Tips for Better Fall Birding in Your Backyard
Sep 25, 2021

Tips for Better Fall Birding in Your Backyard

Although we birders tend to think of spring as the most active migration season, in many parts of North America, fall migration is actually "birdier." If you're like most bird watchers, you have no problem making plans to get out and catch spring migration in May, but I'll bet you might not get as excited about a field trip in late August or mid-September. It took me years of birding on my southeastern Ohio farm to accept the reality that fall migration here in the Appalachian foothills is actually better and more interesting than spring.
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Your Garden: Let It Be
Sep 22, 2021

Your Garden: Let It Be

Did you know? All those bird-friendly plants in your yard and garden can keep on being a source of food long past their blooming prime. Flowers such as zinnias, coneflowers, salvias, poppies, and other summer garden staples retain tiny seeds in their flower heads that birds will find in the months following frost, or the end of the blooming season (if your area doesn't have frost). Even garden plants such as tomatoes, peas, squash, and corn will harbor insect life in their stems and under their brown, curly leaves.
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Fall Tip: Save Your Summer Berries for Winter
Sep 15, 2021

Fall Tip: Save Your Summer Berries for Winter

Here's a handy fall tip: While the weather is still fairly mild (and before our first heavy frost), fill a few bags of grapes and pokeweed and save them in the freezer for the birds. Put them out of the freezer in late January or February when you see that the natural food supply is depleted.
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Watch the Moon for Southbound Migrants
Sep 13, 2021

Watch the Moon for Southbound Migrants

In 2021, full moons will occur September 20, October 20, November 19, and December 18. If the night sky is cloudless, aim your binoculars toward the moon, and watch. Most migratory land birds make their twice-yearly journey at night, including thrushes, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, orioles, vireos, and cuckoos.
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The Complicated Process of Migration
Sep 10, 2021

The Complicated Process of Migration

Migration, which appears to be a simple concept on the surface, is actually an immensely complicated process. Migration is widely understood to be the movement of birds from one place to another. We see migration every year in our yards: Sparrows and finches arrive from the North in the fall and leave in the spring. The big picture, however, obscures the complexity.
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Ask Birdsquatch: When Do Birds Start Migrating?
Sep 8, 2021

Ask Birdsquatch: When Do Birds Start Migrating?

Dear Birdsquatch:

When, exactly, does fall migration start? I stopped offering seeds and suet during the summer months but want to resume in time to power up the birdies as they start their long, southbound journey.

—Beverly B., Baraboo, Wisconsin

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Natural Bird Feeding: What Do Birds Want?
Sep 1, 2021

Natural Bird Feeding: What Do Birds Want?

How would you like to feed birds in the very best way possible—in a way that is all natural, environmentally sustainable, inexpensive, and easy to do? Get out the garden gloves and the garden trowel and leave the bird feeders and seed alone for a minute. The very best way to feed birds is to offer them the kinds of foods they would find and consume in nature and that starts with offering bird-friendly plants.
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Bird Feeding on a Budget
Aug 28, 2021

Bird Feeding on a Budget

Dear Birdsquatch: I'm on a fixed income now that I'm retired, so I'm watching every penny. I really want to get into bird feeding, but it seems like kind of an expensive hobby. Can you give me any advice on how to attract a lot of birds without breaking the bank?
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Nighthawks in My Neighborhood
Aug 25, 2021

Nighthawks in My Neighborhood

If you live near bright lights, flat roofs, or trees, listen for the beard call of the common nighthawk feeding on the wing above your backyard on warm evenings. Learn more about this fascinating bird!
Butterflies Need Water, Too!
Aug 20, 2021

Butterflies Need Water, Too!

You may have seen butterflies doing something called "puddling," in which they gather at a puddle and sip the water. In addition to hydrating themselves, they are also attracted to salt and other minerals in the water from the soil. You can easily provide these minerals in your own butterfly puddler as well.
Ask Birdsquatch: One Female and Two Male Western Bluebirds Tending One Nest?
Aug 18, 2021

Ask Birdsquatch: One Female and Two Male Western Bluebirds Tending One Nest?

Dear Birdsquatch:

This sounds crazy, but I swear there were two daddy bluebirds in my nest box this summer. I saw only one female, but two males regularly brought food to the nestlings. Do you think Mrs. Bluebird had two husbands? Did she lay eggs from both males?

—Elza B., Mill Valley, California

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Top 10 Things to Watch For in Late Summer
Aug 11, 2021

Top 10 Things to Watch For in Late Summer

There are many things to look forward to in late summer and early fall: the leaves changing, the passing through of fall migrants, and the cool nights. Here are a few things to watch for as summer wanes and autumn waxes.
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I've Taken My Feeders Down. Will the Birds Starve?
Aug 4, 2021

I've Taken My Feeders Down. Will the Birds Starve?

Earlier this year, wildlife authorities in some states issued advisories against bird feeding or offering birdbaths, hoping to stop the spread of a mysterious disease that killed primarily common grackles, blue jays, American robins, and European starlings. If you've taken down your feeder and stowed your bird bath away in the garage, you may be wondering how the birds will manage without your offerings, and how you'll attract them to your yard. Here's some comforting news!
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The Three Rs of Suet in Warm Weather
Jul 7, 2021

The Three Rs of Suet in Warm Weather

During the winter, you probably enjoyed the parade of birds at your suet feeder. But now that summer is upon us, remember that raw suet can quietly spoil in the sun's heat. Here are some tips to make summer suet feeding more enjoyable.
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A Black-Headed Red-Headed Woodpecker?
Jun 30, 2021

A Black-Headed Red-Headed Woodpecker?

Dear Birdsquatch:

We have a bird we think is a red-headed woodpecker, but its head appears black. When I look at it through my binoculars, I can make out some very dark red on its head, along with the black, but the head appears to be shades of maroon to black. What is this bird?

—Aneita G., Petersburg, Illinois

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Ask Birdsquatch: Vanishing Act at the Feeder?
May 26, 2021

Ask Birdsquatch: Vanishing Act at the Feeder?

Dear Birdsquatch:

Why is it that birds disappear from my feeders—except for a few—when I had so many up until a day or so ago?

—Diane M., Covington, Georgia

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Yellow Warbler Tidbits
May 19, 2021

Yellow Warbler Tidbits

One of the most widely distributed warblers in North America, the yellow warbler is sweet-sweet-sweeter-than-sweet in its unmistakable red-streaked yellow plumage. If you know when to look, you might even see one in your own backyard! Here are some interesting tidbits about these the lives and behavior of these birds.

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Gardening Projects to Help the Birds
May 12, 2021

Gardening Projects to Help the Birds

If you've got some time to spare, here are a few backyard projects to keep you going on those slow weekends.
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Hummingbird Feeders 101
May 10, 2021

Hummingbird Feeders 101

Hummingbirds appreciate a reliable nectar source, whether natural or provided by humans. Bill Thompson, III, offers expert advice on feeding hummingbirds.
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Did You Know? Birds’ Legs Are Really Their Feet!
May 5, 2021

Did You Know? Birds’ Legs Are Really Their Feet!

The next time you get a close look at the birds at your feeders, try to notice their legs, and specifically, their leg joints. Good luck. The leg joints of songbirds are usually hidden by the fluffy body feathers on their belly. All we usually see of songbirds are the naked “calf” above their feet.

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