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Wild Bird Watching, Issue #005 -- Robin Cam 2
June 22, 2009

Hello

Hello

I've got more exciting news this issue! We're watching four (4) little American Robins on our Live Bird Cam So make sure you find time to watch this common backyard bird up close.

The attentiveness to both the nestlings and the nest maintenance is incredible to watch. Both adults are active in feeding and guarding their nestlings. Careful, you just might learn something about these birds you never knew.

I want to encourage each of you to join in the chats. No need to worry, you're not going to break anything. Just go in there click chat on the player, put your first name or a nickname and start visiting with the other bird watchers.

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Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are nesting now and your feeders should be kept clean. Every 4 days you should empty your feeders and wash them thoroughly, refill, and hang them back out.

Make sure you provide other natural food sources for hummingbirds. Having a variety of feeders, shrubs, vines, and flowers will attract even more of these flying jewels. If you're wondering what types of plants you can add that will get them to visit your yard, take a look at our list on this page of the website:

Hummingbirds

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Purple Martin Cam

As I stated last issue, the idea of placing cameras on nesting birds was sparked by an interest in caming Purple Martins. I had no intention of caming two Cardinal nest and two American Robin nest. That was just the magic of the nesting season.

I did finally get a cam in the single nest I have of Purple Martins though. Unfortunately, they are nearly ready to fledge and won't get streamed to the website this year. I have it connected to a television screen where I can monitor things. Good thing too, I was able to see mites had overtaken the nest.

I was able to lower the gourd rack and do a nest replacement. I placed the six (6) nestling Purple Martins in a five gallon bucket I had already prepared with a layer of straw. I then pulled out the old mite infested nest, wiped the gourd down, and replace the nesting material with fresh soft white pine needles.

I also added a teaspoon of powdered Sevin. Some don't add the Sevin but I do. I make sure it settles down in the pine needles and away from the nestlings.

The main thing, there are no more mites!

I'll be putting six (6) more Purple Martins in the sky again this year. The young won't return to my site next year but they will go to someone else who has housing for them. The good news for me, the parents will return every year that they survive the trip to Brazil and back.

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Bluebirds

The Bluebirds in our area (Kansas) are well into their second nesting like so many of our other birds. I went to the Wild-Bird-Watching.com rural site and checked on an active nest. The female stayed on the eggs while I peered in on her. I don't know how many eggs are in this clutch but she fledged 4 in the first nesting.

Bluebirds have so many different predators it's a wonder they're able to raise any young at all.

Snakes can and do climb any pole or post at any height and will eat all the young or the eggs. Raccoons, Opossums, will reach inside if they are able and pull the young or eggs out.

Then there are the House Sparrows. House Sparrows have to be controlled in order to help Bluebirds, Purple Martins and many other secondary cavity nesters. House Sparrows destroy and wreak havoc on many of our native bird species. Never let House Sparrows nest in any bird house in your yard.

The Wildlife Service and the National Audubon Society advise control of both House Sparrow and European Starlings in order to better protect our native birds.

I hope to write a downloadable book on Bluebirds. I'll announce it when the project is complete. -------------------------------------------------------

Summertime

All winter long we wait for this time of year. The birds singing, green grass, shade trees, cookouts and no more heavy coats. Then it gets here and we say, "it's too hot to be outside".

Well, officially summer has just started, but it is hot here (90's). So while you enjoy the cool inside and the comfortable evening outside remember, our birds want to be comfortable too.

A birdbath not only offers a way to cool down and provide drinking water, it also helps them keep their feathers in tip top shape. Oil and dirt on feathers can slow them down and make it difficult for them to get away from predators. A split second can make the difference between life and death.

So make sure you provide fresh, clean water for your backyard birds. And if you don't have one, why not take a look here: Birdbaths You'll be helping the birds and supporting the Wild-Bird-Watching.com website. --------------------------------------------------------

Motivation Time

It's summertime and the plants are providing food, both seed and insects. But why not make it a little easier for the birds. Try placing Safflower Seed out to attract Cardinals, House Finches, and Mourning Doves.

Most of the larger aggressive birds leave Safflower Seed alone. This means you can use a tray type of feeder that allows an openness for these gentler species.

I just build a frame using 2 x 2's. I staple screening to the bottom of the 2 x 2 frame so that it drains well. Then attach chain or nylon cord in order to hang the feeder. You can also get creative and attach it to your deck railing. Use your imagination. Even if you're "Tim the Tool Man Taylor" you can build this type of feeder. --------------------------------------------------------

Until next time, Happy Birding,

Gene Planker

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