Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question: Is there anything that I can use to treat the wooden feeders and bird houses to help protect the wood that will not harm or bother the birds? 

 

You could safely treat the outside of your wood feeders, but do not apply any chemical on the parts that will be in the contact with the bird seed. In fact, we should not even use bleach while cleaning wood feeders. When purchasing new feeders to replace the wood feeders, you may want to consider a feeder made of composite recycled plastic as those are much easier to clean. Disadvantages are that they are expensive and often heavier.

 

Question: Why is a woodpecker pecking at my gutters and downspouts? 

 

It's not looking for bugs, it's nature calling!   

 

Woodpeckers have characteristic calls, but they also use a rhythmic pecking sequence to make their presence known. Referred to as “drumming,” it establishes their territories and apparently attracts or signals mates.

 

Drumming, the term given to the sound of pecking in rapid rhythmic succession on metal or wood, causes little damage other than possible paint removal on metal surfaces; however, the noise can often be heard throughout the house and becomes quite annoying, especially in the early morning hours when occupants are still asleep. Drumming is predominantly a springtime activity. Drumming substrates are apparently selected on the basis of the resonant qualities. They often include metal surfaces such as metal gutters, downspouts, chimney caps, TV antennas, rooftop plumbing vents, and metal roof valleys. Drumming may occur a number of times during a single day, and the activity may go on for some days or months. Wood surfaces may be disfigured from drumming but the damage may not be severe.

Question: What do I do if I find an injured raptor?

 

If you find an injured eagle, hawk, or owl, contact Rodney Paul at 501-450-2653 or rpaul72045@yahoo.com.  

Question: What do I do if I find an injured bird that is NOT a raptor?

 

For non-raptor injured birds, contact one of the rehabilitators listed at:  ‎www.agfc.com/species/Documents/migratorybird_rehablist.pdf

 

Question: How do I stop birds from flying into my windows?

 

 

Most birds hit windows because the reflection fools them.  Seeing a window as a path to the woods can be deadly.  Sometimes a bird sees its own reflection and reacts as if it is an intruder to its territory.  One of our members has found success by hanging deer netting over the window area using plastic suction cup hooks.  This is very portable and especially useful when you have a bird that wants to fight with its own reflection.

 

Another successful approach has been to hang lengths of parachute cord spaced four inches apart on all the highest risk windows.  Please see accompanying pictures that show both methods.  

Question: How do you keep woodpeckers from pecking your house?

 

An idea that solved this problem for one creative Villager was to scare the woodpeckers away from his house with colorful, wind sensitive plastic decorations.  The decorations (please see the photos) were hand made by cutting strips of plastic, painting with various bright colors, decorating with glitter, and then hanging the plastic strip from critical poionts of his eaves.  The materials can all be found at a hobby store.  Fishing line or picture wire plus a fishing swivel can be used to hang them.  The Villager though that tin or thin sheetmetal might work even better than the plastic.



Here is another suggestion: the type of "Wind Twister" shown in the photo can be found in the outdoor/seasonal section of "Dollar Tree" stores from spring through early summer and is usually available in a variety of pastel colors.  They are also sold in bulk online through several outlets where they are available in a variety of colors and patterns; just do a search for "Wind Twister".  The cost per twister is about a dollar.  Another hint is to check your local discount or hardware store's garden department by the wind chimes where something similar may be available.

Question: How do I keep squirrels away from my birdfeeder?

 

 

Pictured is a birdfeeder setup that has successfully deterred squirrels and raccoons.  The components were all purchased at a birdstore.  However, a handy person could duplicate it with materials from the local hardware store.  The pie-plate baffle is at a height of 5 feet.  The stovepipe baffle was added after young raccoons figured out how to get past the pie-plate.  It's important to keep the feeder a couple of yards away from the trees or shrubs that a squirrel could potentially jump from.



Question: What do you do if you find a baby bird on the ground?

 

An article in the Summer 2010 issue of Netlines, the Hummer/Bird Study Group newsletter, recommends "Just leave it alone, Mother Nature will tend to it."  The parent birds will feed the baby on the ground, since they are probably aware of the location of the baby.  The Sargents report that most bird rehabbers and vets suggest that there is a better chance of survival if the grounded fledgling is fed by the parents.

 

If you think the baby bird is at risk from cats, dogs, or cars, then pick up the baby bird and place it in a nearby shrub or small tree where it is more likely to be safe.  The parents will find the baby if they can hear it calling.

 

Question: How do you keep wasps out of bird houses?

 

Answer:

The key thing it to start early. It is fairly easy to remove a new nest with only a few wasps. But if you wait a month or two, it becomes a real challenge. The longer you wait, the more of a challenge it will become. Also, the best time of day to remove wasp is early in the morning when wasps are NORMALLY sluggish. Some suggestions are:

1. Use a paint stick to slip through the opening above the bird house entry hole to easily knock down a wasp nest. This works best when the wasp nest is small.

 



2. Use petroleum jelly on the inside of the top of the nest box to try to keep wasps out of the house. It is messy, but by using disposable gloves makes it easier and shouldn't be harmful to baby birds.

 

3. Bar soap is easier, but might not be a good idea during the possibility of
spring rains as we don't want soapy water dripping down on nestlings.

 

4. Another suggestion found on the internet are to cover the interior roof with aluminum foil or plastic wrap which might be a bit tricky unless you did it while the box was unoccupied.

 

Whatever you do, DO NOT USE PESTICIDES because you would be exposing your birds to risk!



Question: What can I do when there are lots of bees on my hummingbird feeder?

 

Take down ALL the feeders.  Soak them in a solution of 1/4 bleach to 1 gallon of
water, overnight.   Exact measures on this is not critical. Remove them in the morning and rinse or submerge in clear water.  This will remove any pheromones placed on the feeders by the honey bees.  The solution will produce soap, so that will make your hands fill slippery when you handle the feeders. 

 

Leave the feeders DOWN for two or three days,  then put them out again.  This should solve the problem, at least for a while. 

Question:  Flying Squirrels and Humming Bird Feeders

At night flying squirrels rob the humming bird feeder of the nectar. Someone told me to put chili pepper in the water and the squirrels will leave it alone and the hummers won't be effected by it??? I don't want to hurt the little guys. Any ideas??

 

Answer from Bob Sargent:

My advice has not changed.  Add NOTHING to the hummer food.  Stick to four parts water and one part common table sugar, no food coloring and no bought additives. Eastern Flying Squirrels can be trapped and relocated, although I have never heard of a flying squirrel eating nectar. Bringing the feeder in should stop the night time poachers. My guess is that raccoon or bats may be the culprits. 

 

Anyone wanting to trap and relocate flying squirrels should first check with the game and fish officials to be sure the species in not protected.  It make take a special state permit to trap them.

 

It is not a sin to stop feeding hummers if all else fails.  

 

Question: What do you use on baby birds with mites?

 

A quick search on the internet found that a spray called Scalex works well, but do not spray on the bird. Spray on a cotton ball and dab on the bird's feathers making sure to get the belly, the legs, and under the wings. Do not get it in the mouth, eyes, or nares. After a few hours, gently wipe the bird with a warm washcloth or offer it a bath. Scalex is available at Petsmart.