Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter Bird Care

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Winter brings with it a host of difficulties for wildlife, birds in particular. Around 50 per cent of UK birds migrate south for the colder months, where the resident birds staying behind often experience a surprisingly hard time considering their refusal to migrate. Food is at a premium, since most plants are no longer producing either fruit or seeds. A few pests such as aphids and slugs remain, but most of the insects and invertebrates sustaining birds throughout the year have either burrowed underground for warmth or died altogether. Later in the season water sources freeze up entirely, reducing their ability to feed and clean themselves. The lack of foliage removes many possibilities for nesting and insulation, and all this combines to create a generally hostile and stressful environment.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to support your garden birds over the lean winter months, one of which is providing high-calorie meals to sustain them and insulate against the cold. Fatty suet is a reliable standby, and can be bought online or made into cakes at home to feed a wide variety of birds. To appeal to a wider variety of species consider shredding the cakes, allowing smaller birds easier access to the food.

Peanuts provide excellent nutrition, being rich in both fat and calories. They can be offered shelled if you want to limit feeding to larger birds, or shredded for wider appeal. Nyger seeds traditionally appeal to finches, though are incredibly oily and represent good nutrition to any winter birds frequenting your mesh feeder. Just remember that in the case of any shelled nuts and seeds to keep an eye out for shell debris left on the surface of your garden. This can interfere with plant growth in the new spring, and it's advisable to collect it back up to avoid any damage.

Giving birds somewhere to roost is highly helpful, though this is obviously limited to a small number of birds. Bird houses can be adjusted to appeal to specific species, depending on whether you want to aid any particularly attractive or vulnerable birds, and can be placed on walls and trees to support local breeding pairs. Remember to keep an eye on any species taking up residence in your garden, since they'll likely leave towards the beginning of spring. Clean out any nesting spots at this point to make room for birds seeking temporary spring housing and you'll be able to keep birds all year round.

Water sources are increasingly valuable once the ground freezes, so making these available represents a valuable contribution to the local wildlife. For homes with a pond feature, heat a saucepan of water and hold it over the ice until a large hole has been safely melted through. For any water features that have yet to freeze you can leave a tennis or ping pong ball in them to disrupt the onset of ice, and keep them capable of sustaining drinking and washing for weeks to come.

Louise Fisher tries to keep birds frequenting her garden all year round. Now a featured collaborator of Bonnington Plastics, a bird seed wholesale supplier, she hopes to spread advice even further.

Article Source: Winter Bird Care

Monday, April 30, 2012

Before You Bring Your Cockatiel Home

By Randi Mendelsohn

Bringing your cockatiel home.

What do you need to purchase before you bring your cockatiel home? You will need to buy a cage, food, two food bowls and two water bowls if your cage doesn't come with them, perches, a cuttlebone or mineral stone, and appropriate toys.

What type of cage should you buy? The cage should be purchased and put in place in your home before you bring your tiel home. The cage should be big enough to provide your bird or birds with plenty of space to play and explore. When your bird stretches his wings, they shouldn't come close to touching the cage bars. The minimum size of the cage should be approximately a twenty inch square minimum for one bird. The cage bars shouldn't be spaced more than a half an inch apart.

The perches should be wood and you should buy one or two branches of different sizes to ensure the bird's feet are exercised and healthy. The perches and branches should be the right size, not too fat, not too thin. Make sure that the perches or branches are placed in a comfortable position, near the bowls, so you tiel can easily and comfortably access his food and water but not directly over the bowl, so your bird's droppings won't land in the bowl. Your bird might enjoy a swing perch or rope perch, but be sure there are stationary perches, especially for them to feed from. It would be quite uncomfortable for your bird to try to eat while on a swing!

As mentioned before, I suggest four bowls in total. This will make your life a little easier because in the morning, when you empty both bowls to clean them, you can fill the other set while soaking and cleaning the first.

Attach a cuttlebone or mineral stone to the bars in a place near a perch accessible to your bird. Both of these are sources of calcium and phosphorous and your bird will use them to sharpen their beaks on.

There are many types of activities you can add to the cage such as ladders, balls with bells in them, and all sorts of toys your tiel will enjoy. Don't overload the cage. Give your bird room to breathe.

And remember, it could take weeks before your bird even goes near some of these items, if he goes near them at all. Don't force him. Just introduce them to him and let his own instincts take over.

Click here for more information

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Randi_Mendelsohn

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Handfeeding Birds: How To Do It Best

Many families entertain the idea of getting a pet at one time or another.
Sometimes it is the children that insist that their lives will not be complete
without a friendly pet to have fun with. Then there is the posture of a
bird. Believe it or not, birds perch differently. For example, a Flycatcher
perches vertically (straight up and down) when on a branch while a Vireo
perches horizontally (almost lying down) when on the same branch.

Here is a feature that is often overlooked: bird-proof door locks. You
should get a cage that your bird can't escape from. Just think about what
would happen if your bird escaped & was free the entire day while you're

Bird droppings can become very erosive, and the longer they sit on your
cage, the more damage can occur. Even the best brand name cages will
only last 3-4 years if not appropriately taken care of.

With so many people hoping to see a bird they'v never seen before, it's
not surprising to see a clamoring for the latest tips and tools to get the
job done.

Handfeeding: How To Do It Best

Birds are such delicate animals that they must be handled carefully.
Handfeeding is usually one of the best ways to interact with them.
However, just the same, it should be done with care and there are some
things that must be remembered and followed.

Birds, especially pet birds, have somehow learned that people are their
greatest benefactors. Although they have the capacity to live on their
own under nature's nurture, years of interaction with human beings have
taught them to accept people as good friends. Thus, it is normal that
they, at some point, rely on people for food. Handfeeding, however,
cannot be done as if you really are providing care for a bird. Your very first
consideration must be the frequency of feeding and the volume of food
that you provide. This should be the case especially for baby birds which
grow rapidly and have certain nutritional needs.

As a bird matures, his food capacity increases as well. You should regularly
take note of the development of the bird to be able to identify properly
what type of food and how much of it is most suitable. Handfeeding must
be a product of both observation and personal judgment.

Try this before you go; lower your binoculars to your side and very quickly
raise them to find and follow a jet airliner across the sky. After only a few
attempts, you'll get good at quickly acquiring your target. Quite often,
birds are visible for only a few seconds, practice to become proficient.

Don't be afraid to ask the store workers any questions you have about
owning a bird or about the differences between varieties of birds. Learn
as much as you can before you make your final choice.

Just where to hang the feeders? In general, it is good to hang these
feeders in any part of the garden where there is no direct exposure to
sunlight and where the wind will not be able to shake the feeder.

As much as you love the sound of your new little bird, you probably don't
want to hear it at the crack of dawn. If your feathered friend's morning
song is interrupting your sleep, you might want to buy a bird cage cover.

And here's why; when you decide to squeeze a cage into a specific place
in your house this almost always takes away from the well-being of your
bird! You must also take note of the unique features of a bird's digestive
system. The esophagus widens as well as the lower part of the neck.
Such widening is referred to as crop and serves as food compartment.

If you are trying to handfeed a baby bird, you can easily see and evaluate
its crop since the feathers are not yet thick. However, if your pet bird is
quite mature, the best way to evaluate is to feel the crop's contents by
pressing it with your thumb and index finger. You should do this prior to
feeding so that you know how much to foor to provide.

Baby birds should never be left with a totally empty crop. Normal
emptying time is 4 hours. If you notice that 4 hours have passed and the
crop still has contents, there might be some problem with the bird's
health. Not only should you be concerned about the volume and
frequency of feeding, you should also make sure that your hand is
positioned properly. Wild birds are generally easier to feed because they
reach for the food dropper without much encouragement. You can often
feed them without holding them; but the case is not the same for other
types where you have to use a towel to handle them carefully and
position for feeding.

In general, handfeeding birds is really not a straight forward task. You
have to take note of many factors that will benefit the animal. How do
bird watchers strive to entice birds to their yards? Find out at
http://www.bird-watch.info Is the bird cage you are considering made of
materials that are safe for your feathered friend?

Avoid hollow bars! Especially if you're getting a medium to large bird. Any
decent sized bird will bend or possibly chew through a hollow cage bar.

When buying online, however, be sure to weigh in the shipping costs to
determine if you are truly saving over buying local.

If you are a new bird watcher, we urge you to joing a bird watching
forum. The most important dimension in a cage is width. A guideline is to
choose a width at least 1 ? times your bird's wingspan.

If you decide to choose a bird as your first or next family pet, take the
time to educate your entire family on the bird. After you have taken the
time to learn, teach your family important facts about the bird and about
the needs the bird will have when it becomes a part of your family.

How do bird watchers strive to entice birds to their yards? Find out at http://www.bird-watch.info

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Gift Can I Give A Bird Lover This Christmas?

Choosing gifts for any animal lovers can be quite a pleasure, as it is often a gift that is shared by the recipient with her animal friends or pets. This is especially so with bird lover gifts. People who really love birds tend to want them to enhance their gardens, to encourage real wild birds to visit time and again, or even stay for the breeding season.

A gift for a bird lover can therefore be a gift of life, a promotion of nature around the home, visible from the windows or while tending the garden. Encouraging wild birds to their gardens is something that millions do in the northern hemisphere, especially in the winter when many wild birds suffer from food shortages.

At Christmas, cards are commonly adorned by robins, their red breasts contrasting so vividly with the white snow. But that pretty picture can be deceiving, with the harshness of winter depriving the robin and other resident birds of the sustenance and warmth they need to survive until spring. It is that threat that brings out the best in bird lovers through those winter months.

It is not just winter, though, that encourages true bird lovers to think about the birds. In the summer, too, many Americans and Britons have taken to encouraging birds to nest in their gardens or on their homes.

What Gifts Can You Choose For A Bird Lover?

Christmas comes as the coldest of winter approaches, so if you know someone who cares for the wild birds, it can be a good time to buy a bird gift that will help them with their feeding of the birds in their garden. This will not only help the regular bird visitors to their garden, but encourage new visitors too. Sometimes in the worst winters, some rarer birds may give lots of pleasure and excitement to the garden's owner as they come seeking food and shelter.

If you are not a bird lover yourself, and are not sure of the sort of things you can buy as a gift, here are a few ideas for you:

Bird Feeders

Bird feeders can be the winter saviour for many birds in a cold winter. This is especially true with small birds, who have to eat continually from dawn to dusk to survive the night. Those nuts that are put out in a simple nut feeder could save those birds lives on many a night when there is frost and snow around.

The variety of bird feeders is very wide nowadays. Window feeders have been around a long time, but they too have grown in the variety available since the first plastic versions appeared a few decades ago. In more recent years, some very decorative, and attractive feeders have been created, and there is a wide choice of these available now as gifts for your bird lover friends and relatives.

Remember also that you can get feeders that are for particular species of bird. You will find feeders for bluebirds, hummingbirds, orioles and other beautiful birds.

Should you decide to buy a bird feeder as a Christmas gift, it may be a nice touch too if you added a supply of an appropriate bird food. That could mean the happy bird lover setting the feeder up Christmas morning, and having some very special feathered visitors for Christmas lunch. And I'm not talking about the turkey!

Bird Houses or Nest Boxes

If you want to brighten up Christmas by looking ahead to spring, then you will find another range of bird lover gifts with bird houses, or nest boxes as they are more commonly called in the UK. While bird houses may not be used until spring and summer for nesting, there are two good reasons for setting them up early.

Firstly, some birds will use them as shelter in bad weather, so again, this is a gift that could be a life saver. Secondly, house prospecting amongst birds can go on long before nesting. If the bird house goes up in December, you can bet that this new piece of prime real estate will be eyed by many a bird passing through the garden or by the house.

Bird houses make for quite an exciting gift for bird lovers, as the gift will bring lots of pleasures once the first birds use it for nesting. It is also a great way to teach children about birds as they watch the parents building the nest, the laying of the eggs, the hatching of the nestlings, and then the feeding of the young before their departure. A real pleasure for bird lovers young and old alike.

This bird lover gift article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner and author of http://www.gifts-for-xmas.com and http://www.xmas-ornament.com

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter is perfect bird-watching weather

It's deep winter, the time when the nonskiing majority often feels an irresistible urge to curl up by the fire and stay there until daffodils trumpet the start of spring. A few snowy weeks later, however, serious cabin fever sets in.

An uncommon-but-sure cure is to get out and go bird watching, Deborah D. Cary, director of Central Sanctuaries for Mass Audubon, says.

Really? In winter??
“Actually it's spectacular in winter because there isn't so much foliage around to distract you. You get a much clearer view of the birds,” Cary said. “You can see their flight patterns better, and it's quieter when there's a lot of snow on the ground. Listening for a bird call is a key way to identify a species so it works great in winter.”

Audubon sanctuaries offer guided bird walks in winter to help you get the hang of where the birds are hanging out in cold weather. You also will learn something about their winged ways. You might see chickadees, blue jays and wrens but they are not the same ones you see in summer. That's because almost all birds are migratory to some extent, Alexander Dunn, a natural history guide at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, said.

Some birds, such as the Arctic tern, travel 10,000 miles twice a year, basically from pole to pole and back. But our backyard birds might only migrate a few hundred miles so that in winter we have birds from Canada who head south to Massachusetts before the deep freeze hits their homeland. Meanwhile, the chickadees, jays and others that hop around our yards in summer have flown down to the Carolinas for the winter. They return as their Canadian cousins hightail it home in the spring.

So why is Massachusetts warm enough for one chickadee and not for another? Because they're a little bit like people, apparently. “Some of us spend the winter here and some of us go to Florida,” said Dunn, who is the outreach coordinator at Worcester Art Museum.

If you can't tell a robin from a roadrunner, you might want to check out a new blog Dunn has started, The Daily Bird New England.

The blog is like a “word-of-the-day” calendar for beginner bird watchers. Each day a brief entry describes a kind of bird that can be seen around here whatever the time of year it happens to be. The idea is that, if you visit each day, you can develop an understanding of birds in rhythm with the seasons.

“There are loads of websites and blogs about bird watching, but a lot of them are based around personal photographs, personal sightings and places that people like to go that are specific to a particular region,” Dunn said. “I wanted to basically do a website where people could go to learn about bird watching — and learn in pace with the season, so it's based in what's going on right now outside your window.”

Follow the blog long enough and you might become a twitcher, which is what obsessive bird spotters in England are called. Birders throughout the world are obsessed with their lifetime checklists that keep track of all the birds they've ever seen. The idea, in bird circles, is to have a very long list, so when a rare bird is spotted in the British Isles, twitchers, sometimes thousands of them, flock to the location, though it be many hours away from where they live. “These are people who will take a six-hour car ride to see a bird they've never seen, check it off their list and then drive back home,” Dunn said.

Dunn says he is not a twitcher, but he's all for going the distance where a special bird is concerned. He will be a co-leader for a Broad Meadow Brook-sponsored trip to Plum Island, a barrier island off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, on Jan. 29. The group will be on the lookout for the magnificent snowy owl, which usually lives in the far north tundra but comes south for the deepest part of winter. To a snowy owl, Plum Island in winter looks a lot like home. “It's similar to the tundra that these birds spend the rest of the year on,” Dunn said. “In the winter they get pushed down to these little pockets of flat frozen land. They'll show up sometimes at Logan Airport or Duxbury Beach and places that look like that, but Plum Island is a really reliable place.”

Of course they are white (hence the name “snowy”) and you are trying to pick them out against a snow-covered background. Still, bird watchers give a hoot about catching a glimpse of one.

“There's just something about them,” Dunn said. “They're this massive bird. You see them flying silently over the frozen expanse, you have the sense that you're suddenly transported to the Arctic. If you get a close enough look, they have these yellow and black eyes and when they lock on you it's kind of a looking-into-your-soul kind of thing. It's really powerful.”

For more information, click here or call (508) 753-6087.

Article written by Nancy Sheehan
Original article: telegram.com

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bird Dander Do's - 4 Things to Be Sure to Do When Dealing With Bird Dander

If you have a pet bird, you have bird dander and always will for as long as you have a bird. But obviously you love your bird enough to take dander as part of being a bird lover and search for ways to effectively manage it. Here are 4 biggies to do in order to be successful at managing your bird's dander.

Let Your Space Tell You How Many-Bird dander is not a problem for birds or people unless the birds are kept in an enclosed space. This adds all sorts of problems that are just not on the radar for birds in the wild. If you have only a small space to offer, one of the best ways to cut down on the dander is to limit the number of birds you have in that space.

Know What to Expect-All warm blooded animals produce dander and birds are no different. While birds all have similar basic requirements, their needs, traits, and behaviors vary drastically from one species to another.

Knowing about the birds you are interested in will help you determine which birds are best for the space you have. For instance, some birds such as African Greys, Cockatoos, and Cockatiels also produce a fine white powder or dust in addition to bird dander.

So whereas your space might allow for 2 or 3 smaller birds that don't produce this powder, you and your bird will be subject to less dander and powder with a fewer number of birds from the dustier species.

Use High Efficiency Particle Arresting (HEPA) Air Purifier-With homes that are so well insulated, unless you actively filter the dander it will continue to go around and around in your home.

A HEPA purifier is so adept at clearing away bird dander because by definition for every 10,000 particles greater than.3 microns, it will remove 99,997 of them with 99.97% efficiency.

Since many bird-related diseases that affect birds and people are transmitted by airborne particulates, removing them before that become a problem is a cost effective way to eliminate problems before they start.

Size Your Purifier Correctly-When selecting a purifier, especially for birds, several factors should be kept in mind. First the actual square footage that you're trying to clean should include any area that is open to the area where your birds are kept.

So if you keep your birds in the living room, but that room is open to all the other rooms in the house, bird dander will find its way all through your home, and a good cleaner will eventually draw air from all over your home as well.

If you have sized your purifier correctly this is a good thing. This means that your cleaner will be able to adequately clean the entire space exposed to bird dander.

You should also consider the number and types of birds you have. If for instance a purifier is designed to clean 700 square feet, and you have 2 African Greys in an area that is 700 square feet, you should opt for the larger unit because of the unusually high amount of bird dander and dust you know will come just from the Greys.

In real estate the most important factor is location. With bird dander and air purifiers one of the most crucial factors is sizing. Choosing a cleaner that can adequately clean not only your square footage, but the amount of bird dander you are likely to have will mean a happy, healthier bird because there is less bird dander in the air. And less dander greatly reduces the chance of disease and infection for both you and your bird.

An excellent HEPA air purifier to remove bird dander from your air is offered by PurerAir.com-- the Bird Dander Air Purifier See it now at http://purerair.com/bird_dander_air_purifier.html
Debbie Davis, President, PurerAir.com

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Learn How To Build A Bird House

A great family project for those cold winter days.

Birds are great additions to your backyard. Putting up bird houses is an excellent way to attract them. However, not all birds opt to nest in bird houses. Birds differ in their habitat preferences and only cavity-dwellers are probably interested in the bird shelters in your backyard. As it is, these cavity-dwellers also have their own specifications about the kind of house they like. These are minor measurements or feature issues but they are important for the birds. However, there are general guidelines in building these houses.

First, it is important to identify the species of birds that visit your backyard. It is also necessary to distinguish which are the cavity-dwellers from the tree and burrow dwellers. Common cavity-dwellers are wrens, chickadees, bluebirds, and flickers. Choose one you like best and focus your bird house design on it. Even if the idea of building multiple bird houses appeal to you, refrain from doing so because birds are territorial animals.

Second, determine the required dimensions of your chosen bird. Forget asking the birds for these because you'll get no answers. Dimensions of bird houses include entrance-hole, height, depth, and floor size. Smaller birds like wren and chickadees usually prefer 4x4 floor size and a reasonable 8" depth. Consult a bird book or the internet for information regarding the measurements of your bird house.

Third, it is better to use untreated wood and lumber for bird houses. Aside from mimicking the birds' natural habitat, natural wood also minimizes risks of poisoning and overheating. Treated and processed wood like plywood contains preservatives like formaldehyde, which poses serious health hazards to your feathered friends. Lumber that is classified as pressure-treated often contain toxic chemicals which can poison the nesting birds. Paint is also a no-no. Chipping paint can be mistaken by the bird for food and eat it. Also, metals and plastics are not suitable for building avian shelters since they are both prone to overheating. You would want to provide the birds shelter, not an outdoor oven.

Fourth, in drafting or designing a plan for your bird houses, it is important to consider the birds' safety against the elements and predators. Slanted roofs are preferable so rain, dirt, and moisture would not collect on top and rot the wood. It is also preferable that the roofs extend over the sides and front. Perches are not really necessary since cavity-dwellers do not perch. Consider drainage and ventilation needs. Drill small holes on the floor but make sure that these are smaller than the bird's feet. These holes are also best placed on corners to help in draining water out in case of rain. Baby birds drown easily and a bit of collected rainwater in their shelter is enough to send them to their deaths. Aside from the relatively larger entrance holes, place ventilation holes along the house's walls or back. These let heat escape to keep the structure comfortably cool. Placing the bird house atop a pole is a good way to discourage predators like cats and raccoons.

Fifth, maintenance and cleanliness are also factors in bird house building. Unkempt bird houses are causes of diseases, according to experts. To help you in maintaining cleanliness in the bird house, add a backdoor. This way, you can easily remove unused nest and disinfect the vacated house. Droppings and other dirt also contribute to the contamination and cleaning these out limits risks of infecting other birds.

With these tips, you are on your way to designing and building your own bird houses. Help the birds by treating these houses as if you live there. Considering the birds' safety in your bird houses ensure you of longer years with your feathered friends.

Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes articles about pet health and pet supplies.

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