WildBirds.com eNewsletter
May 2011

This is the BEST week of the year to go out birding! Spring migration is in full force. Warblers are moving through. Hummingbirds are coming to feeders. Strange birds you may never have seen appear at your feeders. Find a great birding spot near you!
This Newsletter includes 3 Tips for Spring Birders. (If you know a new backyard birder, be sure and forward this Newsletter to them!)
Hummingbirds in Your Yard
Do it Right!
Allen's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Attracting Hummingbirds to your yard is easy! They appear all over North America. While those of us in the east usually see just the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, folks out west may see over a dozen different species! Did you know there are 337 Hummingbird species in North and South America. Hummingbirds are not found in Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia!

Planting the right flowers is the first step. Try hibiscus, trumpet vine, impatiens, lupines, petunias, zinnias, salvia, azalea, snapdragons or columbines.
For immediate results, hang 2-5 hummingbird feeders in your yard. Hummingbirds are aggressive, so you need more than one! To feed them, start with a syrup: Mix 1 part sugar and 1 part water. Boil. Store in an air-tight container. (This should stay good for two weeks.) When you are ready to refill the feeders, clean them out, then mix 1 part syrup with 3 parts water. Do NOT add red coloring.
What is THAT ???
We Can Help You!
Each spring we get emails asking about strange birds folks are seeing in their yard. And no wonder! Many of these species are migrating north and are rarely seen the rest of the year. Here are the most common answers to the question "What is THAT ??"
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
American Redstart
American Redstart (female)
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler
P.S. We often use the Identification Wizard to help with questions like this. We can enter the bird's color, size, habitat, location and even song features to find a "mystery" bird! It is included as part of the Thayer Birding Software DVDs.


I Found a Baby Bird...
Here is what to do

Northern Cardinal at Nest
Northern Cardinal at Nest

The very best thing to do when you find a baby bird on the ground is to do nothing. Leave it alone. The parents are probably nearby and are feeding it.


Quite often young birds will leave the nest before they can fly. This is normal. These birds often end up on the ground. The baby bird can still move around and it can let its parents know where it is.


In fact, many birds are capable of walking and staying close to their mother almost from the moment they hatch. These species are called "precocial." They hatch with their eyes open and are down-covered. Quail, grouse, ducks, gulls, terns and shorebirds are precocial.


The opposite of precocial is altricial. These birds hatch in a helpless condition and depend on their parents. Robins, cardinals, bluebirds and most songbirds are altricial. These are the birds we usually discover on the ground.


If it is extremely obvious that a bird has fallen from a nest and is far too young to survive, you may place it back into the nest. If the nest blew down, place what is left of the nest and the babies in a small basket and hang it near the original nest. The parents may return to feed the young.


Handling a baby bird will not cause the parents to abandon it. Almost all birds have a very poor sense of smell. But raccoons, foxes and other predators have a very good sense of smell. You may be leaving a trail directly to the nest for these hungry animals.


We know you want to take the baby birds inside, put them in a warm box, feed them milk and bread with an eye-dropper and watch them grow up. Mother nature and the U.S. Government don't want you to do this. It is illegal (really!)  Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are authorized to handle wild birds.


If an entire nest blows down, you could try to put it back where it was. Beyond that, let nature take its course. You might also want to read about the life expectancy of birds.


Most songbirds will lay an egg a day. They sit on their eggs for 12-14 days. The baby birds are able to leave the nest about 14 days later and can fly a few days after that.

Our Favorite Feeders


Thayer Birding Software

The Ultimate Birding DVD for Windows
GOld Edition 

Get ready...Get the Gold!

Be able to identify 957 birds of North America - including rare and accidental species. Export songs and images to your iPod or iPhone.



Thayer Birding Software

New Version 4
For Windows and Mac
Birds of North America 

700 Species with songs, range maps, ID Wizard quizzes and more!




Cornell Lab Audio CDs

For the US and the World
Cornell Audio Guides 
Learn the bird songs before your next big birding trip. CDs also available for frogs and mammals!




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Good Birding!
Pete Thayer & The Wildbirds.com Team