Attracting Birds, Bird Baths, Bird Watching  |  October 22, 2019

Nature’s Bounty

By: Mary Douglas

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

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.

Songbird Essentials Heated Bird Bath

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.

Crossfire 8×42

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!

 

 

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.

Songbird Essentials Super Shaker Nectar Maker

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.

Songbird Essentials Faceted Ruby Hummingbird Feeder

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.

Songbird Essentials 8 oz Clear Hummingbird Nectar 

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.

Dr. JB’s Complete Switchables Available in 16 oz., 32 oz., 48 oz., & 80 oz. capacities

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.

Events  |  

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?

Songbird Essentials 5 Chamber OBC Bat House
Songbird Essentials 5 Chamber OBC Bat House
  • 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.
    Songbird Essentials Bat Bungalow
    Songbird Essentials Bat Bungalow

Elements of a Good Bat House

  • Slanted roof for rain run-off.
  • The ceiling inside bat house traps heat.
  • A slot that allows for ventilation.
  • Predator guard (not visible) protects roosting bats.
  • A long, grooved landing platform allows easy access for bats.
  • Long, narrow design provides temperature variation.

 

To learn more about proper bat house placement visit: https://www.batbnb.com/hanging-guide

 

Events  |  August 13, 2019

2019 Photo Contest

Full Contest Rules:

Submission Period
January 15, 2019 – October 1, 2019

Exhibit & Voting
October 21, 2019 – October 25, 2019

Open House

October 26, 2019 11am -2pm
Contest winners will be announced at 2pm

2019 Contest Details

We invite our customers to come to our stores to view the winning pictures that will be on display for the next year.

Email submissions to:
kaylee@goldcrestdistributing.com

General Information

Subject: Wild Birds Only

Photographs from birds in captivity will not be accepted, this includes
events with wild birds.

Eligibility: General Public (Except SBS Staff)

Display Location: Songbird Station Columbia, MO

Submission Period:  January 15, 2019 through October 1, 2019

Photo Information:

Photographer Name & Contact Information

Photo Title or Information (i.e. Robin in Feeder, etc.)

SBS will assign a reference number to each entry

Suggested Subjects and Categories:

Wild Birds in their Natural Habitat

Wild Birds at Feeders, Baths & Houses

Wild Bird Behavior
Group Shots (2 or more wild birds)

People Enjoying Wild Birds

Photo Composition:

Must also provide a digital copy to kaylee@goldcrestdistributing.com
Resolution Size: 300 – (Photoshop is ok)

Number of Submissions:

Up to Three (3) per Photographer

Judging and Voting:
Photos will be judged during business hours October 21, 2019 through October 25, 2019 at close of business. All photos are judged by the public.

The Winners will be announced:

October 26th at 2:00 pm. 

Prizes

First Place: $100.00 Gift Card

Second Place: $50.00 Gift Card

Third Place: $25.00 Gift Card

Disclaimer

Songbird Station (SBS) reserves the right to edit photo comments to make them more clear to viewers. Songbird Station is not responsible for damage, loss or degradation of submitted photos. Photos must have been taken by the submitting photographer. Each photographer is responsible for all questions connected with copyright issues. Submitted images become property of SBS and photographer agrees to permit use of submitted photos on the SBS web site, social media, and in future SBS advertising without charge.