Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snowbirds ♥

The snow (6.5 inches) has return this winter along with the Dark-eyed Juncos or Snowbirds. ♥


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 
― John Steinbeck

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wild Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving from Rebecca's Bird Gardens 
...and from a few wild turkeys around our property that are thankful for not being part of the holiday!



Monday, November 25, 2013

Northern Mockingbird


Northern Mockingbird ~ A constantly singing songbird...

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
-Maya Angelou

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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Dickcissel

Male Dickcissel
Since I've started taking notice of the birds surrounding my property - not just the ones that visit my bird-feeders - I've been amazed at the variety of species that occupy my rural Missouri backyard that I wasn't aware of before...

The Dickcissel is described by Audubon as a miniature meadowlark - which is what I thought I was photographing until I viewed the photos a little closer. It's a summer resident of the Midwest residing in open fields feeding on seeds and insects.

Female Dickcissel
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY Fruit and Hummingbird Feeders

Earlier this year I conducted a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give:  Creating a Bird Garden

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Butterfly Bush

I love watching the hummingbirds eat from their favorite flowers around my property: Trumpet Vine, Cardinal Flower, Columbine...  But to get the up-close views of a hummer, nothing beats a strategically placed feeder. - And this one costs only about $5.00! :)

Supplies:

  • Copper wire - 6 or 8 gauge. Available at Home Depot for less than a $1.00 per foot. 8 gauge is easier to bend, but I prefer the look of 6 gauge. - About 2 feet.
  • Glass bottle. A wine bottle is too large - it won't hold the seal of the feeder adapter. Opt for a smaller glass water or beer bottle.
  • Bling or emlishments. Something red will attract and entice the hummers. Small gauge wire -available at craft stores to attach the pendent, decoration, etc...
  • Hummingbird feeder tubes. You can occasionally find these at pet stores or I sell them in my Etsy shop 2 for $4.00. Here's the link: Rebecca's Bird Gardens (Etsy Shop)  
  • Wire cutters, needle-nosed pliers.



Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
How to:

Using the pliers (and a towel placed around the end of the wire to keep from scratching the copper), clamp the wire and bend a loop on one end. This gives you something to hold onto...  Start at the neck of the bottle and twist the wire around the bottle. Add another loop in the wire at the top of the bottle for hanging.

Add the embellishment and fill the bottle with a hummingbird nectar solution (1 part sugar dissolved in 4 parts water) - then add the feeder tube. Be sure to fill the bottle to the top with the solution - this creates a tight seal...










Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

DIY Fruit Feeders


  • Spiral Fruit Feeder:  Copper Wire: 8 gauge wrapped around a rolling pin to create a "fruit cage" to hold oranges, apples, etc...
  • S Hook Fruit Feeder: Small stick with a hole drilled in the center. Wrap 8 gauge copper wire through the drilled hole creating an "S" shape for hanging.
  • Sheppard's Hook Fruit Feeder: Small stick with a hole drilled in the center. Push the drilled portion of the stick through the hook then simply add assorted fruit...

Immature Male Summer Tanager
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oneprettything

Monday, August 26, 2013

DIY Summer Wreath Bird-Feeder

Earlier this year I conducted a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give:  Creating a Bird Garden

Blue Jay

In the class, I demonstrated a winter version of this feeder utilizing cuttings from shrubs and trees (cedar, holly, winterberry, chokecherry). Now that the sunflowers and wildflowers are going to seed, I thought that I would put together a summer feeder in the same fashion. 

For the complete DIY instructions, click here: DIY Winter Wreath Bird-Feeder


Supplies:
  • Grapevine wreath - $2.50 (Wal-Mart)
  • Splatter guard - $1.00 (Dollar Store)
  • Jute (minimal cost)
  • Cuttings from sunflowers, wildflowers, native grasses
How to:

Cut three pieces of jute about 50" in length. Divide the splatter guard into thirds. Make three small holes through the screen and connect the splatter guard to the wreath with the jute (the screen will hold birdseed in the finished feeder). I did end up spray painting the edge of the splatter guard brown because the shiny silver was annoyingly obvious. 

Bring the three strings up and tie into a loop. Braid the remaining string and tie another loop (which will hold the birdseed ♥).

Tuck cuttings from sunflowers and native wildflowers into the wreath. In addition to sunflower heads, I used Ashy Sunflowers, False Sunflowers, Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans.


Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse ~ Carolina Chickadee
I also added a birdseed heart in the center of the feeder. - Here's the recipe: DIY Birdseed Wreaths
Add birdseed to the center of the feeder (on top of the splatter guard).

It seems to be a hit with my feathered visitors! ~ I'll have to come up with a fall version next. :)

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