Easy Tips for the Landscape to Help Birds Thrive September 04 2014

Helpful Birding Tips Around the Landscape
Because Fall Really IS for the Birds!
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 October's a great time to:
•Remove old nests from birdhouses      
•Garden for wildlife
•Save on food costs
•See what's new

Easiest Nest Removal
Grab a couple of plastic grocery bags, check them for holes!  Many birds will roost in your birdhouses through spring, offer up a cozy spot in less than one minute by removing old nests. If you're feeling industrious, take the house down for a thorough cleaning with a 10% bleach solution. Scrub, rinse well, let air-dry. To remove nests without touching them, use the grocery bag as a glove, scoop up the nest and turn the bag inside out. Tie it up and toss in the trash. Leaving old nests on the ground is a sure way to attract unwanted predators.

Garden with Birds in Mind... naturalized areas are the new high style!
Create and restore habitat: Look around the landscape for dead or dying trees, top them if presenting any safety issues, but do try and leave a few standing trunks or snags for the birds. If you're planning to prune summer plants & shrubs, save this valuable growth for a brush pile. Along with the few snags, brush piles provide shelter and food (insects) for both resident and migratory birds. Should the thought of a brush pile make you shudder, use this discarded vegetation as mulch around plants to conserve water and for protection from weather. Try to resist dead-heading flowers in early fall, they provide food too.

Fall's the time for planting: Berry producing trees and shrubs provide stunning color and feed birds as well. In late summer and early fall, berries fulfill crucial dietary needs: extra calories for migratory birds' journey south, and our steadfast birds who require fattening up for winter survival.

Grow your own: Plant nature's bird feeders! While we totally endorse supplemental feeding via bird feeders, (hey, it's our business) natural foods in the landscape are always a winner. Nectar, sap, nut, seed and berry producing trees will provide free bird food for life. When choosing fall plantings consider two key factors other than aesthetics; food and shelter.

Water: With nary a feeder in sight, you'll entice birds with water, just keep it fresh and they will come! Keep your birdbath functional in frigid weather, and birds will likely stick around your place. Sure they can eat ice and snow... but who would want to? It actually takes a bird more calories (energy) to convert snow to liquid. Consider adding a heater to their favorite bath this winter!

Native Viburnums
White Oaks     
Wild Grapes

American Cranberry Bush                      
Winter Berry Holly

Evergreens (for shelter)
Native Cedars

Save Pumpkin Seeds & Meat Pulp!
Serve these on an open tray for finches, sparrows, jays and juncos. If you reside in bear country... best to bring those pumpkins in at night because bears love them too!

Make Your Own & Save on Seed  
Suet's a breeze: A simple treat to whip up with just a few ingredients, it serves birds well in winter. Make larger batches, freeze, and pull single cakes (or balls) for use. A standard suet cage, platform or tray feeder - or even mesh produce bag from the grocery store works well for offering suet to birds. High in fat & protein, it's an excellent source of energy for birds during frigid weather. Bluebird Banquet, sold commercially, is another fab treat for winter feeding that's simple to make at home.

Consider buying in bulk: Check for Feed & Seed stores in your area, better deals can be found here than at big-box stores, and seed is usually fresher. Opt for a better quality seed with less fillers because that's what ends up on the ground. Feed "clean" with a no-waste mix or sunflower hearts!

Fresh for fall... 


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