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As I write this column, the autumn season is just beginning in our area.  The leaves are turning color, some are falling, most are awaiting their turn to do both.   The cooler temperatures and shorter daytimes are signals to our wild birds that preparations must start now for the upcoming winter season.

In spring, wild birds are interested in nesting territories.  In fall, these same birds dedicate their daytime hours to establishing feeding territories.   Your neotropical birds have migrated to warmer climates where their natural food supplies exist.  As the name suggests, your resident birds remain in your region year round.   These birds may include cardinals, chickadees, mourning doves, titmice, woodpeckers, blue jays, finches, etc.

You may see these birds flocking in mixed species.  For instance, chickadees, titmice, and downy woodpeckers are known to flock together in cold seasons.   Scientists believe these birds have learned that more sets of eyes find more sources of food and offer better protection from predators.    Once the spring seasons set in, these same flocking birds will break off into each species own nesting territories.

Just like your birds, now is the time to change your feeding station’s locations.  In our area, snow depths of over 3-4 feet are not uncommon.  Like many people, we choose to feed our birds away from our house in the warm months.   Our decks and patios are filled with human activity and are not conducive to attracting wild birds.   The simple comfort zone the edge of our property offers is quieter and away from human or pet contacts.

However, we choose not to shovel 50 feet to the property edge to feed our birds in the winter seasons, so we relocate our bird stations onto our decks and patios.   This movement allows us easier access to our feeders.    Since we do not use these areas in cold weather, our birds are comfortable closer to our home and we do not have to remove several feet of heavy snow to refill the feeders.   Plus, we get the added pleasure of seeing our winter feathered guests up close in freezing temperatures.

If you need to update your feeding stations, be sure to visit www.wildbirdepot.com for all the latest backyard bird feeding products.

So use this time wisely to reassess your bird feeding locations now before the ground hardens.  This also allows your birds time to adjust to the new locations as well.   Enjoy your birds!

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I was with my boys at the school the other day, right around dusk, say 7pm.  We were finishing up our football practice when we heard a very loud commotion about a mile away.  The screeching of blue jays filled the air.  Normally, when you hear blue jays in your backyard, it will be when one or two arrive to announce their presence.   This action usually causes the birds on your feeders to scatter, leaving the blue jays any spot they choose to eat from.   This is why many customers call the blue jays “bullies.”

However, the noises we were hearing were coming from about a dozen blue jays.  The noise never stopped.   Leaving our activities, my sons and I went to investigate.  I had a very good idea as to what was transpiring, but I wanted the boys to see for themselves.  We didn’t have to go far because up in the sky above the treetops, a hawk was trying to avoid the approximately 12 blue jays that were dive bombing this predator.    You see, blue jays have this unique ability to communicate with each other in an instant when danger is near, creating a mobbing action.   When a hawk is near a nesting area, the blue jays will swarm this intruder, driving it away.  In this instance, the blue jays are a “friend.”

So what is the answer?  Are blue jays a “friend or foe?”

Enjoy your weekend, but mostly, enjoy your backyard birds!

Be sure to visit our website, www.wildbirddepot.com for the Largest Variety of Wild Bird Products

Around this time of year, fall migration, we receive a number of calls about gathering flocks of what some may call “nuisance birds.”  Now, depending on your outlook, this category of birds could include pigeons.  If you are dismayed from the large number of pigeons in your backyard, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Keep your backyard feeding stations free from seed mixes that contain corn, millet or milo.  You will usually find these ingredients in your less expensive mixes.  These are the favorite food choices of many ground birds, including pigeons.
  2. Keep the grounds under your feeders clean.  You may have to rake up the areas each day until the offending flock has moved on.
  3. Use only tube feeders, store your hopper feeders inside for now.  If the pigeons still can land on the perches on your tube feeders, consider cutting the perches to about 1″ in length.  This will allow small, clinging birds with the only access.
  4. Do not use human table scraps for ground feeding.  This encourages pigeons the most.
  5. Consider feeders that are specifically design for small birds only, they really do the job of keeping large birds from being to able to land.
  6. Lastly, if all else fails, remove all food sources for about 2-3 weeks.  Without the reward of food, birds simply move on.

For many people, however, the sight of any birds is cause for celebration.  If there is one truth about backyard bird feeding, it’s that each person has their favorite bird.   Our job is to assist you in attracting your favorite bird to visit your world. 

Enjoy your weekend, but mostly, enjoy your backyard birds!

Be sure to visit our website, www.wildbirddepot.com for the Largest Variety of Wild Bird Products

We are having a cloudy day here in NH.  Our birds are eating up a storm with most of our customers.  Many calls about flocking starlings, grackles, blackbirds and crows.   Do they know something is coming?

If these flocks, which can number is the hundreds, are causing some stress on your feeders, we can offer a couple of suggestions.  Use only tube feeders for now, until the flocks move on.   Tube feeders with short perches can be difficult for larger birds to grip onto.  If your perches are too long, consider cutting them to less than 1″ long.  Your small, clinging birds such as chickdees, titmice, finches, etc will have no problem using small perches as they eat.

Check your seed choices.  Do not offer the cheaper seed mixes filled with millet, milo or corn.  These ingredients are the favorite food groups for starlings and grackles.   While they may eat other ingredients, you certainly shouldn’t offer the favorite foods to birds you choose not to entertain.

After about two weeks, the above suggestions should encourage the nuisance birds to move on to an area that will accomodate the flock.  When that happens, you can go back to your regular feeding routines.

Enjoy your weekend, but mostly, enjoy your backyard birds!

Be sure to visit our website, www.wildbirddepot.com for the Largest Variety of Wild Bird Products