- How do I discourage bully birds?
The easiest thing to do is change your feeder. There are bird feeders of all shapes and sizes that are surrounded by coated wire mesh. The wiring is large enough to allow small birds to pass through, which is too small for bigger bully birds. Of course, there is a catch. Using a feeder like this will also keep out popular backyard birds like northern cardinals. But if you want to get rid of bully birds, this is a good way to go.
- What is wrong with the cardinals in my yard? They look bald and deformed.
Cardinals often get parasites that destroy the feathers on their head. All birds have parasites, and to control them, they preen their feathers. The birds look unusual, but don't worry. The bird is probably not sick. In time, their feathers should grow back.
- When should I start and stop feeding hummingbirds?
Early May is a good time to hang up your hummingbird feeders. In the South, migratory hummingbirds begin tapping sugar-water feeders in backyards in early April.
Don't be in a hurry to take them down in fall. There's a myth that if you leave your sugar-water feeders up, then the hummingbirds won't migrate. This isn't true. Don't be afraid to leave your feeders up through migration season. This way, you'll catch any late travelers as they fly through your area.
- How can I keep bees and ants off my hummingbird feeders?
For bees or wasps, hang a bee or wasp trap (containing the same sugar water that are in your feeders to use as bait). That will collect an amazing number of pests. Also try using bee guards.
The best way to keep ants away is by hanging a small ant guard above your feeder. This cuplike device is filled with water, creating a moat ants won't cross.
- What is the recipe for hummingbird and oriole nectar?
Four parts water to one part sugar. Boil, cool, serve and get out of the way. We do not recommend using food coloring to make the water red. A feeder with red parts does enough to attract hummingbirds.
- Where can I get mealworms?
You can order mealworms directly from the Internet. Google the word "mealworms," and you'll find several sites where you can order worms.
- How do I keep birdseed that falls to the ground from sprouting?
Some birdseed such as niger (thistle), is sterilized and should not sprout. Others, including sunflower, are not. I only know one safe way to keep birseed from sprouting-present it to the bird in a tray with sides. That should prevent most spillage and will solve your problem.
- How do I keep squirrels away from my bird feeders?
Many Birds & Blooms readers suggest giving squirrels a place of their own to feed. This will often steer them away from your bird feeders. Also try squirrel baffles or feeders that are made to keep squirrels away.
- I'd like to offer suet to my feathered friends. What do you suggest?
Real suet is the fat that surrounds the beef kidney, but it isn't easy to find anymore. Most suet block manufacturers mix suet or lard with everything from sunflower seeds to peanuts to fruit when making bird treats.
I use blocks of pure suet in my feeders and attract plenty of birds-especially woodpeckers. If pure suet isn't available, fat trimmings, lard and peanut butter are good substitutes. Just remember to include ingredients like these to provide protein and energy, which helps birds survive.
- How do I keep birds from flying into my windows?
When birds see the reflection of trees and sky in a window, they often confuse this image for reality and fly straight into the glass. To eliminate the reflection, you usually need to do something on the outside of the window. Some options include covering the glass with netting, screens or soaping them. Also try hanging streamers outside the window or placing hawk silhouettes or other stickers on the glass.