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We have had many people come into the store asking for help. Some of the following topics have come up over and over so we thought it would be good to share the answers with everyone. We hope this contains the answers you are looking for, if not please come in or call us and we will do what we can to find the answers you seek.

Q:   Why have the birds stopped coming to my feeders?

​A:   There are several reasons the birds could have stopped coming to your feeders.

1. First check your feed; is it old, mildewed or spoiled?  Then clean your feeder thoroughly with one part bleach to nine parts water, rinse well and dry completely before adding fresh seed.

2. Check to see if there are hawks or other predators (cats) in the area. If so, move your feeders to a sheltered area that is

unreachable by the cats.

3. Are the birds you have been feeding migratory? If this is their natural migration time you may need to use a different feed to attract the non-migratory birds in your area.

4. Birds need water, so if you have a supply of water and food, you will have a better chance of attracting and keeping birds in your yard.

Q:   How often do I need to change the nectar in my hummingbird feeder?

A.   When the weather is cooler you can change the nectar weekly. Clean the feeder well each time you refill it. Don't forget to clean the ports well too. When the weather gets warmer in July, August and September you will need to change the nectar every 3 to 5 days.

Q:   When is the best time to put up nesting boxes and where should I place them?

A:   Late January or early February is a good time to put up nesting boxes (bird houses). Place them at least 5-6 feet off the ground facing south. Secure the house so it doesn't twist and swing in the wind. Use predator guards to protect from raccoons and snakes getting the eggs or hatchlings. Clean the house out after nesting season is over (November).

Q:   What can we do to keep squirrels out of our bird feeder?

​A:    There are several ways to deter squirrels from raiding your bird feeders: squirrel proof feeders, baffles, springs, and Shell Free seed with hot pepper. Make sure your baffle is at least 18” across so the squirrel will not be able to hang off the top with its hind legs and span the distance to your feeder. Mammals, such as squirrels, taste the hot pepper seed and immediately their tongue begins to break down the pepper. It is hot, and uncomfortable and they don’t want any part of it. Birds, on the other hand, are not mammals and do not break down the pepper therefore they do not receive the heat. 

Q:    How do stop the raccoons from getting our feeders?

A.   Do not hang your feeder in a tree; it is fair game for all climbing mammals and almost impossible to stop them. Using the hot pepper seed is a good place to start. Use it in your feeder with no other seed for a week straight. All mammals will get the message and stay away from the feeder for about two months.  Use a cylindrical predator guard on your pole under your feeders. The guard must be at least 8" in diameter to stop the raccoons.

Q:   Do birds need water in winter?

​A:   All creatures need food, shelter and water. Birds need water year-round and drink water daily. Birds also need water in which to bathe to keep their feathers clean and parasite free. After a bird splashes water over its feathers it will spread them to dry and then preen itself forcing oil glands to release and coat the feathers. This helps to keep a bird insulated in colder weather, clean, and flying high. 

Q:   What birds are here in central Texas in the winter?

A:   We have many year round residents such as cardinals, chickadees, titmice, sparrows, finches, mocking birds, doves, eastern bluebirds, hawks, owls, and wrens. Some birds that winter here are Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches, and Sharp Shinned Hawks.

​Q:   How do we attract bluebirds?

​A:  Bluebirds will nest in tree cavities & they readily set up home in Bluebird houses.  Put your nesting box up well before breeding season to attract a breeding pair & attach a guard to keep predators from raiding the eggs. Bluebirds like open fields & meadows to scan the ground for prey; they feed on insects & berries. They love mealworms!  Use dried mealworms in a mealworm feeder and enjoy the show! 

Q:   What food do I use to attract Painted Buntings?

​A:   Painted Buntings can be seen in Texas from April through November. During the breeding season the bird’s diet is high in bug consumption; otherwise they are seed eating and prefer millet as their birdseed of choice. They will visit your feeders but you will need to be patient and out of sight, to see these splendidly colorful birds.

Q:   What kind of feeder is the best for Cardinals?

A:   Cardinals are larger birds and cannot hover in mid air to eat. They need to have a wide perch area to help them keep their balance and accommodate their girth. They are ground feeding birds and seem to feel most comfortable in tray feeders or large hopper feeders. They love Safflower and Black Oil Sunflower seed.

Q:   What seed attracts American Goldfinches?

​A:   Nyjer commonly known as Thistle seed is like candy for the American Goldfinch. It is much healthier for them than candy as it is high in protein and fat. Nyjer is a sterile seed that will not germinate and grow weeds under your feeder like the Thistle seed that was its predecessor. 

Q:    How do we make our back yard a bird habitat?

A:   Create A Habitat -  Here are the keys to success.:

  • Provide clean drinking water: Place the birdbath within 10 feet of shrubs or trees and change the water 2-3 times a week.
  • Provide food: Keep your feeders filled with fresh seed. Clean your feeders monthly and after rain storms. Place your feeders where you can see them from your windows and enjoy. 
  • Provide nesting boxes (birdhouses): Make sure the birdhouses have ventilation holes at the top and drainage holes below. Do not use a box with a perch to deter predators.
  • Landscape with native plants: which can provide year-round seeds, berries and cover. Keep a brush pile for safety and nesting,
  • Do not use insecticides: Insects provide protein for birds and pesticides could cause illness and death.
  • Place UV decals on your windows: This helps to prevent birds from flying into them.