Seasonal Birdwatch Tips: Early Spring
Migratory birds return in the spring. In general they need a source of clean water, high quality food to begin their new families, and nesting materials for this year’s home. Russell’s offers mealworms and suet along with other foods containing fruits, berries and insects. Protein provides high energy and the calcium in these foods is necessary for the egg laying season. Nesting boxes and packaged nesting materials are also on hand, and these are welcomed by the birds. If you have an existing nesting box, this is the time to clean it out: remove old nests and wash out the house with an enzyme wash or diluted bleach solution (rinse thoroughly!) Ask our staff for help choosing brushes and other cleaning supplies to maintain what you have. To keep new bird families safe, you can protect entrances to nesting boxes with a metal entrance plate that prevents predators from chewing on and entering the nest box. Don’t forget to “spring clean” your feeder(s) too! Use a brush to remove any damp or rotten seed build-up, rinse out if possible and dry, re-fill with seed and you’re ready to sit back and enjoy a new season of bird observation.
Russell’s offers a large variety of top quality seed mixes. Feeding the birds not only helps the birds survive in your neighborhood but can provide year-round entertainment. As an added benefit, birds help control bug populations in your yard as well as helping to nurture a connection to nature for all ages. The seed blends we carry are favorites of all the local species of birds – from smaller birds like finches and chickadees, to the larger cardinals, bluebirds, and even woodpeckers. For variety, why not offer your bird visitors suet (especially during the winter months), seed cakes and mealworms. You’ll be surprised how many feathered visitors you attract to your feeders!
Russell’s carries a full line of birdhouses, including nesting materials, decorative houses made from maintenance free materials, and houses designed to attract particular birds to your yard, from owls to house wrens, and even hummingbirds.
Russell’s carries a number of products to help keep squirrels off your feeders. From weighted feeders specifically designed to frustrate squirrels, to baffles, to seed additives such as Squirrel Away (concentrated hot pepper).
Garden feeders with copper or shingled roofs are elegant to view. There are also functional feeders made from recycled milk jugs to colorful hummingbird feeders made of recycled glass. Whatever feeder you choose will become a focal point in your garden. Russell’s carries feeders from Aspects, Droll Yankee, Brome, Vari-Crafts, Stokes, Perky Pet, and Heritage Farms. While no feeder is truly squirrel-proof, many make it more difficult for them to raid and help you preserve the food for the birds. The Brome and Heritage Farm feeders close when anything heavier than a bird rests on the perch. The Droll Yankee Flipper is battery operated and swings around to dislodge the squirrel. The Nuttery, Vari-Craft, and Droll Yankee make feeders enclosed in a cage to keep out squirrels, large birds, and predators. We also stock suet feeders, covered dishes, and feeders which attach to your windows with suction cups for close-up viewing of visiting birds.
If you can’t beat them, join them. Some people prefer to provide food for the squirrels and other wildlife. Lyric Quack’n Snack Wildlife Mix is a nutritionally balanced blend to attract game birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and wild fowl. We have a variety of functional and whimsical squirrel feeders to make feeding easy and fun. Russell’s carries corn on the cob and Squirrelogs, a concentrated, long-lasting corn log. We have corn and seed cakes for squirrels as well as feeding boxes which the squirrels learn to open to retrieve their food.