Wild Birds And Ashes: A Great Relationship!

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

(©KyleLake)

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.

(SongbirdGarden.com)

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?

(©Flicker.com)

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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Wild Bird Seed – What’s The Scoop?

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Posted by Bird House Guy | Posted in Bird Seeds | Posted on 26-04-2011

Bird seeds have been a major staple for wild birds forever. Now days, it is pretty easy to set out bird seed and or buy bulk bird seed. Awhile back, the only seed that was really available was sunflower bird seed. They had the thick-shelled seed with a gray stripes going down them. Since then, black-oil sunflower seed has been the big hit since back in the days. We want to look at what the scoop is with wild bird seed, whether you are buying the seed or if you want to go more natural, by growing the seed yourself. Here’s the scoop!

(©AndreasRentz/GettyImages)

(©AndreasRentz/GettyImages)

Grow Your Own Birdseed:  If you take the time to plant bird seed in your backyard, it will grow and produce more bird seed. One of the most famous forms of seed growth is the sunflower plants. However, there is another type of bird seed that you may not have considered and that is the safflower. With its spiky stems and prolific seed production, you’ll really enjoy the amount of bird seed that just one plant produces. Many people leave these flowers in the field for the birds to enjoy. Then there are others, who take the challenge and harvest safflower and sunflowers and store them in a cool, dry place until they need it for winter bird feeding. Some other seed producing plants that you may want to add flax, marigolds and poppies to the mix as well.

Black-Oil Sunflower Seed: These seem to be a bit more popular now days than the traditional sunflower seeds. These are smaller and have a thin, papery shell that produces to the smaller bills of sparrows, goldfinches and juncos.  A good idea is to crack the wild bird seed before you buy as they could contain something called Indian-flour moth larvae. Ensure that the shells are well filled and free of insects.

Sunflower Seed: Consider sunflower hearts as a part of your wild bird feeding program in your backyard network. Just about every bird species will east sunflower bird seed at your posted feeding stations. Hull-less sunflower hearts are a real good feed for the weak billed birds as well such as Siskins and Wrens. Remember that sunflower hearts are 100% edible and they last much longer in a feeder than the black-oil bird seed. They can become quickly waterlogged, so make sure that you only put the hearts in suspended feeders or in open feeders so that they stay attractive to the wild birds.

Mixed Seeds: Lastly mixed seeds or also known as wild bird mix, is a vital ingredient of a feeding program. All mixes can be different. Ensure that you know what kind of bird you are trying to feed. Niger, or thistle seed is a good seed if you want to bypass germination and it not becoming a weed when it hits the ground. Goldfinches are attracted to these as well.

I hope you will be successful in attracting the kinds of wild birds in your neck of the woods. Now you know the scoop on sunflower bird seed and wild bird seed as well. For more information on how you can order your bird seed on-line, visit:  www.wildlife-houses.com/index.php?cPath=17&page=2

Happy Bird Feeding To You From The Birdhouse Guy!

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