Watch this entertaining video to see some beautiful birds nesting!
Though the recent snow storm in the Midwest doesn’t reflect it, spring officially sprang last week. Have you been listening to the ever increasing dawn chorus (see March 4 post)? It’s a sign that birds will soon be nesting. Your chickadees and bluebirds may have already started new home selections which means precious, little eggs aren’t far behind. Do you have the right nesting-food resources to help birds thrive?
Foods that nesting birds seek include protein and calcium and are found in a number of WBU offerings such as any of the WBU Plus Blends, Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter Bits and mealworms.
WBU Plus Blends, compared to other blends, provide a more balanced nutritional offering at feeding stations to meet the needs of nesting birds and increase the frequency of visits to feeders. Not only do they provide much needed supplemental energy for the high demands of the nesting season, but also the added calcium is the perfect ingredient to help strengthen egg shells for nesting birds and an essential building block as baby birds grow.
Bark Butter Bits are high in fat, protein and calcium and are a convenient nugget way to attract a wide variety of birds and know you are providing the desired nutrients for nesting season.
Mealworms are quite a treat for the birds and you. Birds naturally eat insects for the high-protein value, and much of a nestling’s and fledgling’s diet is insects. Offering mealworms provides that stable supplement. Mealworms are not slimy or icky. They’re like a caterpillar without the fur. Besides, you don’t have to touch them. Use a plastic spoon to scoop them into a feeder.
It’s the perfect time to offer nesting foods to help birds thrive, and you get to enjoy attracting them to your yard for a more intimate look while they raise families.
It is hard to imagine, but the Wild Birds Unlimited corporate office sits in the middle of a fairly sterile suburban setting.
It wasn’t always so.
When WBU, Inc. moved into its current office space almost 20 years ago, the area surrounding it was mostly undeveloped fields, pasture and woodland. Prime bluebird habitat.
But as the years passed almost every one of these open spaces was developed into housing and office complexes. As a result, our bluebird boxes went unexplored and empty for many years. Even seeing a bluebird became a very rare event.
The buzz began around mid-morning with the first sighting literally outside our front door, a pair of bluebirds sitting on the sidewalk not more than three feet away!
As the bluebird alert filtered throughout the building, the front windows became the place to be. Our staff photographer grabbed his camera and began shooting away. There was a rush to the bird food closet to prepare a Bark Butter Bits® treat for our visitors. Dozens of staff members came out of their offices to get a glimpse of the royal couple.
Throughout the remainder of the day any gathering space with front windows became a tough place to meet as the bluebirds proved to be a strong and yet delightful distraction.
I am happy to report that the bluebirds are still distracting us today.
Needless to say, those of who make a living helping to bring the joy of birds to your backyard sure got excited when these bluebirds came to ours!
We have had a number of reports that seem to indicate that bluebirds are utilizing urban habitats more than in the past. Do you have bluebirds in your neighborhood?
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?
It’s a popular question right now.
Fledglings are visiting backyards and their appearance can vary highly from their parents making you wonder, “What bird is that?”
Some are spotted, fuzzy or disheveled looking such as bluebirds (pictured above) or robins.
Some have short-looking tails making them fly a bit funny like wrens and nuthatches.
Some are very fresh and clean looking but some coloration seems out of place such as the red spot on the top of the head instead of the back on a young male Downy Woodpecker.
No matter the fledgling, they are all hungry and looking for lots of protein-rich foods to help grow their bodies and feathers. Mealworms, Jim’s Birdacious® Bark Butter® or Bark Butter Bits and blends with tree nuts are excellent foods to offer them.
What fledglings are you seeing and what are they eating?
“Now…if I can just get them to use the nest box down by the creek…”
You may remember this closing line from the blog I posted back on March 15th, Not the Least Bit Blue, in which I shared my joy at finally attracting bluebirds to the feeders in my yard.
Guess what…it really happened! They ARE nesting down by the creek!
The only part of my musing that didn’t come true is that they are using a natural tree cavity instead of the nest box I installed for them.
Needless to say, my family is ecstatic! And I have a cool video to share with you of some nest-side action.
The adults are busy feeding their young and we are having more fun than ever watching them raid the mealworm feeder in our backyard. We put mealworms out every morning and evening and within a few minutes they are gathering mouthfuls at the feeder to take back to the young in the nest.
By my calculations, the youngster should fledge sometime early next week!
Now…if I can just get them to bring all of the youngsters to our feeder in the backyard…
Who’s nesting in your backyard?