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  SPRING 2013


13th Anniversary Celebration

The month of March marks our 13th year of Wildbird & Backyard ownership - and it's time to celebrate!  

We're bringing back the dice - with every purchase you'll have the oppourtunity to shake a set of 3 die.  If you're lucky and shake a total of 13 with the dice we'll be pleased to present you with a 13% Discount Coupon Card that you can use on any purchase through May 31, 2013.

There also will be a drawing for 13 Door Prizes, no purchase necessary.  Just enter your name and phone number for a chance to win.  The drawing will be held on April 1st. 

We enjoy seeing all our valued customers day after day, you're like our extended family.  Thirteen years... we could not have done any of this without you, our faithful customers.  Our new location has brought many new faces through our doors, thanks for spreading the good word and helping us increase our birding family.  As we begin our fourteenth year we sincerely want to thank you all for your support and patronage.   

Build Your Birding Knowledge: Bluebirds

Save the date!  Saturday, April 13th has been set aside as Bluebird Day at Wildbird & Backyard.  Would you like to learn more about Bluebirds; how to attract them, their mating habits, bluebird houses, nesting, feeding and keeping them in your backyard?  Come join us for an exciting Bluebird Seminar, presented by Dick Nikolai, Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources.  Dick will present bluebird facts and will entertain all your questions, just in time for the spring nesting season.  Watch for future details as to the time of this session.  Hope you can join us on Bluebird Day. 


Who Nests Where?

 Exactly where a bird places its nest on a branch gives experts a clue to the species.  Some species always choose a Y-shaped fork along a horizontal branch of a deciduous tree, while another may place their nest amont the branchlets on a horitzontal, thickly needled conifer spray.  The lesson here is that a variety of plant habitats will provide homesites for a variety of birds.  When building a nest for the first time, most birds seem to instinctively know what materials to use and how to build it without having observed nest building before. Perhaps this is from having been raised in a particular kind of nest. Ttheir skills do improve with age and experience.  Some species, including turkeys and Killdeer make a simple scrape in the ground, using their bellies to shape it.  Others, such as orioles, construct elaborately woven nests using hundreds of stands of grasses or fibers.  The oriole, working with its beak alone, threads and knots dozens of strands of fibers into a hanging pouch 5 to 6 inches long.  

There are hundreds of ways in which birds construct their nests, each unique to its species.  They carefully choose materials such as:  twigs, rootlets, feathers, leaves, snake skin, mud, grass, string, hair, cattail fluff, moss, dead flower stems and bark.   Birds are perfectly capable of collecting their own materials to construct a nest.  But just as with a feeding station, it's immensely gratifying to supply desirable materials for birds to use.  Putting out nesting materials is also a great way to find out just which birds are building nests in your vacinity and to discover the location of a nest.  It's also fun to hunt through your house and see what other materials you can come up with.  As you scout the shelves in the garage and the junk drawer in the kitchen, keep in mind that fibers is the keyword:  anything that can be woven into a nest is fair game.  Keep the pieces short so the birds cannot get entangled in long lengths of fibers, even human hair.  

Look for nests in your backyard:
Deciduous Trees:  Goldfinches, hummingbirds, jays, robins, chipping sparrows, grosbeaks, tanagers, cedar waxwings
Rosebushes or Brambles:  Cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds, brown thrashers
Shrubs:  Red-winged blackbirds, indigo buntings, cardinals, catbirds, orioles, chipping sparrows, song sparrows, brown thrashers
Dense grasses:  Red-winged blackbirds, common yellowthroats
Trellised vines: Catbirds, bluejays, house sparrows, brown thrashers, Carolina wrens
Ground level: Meadowlarks, song sparrows, towhees
Bare gravel or bare ground:  Killdeer

Then we have species who prefer a cavity to nest in, like a hole in a dead tree or manmade bird house (nest box).  They still build their nest, but prefer not to be in vegetation.  Examples are:  Bluebirds, chickadees, flickers, purple martins, nuthatches, screech owls, tree swallows, titmice and woodpeckers.  We have a HUGE variety of nest boxes at Wildbird & Backyard.  There is something for every specie and for every humans liking:  cedar, polylumber, resin, plain, colorful, gourds, whimsical, free hanging, tree or fence mounting, decorative and even some woven from Austrailian wool.  We have the largest variety of nest boxes - Come in and find one (or more) to provide for your backyard birds.  We also carry the nesting material and cages for your collected household nesting finds.  

It's amazing how many bird nests go unnoticed.  Usually the folk down below become curious only when the baby birds cheep loudly at feeding time.  Watch a bird that selects nesting material from your yard and you may be able to locate the nest in progress. Do not approach!  Your scent won't deter nest-building birds, but your interst can clue in predators to the secret activitiy taking place, and the birds may abandon the location.  If you want to see the building/nesting/hatching up close, we do have a window mount bird house that allows for watching through the window and we also have a bird cam that can be put in a birdhouse for viewing inside on your TV, in the comfort of your easy chair.   

Bird Questions and Answers
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Answers Bird Questions
Q. I have a hunch that the bird singing outside my window is the same one who nested here last year.  Could that be true?

A. This is quite likely.  Many migratory songbirds return to the same local area and often to the exact same territory, each sping, even after traveling thousands of miles to and from their wintering grounds. Migratory songbirds tend to have short lives (annual mortality rates are about 50 percent), but birds that survive their first winter to breed in your yard have a higher chance of surviving year to year.  Studies of banded birds show that 20-60 percent of migratory songbirds are likely to return to the same local area at least two years in a row.

Q. Do parent and baby birds recognize ech other's songs or calls?

A.Adult birds may or may not recognize their young, depending on the species and nesting habits.  The Brown-headed Cowbird lays its eggs in the nests of other species.  The host species does not seem to notice the difference between the calls of their own babies and that of the cowbird.  Adults of species such as Barn Swallows never learn to recognize the calls of their own young.  This pattern may have developed because the young birds become independent immediately after fledging or because they remain isolated in their family group until they are fully independent.

If robins make a nest in a bush close to the house one season, what are the chances they will go back to the same place the next season to build their nest?

A.  If the female survives the winter, and if she successfully reared young the first year, the chances are excellent that she will return to the same place the next year.  If the nest failed for any reason, she will usually find a new place to build. 

Mike's Message

As I sit here, mulling my thoughts for this message, I’m watching the snow fall and reflecting on how cold it is outside.  I personally have had enough winter.  But have you noticed the goldfinches are starting to change colors, robins have been reported and the chickadees and cardinals are starting to sing, claiming their territories and wooing the females?  There is hope for spring.


Pat and I had a successful buying trip in Atlanta this past January and our newly ordered merchandise has been arriving and continues to arrive weekly.  You are aware that we try to find product made in the USA.  We were excited to find some items that we stocked years go that they are now being made once again in America.  We’re bringing those back.  The quality is better and we’re proud of what the USA manufacturers.


A few new items you’ll see:

  • More granite bird baths, owls and birds
  • Balancing kinetic dragonflies (hand crafted)
  • “Wild Woolies” – woolen, hemp and felt birdhouses made with Australian sheep wool in Nepal, supporting both urban and village women
  • Collectible mugs, frames and trays – with the funniest sayings, great for gifts
  • Solar patio lanterns
  • Coasters with bird images
  • Moon and heart shaped bird feeders
  • “Jingle Birds”, painted wooden birds with bell chimes
  • And more….


In your backyard do the deer eat from your feeder overnight or do you fill your feeder, go to work, and never see the birds eating?  We found a feeder that will solve that dilemma.  Come in and let us demonstrate our new programmable feeder, one that dispenses the seed for the birds on your schedule.  It’s pretty fascinating.


We find it difficult to believe that we are celebrating our 13th year of store ownership.  There have been many changes over those 13 years but there is one constant – YOU.  You have become our second family and make me as happy today as I was 13 years ago.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your continued patronage and support.


Now it’s time to think spring….think about warmer days, backyards and busy birds.


                                    Happy Birding, Mike, Pat and Staff


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