Apr 09
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Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Mini High Perch Hummingbird feeder

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.

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Jul 11
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Red-cockaded Woodpeckers

After a quick hour of travel to Webb Wildlife Management Area with a bus-load of Wild Birds Unlimited store owners, we step off the bus to low humidity and 82° F. There are no bugs. Is this really the South in summer?

We begin meandering down the gravel lane with clear views through the pine stands on either side of us.

The first bird calling is the Bachmann’s Sparrow. Do you hear its whistle-note followed by a trill reminiscent of a towhee? Look, here it is in the spotting scope.

Do you hear the Northern Bobwhite’s calling to each other? “Bob, bob, WHITE”

Wow! Our target bird for the day! See the woodpeckers with the big white patches on their cheeks? Those are Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. There are three of them at eye-level flaking bark off the pines to find insects. (pictured above)

Just down the lane is a Blue Grosbeak in the grass. What a view!

There’s an Eastern Bluebird perched on the nest box.

On the utility wire above is another “blue” bird, the Indigo Bunting, singing “fire, fire, where, where, here, here, see it see it.”

Oh, look, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is chasing the Indigo.

Someone found a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nest. Look in the scope. You can see the babies’ heads pop up when mom and dad come in with caterpillars.

Listen! Do you hear the squeak-toy call of the Brown-headed Nuthatch? There they are. I see them; a foraging family group.

Do you see the Northern Parula? Its throat and chest are yellow but so is its lower bill. See how brilliant the yellow is in the sunlight?

Here comes another group of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. There are five this time.

Too bad we didn’t see the Mississippi Kites. Oh, wait, there’s one!

What a perfect day for bird watching!

Have you ever had a perfect day outdoors?

Mar 28
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This winter’s unusually warm weather is continuing to be a major factor across much of North America this spring and is resulting in an abnormally early migration for many birds. Different bird species are responding to the unusual conditions in diverse ways.

Short- and medium-distance migrants primarily winter in the southern U.S. or Mexico and travel north in short flights that are triggered by good weather and favorable wind directions. Both of these conditions have persisted for the past few weeks and have triggered many of these migrants to head north early.

Short distance migrants like Eastern and Say’s Phoebes, Pine Warblers and American Robins are arriving back on their nesting grounds weeks ahead of their normal schedules.

Mid-distance migrating birds, such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Louisiana Waterthrush are also showing strong signs of some early migration activity.

Long-distance migrants coming from Central America, South America or the Caribbean are not expected to show any early migration movements. These migrants fly in long nonstop flights, and their departure is primarily triggered by increasing periods of sunlight each day. Weather is not a factor and they will migrate on the same schedule as usual.

But, what does this mean for birds that visit our backyards?

Here are some potential impacts:
? Local, winter resident birds such as Slate-colored Juncos, White-crowned, White-throated & America Tree Sparrows are likely to leave for their northern breeding grounds weeks earlier than normal.
? Short- and medium-distant migrants may arrive back earlier than normal. They may include Chipping Sparrows, Hummingbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, Cowbirds and Grackles.
? Long-distance migrants such as Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks & Indigo Buntings should be arriving within the normal range of migration return dates.

What birds are you seeing move earlier than usual?

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