Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Get Ready for Feathered Friends!

As I write this, there’s a winter storm warning in the north half of our state and tornado watches in the south half. In Iowa, we know the weather can change within minutes. However, we also know spring is officially here, so we just have to “weather” through the craziness sometimes.

If it’s not snowing or raining, then many of us are outside doing spring clean up and getting ready for gardens Finch Feederand the birds who “flew the coop” for the winter.

Here are some things you can be doing now to get ready:

  • Take down all of your bird feeders, dump out all the remaining seed, and thoroughly clean them with water.

We took our finch feeders down over the winter, but already have them back out. Check the finch feeders for cracks and missing pegs. If it leaks too much thistle, then it’s probably time to get a new feeder. One of the easiest and most popular finch feeders we use is the simple thistle sock. For some reason, the finches really prefer to eat off of it. But you have to make sure it doesn’t get too nasty from rain.

  • Wherever your feeders were this winter, you need to remove all that seed that’s on the ground. Our feeders are in one of our flower gardens near a tree. I found I could actually just use a rake and pull it back like a rug. Not only is it messy and nasty, but it can also attribute to mold problems, allergies to you, and diseases to birds.
  • Figure out where you’re going to put your feeders for the summer. Remember birds, likeHummingbird humans, need food, shelter, and water. Place your feeders away from trees where predators can hide. Add a birdbath and they’ll probably stick around for a while! Change the water in the birdbath every 2-3 days.

Hummingbird feeders traditionally are put out by May 1. Our feeder is in a different flower garden surrounded by red potted flowers and mandevilla, which they adore. We also have loads of zinnias which we plant in both gardens for the bees and the butterflies.Wren with bug

  • If you want some real entertainment, put out a wren house. Wrens are small, but mighty and will chew you out every chance they get. However, we have watched, from our patio, two wren broods grow and thrive every summer. Small wren houses are necessary to keep the starlings and other predators out.

We now have a hawk who hangs around our backyard, so we will see what this year brings. Hopefully, more wrens, hummingbirds, and butterflies!wren house


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