Ask Birdsquatch: Wood Duck Boxes
Mar 18, 2020

Ask Birdsquatch: Wood Duck Boxes

Dear Birdsquatch: I want to put up some wood duck boxes in my large, wooded backyard. However the nearest body of water (a wooded pond in a county park) is more than a half-mile away from my property. Am I being foolish? Do I need to ask permission to put the boxes on the park property where the pond is?

—Dawn, Who is Desirous of Ducks
Lawton, Oklahoma

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Why Do Birds Sing?
Mar 11, 2020

Why Do Birds Sing?

You don't need to be an avid birder to notice that birds make a wide variety of sounds. Some of these sounds are gentle and pleasant, like the beautiful phrasing of a newly arrived wood thrush in spring. Other sounds can be jarring and annoying, at least to a nonbirder, such as the loud mechanical imitations of a northern mockingbird on a summer night.
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Ask Birdsquatch: Furry Enlightenment
Mar 4, 2020

Ask Birdsquatch: Furry Enlightenment

Hey Furball:

I want to give the birds some natural nesting material this spring. Can I put out the long gray hairs that were just cut from my head? I decided it was time to lose the mullet. I’m looking for enlightenment here. You’re so hairy I figured you’d know.

—Dandy Dan
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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Junco Facts You Might Not Know
Feb 26, 2020

Junco Facts You Might Not Know

Did you know? Juncos begin leaving their homes in the boreal forests across northern North America in October and tend to return to the same areas each year, bird banding research has shown.
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Early Birds
Feb 19, 2020

Early Birds

Across much of the United States, a cohort of birds always seems to rush the season; they can be heard singing even as February snow flies. For those of us who fall asleep with seed catalogs draped across our flannel-clad chests, these songsters are immensely cheering. Yet many of us are unaware of why certain birds seem to start singing—and nesting—so early in the season.
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Love / Birds
Feb 14, 2020

Love / Birds

Do birds "love" their mates? The answer is impossible to know, and certainly requires anthropomorphizing. We know that birds and humans share some emotions, with fear being perhaps the most obvious. But what about love? Many birds (male hummingbirds are an exception) are devoted parents, who seem to care for their nestlings and fledglings lovingly. But is that really love? What about birds who mate for life? Could their pair bond be called love?
Top 10 Signs of Early Spring
Feb 12, 2020

Top 10 Signs of Early Spring

By the time you read this, spring may have a firm grip on your local area, but February is usually still winter in Ohio. It’s going to happen, though, spring is. Here are 10 long-awaited signs that a change in seasons is just around the corner.
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How Much Seed in a Pound of Seed?
Feb 5, 2020

How Much Seed in a Pound of Seed?

Hulled sunflower seed (which means "without hulls") is often sold as sunflower chips, sunflower hearts, or no-mess sunflower seeds. It is very convenient, and attracts a wide variety of species to your feeder, but it is pricey compared with black-oil sunflower seeds in the shell. Or is it?

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Types of Seed Blends
Jan 30, 2020

Types of Seed Blends

With several types of bird food available on the market today, it's nice to have an option that offers something for everyone eating in your backyard. We've rounded up the most common ingredients of seed blends, their benefits to birds, and how to make sure you're buying the right mix for your backyard birding needs.
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Making a Good Match: Bird Seed and Bird Feeders
Jan 29, 2020

Making a Good Match: Bird Seed and Bird Feeders

Would you frequent a restaurant that served your sandwich on the floor and dog food on the table? That's the human equivalent of offering birds inexpensive mixed seed in a hanging feeder. Cheap birdseed mixes usually contain a high proportion of milo, wheat, millet, and cracked corn. Such ingredients are fine for many ground-feeding birds, such as doves, blackbirds, quail, and sparrows, but not the favorite foods of birds that naturally eat above the ground, such as chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, and grosbeaks.
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Millet vs. Milo
Jan 22, 2020

Millet vs. Milo

If you look at the contents of a birdseed mix, you might find sunflower seeds, cracked corn, or peanuts. Those are pretty well understood commodities. But you might also find millet or milo. What are they, and who eats them?

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Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding
Jan 15, 2020

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding

Winter: 'Tis the season for feeding birds all across North America, especially in those regions where it gets mighty cold and snowy. If you are just getting started in bird feeding, or if you are frustrated by a lack of success in attracting winter birds to your feeders, the first thing you need to determine is whether you are feeding the right foods. If you are not giving the birds what they want, you might not have many birds.
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Meet the Redpolls
Jan 8, 2020

Meet the Redpolls

Redpolls spend the summer nesting in the forests of Alaska and northern Canada. As winter rolls around, you may spot redpolls visiting your feeders, especially if you live in the states along the Canadian border. About every two years, these foraging finches will irrupt farther south, extending their territory toward Interstate 40.

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Birdseed Snow Sculptures
Jan 1, 2020

Birdseed Snow Sculptures

Stuck inside on a snowy day? Looking for an excuse to get some fresh air? Do it for the birds! If the snow on the ground is wet and heavy, bundle up, tug on your boots, grab a bag of birdseed, and head outside. Because this is an all-ages activity, enlist any young birders you might have in your home to join you.

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Chickadee Memories
Dec 24, 2019

Chickadee Memories

Do you have a problem with forgetting where you placed your reading glasses, cell phone, or car keys? Chickadees can't afford that kind of memory lapse. Forgetting where they've stored their seeds can be a matter of life and death. Fortunately, these little birds' brains have adapted to ensure that they won't face a bout of lethal forgetfulness.

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Ask Birdsquatch: How to Keep Nyjer Seed Dry?
Dec 18, 2019

Ask Birdsquatch: How to Keep Nyjer Seed Dry?

Dear Birdsquatch: Do you have any ideas on how to keep Nyjer/thistle seed dry when it rains or snows? Thanks.

—Martin S., Yorktown Heights, New York

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How do Birds Keep Warm in Cold Winter Weather?
Dec 6, 2019

How do Birds Keep Warm in Cold Winter Weather?

Birds have a number of ways to beat the cold, but none so important as their feathers. You may have noticed how on a very cold day the birds at your feeder seem rounder and more puffed-up than usual. This is a way of keeping warm by raising the feathers to create pockets of warm air and enhance insulation. In addition, many species change their plumage, molting into a fresh thick set of feathers prior to the colder months.
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Ask Birdsquatch: Cages and Feeders
Dec 4, 2019

Ask Birdsquatch: Cages and Feeders

Help!!!! I read in Bird Watcher's Digest that a cage could be put around feeders to keep grackles from hogging all of the birdseed. I tried using 1x2 mesh, but cardinals wouldn't go through it. I tried painting the edges of the windows to make them easier to find. Still no luck. Any insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
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Woodpecker Tidbits
Nov 27, 2019

Woodpecker Tidbits

Did You Know? Most woodpeckers have an X-shaped footprint. Also, they have nostril feathers to prevent inhalation of wood particles as they chisel.
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Sapsucker Facts
Nov 20, 2019

Sapsucker Facts

Of all of the drummers in the woods, none is more interesting or has more impact on its neighbors in the web of life than the sapsucker. Check out some interesting facts about these fascinating birds!
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