HANDY TIPS
Tip of the Month: January 2008
This is a great time of year to clean out your birdhouses and feeders. Be sure to restock your feeders each day and provide clean, fresh water for your feathered friends. Cleaning out birdhouses can be a messy job, but your birds will appreciate it come springtime. Most quality birdhouses have a movable or removable panel or roof that makes the house easier to clean. Wash out the old nesting material with warm soapy water and then rinse well with clean water to get all the soap residue out. Any mold or mildew can be washed down with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water. Just be sure you rinse thoroghly to remove all the bleach. Let your birdhouse air out until completely dry before reassembling. Make any needed repairs to the house and then mount or hang it so it will be a welcome sight for your birds when they return to your yard.
Tip of the Week: December 16, 2007
WATER! FRESH WATER! CLEAN CLEAR WATER! Yes, it is important to see that your neighborhood birds have fresh, clean water, especially is the winter months. Here in the midwest, we have been dealing with an ice storm. It is particularly important to provide fresh water during this kind of weather because birds don't eat ice. Using one of our bird baths and a heater or the water wiggler will help keep the water from freezing. Birds have to have water just like we do and keeping fresh water in the winter will keep your birds happy and coming back to your yard. This will insure that they will also return in the spring and summer. Also, remember to put out bird seed. Finding food in the winter is tough, especially with ice and snow on the ground.
Tip of the Week: November, 25, 2007
Usually the tip of the week is about trying to attract birds, but this week I want to cover a possible solution to having too many birds. I noticed a story on one of our local news stations about STARLINGS that are making a lot of noise and a big mess in some peoples yards. I had that problem a few years ago. I solved it while trying to get rid of pigeons. We had a family of pigeons living on our front porch and making a big mess. I did a little research to try to get rid of them without hurting them and the only thing I could come up with was to put a big plastic owl out where they could see it. We had always had starling problems on our block: lots of trees - lots of starlings. I hadn't really thought about it, except that they were very loud in the late afternoon and evening. Well, I put out the BIG PLASTIC OWL and the pigeons didn't budge, but the starlings flew away almost immediately. They never returned as long as the owl was in sight. We later moved and had the same starling problem times ten. By this time the owl had been knocked off the porch and kicked around a little and had only one eye left, but as soon as I brought him out, NO MORE STARLINGS. So my tip of the week is; if you are having a problem with noisy starlings, try putting out a plastic owl. Put it in view of the area you want to treat and it should do the trick. It might work for other birds as well. This is not a scientifically researched solution, but it did work for me. Good luck.
Tip of the week: November 12, 2007

One of the greatest bird feeders you can install (sort of) is Sunflowers. Sunflowers come in about 70 different varieties and go with just about any garden. They naturally bring birds to your yard looking for their seeds. They are easy to grow and can be grown wild or cultivated in rows. They also come in a nice variety of sizes. Try a few of them in your garden. They bloom in the summer and fall. A few of the best varieties for the birds include Autumn Beauty, Big Smile, Floristan, Holiday, The Joker, Russian Giant, Red Sun, Soraya, Valentine, and Vanilla Ice. Sunflowers make great cut flowers and garden flowers. The colors are bright and make excellent home grown birdfeeders.
Tip of the week October 7, 2007

With the coming of cooler weather and fewer plants for your bird friends to munch on, I thought it might be a good idea to give some ideas for alternative food. Birds love bread of any kind; white, wheat, bagels, cooked pasta, etc. Try to stay away from those that have a lot of extra sugar, butter, or grease. Your best bet is to put out or make a feeder (suet) cake. A quick suet recipe is: 2 cups of sifted flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tsp. of baking powder, 1/4 cup of butter, 2 large eggs, and 1 cup of milk. Mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Then melt the butter and add it to the dry mix. Next, add the eggs and milk and mix well. You can also put in dried fruit, coconut, and chopped nuts. Put the mixture into a greased, 10 inch square pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool the feeder cake and then slice the cake into 1 inch cubes for feeding or cut to fit into your suet feeder. This can be a great way to help nourish your birds through the fall and winter months and guarentee they will be back in the spring.
Tip of the Week: September 23, 2007

Do you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard? Do you want a great looking and nice smelling plant that will do that? Try SCENTED GERANIUMS. These special plants have a nice flower cluster and come in a wide variety of fragrances. The flowers are not very big, but do make a nice colorful cluster that will attract hummingbirds. Actually, it's not the flower that attracts the hummingbirds, but the flowers are what they keep returning for. The strong fragrance comes from the leaves. They come in several different scents; chocolate mint, lemon, eucalyptus, strawberry, pineapple, citrus, cinnamon, etc. Scented Geraniums come in over 100 different varieties. They grow from one foot tall to over three feet tall. The biggest advantages to having them in your yard is that they are beautiful, very fragrant, and can be enjoyed by hummingbirds and people.
Tip of the Week: September 16, 2007

If you want to attract butterflies to your yard/garden, try planting some of these plants. Most are great plants for feeding and some are great just for the butterflies to land on. Milkweeds, Butterfly bush (Buddleia), Asters, Clovers, Coneflowers, Daisies, Violets, Willows, Mallows, Buckwheats, and Paintbrushes. These plants will add some color to your yard and they will help bring some flying color (butterflies)as well. Check out our butterfly houses and butterfly nectar to help attract butterflies, also.
Tip of the Week: September 2, 2007

Remember these tips when trying to make your backyard a place for birds. Mount birdhouses on fence posts, walls, poles or hang from trees. Hand feeders from tree limbs away from your house, and set ground feeders under shrubs and plants. Be sure to change the water in your bird bath at least every other day or so. Place feeders and houses where pets and predators can't get to them. Only put out enough food that the birds will eat within a couple of days. Did you know about 10% of all bird deaths are due to illnesses that result from contamination and spoilage of feed? Also, about 50% of bird deaths come from collisions with windows, so place window feeders in areas that offer the birds a good view of the surroundings and safe landing areas.
Tip of the Week: August 26, 2007

Looking for a fun project you can do with your children or school, scouting, etc? Try making a simple seed or suet feeder for your yard. 1. PINE CONE FEEDER - Drill a hole into the core of a pine cone and coat the threads of an eyelet screw with glue and then twist it into the cone to make a hanger. Thoroughly mix one part bird seed mix with two parts of peanut butter. Then use a spatula or wooden spoon to push the mixture into the cone petals. Hang the pine cone on a string or ribbon. You can hang it from a sturdy tree limb and enjoy the birds feeding in your yard. 2. SUET LOG FEEDER - Put wood glue on the threads of a screw eye and insert the screw eye into the end section of a log. The log should be about 8 to 15 inces long and about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Use an electric drill with a 3/4 to 1 inch boring bit to make several holes about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep all around the log. Mix one part bird seed mix and two parts lard or rendered fat and then use a small spatula to put the mixture into the holes. Use a strong string or wire to hang the log from a strong limb on a nearby tree. Enjoy your new bird friends. These are easy to do and can be done by young children with the help of an adult or teenager. This makes a great rainy day project and can be refilled as needed. This is a cool way to introduce nature to young children.
Tip of the Week: August 20, 2007

To prevent bird seed from sprouting in your bird feeders and from sprouting in your lawn and garden when the seeds get pushed out of the feeder, use hulled rather than whole seed. This kind of seed is rolled, the casing is broken and removed, and the seed germ is separated from the kernels. Another option is to treat the seed by spreading it out on a cookie sheet and heating it for about 15 minutes to a temperature of 175 degrees. Allow the seed to cool before placing in a feeder. A third option is to place landscape fabric under the feeders. The seeds may sprout, but the roots will not take hold in the ground.
Tip of the week: August 12, 2007

Hummingbird feeder hints and home-made humingbird nectar recipe: Some hummingbirds travel several miles and migrate while others tend to stay in the same relatively close area. Providing good, clean food and lots of it is a main key to keeping hummingbirds around your yard. Hummingbirds eat flower nectar, pollen and small insects such as aphids, spider mites and gnats. Place your feeders in a sunny area. The sun-light will shine on the nectar and create an illusion of a red flower filled with nectar. The birds become accustomed to artificial feeders very quickly. Be sure to clean your feeder each time you fill it to help prevent the growth of fungi and bactieria in the solution. You should change any sugar-water solution (nectar) every three to four days, more often in very warm weather. Replace old feeders that have faded red parts and feeders that require red dye to color the water. Click here to go to our hummingbird products page for an easy home-made hummingbird nectar recipe and to see our hummingbird feeders.
Tip of the week: August 5, 2007

If you have a lot of mosquitoes, you may want to install a Purple Martin House. Purple Martins can eat several hundred mosquitoes a day. They will eat many flying insects, but will not harm honey bees. Placement of a martin house is key to getting them to come to your yard. You need an open spot about 30-40 feet from anything as tall as the martin house. The more room around the house, the better. It is okay to place the house near human activity, like your back yard. Research shows that martins like to live within 100 yards of human habitation. Be sure to provide plenty of water. I would also suggest that you use a martin house with sparrow/starling proof openings.
Check out the following page: http://www.birdhousesandmore.com/site/1539493/page/748258
Tip of the Week July 29, 2007

Proper tree mounting of your bird feeders can bring more birds to your yard and still keep your trees in good shape. When mounting a hanging feeder from a tree, be sure to suspend the feeder using a chafe-resistant cable or wire. It should be loose and mounted over a strong branch that will not sag or bend with the weight of the filled feeder. A good tip is to use an old garden hose section to run your cable through before mounting. This will allow the cable to rock or move without harming the tree. It is best to NOT hang tree feeders with nails or screws. They can cause trunk damage and leave an opening that will allow fungal desease and may be fatal to your tree.

TIP OF THE WEEK: July 8, 2007

A safe way to get rid of ants is to sprinkle corn meal around the ant bed. The ants will carry it into the nest and eat it. They can't digest it and it will expand and kill the ants. It takes a some time, but will eventually kill the nest.
Tip of the Week: July 1, 2007

To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. To keep them from eating all of your bird seed, add red pepper flakes to the seed. The birds aren't bothered by it, but the squirrels hate it!
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