Q: What happened to my Goldfinch? Have they migrated?
A: We have Goldfinch in our area year round. The male Goldfinch, whom we all know by the bright gold color, loses that bright color in fall/winter. The males and females look very similar during this time, but they will still readily come to your finch feeder all winter long. Also, watch your finch feeders for another member of the finch family, the Pine Siskin. They are about the same size as the Goldfinch but have stripes on the breast. They will be arriving soon and readily feed at your finch feeder alongside the Goldfinch.
Q: Are there any new birds I will see in the winter?
A: We do get a number of birds arriving prior to winter and most will stay with us all winter long. One of the most prevalent is the Dark-eyed Junco. These cute little birds have arrived and will generally be seen on the ground under your seed or nyjer feeders. You may also see red-breasted nuthatches. They look similar to the white-breasted nuthatches we get all year long. You can tell them apart by a very distinct black stripe through the eye. Watch your finch feeders because Pine Siskins will be arriving soon. They readily go to finch feeders and are about the same size as the Goldfinch. They have more stripes than the Goldfinch.
Q: How can I keep squirrels off my feeders?
A: There are 3 basic solutions to squirrels eating all your birdseed.
1. Pole system with a squirrel baffle. The pole needs to be at least 10 feet from anything the
squirrel can jump from (roof, tree, etc). The top of the baffle needs to be at least 5 feet off the ground.
2. Put up squirrel proof feeders. These are very effective in stopping the squirrels from getting access to the food.
3. Hot pepper food products. Birds do not have receptors for the capsaicin that makes hot pepper hot. Squirrels do. Putting out hot pepper foods is great for the birds. Not so much for the squirrels.
Bottom line, we are experts in foiling the squirrels. Stop by the store as we love to talk squirrel solutions.
Q: Do Cardinals mate for life?
A: According to Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman:
“The best answer would be to say that cardinals frequently mate for life—almost as often as humans do! Some pairs of cardinals do stay together all year long in their nesting territory. In other cases, the birds leave the territory and join a winter flock, but the same pair is likely to go back to the same nesting area the following spring. Some cardinal pairs do break up and look for new mates, sometimes even during the nesting season. And if one member of the pair dies, the survivor will quickly look for a new mate.”
Q: Who eats hot pepper bird foods?
A: Simply put, birds do and squirrels don’t. Birds taste receptors don’t detect spice while squirrels (all mammals in fact) do. Hot pepper foods don’t cause any digestive problems for birds.
Q: Do birds really eat peanuts?
A: Oh yes they do! Peanuts are loaded with fats & calories. Peanuts are available with and without shells.
In-shell peanuts are particularly attractive to Blue Jays. During autumn, Blue Jays will cache (store) these nuts up to 2 miles away from where they were discovered. The majority of these nuts will be consumed at a later date by the bird that stashed them. Offer in shell peanuts in tray feeders or the WBU Peanut Ring feeder.
Shell free (aka - shelled, dehulled, deshelled, splits) are very popular. Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and many more species love shell free peanuts. Offer them in the Squirrel Buster Peanut Feeder or specially designed mesh peanut feeders.
Q: Where do birds sleep?
A: The answer depends on the species. Most backyard songbirds tend to sleep in dense shrubs, bushes, and hedges. Evergreen trees also provide lots of protective cover for sleeping birds. Dense vegetation like this protects the birds from predators and foul weather.
Cavity nesting birds tend to sleep in holes and crevices in trees. They sometimes use birdhouses for roosting (sleeping) too.