With the hot days of summer here bird activity can change in the backyard. I have noticed that in the past during the hotter days that there are not as many birds around especially during the hottest time of the day. Nesting season is also coming to an end with some of the birds now beginning to head south and others that have dispersed to the woods and feeding on natural seed.
Although some birds have begun to migrate, there is plenty of bird activity that can be enjoyed in the backyard during these hot summer days. I have found that during August and September the birds were looking for three things in my backyard, suet, black oil sunflower seed and water.
Suet is thought of as a winter food for the birds, but I have found that during August and September I have plenty of activity at this feeder. At this time of year we enjoy seeing most of the woodpeckers, both adults and juvenile, including the Northern flickers, Downey, Hairy and even the Pileated Woodpecker. There are also the chickadees and nuthatches that are visiting the suet, and with nesting finished for the year the chickadees are starting to show up in small flocks of about six or eight birds at a time. Another advantage about having the suet feeder during August and September is that I do not have any starlings at the feeder, as they are feeding on other food sources and beginning to establish flocks for the winter. With the hot days of summer suet can melt and go rancid quickly. Using a suet that is made of real beef kidney suet will last better in the hot weather compared to suet’s that are made from beef fat or tallow. Location can also help to keep the suet from melting and locating the suet feeder under a tree will shade the feeder from direct sun and the birds will still be able to find it. Also, only use enough suet for the birds to eat before it melts, such as cutting the suet block into quarters and only place out a quarter at a time. If you have extra suet just store it in the fridge or the freeze until you are ready for it.
Black oil sunflower seed is a preferred seed by the majority of birds that visit our backyards and is a favorite of the chickadees and nuthatches. As the seasons begin to change some birds will begin to hoard seed so they will have food during the harsh weather. A few birds that we can watch hoarding seed in the backyard are the chickadees, nuthatches and Steller’s Jay when they return. I have watched the chickadees storing their seed all over our backyard, hiding it in a crack in the siding, around the edge of the window, in my lumber pile and even in the planters on the back deck. Black oil sunflower seed can be a messy seed as they sort through the seed to find the best, but having a little supply of black oil sunflower seed will keep the chickadees busy around your backyard.
Water is especially important during the hot days of summer. During the summer water may attract more birds to your backyard than even a feeder. All birds are attracted to a water supply and can be very entertaining to watch when they are having a bath. It is best to use a shallow bowl birdbath, as birds do not jump into water, they wade in. If the sides are to steep for the birds, try and place rocks in the birdbath so the birds are able to wade into the water or tilt the birdbath to create a shallow end for the smaller birds. Birds are attracted to the sound of moving water and adding this feature to your birdbath will help the birds locate the water source. Adding a birdbath dripper will create the sound of moving water and also help to keep the water fresh and clean. Another way to add the sound of moving water is to use a pop bottle and put a pinhole in the bottom of the bottle. Hang the bottle over the birdbath and control the drip by tightening or loosening the cap. A bucket or pail can also be use to accomplish the dripping sound. Remember to clean the birdbath every couple of days using a cleaning solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, this will kill and diseases or algae in the birdbath.
There is always plenty of bird activity in and around our backyards for us to enjoy no matter what time of year it is.
If you have any sightings to report please call or email us. We always like to know what is being seen.
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