About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from Wild Birds Unlimited!

Related Articles:
Hands-and-Feet Turkey http://turkey from hand.html

Fun Facts on Wild Turkeys http://bit.ly/rI3Ki7
Why a Turkey Is Called a Turkey http://turkey name
Wild Turkeys came close to extinction http://bit.ly/rgjosF
What Turkeys Eat http://bit.ly/uUiDsN

Iridescent Ocellated Turkey http://iridescent-ocellated-turkey.html

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#GivingTuesday: Support your local wildlife rehab

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. Wild Birds Unlimited store would like to encourage you to donate $5.00 to Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN). As a "Thank you" for donating at the store, we will give you a unique stocking stuffer FREE while supplies last!

The "Good Luck" mini totes are so popular we always run out! So this year along with that traditional tote, I've also brought in "Santa's Reindeer" totes. These small 4 inch totes are filled with a tiny bag of birdseed, perfect to slip over a doorknob as a decoration or stuffed in a stocking as a gift.

The original has a wren on the front with the quote that reads: "It is a Scandinavian Tradition to feed the birds on Christmas Day to ensure Good Luck in the year ahead. Spread birdseed on your doorstep Christmas morning for Luck in the New Year."

http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2015/12/unique-stocking-stuffer-ideas.htmlAnd then we have a cute little girl kissing a reindeer with a quote on back reads: "Go outside on Christmas Eve and sprinkle this at night to nourish Santa's reindeer on their long and chilly flight. On Christmas when you wake up in the morning you will find the toys, treats & treasures that Santa left behind."

Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in East Lansing that raises and releases wildlife babies as well as cares for injured adult animals. If you would rather donate directly, a check can be made to Nottingham Nature Nook (NNN) 16848 Towar Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823. (517) 351-7304 or visit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donate/

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Finch sleeping on the feeder

As dusk approaches there is a feeding frenzy. The goldfinches at my house sometimes stay too long. I watch them feeding furiously and then see them look up and notice sun went down. There are a lot of new birds out there in the fall. Inexperienced birds have some inborn knowledge but there are also some things that have to be learned through trial and error. Some find shelter quickly in nearby bushes while others have been known to spend the night on a feeder or if it's windy, huddled in a corner close to the house.
 
When birds are tired, they scrunch down to sleep because that automatically makes the toes grip their perch and stay locked in place. In the legs of tree-dwelling birds, the tendons from certain muscles extend down the leg behind the ankle to attach to the tips of the toes and when their knees bend, the tendons are pulled taut, making the toes on their feet clench.


After juvenile finches become independent, they form large flocks that congregate at food sources. Scientist thought they also roosted together at night. However recent field work done by the Bird Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology revealed the birds didn’t have large permanent roosts. Their nighttime layovers were temporary and seemed to be located wherever a finch happened to be foraging at the time.

Related Articles:
How Do Birds Sleep? http://how-do-birds-sleep.html 
Where birds sleep http://where-birds-sleep.html
Why geese sleep in the water http://why-geese-sleep-in-water.html
Where birds go at night http://where-birds-go-at-night.html
Do birds snore? Watch the video http://do-birds-snore-watch-video.html
What birds see at night http:/what-birds-see-at-night.html

Monday, November 20, 2017

Finch food that doesn't leave a mess

The goldfinches are eating a lot of thistle seed, I was wandering if they stay for the winter? I live in lower Mi. They make a mess trying to get to the seed , is their other kind of food they like that doesn't leave such a mess. I've been using the long netting feeder which they love.

I see finches year-round in mid-Michigan. American Goldfinches are partial migrants, meaning only part of the population migrates annually and if it is a rough winter they can become nomadic. Their winter range includes southern Canada and stretches south through the United States to parts of Mexico. During heavy snowstorms they may move further south to find food only to move back when the weather clears.

Goldfinches eat a variety of seeds in the wild. Make sure to leave your garden standing in the winter. Any flower that produces a seed head (Marigolds, Zinnias, Cosmos, Brown eyed Susans or Coneflowers) provide natural food.

Sunflower and Nyjer® (thistle) are two of their favorite seeds at the feeders. If you served sunflower seed without the shell in a seed feeder there should be no mess left behind. I have dozens of goldfinches everyday attacking my window feeder full of No-Mess Blend, a seed blend full of sunflower seeds without the shell.

But Nyjer® (thistle), even though it is messy, is a convenient seed. It attracts mainly finches, doesn't grow weeds under the feeder and isn't attractive to squirrels. Sunflower seed is very attractive to finches but also attracts a variety of other birds as well as other animals. To deter critters, a window feeder, a squirrel proof feeder, or a feeder on a pole that is baffled would be a good solution.

They also appreciate the bird bath. The goldfinches drink frequently and will stay close to reliable sources of water because of their almost exclusive diet of seeds.

Related Articles:
- Where are my finches? http://t.co/FRqa7eo
- European Goldfinches http://bit.ly/Q2Cu37
- Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD
- Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
- Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What makes Wild Birds Unlimited seed different from the Grocery store's

Wild birds are making decisions about which back yards they will visit this winter. Even though natural food sources are plentiful right now, birds are definitely taking note of which yards have quality food available. What you do as the days grow shorter lets the birds know where to go when that first storm hits. And beautiful, hungry, thankful birds can brighten any dreary winter day.

At Wild Birds Unlimited you will get the very freshest seed, blended regionally for your backyard birds, with no filler grains that most grocery store blends contain. Fillers such as milo, wheat and oats, are ingredients not preferred by most birds and are generally, left uneaten and found in a moldy pile on the ground that can make birds sick or attract rodents. These fillers add bulk to the bag and lower the price, but they are undesired by the local birds, and a waste of your money.

Regardless of the season, the bird species you attract is determined primarily by the seeds you offer. 

To provide the most beneficial foods to meet birds' nutritional needs, the birds in Michigan should be fed fresh Sunflower seeds, White Proso Millet, Safflower, Peanuts, Nyjer® Thistle, suet or seed cakes.

Related Articles: 
Best seed blends http://attract-all-birds.html
Keep your feeders clean http://goo.gl/UGfVGT
What birds like peanuts? http://bit.ly/zispJK
How long bird seed stays fresh http://goo.gl/AdJPBO
Best suet for Michigan wild birds http://bit.ly/rTCbHB

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Baby isn't fat

I talk about birds a lot on this page, but I need to take a moment to talk about something really important. Okay let's just get this out of the way. My Baby Doll isn't fat (or pregnant for that matter). Dolly is just wearing the thickest, most luxurious black and white fur coat (in the most Purrlitically correct way).

For further reference I've created a cheat sheet for you.
Acceptable greetings: "My you're looking fluffy today" and "Well hello, Dolly"
Unacceptable: "Wow, you're fat" and "Have you eaten all the birds, chubby?"
Dolly with her sad face on.
In more Dolly news, her favorite toy broke today:( I called it her fidget toy. It is a ball that twirls ribbon 'round and 'round. Sometimes it is in a box and sometimes it is under the covers. Well after going through hours and hours of rechargeable batteries, it stopped working today. This toy was given to her almost a year ago, after her big brothers (JB and Eli) died suddenly within weeks of each other. It gave her hours of diversion and then amusement.

I've ordered 4 replacements (Yes, 4. It's her favorite comfort object. You can't have too many backups!) and they should be here in a couple days. I did check the local pet shop but they didn't have any. So we will wait a couple days. That's not so bad right? We have to just go back to the boring old manual stick and ribbon game for a little bit. Oh and we can watch birds too!

Related Articles:
Well Hello, Dolly! http://hello-dolly.html
Dolly is making new friends! http:/dolly-is-making-new-friends.html
Birds invading the store http://rush-through-winter.html
Cat Napping in the Birdbath http://cat-napping-in-birdbath.html
Indoor cats with bird-watching windows. http://indoor-cats-dont-get-bored.html
Wild Cats Unlimited http://wild-cats-unlimited.html
Dolly talks to the birds http://yank-yank.html

Friday, November 17, 2017

Photo Share: Wild Turkeys

To find Wild Turkeys it helps to get up early in the morning, when flocks of these large birds are often out foraging in clearings, field edges, and roadsides. Keep an eye out as you drive along forest edges, particularly forests with nut-bearing trees such as oak and hickory. You’ll usually find turkeys on the ground, but don’t be surprised if you run across a group of turkeys flying high into their treetop roosts at the end of the day.

Related Articles:
Fun Facts on Wild Turkeys http://bit.ly/rI3Ki7
Why a Turkey Is Called a Turkey http://turkey name
Wild Turkeys came close to extinction in the 1930s: http://bit.ly/rgjosF
What Turkeys Eat http://bit.ly/uUiDsN

Iridescent Ocellated Turkey http://iridescent-ocellated-turkey.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Electric bird bath heater with a long cord

Beautiful photo is from Holly
Have you been waking up to a lump of ice in your bird bath? If you place a good heater in your existing bird bath you can attract birds all winter as they try to keep their feathers in tip top shape. Wild Birds Unlimited's most popular heater is the Birdbath and Multi-Use De-Icer. I like it because it has a long cord, it fits many different water bowls, and works really well.  

Other great features include:
  • Cast aluminum construction for long-term efficiency and performance
  • Non-stick coating to reduce corrosion and eliminate lime buildup
  • Thermostatically-controlled: It only turns on during freezing weather to reduce operating costs
  • Designed for multiple uses: baths, buckets, animal bowls
  • Safe for birds and animals to drink around
  • Strong and long 5 1/2' power cord
  • 150 Watts 
  • Safe for use in plastic or concrete
  • 3 year manufacturer warranty
  • Made in the USA
Related Articles:
-
All-in-one heated bird bath http://heated-birdbath.html
- Are there heated birdbaths that are solar? http://bit.ly/tnTrK4
- Last Minute Gifts for Birdwatchers http://bit.ly/tXwHJ8
- How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter Birdwatching http://bit.ly/uduvLm
- Attracting Bluebirds in the Winter http://bit.ly/sw0H6P
- Most common winter birds in Michigan http://bit.ly/vSkLTn

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New tradition for the holidays: Birdseed Pinecone without peanutbutter

Who doesn't remember rolling pine cones in bird seed and decorating a tree for the birds? Now you can reminisce with all your family and friends by passing out Birdseed Pinecones.

Birdseed Pinecone Pair is a Tweet Treat
Wild birds Unlimited has large natural pine cones coated in tasty, energy-packed millet and sunflower seed, then tied with twine to drape easily over a branch. A fun and natural way to decorate an outdoor tree, wrapped in a clear gift bag with green garland and a red raffia tie that's ready for gifting.
 
Product Details
Pinecones, white millet, black oil sunflower seed, red millet, gelatin, jute
Approx. 5" W x 9" L
Made in USA


Also Available for a limited time:
Other adorable ornaments available for a limited time include a festive birdseed hearts, stars, and bells. Simply hang these mixed seed ornaments on outdoor trees for birds to enjoy!

While you are feasting indoors during Thanksgiving you can start a new tradition of setting the table for the birds outdoors.

Related Articles:
Share Nature's bounty http://bit.ly/tgPkrv
Make edible ornaments  http://bit.ly/tXDnSB 

Decorate a Tree for Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV 
Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/tUElnw
10 Gifts for Birdwatchers: http://bit.ly/uZojYY
Unique gifts for someone that has everything http://goo.gl/MBsT2V

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gray bird with rusty belly and black eyestripe

Have you seen any red-breasted nuthatches this year?

Yes I have! The cone crop in Canada was so good I was worried I wouldn't see and Red-breasted Nuthatches at the feeders this year, but my little regulars seemed to have returned!

Look along trunks and branches of trees for a nuthatch with a bold black-and-white face pattern wandering up, down, and sideways over the bark. The Red-breasted Nuthatch is the only North American nuthatch with an eyestripe, and the only one with extensive rusty or cinnamon on the underparts. It is smaller and stubbier than the White-breasted Nuthatch.

The nuthatch's habit of wedging seeds into cracks and hammering them open has given rise to its common name.

Red-breasted Nuthatches join foraging flocks of chickadees and other small songbirds. If you offer suet, seed cylinders, or a seed blend with nuts, you may be able to draw these beauties to your yard all winter. They usually spend the summers in the upper part of Michigan and Canada but are residents in mid-Michigan from September to May.

Related Articles:
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/d0VzDD
- Bird of the week: Red-breasted Nuthatch http://bit.ly/sXqKVH
- Fascinating Nuthatch Bill-Sweeping & Wing Fanning http://bit.ly/s4MWlV
- Facts every backyard birder wants know about Nuthatches http://bit.ly/tBbDbQ
- Black and white bird walking upside down on a tree trunk http://goo.gl/RUCT6O

Monday, November 13, 2017

Starlings are winter birds

When do starling leave?

The European Starlings are year-round residents in Michigan. In the winter you may notice them lining up on the power wires while you drive.

I often get questions on starlings. In the fall after they molt. Their new plumage is a glossy iridescent black with purple and greens and all their feather tips are white, giving the appearance of many stars. By spring the white feather tips have worn away, so that they are a more uniform dark bird. And the Starling in winter has a dark brown beak that changes into yellow as breeding season approaches.

In the winter a starling’s diet switches from bugs and suet to more fruits, nuts, berries and seeds. Their intestines actually lengthen, and the wall of the gizzard increases in thickness to better absorb the nutrients. Like the robin and bluebirds, feeder visits are less frequent for most people in the winter unless there is a winter storm that covers their natural resources.

To deter starlings you can switch up your bird food choices:

- Use pure beef suet with no seeds
- Switch to straight safflower seed: Start by offering safflower gradually, mixing it with the seed you currently use. Over time increase the amount of safflower until you are feeding straight safflower. The seed looks and tastes different from other bird seed, so it may take your birds some time to adjust. Safflower is a small, white seed that is high in protein and fat. Many favorite backyard birds - including cardinals, chickadees, finches, doves, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches- savor safflower. Blackbirds, starlings, and squirrels typically refuse to eat safflower seed.

Related Articles:
- Do birds warm their feet on telephone wires? http://bit.ly/t7k91r
- Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/rSQtFD
- How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
- Amazing moment bald eagle chases down & catches a starling http://bit.ly/tnPo6z
- Starlings stealing shiny money from machine http://bit.ly/uKaP8b