especially important in nourishing the migrating insects and preparing the adults and caterpillars for winter. The best plan for a pollinator garden is to plant a diversity of native plants; perhaps 30 different native species grown from a local seed source.

Find a local distributor in the Grow Native Resource guide at www.grownative.org
Ask a member or learn more by joining the local Hawthorn Chapter Missouri Native Plant Society at www.columbianativeplants.org

 

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Attracting Birds, Orioles  |  April 11, 2020

Tips for Attracting Orioles

Tips for Attracting Orioles

Click here for full brochure – Oriole TIPs

Because of their strikingly beautiful black and orange
or yellow plumage, their distinctive whistle, spring
songs, and their amazing suspended nest, Orioles are
quickly becoming one of America’s favorite birds. While
over eight species of Orioles can regularly be seen in the
United States, we’ll deal mainly in this flyer with three
species: Baltimore, Bullocks, and Orchard (range maps
on back page). All United States Orioles show variation
on the theme of black and orange or yellow plumage.

Except for in the Southeast, all Orioles are tropical
migrants. While migrations vary from year-to-year,
Orioles generally arrive in the South in early spring,
Midwest in early May, and further North soon afterward.
It is very important that you have Oriole feeders up and
ready, or often they will pass you by for better feeding
grounds. It is equally important to have nesting
materials out and ready to help encourage Orioles to
nest in your yard. Although studies are still being done
on how much we can tempt Orioles to nest in backyards,
by summer’s end, migrating Orioles are headed back
south to their tropical winter homes in Central and South
America. It does appear that Baltimore Oriole’s ranges
are expanding, while Bullocks and Orchard Orioles are
declining. All Orioles need and benefit from your help.

 

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Attracting Birds, Hummingbirds  |  April 02, 2020

Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds

Click to View Hummingbird TIPs

In the United States, you can find over 16 kinds of Hummingbirds. For people east of the Rockies, the most prevalent by far is the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. In fact, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the most widely distributed of the world’s 338 species of Hummingbirds, all of which occur ONLY in the Western Hemisphere.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is often found between woodland and meadow; however, it has adapted well to human development, but only if there is shelter, space, and food. It is frequently seen in suburban backyards with mature trees and shrubs, in wooded parks, and around farmsteads.

The Keys to Attracting Hummingbirds are to provide Food, Help for Nesting, and Misters (Water) for them to fly through. Providing natural plants that bloom from Spring through Fall is one of the best ways to attract hummers to your yard! Read on and learn how to make your yard a “Hummingbird Haven©.”

Informative  |  March 25, 2020

Origami Flapping Bird

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.

Origami Flapping Bird Instructions

Attracting Birds, Bird Watching, Bluebirds  |  

The Bluebirder’s Ten Commandments

THE BLUEBIRDER’S TEN COMMANDMENTS

I. Place houses at least 300 feet apart, because bluebirds are territorial.

II. Keep the bluebird houses in open habitat. It’s the environment they prefer.

III. Control the House Sparrow, or it will eliminate the bluebird and Tree Swallow.

IV. Add a second bluebird house 21 feet (7 paces) from the first house, at every 300-foot setting. This will allow the valuable Tree Swallow to also nest on your bluebird trail.

V. Control the most threatening parasite, the blowfly larva.

If you don’t, you may end up fledging very few, if any, baby birds. Change their nests when babies are from seven to 10-days old (only one change per brood needed.)

VI. Attach a predator guard to your bluebird houses. This will protect the bluebirds from predators and other enemies.

VII. Avoid handling the bluebird and/or Tree Swallow young after they are 14 days or older. They may fledge prematurely, which could cause their death.

VIII. Monitor your bluebird trail at least once every week.

IX. Remove the old bluebird and/or Tree Swallow nests on your first nest check after the young have fledged.

X. Keep accurate field records. This is the first step toward achieving greater success on your bluebird trail.

© 1995 Andrew M. Troyer – Bring Back the Bluebirds

 

Attracting Birds, Bird Houses and Nesting  |  March 21, 2020

Bluebird Seminar Deal$

Thanks for joining Bird Man Mel for his Bluebirds and Tree Swallows Seminar! As promised, when you mention this seminar you can take 10% off your purchase! Offer good through  3/28/2020 in-store at Songbird Station. We are offering curb-side pick up so give us a call at 573-446-5941 or send us a message on Facebook and we will be happy to have your order ready! We are currently allowing a maximum capacity of 10 people for in-store shopping.

 

Products and specials from the seminar:

Click Here to View Songbird Essentials product specials.

Click Here to View Additional Specials

Are you looking for an online shopping experience?

Visit www.SongbirdEssentials.com or www.GoldCrestDistributing.com

Are you not located in Central Missouri?

We highly encourage you to visit YOUR local Birding Store. Give our main office a call at 888-985-2473 and our customer service team will be thrilled to help you find the best birding retailer in your area.

Bird Species  |  December 09, 2019

Cardinals Bring Holiday Cheer and Color

By: Mel Toellner

Photo Courtesy of Gail Hagans from the Songbird Station Photo Contest.

As this issue of the Songbird Station Newsletter arrives in mailboxes, our thoughts will be turning to the upcoming holiday season. For many of us the days ahead will include snow. What a beautiful contrast the crimson red Northern Cardinal gives against pure white, fresh snow. Can you think of anything more enjoyable to put you in the holiday spirit? No wonder it is often referred to as the Winter Holiday Bird.

Northern Cardinal Ornament from Cobane Studios

How many images of the Northern Cardinal do you use as holiday decorations? Is one of your favorite ornaments a Cardinal? What about the tablecloth, outside doormat, holiday wreath, gift wrapping paper? Notice in November and December every time you see the image of a Cardinal as you do your holiday shopping.

While the Cardinal may best be known for its flash of color in garden and woodland, have you ever found one of its feathers on the ground? Blue Jays and Robins shed their feathers like so much fall foliage, but Cardinals just might be the greatest protectors of the princely robes in the feathered kingdom.

Cardinal Pair Glass Light Up Globe

As one of the most recognized songbirds in North America, Cardinals also could be known for their virtues; they are monogamous and remain together throughout the year. They aid in pest control, feeding on such insects as potato beetles, cotton boll weevils and the cucumber beetle. And they may be economically valuable because of their weed seed consumption, eating at least one hundred kinds in the wild.

At your feeder, Cardinals prefer black oil sunflower or safflower seeds. They roll the seed around with their tongue until it is sideways in their strong, cone-shaped bill. Then they crack it open and eject the hull before swallowing. Cardinals approach the feeder with an attitude, as if aware of their royal heritage. They do not suffer the chatter of neighboring Sparrows nor the infighting of house finches, but dine with their mate in majestic splendor.

Cardinal Chorus

During the winter, the male Cardinal tries to dominate at the feeder, but his mate usually ignores him and goes right on eating. In the spring, however, male Cardinals have the delightful habit of feeding hulled seeds to the female as part of their courtship. It often occurs at feeders and is endearing to watch. He hops over to her, tilts his head sideways and places the tidbit in her bill.

Year round you’ll have the most success attracting Cardinals by providing seed in a feeder with a larger flat perching area. A ground feeder or a hanging tray feeder filled with black oil sunflower and perhaps a little safflower and or peanuts is sure to be a Cardinal favorite. Keep your Cardinals healthy by using a feeder like the Songbird Essentials Small Ground Feeder that includes an easy to clean metal mesh bottom. If you own a tube feeder, you’ll want to attach a seed tray or a seed hoop to give Cardinals a flat spot to land and feed. Another sure way to attract Cardinals (and other desired songbirds) is to provide heated water in a birdbath or saucer. My new favorite is the SE995 Songbird Spa that can be mounted 3 ways. I use mine with the deck clamp in winter and ground legs in spring and summer.

A-Leg Ground Feeder

Males are bright red crested and have a black throat and face. Females are a duller reddish brown. Adults of both sexes have a bright red bill, but the bills of juveniles are brown.

Want to add brilliant holiday color to your landscape? Follow our Cardinal tips and you’ll enjoy colorful Cardinal Holiday cheer out your windows! Enjoy! The below poem sums it up best.

The Cardinal in My Tree

By: Mrs. Dennis Getz (DeMotte, IN)

Pretty little red bird singing in my tree, I wish that I could tell you of the joy you bring to me. I know that God has sent you by my window to be near, to lift my broken spirits and to brighten them with cheer. Thank you, God, for red birds and all the gifts You give, to tell us of Your glory and remind us that You Live!

Attracting Birds  |  December 06, 2019

Winter Birding Essentials

By: Tristan Palmgren

Winter is a special season for birding everywhere. Birds are not only (usually – there are some exceptions, like male goldfinches, who lose their bright gold coloring) easier to spot against the snowy foliage, but their behavior changes in dramatic fashion. As naturally-appearing nuts and seeds dwindle, and the energy demands of survival increase, your birds will frequent your feeders and birdbaths more often. That means that winter is a great time to attract new birds to your backyard. They will be out and looking for new sources of food. As birds are creatures of habit, they will continue returning to your feeders even as the seasons change and other food becomes more plentiful.

Let’s consider some things you can do to make our part of the world more welcoming for birds. One of the biggest and best things you can do for your yard is provide fresh, liquid water – ideally with a De-Icer or in a heated bird bath. Maintaining a liquid-water bird bath is not as much of a challenge as you might think. This is a subject important enough to have its own segment in this newsletter. See the article “Winter Birdbaths” for more details.

bird bath deicer
Birdbath & Multi-Use De-Icer

Missouri’s winter and year-round birds will need many more calories to survive and thrive than they did over the summer. That means their preferred food sources will change. Energy is paramount. And the highest-energy, highest-calorie foods that we have are the suet cakes. Pine Tree Farms High Energy Suet is Songbird Station’s best-selling winter food. Suet appeals most to clinging birds like titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, and bluebirds will all delight in suet cakes, especially if they’re catered to. In addition to High-Energy Suet, Pine Tree Farms makes a variety of specialty suet cakes. Some are formulated to be more attractive to specific birds – insect suet, for example, will draw in more bluebirds. Other cakes are made for different purposes, such as hot pepper suet, which will keep pesky squirrels, raccoons, and deer away from your feeders.

High Octane Suet Cake

As you observe your birds this winter, you may notice that they appear larger and fluffier than before. This is not necessarily because they’re bulking up or storing extra fat. Birds keep themselves insulated from the cold by fluffing their feathers to add more layers of air between them. The multiple layers of feathers and air keep their body heat efficiently trapped. Feathers and fluff alone won’t keep them through the coldest Missouri winters, though. At night and during snowstorms, they’ll be looking for shelter to roost.

You can help them out by providing roosting space. Nest boxes left over from last nesting season are not ideal roosting spaces because their entrance portals are at their tops. While this is a feature during summer, in winter this allows heat to escape into the world. Dedicated roosting boxes are similar to nest boxes, but have their entrance portals at the bottom of the box to allow heat to stay trapped atop, and generally have a built-in ladder or other platform to allow birds access to the warmer top of the box.

Not all nest boxes can be reasonably converted to roosting houses. One recent addition to the Songbird Station catalog is designed to do double-duty. The Songbird Essentials Convertible Roosting House has a detachable front cover that can be flipped depending on the season: entrance portal on top for summer, bottom for winter, and a removable internal ladder. Alternatively, Songbird Essentials’ dried grass roosting pockets not only provide birds with shelter and space, but look fantastic on trees.

Convertible Roosting House