Archive for August, 2018

Fall Bird Feeding

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Fall Bird FeedingThe other day I was making an inventory of items in my tool shed and it looks like it’s time to stock up on birdseed. It is important to take care of our feathered friends through the winter when food sources become scarce.

I like to set aside one afternoon to take down all of the feeders and really wash them well. I use a cleaning solution of one part vinegar to four parts water. If getting a brush inside the feeder is difficult, I use a handful of rice to serve as an abrasive to clean the interior. Tube feeders can be a challenge because there are so many parts to them, so I just remove whatever I can and then I use a solution of bleach and water to soak all the parts. And if you find soaking alone does not do the trick, you may have to use a little elbow grease and maybe even a toothbrush to get down into some of the tighter spots. For wooden feeders, I avoid using bleach and instead use a mild dish washing detergent and a stiff bristle brush to clean them up. With all types of feeders it is important to rinse them thoroughly and let them dry completely before refilling them.

To attract my favorite birds I found that it helps to learn what type of seed they prefer.

For instance, your basic bag of mixed seeds includes millet, cracked corn, small sunflower seeds and milo. Now this will get the attention of jays and doves. But if you’d like to see chickadees and cardinals at your feeder, try putting out black oiled sunflower seeds. If you want to attract finches, nuthatches and siskins offer thistle seed. Now, don’t worry about thistles coming up everywhere, the seeds are generally sterilized. And here’s another idea, suet cakes. It’s a high-energy food made of animal fat and seeds that the woodpeckers just love.

With so many feeders on the market, how do you choose the best one? Well, one of the first considerations is durability, the thing has got to last. It needs to be well built, so it can withstand a fall. And it should be resistant to the weather, rust and squirrels. I also look for one that holds a lot of seed, so I don’t have to refill it so often.

Of course, you want a good-looking feeder, so style is also important. There are as many different types of bird feeders available as there are birds. I always seem to go for ones that blend into the environment. They should also be made with materials, paints and finishes that are non-toxic and bird-friendly.

I like tube feeders for a number of reasons. They don’t waste much seed and you can always tell how much food you have in them. And since they have small perches, it keeps large birds from dominating at feeding time. They are also made with smaller holes for specialty seed like thistles.

When placing my feeders, I like to put them in areas where the birds will feel safe. Close to a large shrub where they can take cover or up in the branches of a tree. And I set up several feeding stations in different areas of my garden to help disperse the bird activity. This prevents overcrowding. Periodically, I like to move my feeders around. This will reduce the concentration of droppings and possible diseases.

If you find a dead or diseased bird around your feeders, one not killed by a predator, you may want to disinfect your feeders weekly. You can do this by simply soaking them for 3 – 4 minutes in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water.

Now, there’s another way that you can feed birds that’s particularly attractive to gardeners. Select plants for your garden that are both beautiful and produce fruits and berries that birds love to eat, like crabapples and dogwoods. And when it comes to shrubs, try something like grape hollies or roses for their beautiful bright hips in the winter.

Be sure and place your feeders and plants in places where you can enjoy watching the birds from your window. Nothing brightens a winter day like the beauty of colorful songbirds in your garden.

Source: P. Allen Smith Garden Home

Visit the Artist – Kirk Johnson: Bird House Artist

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Welcome to our new series: Visit the Artist! Today, we visit master birdhouse maker, Kirk Johnson. A pillar of the Helena community, he formerly owned what is now Point S Tire. The birds and his collectors are lucky that after retirement, Kirk let his artistic imagination take the wheel. Behold the creative genius of Kirk Johnson!

Chuck says, “Come down for First Friday!”

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Chuck requests the honor of your company for @1st Fridays Downtown Helena, tonight, 5-9pm. Here’s his personal invitation!

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 17 – B&B Seed vs. The Other Guys’

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Why should you buy our seed? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is glad you asked! Sandy gives you the skinny on our seed varieties’ quality and type versus the competition.

Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 16 – Fill those Hummingbird Feeders

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Hummingbirds are beginning their migration south. Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, explains how you can help them have a successful journey in this episode of, Let’s Ask Sandy!

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys! Today’s “Let’s Ask Sandy” question is: Where are the hummingbirds and should I take down my feeder? The answer is no, please don’t take down your feeder. The birds are migrating back right now. So what you’re going to see is the adult males are starting to migrate south, they’ll be doing that the next couple of weeks. Then following will be the juveniles and the females. So, it’s really important you put a feeder out and fill it up. Remember the ratio is four to one, four cups of water to one cup of sugar. Put it out because you are going to be the gas station for those birds if they pass through. Keep your feeder up through mid-September until you see your last bird, a couple of weeks after you see your last bird. If you have any questions, give us a call. Remember, it’s been an odd hummingbird year. Maybe we will get some more in August than we did in July. Thanks for asking Sandy!

Summer Evening Bird Walk

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
Aug ’18
29
6:00 pm

Summer Evening Bird Walk

On Wednesday, August 29th, join Birds & Beasleys for a guided bird walk. Meet in front of the store, bring your whole family, out of town guests, and your binoculars. This event will be fun for people of all ages. Continue checking our Facebook page for more information regarding this upcoming event. We can’t wait to explore areas of Helena, Montana on the bird walk.

Call the store at 406-449-0904 or visit Birds and Beaselys on Facebook for more information about the Summer Evening Bird Walks. If you can’t make this bird walk, check out our weekly Saturday morning bird walks here.

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