Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good Tips to Help Birds in the Wintertime

Helene Gardner, the President of the Clarksville Garden Club, and the Bird Representative for the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs has kindly provided the following tips and advice concerning birds. The pictures were all taken of birds in her garden. I recognize that beautiful patio the Cedar Waxwing is resting on. I am so envious because I have never even seen a cedar waxwing! Anyhow, here is some information from her regarding birds:

Be kind to birds in your backyard this winter by providing food, water, and shelters. Then relax in your warm house while observing and enjoying your little feathered friends.

The best way to provide food is to plant native trees and bushes with berries. The birds love them (and you too for planting them). Be careful and don't plant exotic bushes and trees. Their berries may not be edible. Keep your feeders full. Replenish your suet feeders as needed. Clean feeders and the area beneath them regularly.

Fill birdbaths often with fresh water. Cleaning them with water and white vinegar will help the water to stay clear and fresh.

Plant shrub rows to provide shelter. Make brush piles. Keep old branches and dead small trees in one corner of your yard.

Be very careful about pesticides. Don't use them. Let the birds take care of the insects, as insects may be part of their diet.

A good book to have if you wish to establish a bird backyard habitat is the National Wildlife Federation's Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski.

The Clarksville Garden Club has formed a study group called BBB. BBB stands for birds, butterflies and bees. The study group meets once a month in an informal atmosphere to discuss sightings of birds, butterflies, and bees. They share anecdotes and pictures and talk about their experiences with the three Bs. (It sound like lots of fun)

The BBB would like to encourage everyone to participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology 11th Annual "Great Backyard Birdcount" sponsored by the Audobon Society. It will be February 15th-18th, 2008 and is a really good activity to enjoy with children and grandchildren. For further information visit the www.birdsource.org/gbbc website. (The local newspaper will also carry information about this birdcount and I will post about it as the time nears. It is a national birdcount and is very important and quite easy to do.)

I thank Helene for her timely tips for the birds. This is the time of year I enjoy them most and we mustn't forget them when the weather outside is frightful but the fire inside is so delightful...

I will post a list of great plants to plant for the birds very soon.

in the garden....with the birds!


  1. Tina, the Cedar Waxwing is a beautiful bird. A small flock lands in our yard on their way to migrate each Fall and again in the Spring. I have to be around when they stop by as they dont stay long. They get a drink of water from the birdbaths or creek and I see them eating in the tall trees. Not sure what they are eating but I assume seeds of some type... Keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to spot one sometime….

  2. Hey Dawn,
    Where are you? Miss you today. I have a pole right ouside my window just behind Alice. Only Tina and Dawn will know about that but Alice is one of my cockatiels. I put it there so Alice could see them as she loves to look outside and loves the dogs and my parakeets so thought she would like to see birds outside Anyway, it snowed for a short time yesterday and while it was snowing the hardest I had 2 birds at the seed bell and 1 at the suet. Now you all see where my kids get their long windness from. LOL Much love goes to my 2 great kids

  3. Hi Guys, Mom, I went shopping today, I left early because a neighbor friend needed a ride for her kids. She forgot to set her alarm.
    Anyway, we have black capped chickdees, tiny like the waxwing but not as fluffy! Nikki and I whistle at them while we are waiting for the bus--they tend to come closer to us, real friendly! Mom your birds must of been them?
    Skeeter, I did seen your comment about dagwood-too funny. Also quite humorous is liking it when your right. I do too and when I'm not, I like making my husband THINK he's right and politely end the discussion with that comment. B-day wishes to The Saint.
    Tina, I know it is odd what people WANT to buy, WON'T buy, REFUSE to give away, and THROW away. I picked up two pendant lights for the kitchen/diningroom, companions to one other. I paid $6.50 each. If you get time....go to homeannex.com, put in Fredrick Ramond lighting and sort by popularity. My smaller one will be the 1st one, I couldn't find the larger one in this Canterbury line but I'm sure it was there at one time. I'm bragging out of astonishment, I did not know they are signed. Later

  4. Dawn, Thanks for the birthday wishes from the Saint. Next we celebrate our 18 year anniversary this weekend! We have been together for 20 years total...

    We broke another record high in GA today! This makes 4 days in a row of 80-degree wonder! People are walking around wearing shorts while Christmas music plays in the stores! Crazy I tell you….

    I was in the yard playing with my leaves again and tripping over mole tunnels! Those little stinkers are making an interstate all over the yard. They are in the neighbor’s yard also. I found one dead in the driveway. Not sure what happen to it but I am hoping it was the Lone Ranger in the tunnel building but I am afraid I could not be so lucky...

    I spotted some blooms in the garden but did not take the time to check them out. I will take the camera into the garden and see what I can snap a strange picture of tomorrow.

    Three of the children from next door came over to chat with me as I was working in the yard. I took them into the house to show them all of my Christmas trees! They were fascinated at all 5 of them and my two snow villages but their favorite was the animal tree… Since we only have furry four legged children, their visit was nice for me. There is nothing like seeing the smiling faces of children when checking out Christmas decorations.

    The chickadees are our year round favorite at our feeders. They are brave little things and come really close to us when we are near the feeders.

  5. Hi Skeeter, I'm jealous! We are going to get 3-4 inches freezing rain/ sleet tonight, my mom is getting 1", I would even like a pic of a toad right about now!!
    Aren't kids great? I would let my mom know what I got for Zack(he is hard to buy for)but I've a feeling he is checking @ school, they have their own laptops. Gotta watch that boy.
    Congrats on your anniversay, we will be 16 yrs in June, 17 total.
    Tina, I think that grass maybe some bamboo reed, sure is pretty, even in the winter

  6. PS Mom, Saw you guys had a Quake? a 2.2?

  7. Hey everyone!
    It is so good to see everyone conversing! Finally! Just took a few months. Skeeter kept encouraging me and I thank her. I am still having fun.

    The birds are great and I just love watching them. It was nice of Helene to give us some tips. I have had a ton of cardinals lately but they have to fight it out with the squirrels. They are so bad.

    Dawn, I went to that website but I don't think the first picture that came up was yours. You said Canterbury right? If I read the canterbury right you got a good deal. Jack of all trades should be happy you are such a thrifty shopper. I was wondering how long you and Jack of all trades had been married-now I know. We just celebrated our 14th! Hard to believe and it gets BETTER EVERY day.

    Congrats on your 18th Skeeter! Which one is more important you you-the 18th or the 20th? We celebrate both the day we met and the day he came to dinner and never left (a joke my oldest children started)and the day we got married. Meeting him was my most important day.

    I know you were working hard in the garden and yard but wasn't it nice the children came over to distract you? Sometimes my neighbors come over when I am hard at work and I have to actually make myself stop and talk. I feel so much better afterward because I feel the gardens can wait and developing friendships and bonds is much more worth it.

    Those kids have memories forever thanks to you! I promise they will never forget you either. I am going to look out for those waxwings. Those and orioles are elusive though I did see an oriole for the first time this year. I am holding out hope for the waxwings.

    Mom, does Alice converse with the birds outside? I sometimes try to see if Pippy will talk with other birds and I think he does. Alice has enough company in the house already though methinks.

    Alice is my mother's cockatiel and another one of her children. That child lives with her and gives her all his attention and we 'other' kids moved on. Yes, I said him. Alice is a boy. lol But mom likes the name and it has stuck. Who can tell on birds anyhow?

    For the snow and weather. You all up north can keep it! I am with Skeeter-let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

    How bout that earthquake? Probably didn't feel it if it was only 2.2. Maybe heard it?

  8. Ya, can you believe it? OMG but what next? An earthquake!!! We did not hear or feel anything like we did with the one back when we were living in the Given House but we were sleeping. However the lamp on David's nightstand was on the floor with the bulb broken. He thinks it was the quake but I blame the dogs even if they never has done that before. Nothing else in the whole house was distrubed at all. Maybe even David did it himself. Who knows.
    The birds were tufted titmouse. Love ya

  9. I love the little eyes on the titmouse! They are another year round bird at our feeders! I have documented over 50 different type birds at our feeders over the years! I find it so exciting to spot a new one that I have never seen in the yard before! Has been a long time since spotting a new one though... I am yet to see an Oriole in our yard Tina so you got one on me with that visitor...

    Sorry about the freezing stuff up north guys! We are far enough South that we dont get much of a freeze down here in GA but it does happen like back this past Easter. We missed it by being in Frozen VA at the time. But we could see the damage to our trees and plants when we returned... I hope the Japanese maples make a strong come back next year. One took the freeze really badly...

    Jean, they have reported earth quakes in our area also but I am yet to feel one! If something falls off a table or anything, I blame that one on our ghost! LOL

  10. Tina, always wanted cardinals, my in-laws told me to slice oranges up and poke them on anything I could, but.. all I had was fruit in my yard.
    I was hoping the light would show, it's the cupped shade that retails for $508.00. Who knew? F. Raymond made weird stuff but this one is real pretty lighting the ceiling. It puts a star pattern and covers the flaws, band pattern on the walls. Two toned.

  11. We enjoy the birds at our backyard feeders. We have Cardinals, Robins,and occasionally a Blue Jay,
    Gold Finch, Woodpeckers, and Morning Dove. Last winter my Husband and I spent some time in his shop building Blue Bird houses, so we have been able to attract quite a few of them to our yard. There are a couple of Hawk that frequent the back yard and just last week I saw an Owl perched on the fence near the road. And quite frequently we will have several Turkey's in the yard.

    On that note I need to fill the feeders today!

  12. Tina, I don't think Alice has even seen a bird outside even though I put the pole there for her but maybe someday. But when the dogs come in she really chats with them, esp Ruby. She really loves Ruby. And lately (over two weeks now) she will go to her playpen and get on the side next to the parakeets and try to figure out how to get on their cage and they all talk back and forth. It is so cute. I can't remember if she was by me or not when you were here but I think so. Anyway I have her on the top of a bookcase next to my puter desk, to my right. She is on the side by me. Then her playpen and then the parakeets. The chest to my left where the stero was, I moved the stero and have the other 2 cockateils on it and they also converse back and forth some but not a whole lot. But they do chatter a lot, just not to each other so I am now in somewhat constant stero. LOL

    Hi Skeeter, When I lived in GA, Columbus we had an ice storm on New Years Eve, 1963 I laughed my head off. Cause NOONE knew how to deal with it so we were able to deal with it as we know those things. We keep moving but EVERTHING shut down there. I used to have a ghost but it is now gone. Funny, but when the last kid moved out, never had a problem with a ghost anymore. But when they were at home all sorts of things got broken, lost and moved around. We even had a name for the gost but I can't remember it now. Do you Tina or Dawn. Might have been Charlie.

    Dawn, While at Tina's last summer I got a couple of oranges and put them out on her deck railing but no cardinals came but the other birds ate most of em, and the darn bugs and flys.

  13. Oh Skeeter I forgot but by the time on the posting of your last comment I see you are a nightowl like me. But since Imus is back on the airwaves I try to go to be early so I can get up and listen to him. My kids can attest to the fact that I have always been quite the night owl. Out of all my kids only Dawn got the night owl factor but with the kids now and their business she has had to change that habit.

  14. Mom, It was Georgie, the ghost name. I thought the same thing when I saw what Skeeter wrote. And yes... I crash early now, used to try to make the news, er, excuse me, watch the news. I can never seem to make it anymore.

  15. Sounds really nice. Can't wait to see it. Isn't it the little things like a star pattern on the ceiling that makes us happy? It is for me.

    I am determined to decorate for Christmas today. Unfortunately, the leaves and pine needles are calling me...

    Nina, I just filled my feeders too. I wish some turkeys would frequent my yard but the dogs scare them away. Everytime I go to Ft. Campbell the back way I see a ton of them and they never fail to fascinate me. I wonder what the owl was hunting for?

    I remember the ghost. We now know the ghost most always was the third sister-at least in my views. Charlie or not it has a name!

    Mom, birds definitely have personalities-I even think more than cats! Though many will disagree but honestly, I have a cat so I speak with a little experience...My bird is way more personable than Orkin though I love Orkin to death and she is great.

  16. Oh Dawn you are right! As soon as I read that it came back to me very vividly. Georgie was a little devil. Funny now. Are'nt memories GREAT?!! love ya

    Tina you are also so right! I have and have always had dogs, cats and birds as you well know. But when it comes to personalities the birds take the gold ring. No doubt. Also I forgot before but I HAVE TO DO Christmas decorations also today. Ofcourse I can't do them all in one day . In fact over half of em are still in the cellar. But have taken contents out of 2 boxes and the couch and one chair is full of that stuff with 2 more boxes in the middle of the floor. Gotta do something with it all today as Christy, Sara and Josh are coming for supper tonight. And Guess what? Your grandson is now crawling!!!! If I don't get the boxes in the middle of the floor I will stick em in the den so Josh can crawl around. I have not seen him crawl yet as he just started 2 days ago but guess he goes everywhere, even turns around. Love ya

  17. Jean, I am not really a night owl but last night woke up with a sinus issue at 2:00 (GA time) and after tossing around a bit without being able to breathe, I got out of bed to let the Saint sleep in peace! My brain was telling me that I had forgotten to acknowledge a request from Tina so I came upstairs to the office and turned on the puter. Crazy but hey, if you can’t sleep, why not do something productive...

    We have yet to see a turkey in our yard but know they are around us as we have seen then up the street in both directions. It is only a matter of time before we spot one. My Special memory is of the Family of Bob-white Quail that I spotted near our corn bucket that we feed the deer from. The family consisted of mom, dad and three of the cutest little ones trotting behind them! Only saw them two days then they disappeared and I am assuming a coyote or fox ate well...

    Our residence Ghost name is Nellie. She is a small child with long blonde curly hair. She came to me in a dream one night. Strange things would happen that we could not explain and then I finally talked to her. I explained to her that this was our first home purchased and that we would renovate it and take good care of it and to please leave us alone. She has not done anything major since. Not sure she ever existed but things calmed down after that chat into the air... The main thing that we cannot explain is... One night I was woke up by a sound in the front yard. I went to the window and discovered the trunk release button was continually being pushed from the inside of the locked car. I woke up the Saint and we went to investigate. We would close the trunk and the thing would pop open again! The truck release button in the glove box of the car was being pushed by something and nothing was there! This went on for some time then it stopped as if, Nellie was no longer amused as us... Our smoke detectors would go off for no reason also… Strange….

    I have the windows open (another record breaking temp day in the 80’s) and can hear two Hawks squawking high in the sky! They nest in our front woods and keep the dove population low at our feeders! Guess they need to eat too.

    Our neighbors have big blue parrots.(Macaws) They keep them on their screen porch so we hear them all the time. Use to bother me but I dont really notice them anymore. I find it funny when they mock the horses across the street!

  18. Sorry bout your sinus problem...the snow is great for that...LOL Parrots are really loud. But my 2 newest addition who are cockatiels are louder than my dear ole Alice but still not as bad as parrots. Birds are smart and will mock things. I do not understand people when they say "bird brain" when someone does something stupid as birds are not stupid. People who say that sure have not had a bird or got to know one.

  19. Oh I believe in ghost, there is to many collective unexplained and to many non-fiction movies/books not to believe.
    We have a eagle that circles, looking @ the owl kills I suspect. One day Jack of all trades was lighting the b-b-q when we spotted the Eagle. When he returned to light the Q it came on with a loud puff. I laughed, it was funny-the liquid propane specialist, that checks for leaks with a lighter, jumpimg.
    Jack of all trades is coming home shortly, he has to take care of our emergency. Thought I was blowing up--when I went to do laundry, the slab was sizzling. Fortunatly we have a carpenter here, he looked @ it. Waterleak, I think from the pressure tank, the only thing left to purchase for the house. I pulled the breaker. Jack of all trades called to tell me to pull the one to the w/h, thinks it may be a broken pipe. (Oay vey) I was just saying about my lighting? Karma or what? Tell you what the tank will be moved to the house.
    Lucky I have my dance girls today.
    No laundry chore for me...

  20. funny as long as no1 got hurt. Always something! Maybe Georgie found you.

  21. And I saw the eagle when I was there right after we came back from down south.

  22. Broken pipes are not fun in the winter... well anytime as far as that goes... Good luck!

  23. Yep, watertank, Jack of all trades wanted to get a small, cheap one. Thank gosh you have to order them. He is coming back from the supplier with a large one, we will have to lay it down, just kinda windy to do this, I will be holding the flashlight.zzzzzz.
    I had forgotten you saw the eagle, sure catches everyones gaze. Hypnotizing how it quietly it circles over and over. I think it was Georgie, I wrote that last blog and just the computer/fishtank lost power. NOT even near the water. You know...have to change the names to protect the innocent.

  24. Good luck fixing the water tank. Gotta hate that. Our water heater went out a few weeks ago. I am so glad Mr. Fix-it was home to fix it! I honestly don't know what I would do without him.

    I saw a red tailed hawk yesterday. It was coppery just like my grandbaby's hair and I thought of him. I wish I could see some eagles. Only hawks here though Land Between the Lakes has bald eagle tours sometimes. Did you know that Skeeter? Love to do one but they are always in the winter. I swore after Iraq I would not be too hot or too cold and I would ALWAYS have electricity so it might take a lot to get me out in the cold on a canoe watching eagles.

  25. Gosh, why do you all let me talk me so much? I am embarrassed by some of my longwinded input comments! lol Don't know how to fix it.

  26. There is no fixing us Tina... We are who we are! LOL

    We have bald eagles at our lake here also. We enjoy watching them soar high in the sky. We also have Osprey that resemble the bald eagle. We know where a couple of their nesting spot are located and we check in on them when at the lake. Have seen the adults bring fish to the babies. Really neat to watch....

  27. Yes, Skeeter, they really are neat to watch. We have many of both in Maine and they have veiwing platforms in several places. Hope you sleep good tonight.

  28. Thanks Jean and I did sleep much better. Only woke up once and fell back asleep soon afterwards! Another hot one today in the 80's again then the cold front moves in. Hopefully with some needed rainfall....