Plan Now for Winter Birdfeeding

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Wild Bird Feeding

With winter in full swing, now is the time to think about your birding supplies for the winter. Many bird lovers enjoy feeding the birds during the fall and winter and it helps to keep the birds thriving when food sources are lower. When planning for winter birdfirding, keep in mind the following things:

  • Find out what birds are likely to stay around for the winter. Consult a bird guide, such as the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, to find out what native birds stick around when the temperature gets cold.
  • Choose feeders that are designed especially for the type of bird that is native to your area and get seed specific for those types of birds. With the right feeder and seed, you should have no problem attacting the birds in the winter time.
  • Purchase a heated bird bath or a bird bath heater like the Gulf Stream 300 watt Bird Bath Heater to provide the birds with warm water during the cold months of the year. Birds still need to drink water and bathe in the winter and providing them with a clean, warm water source is going to attract more birds to your yard.
  • Put up shelter for the birds. If you currently have suitable bird houses, clean them out if the occupants have left for the season to encourage other birds to use them for shelter. Check first to see if the bird house has the right dimensions and hole size for your new visitors. You can also purchase nest boxes and hang them from trees or poles in your yard.

By taking care of the birds during the winter, you not only help the environment and the birds, but it also brings interest to your yard during the most barren time of the year. Check out Rachel’s Robin for all of your year round bird feeding needs.

Protect Your Bird Feeders from Squirrels by Adding a Squirrel Feeder

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SQUIRREL FEEDERS

If you love to feed the birds, nothing can be more frustrating than having the squirrels eat up your gourmet bird seed. Adding a squirrel feeder to your yard is a great way to distract the squirrels from eating the seed in your bird feeders. There are a variety of fun and practical feeders available for feeding squirrels, including corn and box feeders. These types of squirrel feeders are ideal for feeding the squirrels and keeping them entertained at the same time.

There are a variety of fun, entertaining corn feeders for squirrels that are also entertaining for you, too! The Squirrel Corn Spinner feeder holds three ears of corn and twirls around for entertainment. This fun and unique squirrel feeder is designed to rotate and allows the squirrels to move from corn ear to corn ear. Attach the feeder to a post or tree near your house and watch the show. The screws on the feeder securely hold the corn ears and make it difficult for the squirrels to remove the corn from the feeder.

Another fun feeder for squirrels is the Squirrel Munch House. This type of feeder is box shape and has openings on the sides for squirrels to get in. It is made of cedar wood and designed to be durable. Add the squirrel food to the interior and watch the squirrels have fun trying to get into the feeder. This feeder is sure to keep the squirrels well feed and out of your bird seed feeders.

Adding a squirrel feeder to your yard is a great way to help prevent the squirrels from stealing the bird seed. Not only do squirrel feeders help to keep the squirrels well feed, but they also provide entertainment for you and the squirrels. Look for more great items for squirrels at Rachel’s Robin.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Summer Garden

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If you live in the northern part of the United States, your chances of attracting hummingbirds to your yard are less likely than someone living in the south. Fewer species of this beautiful, unique bird travel north during the summer and only one species makes the trip to southern Alaska. Creating an inviting backyard habitat is essential for attracting hummingbirds. A backyard filled with filled with fragrant flowers, hummingbird feeders, and insects is ideal for attracting hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds love to get the nectar from flowers and are very attracted to garden with a variety of vibrant colors. It is a good idea to choose flowers that bloom throughout the entire summer season. Some favorite plants of hummingbirds are honeysuckle, morning glories, hollyhocks, gladiolus and begonias. To make the most of your plantings, plant the taller plants toward the back of the garden and the shorter blooms toward the front. You may also want to plant some flowering bushes and trees around or near your garden to help attract more birds.

Feeders that are designed for hummingbirds are essential for attracting hummingbirds to your yard. Typically, hummingbird feeders, such as the Garden Jewels Hummingbird Feeder, have the color red on the feeder to get the bird’s attention. There are a wide variety of feeders available that are ideal for attracting hummingbirds and come in an assortment of fun shapes and styles. The feeder should be filled with sweet, pre-mixed nectar that hummingbirds need to feed on to get lots of calories for high energy. If you use a clear feeder or a feeder that is not brightly colored, use a red nectar mix to attract hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds also need a source of protein to keep their bodies strong and healthy. These amazing little birds get their protein from insects found on the flowers. Offering a variety of flowers that attract insects is a great protein source for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds will even eat on the insects that get stuck in tree sap for a protein snack. It is important not to use an insect spray on your plants in the garden that will kill the insects.

Once you have established your hummingbird habitat, you may want to keep your binoculars handy to catch a glimpse of this fascinating bird. For more products and bird tips, go to Rachel’s Robin for a large selection of bird supplies.

Back to Basics: How to Attract Birds to Your Yard

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If you are new to attracting birds to your yard, the most important thing you need to do is to create a bird friendly habitat in your yard. Birds require shelter, food, and water. Adding these essentials to your yard to fulfill basic bird needs can help attract a lot of birds to your yard.

Shelter. This very basic need can simply be filled by a variety of ways. The simplest way to add shelter is to add a man-made bird house. The majority of birds love to inhabit man-made bird houses. Bird houses are very attractive to birds because they offer great protection from the elements and predators. Try using a simple home such as the Recycled Plastic Lumber Hanging Birdhouse to attract birds to your yard. In addition to man-made bird houses, birds also like to make homes in Evergreen trees. Planting Evergreens in your yard is great for birds who winter in cold climates and a variety of birds in the summer time.

Food. By just adding one feeder to your yard, you will greatly increase the amount of birds visiting your yard. There several varieties of feeders to choose from that appeal to a wide range of birds. If you are just starting out, pick a feeder and seed that appeals to a wide variety of birds and you will be able to observe a variety of birds. A great seed that appeals to a variety of birds is Lyric Wild Bird Mix Wild Bird Seed. Another way to provide birds with food is to plant vegetation that appeals to birds. Planting annuals and perennials, which are attractive to birds and thrive in your geographic location, can provide another source of nutrition to birds.

Water. Having a fresh source of water is essential for attracting birds. This can be accomplished several ways, but the easiest way to add a man-made bird bath. A variety of natural and man-made objects can be used to accomplish this. A terracotta, ceramic, resin, or concrete birdbath can be placed anywhere in your bird habitat. A simple terracotta bird bath, such as the Audubon Deck-Mounted Bird Bath, can be attached to a deck or placed on a table or stump. Make sure to keep birdbath filled. Other simple solutions include: a natural stump with a hollowed center, a rock filled hole in the ground, or a small water feature. Be creative and add a variety of birdbaths to the habitat for the birds to enjoy.

Attracting Butterflies with a Butterfly Feeder

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BUTTERFLY FEEDER


Attracting Butterflies doesn’t mean investing in fancy, expensive stuff.
Butterflies love large, open, sun-filled areas. Butterflies like flowers, they need some food sources and they need shelter. (puddles and rocks are great)
You might think about planting an herb garden if you enjoy herbs – many butterfly species do too. Reserving a section of your yard for native flowering plants and for weeds like dandelion, nettle, and milkweed should also help guarantee a good variety of butterflies. It’s best to avoid using any pesticides if you are attempting to attract butterflies.
It is important to note that very few butterfly species cause harm to garden plants. If caterpillars become a nuisance – for instance, if cabbage whites are decimating your nasturtiums – picking the larvae off by hand is not a difficult task.
To make butterfly nectar, mix 4 parts water with 1 part organic cane sugar and boil for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Cool the nectar thoroughly before adding it to the feeder. Large batches can be made and stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. This nectar recipe can also be used for hummingbird feeders.
Butterflies can’t drink from birdbaths or other open water, but give them a damp spot of wet sand or dirt ( a puddle) and they’ll often flock around it. In some species of butterflies, young bachelor butterflies most commonly exhibit “puddling” behavior.
Butterflies need shelter from predators and wind. Ideal are hedges; groups of small trees or shrubs; or walls, fences, trellises covered with vines. Possible plantings include honeysuckle and butterfly bushes; and for vines, passion flower, pipevine, or hops.

Help Celebrate Earth Day in Honor of the Birds!

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Earth day, April 22nd, is quickly approaching and a great way to help celebrate this day is to do something for the environment. By helping the environment, you help everyone on the planet. Make some small, but significant changes in your everyday life such as: planting a garden or tree; changing your old light bulbs to high energy efficient ones; use re-usable plastic bags at the grocery store; and recycle as many items as you can. Each little change that you do helps to improve the Earth!

If you are thinking about purchasing a new bird feeder or house for your yard, please consider a recycled plastic feeder or home. Bird feeders that are made from recycled plastic are great because they are easy to clean, disease resistant and give new life to something that was once trash.

Many manufacturers are making recycled plastic feeders and one of my favorite feeders is the Going Green Seed Tube Bird Feeder by Audubon/Woodlink. This simple and classic feeder is made of 90% recycled plastic. Recycled plastic is easy to clean and does not retain water, which makes it resistant to mold and bacteria. This sleek feeder is perfect for any bird lover because it holds a variety of seed and is easy to fill.

If you are looking to replace or purchase a new bird house, take a look at the recycled lumber feeder by VariCraft. The Recycled Plastic Lumber Hanging Birdhouse makes an ideal home for Wrens and Chickadees. This earth-friendly home is easy to clean and looks great in any yard!
Help make the Earth a better place by purchasing one of these great recycled products available at Rachel’s Robin. Go Green!

Rachel’s Robin is Proud to Announce – The Wild Bird Blog!

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WILD BIRD FEEDERS

It’s the biggest bird event of the month and it’s happenin’ at GregRobert!

Month after month and year after year, our staff at Rachel’s Robin answers questions about feeders and birds and squirrel deterrents and bird baths and bird feeders and hummingbird migration and just about everything that a wild bird enthusiast would need to know.
We decided that it’s time to take our answers a step further and offer our loyal readers and customers a Wild Bird Blog.

…. and here we are!

The Rachel’s Robin Wild Bird Blog is going to focus on the latest and greatest, and the tried and true hobby of wild bird feeding and viewing. No diversions into politics and no diversions into the state of the economy – just birds and hummingbirds and maybe a bit about wild life.
To start off, our featured product to celebrate the launch is the Breast Cancer Awareness Bird Feeder. The Celebrate Life! feeder is a Limited Edition 8 inch Bird Lovers® Sunflower Feeder in Breast Cancer Awareness pink. The attached charm can be easily removed and used as a keychain accessory.

Funds will be donated from the sale of each feeder to support breast cancer initiatives. The Bird Lovers brand is a popular brand of Droll Yankees. Droll Yankees is nationally recognized for high quality feeders that cater to an expansive range of birds. The threaded base on the feeder fits all Droll Yankee accessories and it has a UV stabilized polycarbonate tube prevents yellowing.

Great starter feeder or for children and a great gift for a loved one that has survived Breast Cancer.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Dog

Summer is an ideal time to get outdoors and participate in fun activities with the family pet. Before you head out, there are some important summertime precautions to keep in mind regarding their safety, as this season brings a number of unique risks. Despite the continuous warnings about never leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle, dozens die this way every year. Others drown in backyard pools, and still others become seriously ill due to dehydration.

Dehydration

Being in the heat for an extended amount of time without replenishing your pet’s fluids can quickly become dangerous. Pets can’t verbally communicate with us, so it’s important to pay close attention to their condition, particularly when temperatures skyrocket. If you notice symptoms such as sunken eyes, dry nose, lethargy, or diarrhea, call your veterinarian right away.

Be sure to have water readily available at all times for your four-legged friend, especially on road trips. Bringing a travel bowl while you’re out and about is the best way to ensure that your pet will have what they need during your trip, and be sure to stop regularly to give them a chance to hydrate. If you head out on a hike together for a small jaunt or a lengthy excursion in the Cascade Mountains, keep in mind that the high-desert climate makes it essential to bring plenty of water for both you and your pet. There are a variety of travel water containers available, like the Handi-Drink Instant Dog Drinker.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be fatal, even if your pet is in perfect health. Many pet owners make the mistake of leaving their animal in the car, which can be harmful even if it’s just for a few minutes. Dogs have a higher body temperature than their two-legged companions, with a normal internal body temperature that ranges between 99.5-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to a human’s 98.6. On an 85-degree day, in just ten minutes your vehicle can reach temperatures of over 100 degrees. Your pet will have no way to help himself which could lead to seizures, brain swelling, and organ failure in a matter of minutes.

In order to prevent your pets from suffering heat stroke, NEVER leave them in a car alone for any amount of time. If you happen to travel with them in a vehicle, make sure that there is enough air flow so that they have a chance to cool off, or use the air-conditioning. Use the drive-up at banks, pharmacies and restaurants and shop at pet-friendly stores when running errands with your pet.

Pool Safety

Animals enjoy cooling off in the water, unfortunately, not all animals are natural swimmers, and many simply cannot swim. Your best bet to keep your pet safe is to have a fence installed around the pool perimeter to keep them from falling in. Installing a pool alarm is also a good idea, provided your pet or pets weighs over 16 pounds, as the alarm will sound loudly if any object of that size or larger enters the water. Other backyard pool accessories like dog life vests or Skamper ramps can be used to prevent water related accidents.

Boredom Busters: How to Create a Pet Playroom

A bored dog or cat is generally also an unhappy or destructive pet. Play is an integral part of pet’s lives. Through play, dogs release energy and establish boundaries, while cats get exercise and keep mentally alert. Depending on their age, size and breed, most dogs require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Cats, though they may sleep up to 16 hours a day, need physical activity as well, to provide stimulation and reduce anxiety. This activity requirement may be difficult for pet owners who work long hours, or live in an apartment. Designing a playroom with your pet’s needs in mind is a great way to keep them from turning to your furnishings for entertainment.

Basic Playroom Requirements
• An easy-to-clean floor, such as vinyl    
• A secure door or gate
• A play area
• A feeding and watering station (away from the play area)
• Sleeping quarters
• A litter box or piddle-pad corner

For dogs, you can simply lay a sheet of vinyl over your existing floor and add vinyl pads to prevent slipping (take care, some dogs will chew on them). For cats, provide disposable carpeting remnants or doormats for traction and scratching that can easily be replaced if soiled.

Whether you have a feline or canine companion, it is important to provide a comfortable interior temperature while you are away. Setting the proper automatic thermostat temperature is key to climate control, while an overhead fan can circulate air. While windows provide ambient lighting, consider installing wooden or woven shades over windows that receive full sun. Make sure the shades are adjusted to keep out of your pet’s reach.

Dogs

Dogs should be provided with a variety of toys.  Use toys like a   treat-filled toy  that will keep them engaged, rather than rawhides.  For long-term chewing fun, Nylabones and hard rubber toys are an option. Some dogs will be content with a favorite tennis ball. If they have a bed or crate, it can be placed in a corner.

Cats

Cats generally like to have a high vantage point to look out into a yard or survey their immediate environment. One of the easiest ways to provide a warm, sunny place, as well as darker, sheltered space is by using a cat furniture.

Provide your cat with plenty of batting balls and catnip toys, and a scratching post with dangling toys. For an inexpensive cat cubby, an old cardboard box with a comfy bed inside will be welcomed. If you have multiple cats, make sure to provide enough hiding spaces so your cats can get away when they want personal time.

Safety

Before allowing your pet into the room, remove any potential hazards such as:

  • Electric cords
  • Electronics
  • Chemicals
  • Small or sharp items
  • Anything that could hurt your pet if chewed
  • Any furniture or items that could be tipped over

A Misunderstood Breed: Pit Bulls

If you took a survey asking people what they thought was the most dangerous dog breed, pit bull would probably top the list. “Pit bull” is a term that encompasses a number of breeds including the American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and American bulldog. These athletic dogs are known for aggressiveness and a defensive nature, but that doesn’t mean all pit bulls are an imminent threat to your safety. Despite a history of breed violence, many pit bulls can be safe and loyal companions, even with children. These energetic canines thrive in an active environment. When properly socialized, pit bulls learn to curb their energy in healthy ways.

Decades of misinformation and stereotyping have given pit bulls a bad rap. It’s time to set the record straight on these amiable animals.

A Checkered Past

Bred from bulldogs, pit bulls were first used to help control livestock. Their collective fate took a turn for the worse when breeders began to train them for the inhumane blood sport known as baiting. Humans would watch these dogs fight bears, bulls and other large animals. When governments came to their senses and banned baiting, spectators turned the animals loose on each other. Much of the perception of these dogs is based on this violent history. In some cases, pit bulls were bred and trained to fight. Dogs from those bloodlines are sometimes more likely to lash out, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically dangerous. While they may boast strong jaws and ripped muscles, pit bulls can be just as loving and safe as any other breed. Dogfighting gives pits a bad name; every pit bull you see is not a trained killer.

The Right Environment

Like any other dog, a pit bull’s behavior is largely dependent on the environment in which he or she grows up. Take your pit bull to a dog park after locking him in a crate for the first part of his life and he may display aggression or shyness toward other dogs and humans. Provide an active lifestyle where your pit bull can socialize from a young age, on the other hand, and your pit bull will likely be as intelligent and gentle as any other dog.

If you have a young pit bull, get him around other people and dogs as much as possible. ASPCA.org notes that a dog’s most important sensitive development period takes place between 7 and 16 weeks of age. If your dog has early experience with others, he’ll be able to curb aggression as he gets older. If you adopt an older pit bull who displays aggression, take baby steps toward interaction with others. Keep your pit bull on a leash near the dog park, for example. A Flexi Leash assists you in restraining your dog in a very easy and natural manner.  As he learns to cooperate with other dogs, you can take additional measures to assimilate him. Training is paramount with pit bulls, especially those that grew up in unstable environments. Devote time to establishing commands. As your dog starts to recognize commands, you can use a  training collar to reinforce the lessons. Dogs need to know they must listen to their master and behave, but also that they are cared for.

Spay and Neuter

Like all dogs, pit bulls deserve the dedication and commitment of loving owners. That means keeping these hounds off the street and out of the pound. Have your pit bull spayed or neutered by a well-known animal center to control the animal population. According to Davis Country Animal Care and Control, dogs who are fixed are less likely to attack or bite someone. It’s one more reason to do the responsible thing for your pit bull.