The “Sibley Guide to Birds” Is Going On Sale – Soon!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in bird food, Bird Identification, Bird Preservation, Bird Watching Tips, Events, Field Guides | Posted on 22-11-2013

Author David Sibley

A Date to Watch! March 11, 2014. That’s when the long-awaited second edition of The Sibley Guide to Birdsgoes on sale. The second addition too approximately two and a half years to complete, from start to finish.

According to the publisher, almost every aspect of the book has undergone a remarkable makeover. Dozens of species have been added, most paintings have been revised, and hundreds of new paintings have been created. Maps have been updated, fonts have been tweaked, illustrations enlarged.

Author David Sibley is a Bird Watcher, whose useful ID tips and beautiful artwork appear in his books.

Sibley stated, “There have been many printings, but the only real change was a couple of errors corrected in the fourth printing. (The second and third printings were rolled together and happened just after the book went on sale, so I had no chance to make changes until the fourth.)


About David Sibley

Artist David Sibley is the author of Sibley’s Birding Basics (2002), field guides to the birds of eastern and western North America (2003), and The Sibley Guide to Trees (2009) as well as The Sibley Guide to Birds (2000). He is the illustrator and a co-author of The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior (2001). He’s been one of our contributing editors since 2007. He writes and illustrates the column “ID Toolkit” in every issue.

According to Sibley, there were a lot of many different sources of information were involved in the acknowledgments for the project. A few people took the time to write detailed critiques of the first edition, and those were very helpful, and quite a few people have emailed Sibley with specific suggestions or pointing out errors.

There are some changes that have taken place from the first addition. The way the text was arranged in one of the changes that you will see in his new book. Other changes, such as: the fonts, designs , aesthetics, and such like. He stated that other things are decided after lots of thought, consideration, and some discussion.

We look forwarding to viewing the second addition of the Sibley series and we hope that Bird Lovers from all across America will love it too!

Special notice to:


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The Northern Myotis Or the Myotis Septentrionalis


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Bat Preservation | Posted on 17-11-2013


Bats are not as creepy as people think. They are great pollinators and help with natural insect control. Here are some facts about another bat friend that you may find in your neck of the woods: The Northern Myotis!
Recognition: The Northern Myotis or the Northern Long-eared myotis is another medium sized microchiroptera with a length of 3 to 3.8 inches and a wingspan of 9- 10 inches and weighting in at .18 to .23 ounces. These bats can be distinguished from the myotis lucifugus (little brown bat) by its long ears. This bat has a dull brown fur and the stomach is a lighter color. The Northern Myotis has a longer tail and a larger wing area that other similar sized bats.
Range:This bat ranges through almost all of Canada and the Eastern United States and as far west as parts of Wyoming in the Black Hills and Big Horn Mountains and the Northern part of Florida.

Habitats: The Northern Myotis hibernates in natural caves, iron mines, sand mines and other abandoned mines. They primarily roost and inhabit forested regions, and riparian wooded zones. They will roost under loose bark, buildings, behind signs and shutters and in crevices. The females will roost in warm sites of around 30 individuals in maternity colonies.

Food Habits: The Northern Long-eared bat will hunt for insects over water, forest clearings and under the tree canopies. They glean insects from the leaves and other surfaces. They appear to especially like flies. They do eat moths, beetles and leafhoppers. As with most insectivorous bats they are still opportunistic eaters.

Problems: As with all bats, some of the problems are the same. Disturbances of the hibernaculum causes stress on the bats and in the winter can severally stress them to death. Retaining diverse wooded areas will help the bat population in general as well as the Northern Myotis. Education of the public would probably be the best single protection of all bats.


Ken “Batman Ken” Rudman is resident of Wyoming. He is also a writer, businessman and a promoter of bird and bat preservation, natural insect control, and a “how-to” guy to help people build up their backyard network in attracting song birds, feeders, artificial houses, facts and more. Send your questions, ideas, article requests and inquiries to Ken – The Backyard Ombudsman-  at his email address:   He is also featured on his weekly radio program The Backyard Network Radio Show on AM 1480 KRAE Radio.


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Regulating Bird Poop in your Backyard


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Bird Preservation, garden projects | Posted on 02-10-2013

Bird Poop. It can get everywhere. It comes in all kinds of different colors and has a purpose. Bird poop is good for redistributing seed and fertilizing different parts of your yard, or your neighbors yard for that matter. Believe it or not ladies, there are even Bird Poop Facials!! Yuck, you say? A Bird Poop Facial isn’t too rare as this is an up and coming facial procedure. This is another story of people undergoing facial treatment using animal based additives in beauty products to include Nightingale poop, air-lifted from Japan and mixed with rice bran to hide its smell.

People who have this done swear that their skin looks radiant once they are done having the product smeared around their mouth, eyes, chin, cheeks and other areas of the body that would benefit from the Nightingale poop.

However, in our yards we certainly do not want poop to be all over the place. Especially our cars and on our back porches. So how can we avoid wild birds and song birds excrement finding there way to those undesirable places? First we must understand birds and how to counteract this problem. Birds typically like to perch very high. If you can, install some perches throughout your backyard network. This should divert the birds attention away from your car and or porch and enables you, hopefully, have a part in where the bird droppings fall.

Set your perches high, as birds do like to perch high, but install the perch(es) well away from your porches and sheds were you do not want the bird poop to fall. This is a workable way to help you try to control where your bird poop falls. If you have a garden in your backyard, set two posts on either end of the garden and string some wire across the garden, from pole to pole. This is another way to help your song birds to perch and, while perched, their droppings will help to fertilize your garden.

Now you know a few ways on how to be “in control” of where the poop flies as we want to certainly ensure that it doesn’t hit the fan. Happy birding!


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Deciduous vs Coniferous… Trees that is!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Trees, Uncategorized | Posted on 28-09-2013



Well Fall is certainly in the air! At least here on the Front Range. As I drive through Cheyenne I can see that many of our deciduous trees are quickly changing color and it won’t be long until that will blow to the ground.

Recently on our radio program, The Backyard Network radio show, we discussed the difference between a deciduous tree and a coniferous tree. The reason why this is important to know is because when you hear or read something about a local songbird inhabiting a “deciduous” tree, they may be talking about Cardinals, Black Capped Chickadees, Bald Eagles, Northern Flickers, and the like.

A deciduous tree is known for it’s leaves, of which many bird species like to live and build nests in. However, this time of year we start to see these trees shout out a beautiful picture as their leaves being turning, yellow, gold, red, orange as they begin to die and make their journey toward the mulch pile.



A coniferous tree is know for their seed-bearing nature. These trees bear cones and drop their seeds to the ground. This is the opposite of trees and bushes that produce flowering plants in the Spring, which many birds like to inhabit and , in some cases, eat depending on the type of bush. Evergreens, like the Pine Tree, are known as conifers and are a treat to look at all year around. Some of your wild birds that inhabit conifers are:  Bell’s Vireo, Solitary Vireo, Lewis’ Woodpecker, and Pigmy Nuthatch, to name a few.

At any rate, birds like trees, but it can be fun to see what bird likes what type of tree. It also is helpful if you are on a trail hike and are watching for birds, it may make it a bit easier in your bird identification if you know what trees are which. Here are a few ways to remember what is what in reference to deciduous and coniferous trees:

  • Deciduous trees have leaves that fall off during fall and are completely gone during winter.
  • Deciduous trees have leaves that change in color (to yellow, orange, or red).
  • Coniferous trees bear seeds into cones.
  • Coniferous trees are softwood trees while deciduous trees are primarily hardwood

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DIY Backyard Peanut Butter Bird Feeder


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in bird food, Bird Preservation | Posted on 08-09-2013

Hey Bird Lovers! “Batman” Ken and I started getting some ideas on how to set up a peanut butter bird feeder to enhance the birds experience in our backyard network. We saved the tops off of the Simply Orange orange juice bottles to help us with our project. As you will be able to view the photos below, you’ll find that this is an easy way to make your own bird feeder to hold the treats your backyard birds love to eat!



First of all, you want to screw the orange juice caps to the 1 x 4. The 1 x 4 will be the base to hold the caps and to screw to your wooden fence, or another contraption that you may come up with! Just using a simple cordless drill and some screws will hold this thing together. Just make sure that your screws are short enough as to not go all the way through the board. We only want the screws to secure the caps which will hold that yummy meal worm peanut butter which your birds are gonna love! We gAronteeeeeee!





Now that you have that all together, your next step is to install the feeder on your wooden fence, or any other stand-alone unit you want to mount this to. Anything will do and you don’t have to screw the tar out of it to get it to mount. Anywhere from 2-3 screws should be sufficient. That’s “Batman” Ken in the photo. He’s one of the hosts of The Backyard Network Radio Program. He is quite the handy man!






Great Job! Now here comes the fun part. Mixing the good stuff that your backyard wildbirds will absolutely enjoy! In this mix, we used organic peanut butter mixed with dried meal worms. Sounds pretty nasty to you and me, but the birds love this kind of bird feed. Bird feeders can hold all kinds of great mix. If you don’t like this one, then just used your imagination and let the food source rip. Just make sure that you don’t confuse this peanut butter with YOUR peanut butter. You’d really be in for a big surprise on the next peanut butter and jelly sandwich you made. LOL!!!





Last, but not least you want to apply your peanut butter mixture into the orange juice lids on your bird feeder. If you make it a bit thicker, then it will hold a bit better. You can also put a piece of wood under the back bottom of the feeder, which will kick the bottom out a bit and guarantee that your mix will not drip out. Once that it done you are finished. You have now built, installed and stocked your very own DIY Peanut Butter Bird Feeder. Don’t worry, the birds will clean out your feeder in no time. So be sure to keep some extra mix handy. You’ll be glad you did!!





Gary Freeman aka “The Birdhouse Guy” hails from Cheyenne Wyoming. He is a bird watcher and backyard enthusiast who has a weekly radio program, along with Co-Host “Batman” Ken, which can be heard every Saturday Morning from 8 – 9am CST on AM 1480 KRAE or FM 94.7 KRAE and on the internet at He can also be reached on Facebook right here: Birdhouse Guy or on Twitter right here: TheBirdhouseGuy

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Happy 1st Year Anniversary: The Backyard Network Radio Show!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Attract Local Birds, bat houses, Bird Behavior, bird food, Bird Identification, birdhouses, Events, Uncategorized | Posted on 03-08-2013

It was August 2nd, 2013 when The Backyard Network Radio Show premiered on 1480 KRAE in Cheyenne Wyoming.

We just want to say that we appreciate our listeners and sponsors and the station management who have all helped to make this radio program a success, both on the local radio station AM 1480/ FM 94.7 KRAE and on the internet at The Backyard Network Radio Show Online!

For those of you that are not aware of the program, your hosts, The Birdhouse Guy & Batman Ken talk about everything from birding, wild bird food, bird feeding, backyard landscape designs, bird identification and bird cavities. They also explore the facts and fiction of having bats and birds involved with natural insect control and pollination. Butterflies, flowers, bird houses, plants, bushes, brush piles, binoculars, and much much more. Plus your phone calls when you call the show from 8 – 9 am  MST/ 10 – 11am EST every Saturday. They also have an occasional guest from all walks of life to educate and explore the ways to help you build your entire backyard network.

Thank you again as we celebrate our 1st anniversary on the radio and internet. We hope you will tell a friend and share your experiences with us on your great adventures that happen in your yard!

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Moni’ca Pugh – “The Thrifty Gardener” – On The Backyard Network Radio Show!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in garden projects, Radio Guests | Posted on 12-07-2013

This week on “The Backyard Network” Radio Show – Special Guest: Monica Pugh – “Thrifty Gardner” and Jelly Maker!


From jams and jellies to birdhouses and chickens, do-it-yourselfers Moníca and Glenn Pugh have transformed their modest north Sioux Falls backyard into an oasis of green.Five pullets happily peck the ground in their new chicken run while Moníca tends the garden that helps contribute to her jars of jam cooling on the kitchen counter.

Glenn’s birdhouses sit on the porch, ready to go to market.

Their backyard has been reclaimed, reorganized and repurposed through creativity and sweat equity — but very little money.

A backyard transformation

Moníca Pugh grows the peppers and rhubarb she uses in her jams in four 4-foot-by-8-foot raised beds in her backyard.

Stepping on the grass of her lush, narrow, sloping backyard and glancing around, she says, “It didn’t always look like this.”

When she and Glenn moved in three and a half years ago, nothing would grow — not even grass.

“There were two trees, and one was half-dead,” says Pugh, 45. They cut down the struggling tree, and the rest “was bare dirt.”

Now, lily of the valley, hosta, comfrey, peonies, iris, bleeding heart, lilies, day lilies, columbine and other perennials are planted in undulating drifts along the fence line, some beginning to bloom, all looking revived and hardy from the heavy spring rains.


The Pughs managed to fill in their bare yard with backyard plants and landscaping that were, essentially, free.

“We had big ideas and no money,” Moníca Pugh says. They drew up plans for what they wanted, to know what and how much plant material and other elements they needed.

First, they bought a secondhand tiller at a pawn shop and tilled the backyard.

They got a load of free mulch from the city and then advertised in the farm and garden section of Craigslist for different sizes of rock such as large rocks, river rocks and “flat rocks for the fire pit we were going to build,” Pugh says.

A response came from one person who had just bought an acreage and was cleaning up the area. “He had a huge pile of rocks he didn’t know what to do with. We got five truckloads of rock for the landscaping and retaining wall in the back,” she says.

Another person had river rock and flat rock. Someone else had loads of sand to get rid of, and the Pughs used that for the base layer of their fire pit. That same person also offered hostas, lilies, peonies and ground cover.

Many of the other starter plants that now populate the Pughs’ backyard came from a rental home in Brookings whose owners had built a new home.

“They rented their (former) home to students, and the yard was at the stage where it needed to be tended,” Moníca Pugh says. The owner told her she could divide and take anything she wanted if she would dig it up, and now Pugh points to several clumps of hosta she brought back.

“That was the biggest hosta I’ve seen in my life,” she says. “I divided one clump into three, and now the three are as big as the original clump.”

In that one trip, she got variegated hosta, columbine, lily of the valley, rhubarb and raspberries. “I spent the whole day up there,” she says. “When I came home, my trunk and the back seat were completely full.”

A peony in the Pughs’ yard came from a neighbor who didn’t want it anymore.

Moníca Pugh fills gaps in the landscape with clearance plants and bulbs wherever she comes across them, paying only a few dollars apiece. Sometimes they’re free.

Their backyard transformation isn’t finished, though. They recently got five chickens and needed a chicken coop. The Pughs approached building a coop and run with the same “big ideas but no money” approach they used for their yard.

They drew up plans for a 4-foot-by-4-foot coop with a run measuring 4 feet by 8 feet.

All of the roofing and walls are made from reclaimed wood and metal from an old shed their neighbor didn’t want. They tore down the shed board by board and saved the windows.

The roof of the coop is metal, and the inside walls are old paneling. The walls, floor and nest boxes are insulated, mainly because they had the material to do it. The coop contains three of the saved windows, with a fourth window in the door of the coop.

The back of their yard drops off to a steep wooded incline that is home to woodchucks, deer, mink, raccoons and possum, “and we’ve smelled skunk,” Pugh says. “We also have owls, eagles and hawks.

To prevent predators from digging through and then feasting on a chicken dinner, the Pughs built a skirting around the coop by placing hardware cloth three inches under the ground.

Pugh painted the inside of the coop with leftover exterior paint, and she purchased paint for the outside. “It’s Morning Sunrise,” Pugh says.

In other words, it’s yellow.

“I thought it would be appropriate with the chickens.”

They plan to use the rest of the salvaged material for a small greenhouse. With shelves along the sides and two walls of windows, “I could start lettuce and vegetables in early spring,” Pugh says.

Recycling plants and landscape materials is the ultimate way to up-cycle. Basically, for the price of sweat equity, Pugh says, “we got a new backyard.”

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Earth Day ~ Cheyenne Wyoming!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in birdhouses, Events, garden projects | Posted on 14-04-2013


What a great way to kick off some Spring activities with you and your family!

The Paul Smith Children’s Village ~ Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is kicking off their “Let’s G.O. (Get Outside) Day! If you want to get the kids outside and do some really fun things, plan to attend this great event – Saturday, April 20th, 2013!

Planting, Tag, Photos, Story Times, Cork Boat and Pooh Stick Races, and you can even make your own Trash Robot, Bird Nest or Plant Necklace.

For More Information, Call Ashley Rooney, youth coordinator for Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails @ 307-777-6560. See you there!!!

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Wild Birds And Ashes: A Great Relationship!


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Attract Local Birds, Bird Behavior, bird food, Bird Preservation, Bird Seeds | Posted on 15-03-2013


Interestingly enough, there are some very strange relationships in our world. These are the types of relationships that supersede what we may deem as “normal.” It is no different in the wild bird kingdom. Feeding birds has always been a fairly popular past time for many people. Bird food of all kinds is at an all time high with the hobby of birding being ranked at about #2 on the charts.

Some of the foods that may really surprise you are numerous. Ranging from the Anna’s Hummingbird sand, to the Rufous Hummingbirds soil, to brown lemming bones which are a treat to the Arctic Sandpipers, there are all types of bird food that you and I may deem peculiar. If you have been camping, or are planning to soon, you may find some unexpected visitors at the remains of your bonfire the night before. No, I’m not talking about some wanderer looking for a piece of hot dog that fell in the fire, but I’m talking about wild birds ranging from Hummingbirds, to Wild Turkey’s to even an occasional Chickadee.


Chickadees, Crossbills and Turkeys have been seen consuming ashes along with Hummingbirds, which usually can be found licking the powdery stuff from the surface of an old fire. This may sound VERY strange considering a Hummingbirds diet consists mainly of an overload of liquid. A typical Hummingbird will consume almost twice its own weight in nectar and urinates about 80 percent of its weight. That would be like you and I urinating about 20 gallons of liquid per day. WOW! That is a lot of liquid isn’t it?


A biologist from Alta Loma California, James des Lauriers, has noted that ashes are loaded with calcium and this is what is needed especially after a Hummingbird finishes laying her eggs, which are composed of calcium carbonate. So this depletion causes her to want more calcium. How to remedy this? Throw some egg shells out and watch the song birds and wild bird have at it. Ashes are loaded with calcium. Wood ashes produces a specific kind of lime rendering about 3/4 of calcium oxide. The ash also renders a good amount of sodium oxide as well. One observation showed that after a hummingbird laid her eggs, she went after the calcium found in the ashes.

As you may know, the mortar and brick on some of your houses also inhabit a certain amount of calcium that will attract other song birds such as the finches in your yard. All the bird seed in the world may not stop their activities of gnawing on your chimney’s, but egg shells may help to detour their activity.

I don’t want you to feel like you have to produce piles of ashes in your backyard network in order to help meet the need of these feathered calcium seekers. Egg shells will help to do the job after you sterilize them. Let the egg shells boil for about 10 minutes or you can put them on a baking sheet in your oven set at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes or so. Then crush the shells into small bits and scatter them about your observation points and patios. You can even mix them in with your wild bird seed in your backyard bird feeders.

I hope this will help you in your quest to make your backyard network the very BEST that it can be. For more information on how you can acquire tips and supplies for your backyard, simply visit: The Birdhouse Outlet or Edible Bird Feeders!

Happy Birding!!!

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Myotis Ciliolabrum – Or the Western Small-Footed Myotis


Posted by Birdhouse Guy | Posted in Attracting Bats, bat houses, Bat Preservation | Posted on 06-03-2013


The Western Small-Footed Batis a fairly small bat approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches long with a wingspan around 8-10 inches weighing in at 4-6 grams. This bat is found in Western Canada and the Western US down into Mexico in the desert, semi-desert and desert mountain regions. These particular bats are a very hardy species, being the last to enter the hibernacula and the first to leave. It also survives in below freezing temperatures and does not appear to go into complete hibernation.

The feeding habits of these bats are not well known but are known to eat small insects such as lepidopterans (butterflies,moths), coleopterans (beetles), dipterans (midges, flies, mosquitoes), neuropterans (lacewings), hymenopterans (wasps,ants,bees, sawflies), and hemipterans (true bugs) . These bats hunt over rocks rather than water as other bats do.

Most bats winter hibernation areas are away from their summer roosts, however the Western Small-footed bats hibernacula is in the same area as their summer roosts. Nursing colonies have been found in rock cliffs and clay banks. Their life span seems to have a maximum of 12 years with the average around 5-7 years. There is extremely little known about the habitat requirements for these bats. The altitude ranges for these bats appear to be between 2120-8670 feet. This is based on unpublished information from Heritage Data management System.

All in all an interesting species of bat that there appears to be only a limited amount of information available compared to other bats.

(©”BatMan” Ken)

 Ken “Batman Ken” Rudman is resident of Wyoming. He is also a writer, businessman and a promoter of bird and bat preservation, natural insect control, and a “how-to” guy to help people build up their backyard network in attracting song birds, feeders, artificial houses, facts and more.Send your questions, ideas, article requests and inquiries to Ken – The Backyard Ombudsman-  at his email address:   He is also featured on his weekly radio program The Backyard Network Radio Show on AM 1480 KRAE Radio.

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