It’s September and Florida’s Sqirrels are Making Woopie and Having Babies. What to do when they invade?
Ok, we do like them, sort of… Florida’s squirrels, I mean. Scooter is a favorite, of course. They’re cute. They dance and climb our patio screens and chase one another up tree trunks, but let’s face it, they’re a nuisance. And August and September are when Squirrels can be at their most active. They’ve nested and have had babies and are looking to show them the world… the wild bird seed world… in our feeders… in our yards… that we pay for. ***Siiiiiggghhh***
Let’s take a look at a few of Wild Birds Unlimited, Clearwater/Safety Harbor’s favorite squirrel prevention products and see if we can’t stave off the invasion and save some of our hard earned wild bird seed dollars:
One of our most popular products, The Squirrel Eliminator:
By creating a barrier to the seed chamber, WBU’s high quality Squirrel Eliminator wild bird feeder, thwarts nearly all seed loss. Using a platform perch where birds may sit comfortably to feed, while the weight of a squirrel (or other heavier animal) will gently close the seed openings, this is a safe and sturdy solution to your squirrel seed stealing problems.
If you already own one of WBU’s Advanced Pole System feeders, then a baffle will work to discourage squirrels and raccoons from taking advantage as well. Sturdy, practical and simple to apply, baffles are a terrific solution to a consistent squirrel problem.
Follow these tips to help keep your feeders free from furry invasions:
- Place feeders well away from trees, fences or trees where squirrels may easily gain entry.
- Create an alternative spot in your Florida backyard habitat that is squirrel-friendly. Use WBU products containing nuts, fruit and seeds that squirrels will enjoy, and set them away from your wild bird feeding stations.
- If you can’t beat them, join them. Give up! Place feeders close to wherever squirrels frequent your yard, provide them with whatever seed and feed you share with your wild birds and then pull up a chair and enjoy. Sometimes, it’s best to let nature take its course and just go with the flow because, as pesky as they are, squirrels sure are fun to watch.
School’s In and the Kids are Out, Pinellas County! Scooter says it’s time to relax in your own tiny piece of backyard habitat paradise!
It’s August, Pinellas County… and we all know what that means! School is IN and the kids are out of the house. Time to relax and enjoy the wild birds in your very own Florida backyard habitat. Scooter and Vinny don’t have children, plus… they’re lazy, BUT… if they did have children, and if they weren’t so lazy, they’d be dancing in the branches over the excitement of indulging in all the great Wild Birds Unlimited products we can use to create an inviting and relaxing spot to sit back, relax and enjoy our backyard wild bird guests for the eight hours the kids are out of the house.
Take a look below to find which products you can use to carve out your own piece of wild bird watching paradise right there at home:
Location, Location, Location: Take advantage of the trees. Set up a comfortable chair, hammock or chaise beneath a hanging branch. Above (out of the way for obvious reasons) hang one of WBU’s seed cylinders. Long lasting and convenient, wild bird seed cylinders come in a variety of seed mixes to attract any number of preferred wild birds to your Florida back yard habitat.
Water Source: It’s hot. We feel it and so do the birds. What better way to enjoy the outdoors than by splashing in a cool bath? Provide a Wild Bird’s Unlimited’s bird bath nearby and watch the fun begin. Florida’s wild birds often indulge in bathing for both grooming and to keep cool in the rising, sometimes dangerous, Florida temps. Place nearby in a shaded area and clean and replace the water as needed to ensure your backyard guests have a safe and healthy water source.
Attract a Few Hummingbirds: There’s nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in the shade and suddenly seeing a Hummingbird flit past. Hummers are agreeable to being near humans when feeding and can sometimes be seen taking in nectar very close to their human providers. Hang a WBU Hummingbird feeder very close to your chosen spot and wait for the tiny jewels to stop by. Change out the feeding solution and clean the feeder often to avoid spoilage.
Points to Ponder: Plan carefully to ensure you’re not too close to noise where your Florida wild bird guests will be startled easily by air conditioning units, pool pumps or other disturbing intrusions.
Trim hedges, branches and brush from areas so your viewing may be enhanced and your wild bird guests will be better able to take advantage of the products you have provided for them.
If you’d like a certain type of bird to visit, come to the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in Clearwater/Safety Harbor and speak with one of our associates to better learn which seed and feed is suitable for the type of bird you’d prefer. We’re always eager to show our friends the best and most healthful way to attract Florida’s wild birds to their back yard habitat areas.
Check out the video below to discover ways you can attract more of Florida’s wild birds to your backyard habitat paradise using convenient seed cylinders from Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor.
So, what is everyone doing while the kids are home from school and rampaging through the house? Sitting there helpless as they ransack the fridge and scream at their video games? Are you tied to a chair? Hiding in a closet, alone and scared? Considering Donner Party motives? Have no fear! Scooter is here with advice and fun activities to get the kids outside and enjoying all the wild bird activity Pinellas County has to offer!
1) Make a bird feeder: Using recycled soda bottles or milk cartons has long been a fun way to teach kids about nature and how to take care of their world by reusing things that would normally end up in a landfill. Watch the video below for a terrific craft project for kids!
2) Make Binoculars: While older kids may also enjoy this fun and simple craft project, it is highly suitable for the younger or toddler child who is just beginning to understand their abilities and the world around them. Lots of fun for the younger child!
3)Keep a Wild Bird Log: You and your child can keep track of your wild bird visitors with a small notebook that you and your child can decorate yourselves. Use pictures of your favorite wild birds taken in your own back yard. Paste them inside the pages with the type of bird they are, the time and date you saw them and their activities through the day. Watch this video to see how you can design your very own wild bird notebook!
4) Backyard Habitat Design: Sit down with your children and, with pad and paper in hand, design the layout of your very own backyard habitat. Discuss options for using Wild Birds Unlimited Products in your own yard to help attract the best and brightness of Florida’s wild birds.
5) Weekly Outings to Local Parks: Pinellas county is lucky to enjoy more than its fair share of parks and preserves just waiting to be explored. From Moccasin Lake Nature Park to the Boyd Hill preserve, we are awash with opportunity to take our children from the confines of four walls and into the beautiful expanse of Florida’s featured spots! Pack a lunch, take your wild bird log book and your binoculars and enjoy an adventure out of the house and among Florida’s beautiful wild birds!
Originally posted on Northwood Commons Backyard Bird Blog!:
? We often hear about the hyper, almost maniacal, protective natures that wild bird mothers -of any species- show towards the safety and welfare of their offspring. I’m not saying Florida’s wild bird Moms are crazy taking care of their kids, just that Dads can sometimes be…
Wild Birds Unlimited Clearwater/Safety Harbor Celebrates Mother’s day! Northwood Commons is all a’flutter!
Mother’s Day is fast approaching in Wild Birds Unlimited’s Northwood Common’s backlot and Scooter and his Florida wild bird pals have some great ideas on how you can help –and celebrate- Florida’s wild bird Moms while remembering your own this year!
Florida’s wild bird moms could use a helping hand as they build and feather their nests. Try handing them some of WBU’s Woolies Nesting Materials to help them out. Placed under trees, shrubs and other areas where birds frequent, woolies will help Florida’s wild bird Moms to keep a clean, healthy and comfortable nest for their growing wild bird babies.
Find the perfect spot in Mom’s yard and surprise her with a brand new nesting box! Many mother birds love a great nesting box in which to raise their young. Nesting boxes can be placed nearly anywhere and make an excellent gift for Moms who need to take…
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Considering Pesticides to Rid Your Florida Backyard of Its Pests? Scooter Says Go Au Natural Instead!
Pests are a commonality in Florida. Wild Birds Unlimited’s very own Northwood Commons backyard habitat isn’t immune to the occasional winged Nosferatu or related creepy crawly, either. We know. We get them all. Cockroaches (any variety), beetles, ants, worms, fruit eating flying bugs and finally, and most detested, the ever-annoying… mosquito – Florida boasts 69 different species of mosquito- High Five, Sunshine State!
We slap them, swat them, chase them and fear them. But, we can’t seem to beat them. That’s because we can’t. Scooter says to stop trying. It’s evolution and they’re going to win, hands down… every time. What we can do, is try and prevent them from wreaking havoc in our yards, homes and lives. But that can cause problems, too. According to the EPA, pesticides can actually cause more damage than they can prevent. Some chemicals have been linked to the deaths of birds right here in Florida. Yup! The next time you grab a can and take an aiming squirt toward an ant hill, Scooter (Vinny has a vested interest, too!) asks that you rethink the chemical option and considering going… Au Natural!
Here are a few simple –natural– steps you can take to ensure your yard is healthy for your family and for Florida’s wild birds:
Clean it up:
While areas maintained for wild, natural growth are encouraged to enhance a backyard wildlife population, if your entire space looks like a Disney setting writhing with furry friends and buzzing insects, you may have gone too far. Keep natural growth down to a minimum as it can attract a bevy of pests like mosquitoes, roaches, ants and furry animals eager to indulge in your wild bird seed. Don’t allow bags of household trash to sit open to the elements. Kitchen trash will most certainly attract raccoons, squirrels and cockroaches especially. Store all household trash in cans with tight fitting lids at all times.
Drain Stagnant Water:
One of Florida’s biggest pet peeves as a state… Stagnant water! It just sits there. Puddled… muddy and swarming with cooties just waiting to grow wings and fly away only to return and start the process all over again. If they can’t breed, they can’t thrive. While Florida’s wild birds need a consistent supply of clean drinking and bathing water, especially during our scorching summer months, water sources can attract insects when not properly maintained. Drain all water sources. Toys, buckets and stagnant ponds should be routinely checked and, if possible, drained after each rainfall. Clean and scrub bird baths weekly to ensure no larvae are present. This is an easy one, folks!
Scooter says, “Go Nekkid!!” Vinny, not so much. No one wants to see a naked pigeon. Sorry, Vin. Did you know that some insects are adverse to certain plant life? Try IPM! Integrated Pest Management. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Department has terrific information on all sorts of plants that serve to guard against Florida’s more pesky critters. WBU Clearwater/Safety Harbor suggests using these beneficial (and beautiful) plants around your back yard habitat to help repel annoying insects, organically: Chrysanthemums, Lavender, Clover and Marigolds. According to the Organic Authority Blog, these five plants can help drive away some of Florida’s most reviled pests such as fleas, Japanese beetles and mosquitoes.
Most pests, fire ants especially, couldn’t care less what we do to them. They see us coming and in some sort of psychic link to every other bug within one square mile, they pick up en masse and move their abodes three feet over, laughing as they carry their luggage and larvae, and writhing bloated queens from one mound to another. It’s aggravating. So, while we can certainly try to avoid them, and we need to, fire ants are especially nasty pests, we can’t necessarily beat them. The best defense is a good offense and that includes just being diligent. Keep lawns trimmed to a good height, clean debris from occupied areas where children are prone to play, remove animal droppings as soon as you can and generally keep up the areas in which you live.
The battle of the beetles, and any other element of nature, doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility and exhaustive guilt-ridden attempts at killing what can’t be killed. We can control the pests that enjoy our same living quarters while still observing a certain amount of respect for our impact on our environments. These easy substitutes to what some consider harsh and even deadly chemicals have been provided by nature to control the influx of what can be annoying backyard guests. Mother Nature knows. She understands. She’s given us the tools to ensure a happy, healthy and safe backyard habitat for all of her critters. So cry havoc and let slip the natural dogs of war! Put down the cans and stinky sprays and pick up the lavender and Capzasin oils! There is hope yet!
Spring is on its way and our temps are on the rise. With the changing weather also comes the need to do a little spring cleaning. So grab a broom and dust off the bird feeders and get ready for Vinny and Scooter’s top ten ways to enhance, improve and clean out your backyard habitat!
10) Get rid of it! If you still have one of those old, creaky, broken bird houses or feeders, give your birds a break this year and offer them an upgrade. You know what I mean… c’mon… it’s made of wood, purchased a few years ago; it’s all worn, the edges are chewed and stained. Yea. That one. Get rid of it. Those bird feeding tools are notoriously hard to clean properly. Because of that, they can harbor some pretty nasty diseases which can run rampant through a flock of backyard visitors. Replace it with one of Wild Birds Unlimited’s lifetime guaranteed houses or feeders. Made from recycled materials, these feeders can be easily cleaned, come in several designs suitable for specific needs, and are available in an array of colors and seed capacities.
9)Spread the wealth! While one feeding station is certainly good, a few, spread farther apart throughout your yard, means even more birds will have an opportunity to visit. Make each spot a haven for certain types of birds! More aggressive birds; Jays and Mockingbirds, tend to frighten smaller, more docile birds like finches and sparrows. Ensuring your backyard visitors feel safe and secure in their feeding stations will bring them back time and again.
8)The right tool for the right job! Visit your local Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor to ask about which types of seed works best for the birds you’d like to see in your backyard. While most birds will eat just about anything, that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. WBU has specially designed seeds that cater to the specific tastes, health needs and preferences of certain types of birds. Once a routine of food is established, your backyard visitors will become regular guests, knowing you’re supplying them with the food they prefer.
7)If you can’t beat them… give them peanuts and call it a day! Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons… Oh my! They’re here to stay and there’s just about no way to keep them from regarding your feeders and seed with rapturous joy. They mean no ill-will but, they also don’t care that you’ve settled with your coffee to enjoy the birds eating the seed you’ve supplied. They’re like those annoying cousins; we all have them, just feed them and keep them at a distance as much as possible. Use WBU’s Squirrel Proof Eliminator Feeder to keep squirrels guessing and raccoons away. They may try to grab a morsel but there will be none of the rampant seed loss as often seen with the usual open feeders. Set up a feeding station just for these furry guys. Peanuts, bark butter and a bungee cord will keep them occupied, in their own space and out of your ruffled feathers.
6)Trim the fat! Of your overgrowth, that is. While birds certainly prefer a nice branch or twig on which to rest, overgrowth that falls too close or covers feeders or houses can cause issues of safety by providing hiding spots for predators like cats and snakes. Trim hedges, vines and shrubbery back and away from houses and feeding stations to help ensure your backyard visitors have a birds-eye-view of the surrounding area.
5)Save the children! Providing safe and healthy nesting spots will help to ensure more consistent breeding in your own backyard. Popular Florida wild birds like eastern Blue Birds, can often have two broods a season. Because of this prolific breeding, they need safe, healthy and secure nesting tools and areas. Set up houses near -but not too close- to feeding stations and water sources. Wild Birds Unlimited has a terrific line of houses to meet the needs of all of your Florida backyard wild bird guests.
4)Sometimes less is more! No big backyard for a habitat of your own? No worries! With WBU’s Advanced Pole System, your deck, patio or porch can become a feeding station for any type of bird you’d like to see. With it’s versatile accessories, the APS can be applied to a deck railing, buried in the ground beside a porch or patio and then used to hang feeders or houses or any type of wild bird feeding tool you’d like to use! For a quick change and a pretty addition, add in a hanging plant. This will serve as a resting spot for your visiting birds and also provides a pretty display for your smaller backyard habitat design.
3)Get involved! Join a local wild bird watching group or nature event. Pinellas county is full of them. Our local parks, universities and habitat areas offer a wide range of opportunities for wild bird watching, educational seminars and fun events for most any age and activity level. It’s a terrific way to get the family involved in the various aspects of Florida’s natural wonders.
2)No pain, No gain! If you don’t refill feeders, keep them clean and neaten up your backyard habitat areas, routinely, Florida’s wild birds won’t hang around until you do. Birds are fickle but, thankfully, are creatures of habit. Once they find a great spot, they’ll stay, coming back time and again to feed, nest and breed. So stay consistent by keeping up appearances and providing a safe and healthy backyard habitat area.
1)Anticipa-Haay-shun! So there you are. You have your habitat/s set up. You’ve done all of the above; supplying feeders, houses and seed to an adoring flock who seem to be… oddly… absent. Days pass, maybe even a few weeks? Then you start to wonder on the set up and the seed and finally, whether or not aliens have landed and sucked up all the birds… feathers and all. No. None of the above. Birds migrate, their patterns change and sometimes, all we hear –and sometime see– are crickets beneath our feeders. This is totally normal and is no big deal. Remove the seed and put it in storage for a few days. Set out small containers of seed and wait to see them moving in to feed. Once you see a progressively higher level of activity, then bring out the big stuff again; the feeders and houses, and yummy seed! You’ll be surprised at how fast the crowds will gather!
As always, we suggest a visit to your local Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor to discuss the best ways to create or enhance your backyard habitat!
Since 1994, February has been designated as National Wild Bird Feeding Month. While wild bird feeding is a popular hobby all over the country and throughout the year, February offers us a chance to share even more aspects of this wonderful and exciting activity.
Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor invites its fans and friends to enjoy this hobby by indulging in the many ways it can be observed.
Visit a local Pinellas County area park, event or wild bird watching venue at one of the following:
Ways to enjoy wild bird feeding in your own Florida Backyard:
Create a backyard habitat using Wild Birds Unlimited feeders, houses, seeds and accessories.
Observe and catalog wild bird visitors in your own backyard. Share your findings with local and national wild bird authorities such as Cornell’s lab of Ornithology’s Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13-16th.
Your Backyard Counts!
Take Part in the Great Backyard Bird Count
February 13 – 16, 2015
Christmas brought two of Florida’s favorite Eagles, Romeo and Juliet, a wonderful surprise: Babies! With the holidays around us, we may have missed an opportunity to watch one of nature’s most wondrous events; the hatching of bald eagles in the wild. Thanks to the American Eagle Foundation and its Northeast Florida Eagle Cam, we have the opportunity to view, in real time, this wonderful event as it unfolds. Although we posted about it on our Facebook page, we’re profiling it here to shed light on the ever-changing growth and exciting changes that take place while these babies mature.
It’s a fascinating look into the brooding habits and everyday life of these beautiful wild birds! Below are a few of the best videos we found plus a link to the AEF website where you can view the daily lives of Romeo and Juliet, and their babies, via live streaming video! We run a live feed right at the store, too. We welcome you to come in and watch for yourself!
Stay up to date with all the newest happenings with Romeo and Juliet via the Northeast Florida Eagle cam provided by the American Eagle Foundation’s live feed right here!
Let’s face it, playing Santa can be a difficult task to harness. So, consider bird watching! With parents and kids, aunts and uncles, coworkers and friends on the list, it can be hard to find that perfect gift to make each of them – or at least some of them- happy. Whether a seasoned bird watching enthusiast or a novice bird watcher who could use some upgrades, this classic hobby can be the answer to many a gift-giving problem.
With electronics taking over as the most requested item on many wish lists over the past several years, buying something complicated can be hard for those with -shall we say, less than stellar techno-knowledge.
But, Scooter comes to the rescue with some great suggestions for that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas shopping list! Read on to discover why the hobby of bird watching truly is… the perfect gift!
Bird watching is a time-tested hobby. It spans genders, ages and personality types. It fits the outdoor lovers, the hermits, the social butterflies and the loners alike. It can be done from anywhere; beaches, mountain tops, apartment homes and mansions. As one of the most popular hobbies in the world, bird watching has its own calendar days dedicated to its various activities; companies that specialize in its needs; people who author books on wild bird watching topics, and local venues that host bird watching events in its honor.
For hobby enthusiasts, bird watching is a tempting blend of the socially conscientious, the natural artistry and the happenstance occurrences that only nature can provide. Bird watching can be shared and understood across the mileage of generations and social differences we all must navigate during the year, and can reawaken what some consider a lost art of social interaction among those who harbor an interest.
Grandparents can share bird watching activities with grandchildren; families can share with each other; teachers can use it to educate, and businesses can employ bird watching’s versatile qualities to promote a socially responsible aspect of their product lines.
Bird watching spans, well… everything.
Economically, bird watching remains one of the least expensive and easiest-to-do hobbies in the world. Making a feeding station is as easy as filling an empty milk jug with WBU seed. Providing a nest is doable with a few tufts of WBU nesting material and some instructions at a local Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, while finding a bird watching venue is as effortless as walking out your own front door!
Gift giving these days doesn’t have to be an exercise in defeated ego or a challenge to greet each recipient with the shiniest, or brightest, or loudest, or best, or fastest item on the market. There is no need to grapple at storefronts and websites, searching for hours on end only to be disappointed in prices or colors, or sizes, or complicated instructions… just look outside. Look at the people you love. Connect with them… give them the gift of family and friendship… of gathering together alongside the beauty that surrounds Florida every day. Give them the tools to help them step back and let go of the fast-paced world we all must move within. Give them the timelessly classic hobby of bird watching… easy, simple and effortless.
Scooter Recommends These Christmas and Holiday Gifts Items From Wild Birds Unlimited:
*Contact Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor for availability or ordering online.