Back to Back Issues Page
The Backyard Birder, Issue #008 March, Spring is almost here it is time to get ready.
March 02, 2008
Hello Everyone,

March is the month we have been waiting for all winter. The days become noticeably longer as winter begins to lose its grip on the land.

Bird food in the wild is more scarce than at any other time of the year. Most, if not all, of the fruits and seeds from last summer are gone or decomposed. For this reason, wild birds respond more to the food we put out in our feeding stations. You may notice large flocks of birds at your feeders in March. We often see large groups of redpolls, goldfinches and juncos at our feeders in March. The activity level is high as birds quarrel over their positions. Those birds left to forage in the snow under my feeders eagerly reclaim the seeds dropped to the ground.

Because of the increased traffic at your bird feeders, they should be filled as often as possible. I usually fill my feeders in the evening, that way the birds find full feeders in the morning and I don’t have to get up early to fill them. A variety of feeders and food will keep all of your visitors happy. You should be offering black-oil sunflower seed, nyjer seed (thistle), suet bird food and any homemade wild bird treats you have handy.

Watch for the male goldfinches to start showing a brighter yellow color as March passes by. Birds with short migrations like robins, red-winged blackbirds and mourning doves will also begin to appear. Unfortunately, the squirrels also return to steal my precious bird seed.

By the time March ends you should hang any new bird houses and clean any left over from last year. Having your bird houses up early will increase your chances of having them filled with families of birds in the spring. If you are ready to commit to being a purple martin landlord then now is the time to get ready for their arrival. If you have never had a purple martin bird house, you should be aware of what is required of you as a landlord. Click here for more information on purple martin bird houses.

Depending on where you live, you may want to start any new plantings and landscaping changes. Are you putting in a hummingbird garden this year? Why not? Starting your new plants from seed is a great way to save money. A package of seed that cost sixty-nine cents may have as many as 50 future plants inside (seeds). Those same 50 plants will cost you $50.00 in containers in the spring.

So with late winter moving into early spring, March is a month of transition. Here in New Hampshire we will have days with fresh snow and other days with temperatures near 60. I look forward to hearing more birds singing on those warm days as they tune their songs for the nesting season that is only a few weeks away.

March Checklist:

  • Keep your feeders full as natural food is in short supply.
  • Offer a variety of foods including suet.
  • Watch for the male goldfinches to change to a brighter yellow.
  • Keep an eye out for new arrivals like red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves and robins.
  • Put out any new bird houses and clean ones left from last year.
  • Complete any new landscaping plans and start some plants from seed.

March Recipe:

This recipe was provided by Beverlee Traxler. If you would like to submit your favorite recipe please click here and follow the directions at the bottom of the page.

Burgess Bird Food
by Beverlee Traxler
(Deka Lake, British Columbia, Canada)

  • 1/8 Cup Crushed Egg Shells
  • 1/4 Cup Crushed Crackers
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Coarsley Chopped Oranges
  • 1/4 Cup Currants
  • 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Beef Fat

Over low heat in medium saucepan melt peanut butter and beef fat. Mix together all other ingredients and add to peanut butter mixture. Place in an aluminum pan approximately 4" X 9", press down firmly and freeze. Once frozen break in half and it should fit into the regular sized suet holder. Return other half to freezer for use later.

Using the same recipe - take two large pinecones and to each pinecone tie string to one end to enable you to hang. Smear the peanut butter mixture on pinecones filling in all the gaps. Roll in the treat mixture, pressing firmly, and hang from tree.

You can vary the type of nuts and fruits. Using this recipe we attract downy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, black capped chickadees, mountain chickadees, and red breasted nuthatchers.

I am proud to offer a new ebook for you to download. It is called “Easy to Make Wild Bird Food Recipes”. If you submit a recipe, the book is yours for FREE! If you want to purchase this great ebook it is only $7.95.

We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about the birds in your backyard please let us know. We are happy to answer any questions you have. We would also like to hear any comments about our website or this newsletter. Please use our Contact Us for to get in touch with us.

News from My Feeders in February:

We have had what seems to be 100 feet of snow in February. It has been a real challenge keeping my feeders full. We have had a large number of birds including nuthatches, goldfinches, woodpeckers, titmice and even one barred owl. Needless to say, when the owl is around the other birds scatter.

I am very happy to announce that later this month we will be opening a new store. The name of our new store is TheBackYardBirdShop.com. It will feature many unique backyard birding products to help you create the wild bird habitat of your dreams.

Happy Birding,
John

Back to Back Issues Page