Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Mini High Perch Hummingbird feeder
Hummingbirds are making the journey north. You can track their progress at the Journey North web site. These miniature marvels have been migrating between North and Central America for thousands of years, a round trip in which millions of hummingbirds instinctively participate.
Are you ready for their return? Make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your nectar feeders. Do you need to replace an old feeder? Shop our online store – shop.wbu.com
You can make hummingbird nectar at home! For a home-made version, the ratio is four parts water to one part sugar (ex: one cup of water to ¼ cup sugar). Boil the water to rid it of chlorination and allow the sugar to dissolve easily. Pour it over the sugar and stir until dissolved. Once cooled off, fill your feeder and keep the rest in a nectar bottle in the refrigerator. Do not use dyes, brown sugar or honey. Commercial nectar that you purchase should be free of red dye. The sugar used in boxed nectar is superfine and can easily be made with boiled water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Dad brings home a crawdad for dinner
Dad keeping a watchful eye
Dad off to get more crawdads
Mom enjoying a crawdad for dinner
How cool is this! Jim Carpenter, owner and CEO of WBU, got some great shots of the Barred Owl family doing what every typical family does, have dinner together. Thursday, April 3rd, we had about 4” of rain here in the Indianapolis area. So, the crawdads must have been out on top of their little clay chimneys. Dad, the good provider, caught one and brought it home for dinner.
Stay tuned, we are expecting the first egg to hatch very soon. Watch our livestream cam on our web site to check in on the family.
Be entertained and learn more about woodpeckers.
Watch this entertaining video to see some beautiful birds nesting!
Have you ever seen juncos fan their tails at one another? What about lunging at each other?
Juncos definitely have a dominance hierarchy (kind of like a pecking order) in their winter flocks. You can often observe individuals challenging the status of others with aggressive displays of tail fanning and lunges.
So, who’s in charge? Males are dominant over females; but, it breaks down more specifically than that. Adult males are at the top of the hierarchy, then juvenile males, adult females and finally young females at the bottom.
You can attract juncos to your yard by offering some of their favorite seeds, millet and hulled sunflower, in a blend such as our Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Blend.
Have you seen any of these behaviors?
Boy Scouts Bird Study merit badge class in conjunction with Christmas Bird Count
It always amazes me that so many kids want to learn about birds. We can only take so many for our class and there is always a waiting list.
What class is that? We just completed our fourth annual Bird Study merit badge class in conjunction with the local Christmas Bird Count. This has been a very fun partnership between the Boy Scouts and the local Amos Butler Audubon.
It was a very snowy day for the class and we were all bundled up for the birding part. But, the snow didn’t deter us from finding our required 20 different species nor did it deter us from having fun.
One of the highlights was a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree for all the boys to see it through the spotting scopes.
Another highlight was a very common bird that is not commonly known, Horned Larks. A flock flew overhead making their distinctive flight call, listen here. Horned Larks live in fields and can sometimes be drawn to yards with cracked corn.
Hopefully, some of the boys were inspired to begin the hobby of birding or bird feeding. At minimum, they learned a little bit more about noticing and appreciating birds.
Special thanks to the Rob and Eric Ripma of Nutty Birder for assisting with the class.
Every winter the Dark-eyed Junco departs from its northerly breeding grounds of summer and descends upon the lower 48 states. Some western and northeastern states have them year-round where they can be heard singing their pretty trilling song.
For those who only have juncos in winter, we only get to listen to their call and chip notes. Have you ever heard their call notes? Their “tew-tew-tew” call sounds like they are communicating in morse code.
Listen to the call here, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/82346
You can listen to the song and chip notes here, http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Dark-eyed_Junco/id
Want to try and attract them to your yard?
Juncos are primarily ground feeders and are drawn to the millet and mixed seeds around the base of feeders or ground-tray feeders. They prefer blends like No-Mess or Deluxe.
They prefer to roost in evergreens at night; but, will also use tall grasses and brush piles. They return to the same roost location regularly, sharing it with other flock mates.
Now is a great time to attract Junco’s so you can listen to them throughout the season.
I am fascinated by Wild Turkeys. Aren’t we all when it’s Thanksgiving? They are large, beautiful birds.
Early historical reports show amazing numbers of turkey populations.
In 1540 Hernando de Soto’s soldiers were given large numbers of turkeys; 700 in one account.
In 1612 an author wrote that Wild Turkeys were like pheasants in England; forty in a company and the best meat for eating.
Another report from the early 1800’s chronicled a thousand birds in the woods one day.
With a seemingly endless abundance and such good eating, the turkey was heavily hunted by settlers. Also, habitat loss with westward movement was an additional blow to the turkey population. By the 1930’s there were only 30,000 birds left in North America.
However, with conservation and reintroduction efforts the Wild Turkey is now 7 million strong. They can be found in every state (including a localized population in Alaska) as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
I am so pleased this North American icon is once again very abundant.
Male Allen’s Hummingbird eating WBU Bird Bug Bites Suet. Photo courtesy Debbie Shewfeld, WBU team member at the Torrance, CA store.
Hummingbirds consume more than just nectar. They must have a source of protein and at least half of their diet is small insects and bugs.
But a hummingbird eating suet?
Check out the above photo. Debbie, an employee at the Wild Birds Unlimited of Torrance, CA, put out a fresh Bird Bug Bites Suet Cake and an Allen’s Hummingbird showed up for a bite to eat.
Beyond Bird Bug Bites Suet, we have occasional reports that Ruby-throated and Anna’s Hummingbirds frequent Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter (a spreadable suet-based product). This usually just happens during the winter.
Hummingbirds that over-winter in areas are usually doing so because they are finding localized insect sources that are often around open bodies of water. Of course, they are sourcing nectar as well.
It is not common for hummingbirds to eat suet. But, stranger things have been known to happen.
I recently returned from a cruise sailing seven nights up the coast of British Columbia and Alaska. What an amazing, breath-taking journey of scenery, wildlife and, of course, birds.
There were plenty of creatures to spy from the ship and shore. However, one of the coolest things I experienced was during the overnight hours.
I stayed up one night from 10 pm to 2 am while we cruised the Inside Passage. I sat at the bow of the ship on the top deck 150 feet above the water. The area was black but for the ship’s lights. For hours I listened to birds pass in the night calling out their single-noted flight calls. I heard thrushes, sparrows and shore birds.
There were some birds flying into view from the ship’s lights like warblers and sparrows. They would slow down and look at the ship and then continue on their journey. Some birds stopped on the ship for a brief time like the Song Sparrows I found browsing the deck for food.
But, the coolest bird that night was about 1:00 am. A hummingbird flew out of the darkness, circled over my head and continued cruising on its southerly journey.
How cool is that!