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Summer 2011

Water:  Wiggling, Dripping, Misting, Rippling

     We’ve talked about how water is an important part of your backyard bird habitat.  Wild birds need a continuous supply of fresh clean water at all times of the year, for both drinking and bathing.  Water helps keep a bird’s body cool both from the inside and outside.  Water baths can also remove dust, loose feathers, parasites and other debris from a bird’s plumage.  A source of water can dramatically increase the number of wild birds you attract in our backyard. 

     Birds that may not visit your feeding station will visit water.  Birdbaths are probably the most common source of water.  You can offer ground level birdbaths, pedestal birdbaths or hanging birdbaths. The location of your garden and the type of vegetation immediately around it will determine what birds will visit your bird bath, and in what numbers.  Setting of the bath is very important – birds will only use it if they feel safe.  Birds get excited and pre-occupied about bathing and tend to be more vulnerable than at other times.  Make sure birds have clear visibility as they bathe, with bushes or trees nearby to provide cover if alarmed by a cat or a hawk, and perches to use when preening.  A shady location slows evaporation and keeps the water fresh longer. 

     One of the best ways to make your birdbath more attractive is to provide some motion on the water’s surface.  Water dripping into the basin catches the attention of birds; they are attracted to the sound of dripping or running water.  The ripples and water noise help birds to recognize the water as they fly overhead.  Drippers can be placed in any pool of water that your birds drink or bathe in.  Misters can be suspended above the birdbath or in a tree or bush.  We suggest offering a mister to attract hummingbirds.  They love to bathe on misted leaves.  Many birds flying overhead will be attracted to the water as it glistens on leaves of a tree, bush or plant.  Adding a dripper or mister to your water source will also keep your water fresher.  In fact, you may see many birds perching on these devices, drinking right from the dripper.  We've listed a few bird bath accessories to help you keep the water moving!

Rock Base Dripper/Mister

rock base dripper.jpgEnjoy the advantages of both a mister and a dipper with our mister-dripper combo! This unit includes a natural looking layered rock base and it’s a  water dripper and mister in one easy to use kit!  We also carry a similar model that has a pebble base.  The fine mist is like a gentle rain shower, the dripper unit will drip clean water into your bath at a rate that you can control.  Complete kit includes instructions, dripper tube, rock base and fitting, mist nozzle assembly, garden hose to 1/4" tubing adapter, Y valve and 60 feet of 1/4" OD tubing, PVC regulating valve for adjusting drip or mist rate,and "T" connector for system expansion.


Universal Dripper

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This handy water dripper adds noise and movement to any existing bird bath. You use this accessory to drip water into your birdbath. Hanger is designed to attach to most birdbaths up to 2" in thickness. It provides the benefits of dripping water without taking up space in the bird bath itself. Features stainless steel construction and powder coated body for durability. Easily attaches to your outside faucet or hose. Fully Assembled, complete kit includes instructions, brass tubing adapter for connecting to a faucet or garden hose, filter washer keeps debris out of the tubing, brass needle valve controls drip rate, 50 feet of black 1/4" tubing, and Y-valve connector for hose.

Leaf Mister

mist.jpgAttracts more wild birds to your backyard. The water glistens on the moistened leaves so birds can see it from a distance. Attach to a small tree, shrub or garden stake, aimed at easily viewed foliage. Creates a fine mist just like a gentle rain shower, including spectacular rainbows when the sun is at the correct angle! Kit comes complete with all instructions and parts including 60 feet of 1/4" black tubing, brass faucet to tubing adapter, a "Y" valve so you can use your garden hose and the mister from the same faucet, brass needle valve, and mist nozzle assembly.

Water Wiggler

water wiggler.jpgThis unique water accessory creates continuous ripples in water and eliminates stagnant water.  The Water Wiggler's unique battery-pwered agitator creates continuous ripples in water preventing mosquitos from laying eggs in your bird bath and the gentle sound helps birds to find your water.  Easy to install, operates on 2 D-cell batteries, just place it and go.  No wiring or plumbing required.  It operates 24 hours a day and comes with a 6 month manufacturer's warranty.  This unit is approximately 5" in diameter and 3" tall.

Layered Water Rock

layered waterfall rock.jpgThis layered waterfall rock has the look of natural stacked stones.  It can be used in bird baths with at least 1.5 inches of water; the water flows from the top over the multiple layers.  It features a hidden water pump for a natural look and is made of a resin material to withstand outdoor weather elements.  The moving water is sure to help attract birds to your backyard. This waterfall rock has tubing to attach to your outside water hose, no electricity needed.



Whip-poor-wills are mottled grayish-brown birds with long rounded tails and rounded wings. The males have black throats separated from the breast by a necklace of white. They show white outer tail feathers. The females have a thinner and buffier necklace and lack the white on the tail. They are sometimes seen sitting on tracks or roads. Their feet are week and small, their legs are short and they move about hopping awkwardly on the ground.

Like the owl, the Whip-poor-will is a night hunter. But while an owl hunts primarily by sound, the large-eyed Whip-poor-will finds its prey by sight. Thus, the Whip-poor-will is most active at twilight, dawn, and on moonlit nights.    Due to the Whip-poor-will’s reliance on moonlight, its breeding cycle is synchronized with the lunar cycle. Whip-poor-wills lay their eggs so that they hatch as the moon is waxing. In this way, they have the advantage of maximum moonlight while feeding their growing young. No nest is prepared for the pair’s clutch of one or two eggs. Instead the Whip-poor-wills' eggs are laid on a bed of leaves. In the East, the eggs often rest near a log in a small clearing or at the edge of woods. In the West, the female often lays her eggs under a rocky overhang on a slope or in a wooded ravine. During the day, the female incubates the eggs. At night, both parents share the incubation duties. When the Whip-poor-wills’ eggs hatch, both parents feed the young regurgitated food.

The Whip-poor-will eats a variety of flying insects, ranging in size from mosquitoes to large beetles and moths. Although its bill is quite small, it opens into a huge gaping maw when the Whip-poor-will flies after prey. It forages in sustained flight, wheeling and circling, sometimes gliding and even hovering.

Whip-poor-wills live in open woodlands with well-spaced trees and low canopy from south central and southeastern Canada southward to the southeastern United States.  They are mostly distinguishable by voice. This eastern bird sings the well known three part “WHIP-poor- WEEA” with rising last note and first and last syllables accented. 

Migration is mainly at night, with eastern birds wintering from South Carolina along the Gulf of Mexico to Guatemala. Western birds winter in central Mexico.

The "Dog Days" of Summer are coming.... keep your cool!

bandoo2.gifLooking for a way to stay cool while walking, golfing, gardening, fishing, bird watching or any other outside activity?  Think cool. Think quality. A leader in the cooling apparel business for more than 15 years, Blubandoo creates innovative products that beat the heat and help you look your best.   We are happy to offer these attractive neckbands for your summer comfort.  The bands contain fast-acting polymer cooling crystals that evolve into a gel quickly to keep the wearer cool for days!  Easy to use – just submerge the neckband in water for five minutes. No refrigeration necessary.  Tie the neckband around your neck and enjoy hours of cooling comfort.  This high-quality product is reusable and capable of handling wash after wash, warranted against factory defects.  One size fits all.  

Hummingbird Questions and Answers

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Answers Hummingbird Questions

Q I read that I should always make my hummingbird nectar with one quarter cup of sugar for every quarter cup of water.  Someone told me that’s not right.  What’s correct?
A – The sugar content of natural flower nectar varies and is roughly comparable to sugar water mixtures ranging from a quarter to a third cup of sugar per cup of water.  During hot, dry weather, when hummingbirds risk dehydration, it’s best to make your mixture no stronger than a quarter cup of sugar per cup of water.  But during cold, rainy spells, making the mixture a bit stronger, up to about a third cup of sugar per cup of water, will not hurt your birds and may help them.

Q I see red hummingbird food mixtures in some stores.  I heard the red coloring is dangerous.  Is that true?
A – There is absolutely no reason to add any red dyes to hummingbird sugar water.  After all, natural flower nectar is clear and hummingbird feeders have colorful parts that attract hummingbirds regardless of the color of the water.  It has been researched that hummers who have been fed dyed food have higher mortality and suffer tumors of the bill and liver.

Q The hummingbirds at my feeder are fighting way too much!  Why can’t they share?
A – Hummers are aggressive for a good reason – they can’t afford to share flowers during time when not many blossoms are available because they may have to wander a long way after nectar is depleted.  This aggression is so deeply ingrained that they just can’t figure out that feeders are different.  If you have many hummers it might be wise to put out more feeders with fewer ports per feeder.  If you spread your feeders out the birds won’t have to see one another, arousing their territoriality. 

Q Every summer most of my hummingbirds disappear for a few weeks, and then suddenly reappear in large numbers.  Why?
A – Adult male hummers aggressively defend their territory and if your yard is within the territory of one, he may drive all other males away during nesting season.  If you have a nesting female nearby, she will visit your feeder only periodically, spending most of her time incubating her eggs.  After the eggs hatch, she usually concentrates her feeding at flowers that supply tiny insects as well as nectar – insects contain the protein that her nestlings need in order to grow. Once the young have fledged, she continues feeding them for several days until the fledglings have mastered getting their own feed.  At this time, she may bring them to your feeders to teach them how to take advantage of this easy food supply, too.  This is also when males begin migrating, with adult females soon following.  So many of the hummingbirds that suddenly appear are actually migrants from farther north, just passing through.



Featured Product:  Backyard Tiered Pond

     We receive so many remarks about the pond in the store, how beautiful it looks and how pleasant it sounds.  What many don’t realize is that it is for sale and extremely easy to install.

     This pond is the only one I am aware of that is designed not only for your enjoyment but also to be a bird haven.  Birds love moving water but don’t like it to be too deep.  The maximum depth should be about 2” and the trickling sound of the moving water brings them in to drink and bathe.

     This pond comes in a box and has everything you need.  There are three liners made of the same material as professional football helmets (Go Packers!), pump, hoses, algae fighting material, complete installation instructions on a DVD and the “flow master” rock from where the water begins its descent.  The only extra item you would need would be your choice of landscape rock to go around the perimeter.  Customers have shared photos of their finished ponds and the possibilities are endless – create your own design with the materials that are most pleasing to your eye.  There is very little digging involved with the installation as the pond tiers are built up rather than dug deeper into the ground. This is great for yards with hard soil, tree roots and other ground obstacles.  Installation averages less than three hours.  

     Stop in the store, talk to Mike or his staff on this unique water feature for your backyard.  Look at the photos from satisfied customers to get some ideas on how to install this pond.   To make this POND IN A BOX more appealing, there’s a coupon at the end of this newsletter, good for the month of August.  

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Mike's Message

     Welcome to Mosquito Land USA!  Just before the snow arrived last year we replaced our deck at home.  So as I watched the snow, and more snow and then the spring monsoons, I longed to be outside and enjoy this new deck.  Finally the day came!  With lawn chair and cool beverage in hand I was finally able to sit outside on this deck.  Twenty minutes later the mosquitoes won and I was back in the house.  Sound familiar?  Actually I brought out our Amazon Lights incense sticks and was able to sit and enjoy my backyard, mosquito-free.  These sticks work like the “punks” we enjoyed as kids.  You can use them for a while, extinguish them and re-light them when you are outside once again.  They are made from aromatic essential oils of Brazilian Andiroba, citronella, rosemary and thyme, and do not have an offensive smell; they provide a natural and fragrant insect repellant.  Pat uses these when she’s weeding the flower beds, moving them along with her as she makes her way through the beds.   She swears by them, even as she disrupts mosquito territory.  And try our Neck Bands, new for the summer.  They provide a cooling relief to those hot and humid days that finally arrived.
A special thank-you goes out to all our customers who purchase and/or use “recycle bags”.  As you recall, we donate coins to the Nature Center Fund every time you use your reusable bags, keeping paper and plastic out of our landfills.  The last $50 Gift Card went to Mosquito Hill Nature Center.  It’s a pleasure to help our environment and our community nature centers.  Thank You.   
There is no official announcement as of yet as to our new store location but plans are moving forward.  Moving day will be later this fall and all the details will be provided via emails, newsletters, flyers and radio (WVBO) announcements.  We won’t forget to tell you! 
The strange spring weather patterns that caused late snows, heavy rains and floods also affected spring migration.  Many people in our area who had never seen the migrating birds (orioles, hummingbirds, indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks, scarlet tanagers, etc.) were excited to watch and enjoy.  There were many first sightings or more sightings than normal.  I guess we’ll enjoy the good after all the bad weather we had.
     My staff, Pat and I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer.  Remember, our Sunday hours during July and August are 10am to 2pm. 

                                                Feed the birds…..and don’t forget the water, Mike

Special Customer Coupons!

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