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CHRISTY'S BLUEBIRD PROJECT

BIRD TIPS

INFORMATION IS FROM OTHER INTERNET SOURCES AND IS GIVEN WITH APPROVAL FROM OWNER

JohnSchuster.jpg
JOHN SCHUSTER

FEEDING BIRDS

Dear ... friends,

I do not want to get into the legal aspects of this or try to convince anyone that you should not feed seeds to birds as I know full well that most people enjoy this past time and the joy that it bring to ones life.  It is still a free country in my opinion and you have every right to do what you please as long as it doesnt hurt anyone or anything.  However, there is a responsibility that goes with using bird seed feeders and Ill try an illuminate that commitment as best I can.

I can tell you that as a manufacture of Bio-Diversity products there have been vendors and stores that have asked me to build bird seed feeders for them, and though the bird seed feeding industry is a huge money maker industry, I decided long ago (knowing what I know) not to jump onto the band wagon just to make a buck.

I do not feed birds seeds (preferring habitat instead) for many reasons an most of that stems from the facts, and the history of the aftermath, so I can understand why a bird feeding ban in Wisconsin would be implemented in the interest of public health (chronic wasting disease in deer aside as there could be other issues contributing to this that Im not aware.)

The big reason that I do not feed seeds (or grains) to birds is the rodents that will be attracted to the spills below the feeders.

In the 1920s, Petaluma, California was widely know As the egg basket of world and like the local grape industry today, everyone started building chicken coops like mad to jump on board the boom, to make quick money in the egg laying industry.  Money was plentiful, the local economy was booming, and everyone was happy until...

The rat populations soared to alarming rates because of the abundant and improper use of chicken feed being tossed to the chickens.  Almost overnight the  poultry and egg laying industry was killed off, a massive rodent extermination program was imposed, and new poultry feeding guidelines were also laid down to try an salvage what was left of the industry.  To this day, there are large chicken coops still standing (having been made out of long lasting redwood) all over the county as monuments to a by gone era.

Today, I have customers that have been feeding birds seeds for years.  Ultimately they call me to tell me that they see rats near there bird seed feeders and they want to know what to do about them.

I tell them to either stop feeding seeds to the birds (that always goes over like a lead balloon), buy some rat traps (another lead balloon topic as most people do not want to kill anything even  a rat), or make a daily effort to clean up after your birds before the sun goes down (as rats are largely nocturnal creatures so if you deny them food they will move elsewhere.)

All that I want to share with you is that if you must feed birds seeds, please place your seed feeders over an area where you can clean up the seed mess everyday with ease (say over a concrete slab.)  That way you can still enjoy your feathered friends without attract pests (be it rats, mice, deer etc.)

Might I also suggest that instead of using bird seed feeders, try planting trees and bushes that attract birds.  Also purchase a fountain as running water really seems to attract birds in my opinion or a simple bird bath (filled with clean water) as most birds just love to take baths.  That way you will still have your birds without dealing with messy bird seed feeders and the pests that these feeders attract.

Happy Bluebird Trails To You,
John Schuster, conservationist and owner
Wild Wing Company
Bio-Diversity Products
1179 Debbie Hill Road
Cotati, California 94931
PH: (707) 795-4440
Temporary web page:
http://home.earthlink.net/~wildwingco/index.html

Quail .. Pallet Pyramids:  by John Schuster

Beside Bluebirds, Quail have been taking a beating too, mostly do to lack of habitat, plus marauding Raccoons, and cats (both wild and domesticated.)  Sad because Quail are big time weed seed eaters and though I've long forgotten how many weed seeds one Quail eats in one day, I can tell you that it is a staggering amount.  Besides water, Quail need a safe place to ground nest (just like Bluebirds need a nest box), so here is a trick that I thought I'd share with all of you and I call it the PALLET PYRAMID.

Many of you have seen old pallets that people and businesses are giving away for firewood etc.  Well, if you have a area with plenty of water nearby, clear an area near your water source and start building your PALLET PYRAMID by stacking pallets over pallets until you have your PALLET PYRAMID.

You can make your PALLET PYRAMID as big and as wide as you like, because just like a roomy nest box for cavity nesting birds, the bigger the PALLET PYRAMID the larger your coveys will be.  Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day (it took a week...just joking), so take you time and don't hurt yourself moving all those pallets.

It is important to make the PALLET PYRAMID at least 3 to 4 pallets deep, so mammals can not get at the Quail nests below.  For a finishing touch, pile some heavy brush on top to make it even harder for the mammals, plus the brush hides the pallets below.  Get clever about it too, by making mazes that only the Quail can negotiate.  These multiple exits make it more difficult for the predators to figure out which exit to cover.

I've used PALLET PYRAMID and other methods (old steel T-BAR from torn out vineyards) to bring Quail coveys up to their former glory and in just a couple of seasons you will have loads of them to enjoy.

When I have time for a little entertainment, I'll set up a blind near one of our creeks and call them in.  In no time at all, I'll have them all over the place and they will be so close to me that I could almost reach out and touch one (just a foot or 2 away from me)

**John did say rats could be a problem, but could be controlled.  Snakes are a little harder to control.  So watch when reaching inside.

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Here are some other tips when using Tanglefoot.

1. Before you apply Tanglefoot (not Tanglewood) you need to make sure that there are no plants touching the nest box, so the ants or other insect pests can not cross over and into the nest box.

If you have your nest boxes mounted to a fence post with planks or bard wire attached to the post, then you can not use Tanglefoot.  Yes, you could apply Tanglefoot to the bard wire, but this is very dangerous to the Bluebird or other birds and that will land on the bard wire getting Tanglefoot all over their feet and as the name implies, this could be disastrous.

Again, if you have your nest boxes on fence posts that are attacked to other things, then do not use Tanglefoot, but take down your nest boxes and remount them to a better system i.e. 3/4 inch EMT poles, U-BARS (6 footers can be found at Home Depot cost $2.89) and or a stand lane wooden post. 

2. Before I apply Tanglefoot,  I like to tightly wrap some green gardening tape around the mounting pole (or tree), then use a little adhesive tape to secure the green tape and then I apply the Tanglefoot to the green tape.  If you've mounted your nest boxes on a U-BAR, then you need to plug up the gap at the back of the U-BAR, and continue to wrap the tape around the plugged area.

Never apply Tanglefoot directly to a tree, fence post or EMT pole, because the stuff is so sticky that it is virtually impossible to get the stuff off once applied.  However, if you use the above green tape trick, all you have to do is take a sharp knife, cut through the tape, peal it off (wear gloves) and the surface is still clean underneath where the Tanglefoot barrier once was.

The other thing about Tanglefoot is that is cakes up with dirt and other air born pollutants, so as Fawzi suggests, placing the Tanglefoot up high is a good idea.  Also I agree with Fawzi, that Vaseline is also a good substitute to Tanglefoot which can be easy cleaned as compared to Tanglefoot.  However, on really hot days... Vaseline will melt and streak down the mounting pole, where Tanglefoot will stay put regardless of temperatures.

In short, I would use the Tanglefoot because it is the best product out there for keeping crawling pests out of your fruit trees and in this case nest boxes.

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Whatever inactivity you have this year, will be active in subsequent years to come.

In addition, it is never to late to put up any nesting box, for any bird species at anytime of the year.

Fledged birds will move in and out of nesting boxes late in the year to imprint to these nest boxes for next years nesting season, and they will also use them for winter roosting (out here in California, I've given up on sealing my nesting boxes for winter roosting as it never really gets that cold out here, but on the east coast sealing nest boxes is a must) too.

This is the busiest time of the year for me and sometimes I wish I was an octopus.  People are ordering nesting boxes left and right, but they have it all backward and I tell them so.  I tell them, "Ordering now means that a delivered nest box will serve you for winter roosting and the 2004 nesting season." However, most people are OK with that and continue to order anyway knowing that the Bluebirds will use them next year.

The reason for delivery delays are not that I can not build nest boxes fast (believe me I can knock them out pronto), but are because I prefer to use con heart redwood (I will never use cedar again, that stuff nearly killed me) for my Bluebird nest boxes, and con heart redwood needs time to cure before it can be cut it into small pieces or it will split.  The following policy is printed on every sales order that a customer must approves before an order can enter production:

All Meadowood products are made out of 3/4 Con Heart Redwood.  To assure a quality product, Wild Wing Company will ship the above custom built nest boxes within 6 to 8 weeks......The reason for this is that Con Heart Redwood needs time to cure to prevent the wood from splitting, so please be patient as the end result will be nothing short of fantastic.

Some of you may be saying to yourself, "Why not buy kiln dried wood and deliver your orders faster?"  The answer, "kiln dried redwood doesn't come in 3/4 inch planks, only 2" x 4" or bigger and more important it costs to much."

The best time of the year to order nesting boxes (or build them) is in the late summer, through fall and winter months long before the cavity nesting birds are ready to nest (for the aforementioned reasons.)

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Here are just a few reasons for facing your nest boxes East:

1. We all know that the sun raises in the East, and if you face your nest boxes east, the early morning illumination to the front of the nest box assists cavity nesting birds to find the nest boxes faster. Likewise at night, the ambient light that hits the front of a Barn Owl or Screech Owl nest box during a full or partially full moon (which of course also raises in the East) helps Barn Owls and Screech Owls find cavity nesting boxes too.  Again, in the past I've faced nest boxes in different directions, but when I face them East, I get faster occupancy.

2. Facing nest boxes east helps to reduce the heat inside your nest boxes, because the suns rays will only be hitting the front of the nest box during the cool of the morning hours and will then beat down on the roof and rear of the nest boxes during the hottest periods of the day thus reducing the heat inside.

Furthermore, if you use a Gary Springer Chalet or one of my Meadowood Bluebird nest boxes which sport large gabled roofs (instead of the tradition shed roof models) the heat will be displaced over a wider surface area making it appreciably cooler inside.  In the Napa Valley where temperatures can climb into the high 90s or 100+ degrees, you can measure an appreciable difference in the inside temperatures of a tradition shed roof nest box as compared to larger gabled roof nest box with the gabled roof nest box being far cooler inside.

3. Wind  rarely if ever  blows from East to West, so again facing your nest boxes East protects the front of the nest box form the eliminates.

4. Dan Sparks, brought up the "Cornell or NABS report" that "nest boxes facing East (exposed to early sunlight) have a higher hatch and fledge rate?"  Thanks for being this up Dan, and there maybe a report, but I have never read it (perhaps someone will post it.)  What I can tell you is that ever since I've started facing my nest boxes East, I have notices larger clutches and broods.

5. When possible, I position nest boxes on the West side of a property facing East towards a tree, so when the birds fledge they have a place to land safely.  This is critical with Barn Owls that are in Great Horned Owl territory as Great Horned Owl will prey on Barn Owls.  By facing Barn Owl nest boxes towards a tree, you give the Barn Owls and their owlets (Barn Owl owlets will glide over 100 yards on their solo flights, so I recommend a landing tree between 50 to 100 yards away from their nest box) a fighting chance to survive.

To get an accurate bearing East, you should invest in a compass and you should know your local  compass variation.  Now some of you my think this is silly, but I like facing my nest boxes as accurately as possible and beside, it's fun to work with a compass.

The no variation zone runs directly over the state of Florida, so Christy Packard, you are good to go with no variation.  However, if you live on either side of the no variation zone, you need to know the
variation for an accurate setting.

A compass doesn't cost much and can be picked one up for less than $10.00.  To find out about your compass variation, contact your local park ranger or you can buy a topographical map of your area which will reveal the compass variation at the base of the map.

I have readjusted my spacing for my paired nest boxes to 30 feet and left a few at the old 15 foot distance (all paired sets are separated between 100 to 150 yards depending on the topography.)  So far the old paired sets (15 feet apart) have only one nest box occupied and the newer 30 foot spaced pairs are showing activity with Bluebirds and Violet Green Swallows nesting in these paired sets.  In my opinion, spacing between paired nest boxes is different for each area.  You can start at 15 feet, but you may need to readjust as I have.           

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Feeding Birds Seeds:

I do not want to get into the legal aspects of this or try to convince anyone that you should not feed seeds to birds as I know full well that most people enjoy this past time and the joy that it bring to ones life.  It is still a free country in my opinion and you have every right to do what you please as long as it doesnt hurt anyone or anything.  However, there is a responsibility that goes with using bird seed feeders and Ill try an illuminate that commitment as best I can.

I can tell you that as a manufacture of Bio-Diversity products there have been vendors and stores that have asked me to build bird seed feeders for them, and though the bird seed feeding industry is a huge money maker industry, I decided long ago (knowing what I know) not to jump onto the band wagon just to make a buck.

I do not feed birds seeds (preferring habitat instead) for many reasons an most of that stems from the facts, and the history of the aftermath, so I can understand why a bird feeding ban in Wisconsin would be implemented in the interest of public health (chronic wasting disease in deer aside as there could be other issues contributing to this that Im not aware.)

The big reason that I do not feed seeds (or grains) to birds is the rodents that will be attracted to the spills below the feeders.

In the 1920s, Petaluma, California was widely know As the egg basket of world and like the local grape industry today, everyone started building chicken coops like mad to jump on board the boom, to make quick money in the egg laying industry.  Money was plentiful, the local economy was booming, and everyone was happy until...

The rat populations soared to alarming rates because of the abundant and improper use of chicken feed being tossed to the chickens.  Almost overnight the  poultry and egg laying industry was killed off, a massive rodent extermination program was imposed, and new poultry feeding guidelines were also laid down to try an salvage what was left of the industry.  To this day, there are large chicken coops still standing (having been made out of long lasting redwood) all over the county as monuments to a by gone era.

Today, I have customers that have been feeding birds seeds for years.  Ultimately they call me to tell me that they see rats near there bird seed feeders and they want to know what to do about them.

I tell them to either stop feeding seeds to the birds (that always goes over like a lead balloon), buy some rat traps (another lead balloon topic as most people do not want to kill anything even  a rat), or make a daily effort to clean up after your birds before the sun goes down (as rats are largely nocturnal creatures so if you deny them food they will move elsewhere.) 

All that I want to share with you is that if you must feed birds seeds, please place your seed feeders over an area where you can clean up the seed mess everyday with ease (say over a concrete slab.)  That way you can still enjoy your feathered friends without attract pests (be it rats, mice, deer etc.)

Might I also suggest that instead of using bird seed feeders, try planting trees and bushes that attract birds.  Also purchase a fountain as running water really seems to attract birds in my opinion or a simple bird bath (filled with clean water) as most birds just love to take baths.  That way you will still have your birds without dealing with messy bird seed feeders and the pests that these feeders attract.

I do not want to get into the legal aspects of this or try to convince anyone that you should not feed seeds to birds as I know full well that most people enjoy this past time and the joy that it bring to ones life.  It is still a free country in my opinion and you have every right to do what you please as long as it doesnt hurt anyone or anything.  However, there is a responsibility that goes with using bird seed feeders and Ill try an illuminate that commitment as best I can.

I can tell you that as a manufacture of Bio-Diversity products there have been vendors and stores that have asked me to build bird seed feeders for them, and though the bird seed feeding industry is a huge money maker industry, I decided long ago (knowing what I know) not to jump onto the band wagon just to make a buck.

I do not feed birds seeds (preferring habitat instead) for many reasons an most of that stems from the facts, and the history of the aftermath, so I can understand why a bird feeding ban in Wisconsin would be implemented in the interest of public health (chronic wasting disease in deer aside as there could be other issues contributing to this that Im not aware.)

The big reason that I do not feed seeds (or grains) to birds is the rodents that will be attracted to the spills below the feeders.

In the 1920s, Petaluma, California was widely know As the egg basket of world and like the local grape industry today, everyone started building chicken coops like mad to jump on board the boom, to make quick money in the egg laying industry.  Money was plentiful, the local economy was booming, and everyone was happy until...

The rat populations soared to alarming rates because of the abundant and improper use of chicken feed being tossed to the chickens.  Almost overnight the  poultry and egg laying industry was killed off, a massive rodent extermination program was imposed, and new poultry feeding guidelines were also laid down to try an salvage what was left of the industry.  To this day, there are large chicken coops still standing (having been made out of long lasting redwood) all over the county as monuments to a by gone era.

Today, I have customers that have been feeding birds seeds for years.  Ultimately they call me to tell me that they see rats near there bird seed feeders and they want to know what to do about them.

I tell them to either stop feeding seeds to the birds (that always goes over like a lead balloon), buy some rat traps (another lead balloon topic as most people do not want to kill anything even  a rat), or make a daily effort to clean up after your birds before the sun goes down (as rats are largely nocturnal creatures so if you deny them food they will move elsewhere.) 

All that I want to share with you is that if you must feed birds seeds, please place your seed feeders over an area where you can clean up the seed mess everyday with ease (say over a concrete slab.)  That way you can still enjoy your feathered friends without attract pests (be it rats, mice, deer etc.)

Might I also suggest that instead of using bird seed feeders, try planting trees and bushes that attract birds.  Also purchase a fountain as running water really seems to attract birds in my opinion or a simple bird bath (filled with clean water) as most birds just love to take baths.  That way you will still have your birds without dealing with messy bird seed feeders and the pests that these feeders attract.

I do not want to get into the legal aspects of this or try to convince anyone that you should not feed seeds to birds as I know full well that most people enjoy this past time and the joy that it bring to ones life.  It is still a free country in my opinion and you have every right to do what you please as long as it doesnt hurt anyone or anything.  However, there is a responsibility that goes with using bird seed feeders and Ill try an illuminate that commitment as best I can.

I can tell you that as a manufacture of Bio-Diversity products there have been vendors and stores that have asked me to build bird seed feeders for them, and though the bird seed feeding industry is a huge money maker industry, I decided long ago (knowing what I know) not to jump onto the band wagon just to make a buck.

I do not feed birds seeds (preferring habitat instead) for many reasons an most of that stems from the facts, and the history of the aftermath, so I can understand why a bird feeding ban in Wisconsin would be implemented in the interest of public health (chronic wasting disease in deer aside as there could be other issues contributing to this that Im not aware.)

The big reason that I do not feed seeds (or grains) to birds is the rodents that will be attracted to the spills below the feeders.

In the 1920s, Petaluma, California was widely know As the egg basket of world and like the local grape industry today, everyone started building chicken coops like mad to jump on board the boom, to make quick money in the egg laying industry.  Money was plentiful, the local economy was booming, and everyone was happy until...

The rat populations soared to alarming rates because of the abundant and improper use of chicken feed being tossed to the chickens.  Almost overnight the  poultry and egg laying industry was killed off, a massive rodent extermination program was imposed, and new poultry feeding guidelines were also laid down to try an salvage what was left of the industry.  To this day, there are large chicken coops still standing (having been made out of long lasting redwood) all over the county as monuments to a by gone era.

Today, I have customers that have been feeding birds seeds for years.  Ultimately they call me to tell me that they see rats near there bird seed feeders and they want to know what to do about them.

I tell them to either stop feeding seeds to the birds (that always goes over like a lead balloon), buy some rat traps (another lead balloon topic as most people do not want to kill anything even  a rat), or make a daily effort to clean up after your birds before the sun goes down (as rats are largely nocturnal creatures so if you deny them food they will move elsewhere.) 

All that I want to share with you is that if you must feed birds seeds, please place your seed feeders over an area where you can clean up the seed mess everyday with ease (say over a concrete slab.)  That way you can still enjoy your feathered friends without attract pests (be it rats, mice, deer etc.)

Might I also suggest that instead of using bird seed feeders, try planting trees and bushes that attract birds.  Also purchase a fountain as running water really seems to attract birds in my opinion or a simple bird bath (filled with clean water) as most birds just love to take baths.  That way you will still have your birds without dealing with messy bird seed feeders and the pests that these feeders attract.

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