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The Early Bird

March 28th, 2016

It’s like the robins know when spring officially arrived, on the first day of spring I saw a few robins in the apple tree out front. Later in the week there were flocks of hundreds.
robins in spring 1
They are everywhere, scratching in the leaf litter, eating worms, doing what birds love to do.
robins in spring 2
When we lived in Ohio we’d see robins here and there, even throughout the winter. Here they leave and then come back in droves. It’s quite an amazing things. I’ve been noticing the birds, more and more of them each week. I hear them singing now when I’m outside, it’s a beautiful thing, birdsong, music to my ears. Spring has sprung!

What birds are harbingers of spring in your garden?

Tiny Wonder

August 24th, 2015

Yesterday, as I was heading out the back door, a little hummingbird flew inside the house. As it was flying against the windows trying to get out, I debated what to do. Thinking I could herd it outside, I walked around to the other side. When I got close, it stopped fluttering and perched on the windowsill. I reached for it and it just looked at me while I grabbed it softly.
Hummingbird
I took it to the living room to show Mr Chiots (who took the photo). When I took it to the back door and opened my hand, it flew away. No doubt these little birds are used to me in the garden, they hover close to me when I’m filling their feeders or weeding. I’m glad it was an easy process to rescue this little lady and send her on her way. No doubt she’ll be flying south soon.

Have you ever had to rescue birds or other wildlife?

A Beautiful Solution

June 4th, 2015

I was having trouble with ants getting into my hummingbird feeder. Not only were they drinking all the syrup, they were chasing off the birds. Research on-line recommending an ant moat, others highly recommended using packing tape around the hook, still others used poison, which of course wasn’t an option here.
hummingbird (1)
Since I had packing tape in the office, I decided that was the easiest and cheapest solution! It didn’t work – at all. The ants walked right across the tape without any problems.
hummingbird feeder moat 3
I decided to buy and ant moat. After looking at so many plastic and metal ones that received mediocre reviews, I came across this beauty.
hummingbird feeder moat 1
hummingbird feeder moat 2
Now the hummingbirds can enjoy their drink without the ants and I don’t have to make nectar as often. I love watching these little guys from my kitchen window as I do dishes.

Do you have issues with pests at your hummingbird feeders? Any tips to keep them away?

Leafless Trees

November 26th, 2014

This time of year I’m always on the lookout for bird nests. With the leaves off the trees they’re easy to spot. I walked by this spot a million times in the summer and had no idea there was a nest here. It’s only about 2.5 feet off the ground.
tiny Bird nest 2
I also loved seeing that the little bird used shredded paper from my compost pile along with birch bark. I have not idea what kind of bird built this beautiful nest, I’ll have to do some research to see if I can figure it out. Or perhaps one of you can give us the answer.
tiny Bird nest 1
Bird nests are truly amazing to me. I could never build something so intricate with 10 fingers and birds manage to build them with their beaks. You can be I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for more of these little beauties. This one might be cut from it’s perch to put on a shelf in my office.

What do you like most about the trees being leafless?

When Do I Take Down My Hummingbird Feeder in the Fall?

September 15th, 2011

If you put up a hummingbird feeder in the summer you may wonder when you need to take it down. It has been rumored that if you leave it up the little birds will stick around delaying their migration, but this is not the case. There is no need to worry that you’re keeping them around. It’s actually a good idea to keep the feeder up well into fall for the opposite reason. Even though the hummingbirds that frequented your feeder all summer may have left already, migrating birds from farther north may use your feeder for a quick pit stop on their way south.

Here at Chiot’s Run we leave the hummingbird feeders up until mid to late October (I wait 2 weeks after seeing the last hummingbird). They get taken down and washed in a non-toxic soap every 3 days and then they’re filled with homemade organic nectar. Making your own hummingbird nectar is quick and easy.

Simply mix 1/4 cup organic sugar with 1 cup of filtered water in a cup or bottle. Mix until combined, fill feeders, store any extra in the fridge (although I make just enough to fill the feeders each time). Contrary to popular theories, you don’t need to boil the water or use hot water.  The nectar does not last longer if it is boiled since bacteria is introduced the first time a bird drinks.  It is also not necessary to add red food coloring either.  In fact the red coloring can be detrimental for the little birds.  I make sure I use organic sugar and filtered water because birds are more sensitive to toxins (read through your oven manual and they say to never clean your oven with a bird in the house and think about the canary in the coal mine).

To give the little hummingbirds a helping hand you can also make sure you have some late blooming flowering in the garden. Nicotiana, or flowering tobacco does very well at seeding down and blooming through frost here at Chiot’s Run. I also have Cardinal Climber vines and a few other nectar rich flowers for them.

Keep those feeders up and have some late blooming flowers in your garden for the little birds traveling the LONG way down for the winter!

Do you feed the hummingbirds in your garden? When do you take down your feeder?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

About

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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