February 2014 - Songbird Station



February 2014 - Songbird Station
S Stati EWS
February 2014
Stories • Specials • Events and More to Help Your Family Enjoy Birding!
Enjoy Nature in Your Backyard in 2014
Many of us make resolutions
as we enter each
new year. Few
people have “too
little” stress in
their lives. It’s
our hope at
Songbird Station
that in 2014 we can help your family
create and enjoy a “sanctuary” in your
backyard to help relax and relieve
stress. Also, in our fast-moving,
tech-savvy society, getting children
involved with nature instead of just
an electronic device can be incredibly
fun and rewarding for all.
Watching the courtship
and nesting activities of the “love
birds” in your yard can be a fun and
educational process for the young
and old alike. In this issue and next,
we’ll cover ways you can get more
of the birds you love to choose your
property to raise a family. Check
out page 3 for great tips on attracting
and helping Bluebirds and page 2 for
Purple Martins. With our new Purple
Martin Conservation Association
endorsed gourds, it’s now possible
to start a high quality Martin Colony
on a small budget! We cover these
2 species in this issue as Bluebirds
begin courtship in February and
nesting in March-April and Martins
arrive from Brazil in March and
nest in April/May depending on the
weather. Don’t miss our Martin and
Bluebird Seminars. (Details on page
I mentioned children love
technology. I
want to quickly
mention a couple
new “techie”
products at
Songbird Station Hawk-Eye Wireless Spy
that can help
young and old alike enjoy “up close”
the sights and sounds of God’s
creation around us. We now have a
“wireless” device that you can put
in birdhouses, Martin gourds, etc.
to see and hear nesting,
feeding, etc. on your T.V.
or computer! We also
have inexpensive devices
that turn your cell phone
into a camera to photo
birds, bugs, etc. close
Lens Adapter up and far away! Come
CARSONML415 in and check them out.
Maybe as a first step in getting your
“young tech” to enjoy nature ask for
their help installing and using these
devices. This is a great way to enjoy
Tips to Attracting Purple Martins
Tips to Attracting Bluebirds
time with your grandchildren or
The Great Backyard Bird Count / Fun Facts
children while introducing them to
Kid’s Corner
GiGi’s Pet Boutique
Speaking of nesting and
Ask Bird Man Mel
make sure you check out
Upcoming Events
Look Inside
Grant’s article on page 3 as kits are
great kid’s projects. Many of you
have seen the T.V. ad that is selling a
Made in China “Window Mount” nest
box. As we mentioned in last month’s
newsletter (before the commercial
started), our Made in the Midwest
USA Songbird Essentials line of
products contains 3 different Window
Nest View Birdhouses. Come in and
we’ll help you pick which is best for
you and where and how to mount and
view it. We’ll also
help you learn the
types of birds that
will actually use
such a box (in the
T.V. ad much shown Plastic
Window Birdhouse
is recreations and
in most cases you won’t attract some
of the birds shown to a Window Nest
Box.) We totally agree with their
communication that observing nesting
up close is a great family activity.
Another fantastic way to enjoy
nature as a family is to participate in
Cornell’s Great Backyard Bird Count
(info on page 8). Also, why not take
the family on the Columbia Audubon
Society “Great Backyard Bird Crawl”
on February 15th (details on page 8).
It’s our hope that 2014 will
be the year that you, your family,
and loved ones can “unwind”,
destress and enjoy nature instead
of technology. As Bird Man Mel
includes on all of his emails, “Nature
is a stress reliever from God. Take
time today to listen to the birds sing!”
Tips for Attracting Purple Martins
• Martins are migratory birds that travel to South
America during the winter months leaving a small
window for Landlords to attract their prospective
tenants, so time is of the essence!
• The map provided below details the arrival of scouts
to the areas. Purple Martins will be in the area to
settle once scouts are seen for 6-8 weeks.
• Martins travel in groups mainly centralizing in a few
locations right before their migration dates then all
mainly rendezvous at one spot for final departure.
By: Grant Toellner
PMCA Excluder™ Ultimate Gourds
Songbird Essentials is also proud to introduce the newest
addition to our Purple Martin product line!
• Thickest model gourd on the market
• $.75-$1.00 from each gourd sold goes to PMCA for Martin preservation and research
• First patented Starling-PROOF entrance hole design!
• Sturdy front and inner porch included with each gourd!
Crescent Modified Excluder
Excluder II
More Purple Martin Housing Options
Where Should you Put Martin Houses?
Martins have very specific aerial space requirements.
Housing should be placed in the center of the most open
spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing.
There should be no trees taller than the martin housing
within 40 feet, preferably 60 feet. Generally, the farther
the housing is placed from trees, the better.
Check out our Lonestar aluminum houses that offer:
• Easy interchangeable doors
• Optional removable nest trays
• Fully insulated 6x6x12 inch compartments
• Staggered entrances to reduce dominant behavior in
male martins
• Heavy gauge heat resistant aluminum
• Top of the line in Aluminum Martin Houses
• Visit
for videos of our
industry-leading porches that allow easy feeding of live mealworms.
Don’t miss the Purple Martin Seminar on March 9th!
Problem Solvers
Are Purple Martins not stopping by
your yard? Try these Purple Martin
decoys (HEATHPMD1) while playing
your PMCA
Dawnsong cd. It works like a duck
call and duck decoy. Protecting your
Martins from owls is important. Some
suggest using an owl guard like
the one made for the Excluder gourd.
Have Martins filled all the gourds
available on your gourd rack? Using the
Songbird Essentials Starter Gourd Pole
(SE968) and Expansion Kit (SE969)
will double the size of your pole and
double your fun!
You must control sparrows and
SE968 & SE969
starlings to have a successful
Martin Colony. Use the Songbird
Essentials Sparrow and Starling trap
(SEST1) to humanely rid your yard
of unwanted guests.
Stay Out of the Cold and Get Ready to Spring into Nesting Season
By: Grant Toellner
With the bitter cold Missouri has experienced the last few weeks it makes it almost impossible to be outside
for long periods of time. You find yourself with all sorts of time inside and after a while it is hard to find things to
do. A great way to use this extra time inside is to get all of your spring and summer backyard bird items ready for
spring. Sinclair Lewis is quoted as saying, “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” Use this time
to re-clean your hummingbird or oriole feeders to make sure you catch these visitors on the first pass
through. I always find myself scrambling around Tax Day searching and
digging for my hummingbird feeders in the garage, making sure they are
cleaned and ready to go. Why wait until then when you can get a jump
now. If you don’t have a brush kit from Songbird Essentials, I recommend
Best Combo Brush Set
trying one because it makes the whole cleaning process so much easier.
Kids Bird Log
The small brush easily can clean small ports on your hummingbird or oriole
feeders, and the large brush is long enough to reach the top of the bottles of the feeders.
Winter is also a great time to get the kids involved and there are lots of inside activities to do
involving birding. A favorite activity I enjoyed growing up was assembling and putting together a
birdhouse. There are tons of do-it yourself kits and ideas online, but if you are looking
for a package with all the parts included, pick up one of the birdhouse kits from
Songbird Essentials. You can choose from a wren, chickadee, bluebird, or even a bat
house kit. All of the kits have the correct entrance holes and specifications required for
each specific species. Grab some paint and brushes and let your kids or grandkids
Bluebird House Kit
decorate the outside to give it his or her own special touch. Make sure to also get the
kids involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count in February. Pick up a Bird Log from Adventure
Publications and they will have fun identifying and logging the different birds they see. For
Book of Nature
great winter and nature activities pick up a copy of Book of Nature Projects from Stackpole
STACKSP11734806 Publishing. It is loaded with fun activities to do inside and outside the house.
Tips to Attracting Bluebirds to Your Backyard
By: Bird Man Mel
Bluebirds are cavity nesters. Once common in rural and suburban areas, Bluebird populations declined by
as much as 90% from 1920 - 1970. The decline was due to two things: The loss of nesting habitats,
such as tree holes, rotted out fence posts and old orchards; and the introduction of the Starling
and House Sparrow in the last half of the 1800’s. These two species, introduced
from Europe, competed heavily with the Bluebird for existing nesting cavities.
Utilization of a Sparrow trap is often critical to Bluebird breeding success. I also use
a 22 rifle with birdshot to control non-nature English Sparrows and Starlings.
Providing nest boxes is the #1 way to attract Bluebirds to your property. The key to attracting
Bluebirds to nest in your yard is to have plenty of potential nesting locations, food and water. Bluebirds
do prefer more “open area” so if your yard is heavily wooded you’ll enjoy many other nesting birds, but
Ultimate Bluebird
probably not Bluebirds.
Houses - Our (and the Bluebirds) favorite nesting box is the Songbird Essentials SESCS3004RW, SESCS3004RW
Ultimate Nest Box. This box has:
• Brass hinged doors on both sides to monitor the nest without the danger of chicks falling out.
• Predator protector of solid copper to eliminate Squirrels and Woodpeckers from enlarging the entrance hole.
• Elevated mesh floor to help protect the young chicks from Blowflies.
• Zinc Chromate plated screws that provide a more sturdy, longer-lasting house than one assembled with nails. The screws will not “bleed”leaving unattractive stains below.
• Made of long-lasting Cedar.
Bag of SE641 Dried
A last thought, we really recommend mounting your house on a steel
pole and putting a baffle on the pole to keep cats, snakes and other
with purchase
predators from killing your Bluebirds or destroying the nest.
of Bluebird
Songbird Station has other great books in our Bluebird Section. Enjoying
Here’s to “Seeing Blue” in your backyard! Don’t miss our
Bluebirds More
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Bluebird Seminar on February 23!!
The Great Backyard Bird Count
By: Holly Seaver
Songbird Station
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual 4 day event that engages bird watchers of all
ages in counting birds to restore a real time snapshot of where the birds are. Everyone is welcome
from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day or you can
count as long and as often as you would like. It’s free, fun and easy and it helps the birds. You may
print out a list of commonly seen birds in your area from the website as well.
Participants tally the number of birds of each species they see during their count period then
enter them on the GBBC website. You must set up a free GBBC account to submit your checklist.
You only need to do this once to participate. As the count progresses, anyone with internet access
can explore what is being reported. Pictures may also be submitted to the GBBC photo contest. A
selection of images is posted in the online gallery.
Why count birds? Scientists use the GBBC information, along with observations from other
citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, project Feeder Watch and eBird to get a
“big” picture of what is happening in bird populations. It helps to investigate questions such as:
• How will the weather influence bird populations?
• How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare to past years?
• How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
• What kind of differences in bird diversity is apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
Songbird Station is going to be sponsoring a seminar prior to the GBBC, on Feb. 2nd, to
help inform the public on how to participate, what you can expect to see in your backyard, and help
with various types of feeders and seed choices to help attract birds to your yard.
10 Acres
Wingman’s Fun Feather Facts
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
By: Grant Toellner
Flocks of Juncos who migrate south here to Missouri will usually stay the entire winter within an
area of about ten acres. Help out these winter visitors by putting up a seed bell by Pine Tree Farms.
Juncos in my yard like the Mixed Seed Bell or the Black Oil Seed Bell. I use a Birdie Bell from
Songbird Essentials to help hold it together.
These pigments found in the food Cardinals eat help give them their beautiful, bright red plumage
throughout the year. Songbird Station has all kinds of great gifts for Cardinal lovers including
flags, mugs, and puzzles. One of my favorites is the Cardinal’s Rustic Retreat puzzle from
Birdie Bell with Seed
(Seed Not Included)
Bald Eagles, Blue Jays & Pileated Woodpeckers
What these three birds have in common is all species are considered life-mates and stay with their
partner typically until his or her partner passes away. I am guessing they don’t give their mate a
Valentine’s Day present, but Songbird Station has great heartfelt gifts to show your “mate” your
true love. A great gift to consider especially for Valentine’s Day is the Ruby Red Heart Shaped
Feeder from Good Directions.
Shade-Grown Coffee
Coffee in the past was traditionally grown in the shade of other trees in the tropical
forest, but recently, with the rise in popularity of coffee as a commodity, many farmers
cleared their land of tropical canopy to plant coffee trees more densely. The canopy
serves as critical habitat for many species, including migratory birds that land in
the trees and eat insects that would otherwise make meals of the coffee trees below.
Songbird Station supports shade-grown coffee and offers a variety of blends from
Thanksgiving Coffee that are not only shade-grown, but fair trade and organic.
Cardinals Rustic
Retreat 500 pc. Puzzle
French Roast
Ground 12 oz.
Fly-Thru Heart
Ruby Red
Kid’s Corner
Brrr. It’s cold outside! The birds are eating like crazy at the feeders now. Do you have a
By: Holly Seaver
Songbird Station Manager
window feeder or a feeder hanging by a window so you can view the birds? How many can you
identify? Songbird Station has a new set of window clings that will
help you identify the birds in your backyard and give you tips on how to
attract new birds to your yard. Each page comes with window clings of
31 backyard birds specific for your area. When you first see the bird arrive
at your window apply the birds’ picture to your viewing window. This will
also help you quickly identify the names of your yard birds. On the back of
Birds IView Window Clings
the page it will show you the various seeds that are each birds favorite and
the type of feeders that each bird prefers.
If you and your family enjoy playing games on these cold winter nights, you might enjoy
What Bird Am I?
the bird identification game “What Bird Am I?” This board game is designed for birdwatchers to test
identification skills. The game includes 300 wild bird photographs from across the United States and Canada.
How about science projects? I did one of these Toysmith science projects with my grandchildren
over the holidays and it was fun! We have several to choose from including building a cosmic rocket to
making a miniature solar oven, and water heater. On sale now!
The Great Backyard Bird Count is February 14-17th. This is a program where you sit and count
the birds at your feeders or yard for 15 minutes or more on one or more days. This info is submitted on
the GBBC website and used for future research on birds. If you would like to get
a class involved, or if you are a homeschooler, you may find more information on Clean Water Science
www.birdsource.org and go to the Educator’s materials tab. Songbird Station will be
having a seminar to tell more about how to be involved in the program on Feb. 2nd. at 2:00 p.m.
Crossword Puzzle
1. Keeps Snow White company when she whistles
while she works.
2. Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The _____.”
5. “To Kill a ___________.”
9. Your Bird Lover Gift Source, featuring all your
favorite feathered stars.
10. Batman’s sidekick.
11. Claymation movie featuring the voice of Mel
Gibson as a Rooster. “_______ Run.”
13. Responsible for Harry Potter’s mail.
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1. Burt Lancaster, “The _______ of Alcatraz.”
2. “The _______ Brief”, or bird offering safe
passage to Nemo’s dad.
4. Katherine Hepburn’s character is obsessed
with these in “On Golden Pond.”
5. Breathtaking documentary, “Winged ______.”
6. “One Flew Over the Cukoo’s ____.”
7. About a kids hockey team, “The Mighty _____.”
8. A “play” on Norman’s taxidermy obsession in
10. A 1963 movie starring Boris Karloff, Vincent
Price and Peter Lorre.
12. “Lady ____.” or “Black ____ Down.”
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Birds IView Stickers
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Science Kits
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GiGi’s Pet Boutique
By: Holly Seaver
Songbird Station Manager
The holidays can be a very busy time. People coming and going from your house, kids home for
extended periods of time, and probably lots more noise, snacks, and late night hours. You may even have
extended periods away from home if you traveled during the holidays. If we, as people, are exhausted,
imagine what our pets experience. It’s a big upset to their daily routine and may take a little to get them
back into the normal, everyday life they understand.
If your dog is demanding a little more attention than usual, or seems a little depressed after the
holidays, it is probably because of the disruption in their everyday schedules. In many cases if you can
stick to a designated playtime or go for a walk on a routine time it will help get them back into sync.
We may be tired after the holidays, but our pets need us to help establish that routine.
Did your pet get a new toy, collar, coat, or leash for Christmas? If not, we have restocked our supply after the
holidays so stop in and see what’s new! Favorites at GiGi’s seem to be the
“smart” toys that make your pet think and work for a treat or to just get the
toy out to play with. Another toy that has caught on in popularity has been the
Rubba Tugs. This floatable toy is made for both tugging and fetching.
For cats we have the mouse doorknob dangler that has been getting rave reviews from cat
Rubba Tug Plush
owners. Simply hang on your doorknob and this solo play toy will keep your cat entertained with
its long dangling legs and little bells.
I was recently given a book titled “Why Do Dogs Do That?” So I thought in each newsletter I could
share a bit of it with you. Since we are talking about new toys, I thought I would share “Why do dog’s
pounce on their toys?”
“Throw a toy for your puppy and watch her run after it. She pounces, takes the toy into her
sharp little teeth and shakes it wildly. “Kill the toy!” You say with a laugh. And that’s exactly what
you are seeing: the natural killing instinct in action. Our dogs have millions of years
of programming hardwired into their brains: chase, pounce, bite, eat. Of course
today most dogs have a more modern method of hunting: they wait patiently in the Mouse Doorknob Dangler
kitchen, staring up with their big brown eyes as their evening meal is put into their
dish. But instinct is not so easily put aside. It is said that a puppy’s play is their work. The pouncing
action is the consummation of the chase response and appears in puppies between four to five weeks
of age. It is one of the behaviors that a puppy practices to become a successful dog. Although the
urge to track and kill prey is in most cases no longer necessary for canine survival, the behavior is
innate. Since the dog has no prey upon which to practice she uses the next best thing; their toys.”
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Coats & Sweaters
Car Carriers
Select Collars
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Crossword Puzzle Answers
9. SongbirdStation
10. Robin
11. Chicken
13. Owl
6. Nest
7. Ducks
8. Fowl
10. Raven
12. Hawk
Bird Man Mel
When is Nest Box, Oriole, Martin & Hummer Time?
Q. I’m sick of winter and ready for the birds of spring to return. Can
you please remind me of the time line of what to do when?
A. Fantastic question! Keep the below calender as an approximate schedule.
• February - Bluebirds begin courtship and nest site selection. Owls are winding up their nesting.
• March - Purple Martins return. Time to have all next boxes clean and up.
• April 15th (Tax Day) - Be ready for Hummers!
Bird Man Mel
• May 1st (or a week/10 days earlier in warm spring) - Be ready for Owner of
Songbird Station
Q. I know as birds migrate and feed, we’ve had them hit our
windows. Any way to prevent?
Window Feeder
A. We’ll address in detail in our next issue. Many people find having feeders Window Hawk Transparent
close to or on a window help. Being close means they’re not flying at high speed
if they fly into a window. Also, many people feel that decals like our Songbird
Essentials Hawks greatly reduce collisions. With our Window Alert Hawk
version, the birds can see the ultraviolet Hawk, but humans barely see it looking
Q. I know I should clean out my Bluebird and Martin houses, but I
don’t like touching the left over nests, etc. Any suggestions?
A. A couple. Always be safe and wear gloves! Our Atlas gloves fit tight and are
inexpensive. We have “take out trays” for Martin Houses that make cleaning a
breeze. For Bluebirds, you could use our Nest Lift. When you remove it, it’s easy
to clean out the nest on top. It also keeps nests dry and safe! Helps control Blow
flies, parasites and other nesting problems. Also helps ensure more viable eggs
Bellingham Glove
Bamboo Liner w/
Rubber Palm
Q. When it’s cold outside, I get lots more Starlings and they mob my suet
and nutty seed cakes. Any suggestions?
A. Absolutely! We now have 99% Starling Proof Suet and
Seed Cake Saver Feeders that hold both. Try ‘em, they keep
Starlings out and save suet costs. (They pay for themselves
quickly!) We even have a kit that allows you to convert suet
feeders for small cakes you already own. Secret - Hang them as
high off the ground as you can.
Q. I felt sorry for the birds during a snow storm and
bought some bird seed. I’m disappointed most of it ended
on the ground. Any suggestions?
Songbird Finches
Favorite 5 lb
Selection of
Woodstock &
Music of the
Sphere Chimes
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Missouri Field Guides
Suet Saver Kit
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Special Blend 5 lb
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Matching Spring Flags, Doormats,
and Mailbox Covers
Suet Saver Feeder
A. Two thoughts. 1. Many bird seed mixes sold in box
stores are full of seeds birds don’t like or need to lower the price. Our mixes
do not contain such seeds and at $16.95 for 40# Sunflower, will attract a lot
for a few dollars. 2. A key is putting the right sort of seed in the right kind of
feeders. Come in and our staff can help find the best seed for your feeders and
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Nest Lift
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Bluebird Seminar Feb 23rd
Details on This and other events inside!
Getting Ready for the Bird Count
Sunday, February 2nd at 2:00 pm
Bill Mees, president of the Columbia
Audubon Society, will explain how to
participate in the Great Backyard Bird
Count February 14-17. Bill will also
discuss what birds will most likely be seen
at a backyard feeder. We will also show
different types of feeders for various birds
and the seed type that attracts various birds.
We will have a drawing for a FREE feeder as well.
Bluebird Seminar
Sunday, February 23rd at 1:00 pm
Always one of our biggest seminars of the year!
Jim and Julie Lundsted will give us tips on how
to attract and care for Bluebirds in our yards.
The Missouri state bird is a favorite of many to
watch nest and fledge their young.
Field Trips
Saturday March 8th & 22nd
View Songbird Station website for details on the upcoming field trips.
Café Songbird
Purple Martin Seminar
Join us for coffee, cookies, and conversation as we
gather to discuss what we are seeing in our
backyard or on the trails. It’s always a lively
bunch with great stories to tell or questions
to ask. Our little group is growing every
month but we always have room for more!
Join us for training day for beginning and experienced
Martin landlords. Learn how to attract Martins to your
yard, raise more young in your houses, control unwanted
tenants like Sparrows and Starlings
and prevent problems from predators
like snakes and owls. In store specials
on Purple Martin products to seminar
attendees along with a drawing for a
FREE PMCA Excluder Ultimate Gourd.
Thursday, February 13th at 10:30 am
GBBC Backyard Bird Feeder Crawl
Saturday, February 15th
You’ve heard of a Pub Crawl? Well, to help celebrate
the 2014 GBBC, CAS is having a Backyard Bird Feeder
Crawl! We’ll carpool to various backyard bird feeders
in and around the Columbia area. At each backyard
feeder we’ll count birds for 15 minutes or
more, submit our checklist to eBird and then
“crawl” to the next location. Meet at Songbird
Station’s parking lot at 8 a.m. The trip will
be 3-4 hours long and will return to Songbird
Station for coffee and donuts.
Reservations to seminars are not required, but suggested so we will have
plenty of handouts and chairs for everyone. Refreshments will be provided.
Sunday, March 9th at 2:00 pm
Hummingbird & Oriole Seminar
Sunday, March 30th at 2:00 pm
View Songbird Station website for details on this seminar!
Great Valentine’s Day Gifts
Robin Goodfellow Jewelry
Fly-Thru Heart Ruby Red
If you would like to receive your newsletter via email and help our
environment in the process, please email [email protected]
with the email address you want us to send your newsletter to.
Large Hanging Heart
Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.