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The Backyard Birder, Issue #010 May, May is a very exciting month for backyard birders.
May 01, 2008

Happy May Day!

I am very excited to announce the opening of our new store, The One Stop Bird Shop. You can find it at We are proud to offer a full selection of backyard birding products from all of the manufactures you are familiar with and a few that may be new to you. We are constantly adding new items and if you have any product suggestion we would love to hear from you. We have some of the lowest prices on the web with free shipping on orders over $69.99. In appreciation of our readers we are offering a 10% discount on all purchases. Simply use the coupon code “HOME” when checking out. We would love to hear any comments or suggestion you may have.

May is such an exciting month! It is probably the most rewarding month for backyard bird watchers. It is the month that all the summer residents have arrived to fill your yard with song and color. Your feeding and water stations will be filled with birds you haven’t seen since the fall. If you have read my previous issues and improved your feeding stations, you may see birds that you have never seen before.

To keep your feeders full of activity, a wider variety of foods will be needed. Adding fruit, nuts, baked goods and homemade bird food mixes will entice migrants to stop by your feeders for a taste. They may not find anything they like, but if they do, they may stay all summer. Watch for orioles, tanagers, warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, vireos, grosbeaks, buntings and hummingbirds.

As trees come into bloom, birds will be attracted to insects feeding on the blossoms. If you want to get a good look at them, you will need a good pair of birding binoculars. If you don’t have a pair of binoculars, now is the time to get them. In fact, mom will love a new pair of 8x42’s and you can have her old pair. That way you can both enjoy spotting birds in their breeding plumage.

Remember the “birds and the bees”? Well, May is when the birds get started. If you put out wren houses, a male wren will start filling them all with twigs to prepare for the female who will decide which one to occupy. Watch for robins with muddy breasts. Robins use mud to build their nests. They will carry the mud to their nest and use their breast to pack it down.

Watch for male birds staking out their territory or vying for a female’s attention. Some altercations can get very intense, others a little comical. Some males will actually fight their own reflections. So if you see a bird attacking your window or even a side mirror on a car, you now know why.

If you have been considering a bird watching field trip, May would be a great time to explore a local birding hot spot. If you don’t know where to go, look at this page for state-by-state birding recommendations.

May Checklist:

  • Add fruit, nuts, baked goods and homemade bird food mixes to your feeding station.
  • Set up your hummingbird feeders.
  • Keep your birdbaths full and add a fountain or bubbler for movement to attract even more birds.
  • Get out your binoculars or consider buying a new pair (for mom).
  • Watch for nesting birds and keep an eye on your birdhouses for new occupants.
  • Plan a bird watching trip to a local hot spot.

May Recipe:

Eggshell Suet for Bluebirds
By Nola Weber
(Ambridge, Pa)

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup chicken scratch(I use cracked corn)
  • 1/3 cup washed, dried and crushed eggshells

Melt lard over low heat, add peanut butter and stir until melted. Add other ingredients and mix well.
I reuse store bought suet pans, or you can line a baking pan with wax paper.
Spread into pan and cut into squares.
Freeze for about one hour. Remove cakes and store in baggies in the freezer.
No need to thaw before serving.
Chicken scratch comes in 50 lb bags -- I find the cracked corn works.
This year I have two bluebird couples coming to eat. But lots of other birds like this, too.

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 to get in touch with us.

News from my feeders in April:

My feeders have come to life in the last few days. There have been many new arrivals including purple finches, evening grosbeaks and pine siskins. We have also seen a pileated woodpecker nearby. We have a pair of red tailed hawks nesting in trees behind our house and even saw one at our pond getting a drink. A pair of tufted titmice are building a nest under our deck. They have nested in the same spot the last four years.

If the end of April is any indication of what is coming in May it should be a busy month, I can hardly wait.

Happy Birding, John

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