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Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring "To Do" List for the Birds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
MIgrants are arriving all over the country. Baltimore Orioles and other orioles can be attracted with orange halves, especially when they first arrive from migration. Later, when they're nesting, they primarily eat insects.

Cardinals like to nest in dense shrubs.

Spring is here, so here's a few "to do's" to welcome the birds:

* Make sure all your bird houses are cleaned out.

* Put up new bird houses, since hole-nesting birds like bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, wrens, Tree Swallows, etc. are actively choosing houses now, plus there will be houses available for later arrivals.

* Try offering new foods, like mealworms, oranges for orioles, other fruit, jelly.

* Plant shrubs that provide nesting structure for birds such as lilacs, alders, dogwood shrubs, evergreens, willows, etc. Plant them in groups.

* Get up your hummingbird feeders now, (at the latest by Mother's Day if you live in the most northern sections of the country). Make sure to clean hummingbird feeders ever 2-3 days in hot weather.

* Plant red tubular flowers to attract hummingbirds, such as red salvia, red impatiens, trumpet honeysuckle vine, like Goldflame Honeysuckle (Lonicera heckrotii), trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), red bee balm, red fuschia.

* Plant composite-type perennials and annuals such as, Purple Coneflower and Rudbeckia, whose seed heads will attract finches and sparrows. Butterflies will come to Purple Coneflower when its in bloom.

* Make sure you have several bird baths filled with fresh, clean water all summer.

* Clean your bird feeder regularly with a mild bleach solution, rinse well. Keep them filled with sunflower, and quality mixes.

* Put a bench or adirondack chair in your backyard where you can sit with binoculars and enjoy the show. Get our new regional guides, The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern and Western Regions to help you ID your birds. That could be your summer vacation.

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