Happy Autumn, everyone! We hope you’ve been enjoying Fall migration here in Southern Arizona! We have been having a great time birding, seeing different birds at our feeders, and bat watching.
Arizona is home to over 28 species of bats. Although some people are afraid of bats, they are truly important members of our ecosystem. By eating incredible amounts of insects they are natural pest control, slowing down insect – spread human diseases, and assist farmers by eating insects that prey on crops. If you’ve been watching your hummingbird feeders go empty overnight – it’s the nectar eating bats ( Mexican Long Tongued Bat and the Lesser Long Nosed Bat). These nectar eating bats are incredibly important pollinators for many of our native cactus.
People fear bats due to superstition and concerns of disease. These fears are quite unfounded. One fear people have is of bats flying at them or landing in their hair. Like most wild animals, bats do not want to come into contact with humans. They do their best to avoid us. The other major fear is of rabies. In reality, only a small percentage of bats contract it. In fact, they contract rabies at about the same rate as other mammals. That being said, if you see a bat on the ground, and you have to move it, wear gloves and be very gentle as they are very fragile creatures.
Bats are protected by law and disturbing a colony with babies can result in dead bats and large fines according to Arizona Game and Fish. In addition, Arizona Game and Fish states that all Arizona bats are protected, cannot be collected or killed and it is unlawful to use pesticides or chemicals directly on bats.
In addition to watching bats at our hummingbird feeders at night, we have been going to the bridges at Pantano \ Broadway and Campbell \ River to watch them emerge at dusk. It truly is an amazing sight.
Image by Doris Evans at Campbell/ Rillito Bridge on Sept 12. The main flight was between 6:10 and 6:15pm
We encourage our friends and customers to help the bats by allowing them to drink your hummingbird nectar at night and perhaps putting up a bat house.
New Seeds, Better Prices, Higher Quality, Happy Birds! We at The Wild Bird Store are pleased to announce our transition to a new seed supplier, Kaylor of Colorado. This is an exciting and positive change for us. But what does this mean for you, our loyal customers? We think you’ll be pleased with the many positive changes in store for you. First, prices have been reduced on most of our seed mixes and just about all of our single seeds. We are so glad that we are able to pass the savings on to our customers! Another positive aspect to note, the new seed supply is fresher. Freshness of our seed inventory was and is always a primary concern for us. Our seeds were always fresh, but Kaylor’s freshness standard is outstanding. Being located in the Midwest, where much of the seed farming is done, this company is close to the heart of the industry. It is their policy to only carry two weeks- worth of seed on hand in their facility at a time. That means seeds are no older than two weeks old from the farm to our store! All seeds from Kaylor of Colorado are triple cleaned and much of their products are coated with canola oil as well, which preserves and protects the seeds. This also means the seeds are much cleaner with virtually no chaff and dust.
Some of our mixes have changed and we’d be happy to consult with you on which would be the best seed blend for you to transition over to.
If you used Desert Blend, we now recommend Songbird Blend. It’s a fine all seed mix that is actually a bit richer with all of the seeds Desert Blend had to offer-Black Oil Sunflower, White Proso Millet and Safflower with Sunflower chips and peanut pieces added! The Songbird Blend is less expensive as well.
If you preferred No Waste Mix for your feeding station, we now have Complete Patio Blend. Patio Blend contains Hulled Sunflower chips, White Proso Millet, and Peanut pieces. We switched over to this blend at home and the transition was smooth and seamless. We’ve found there is even less waste than the No Waste Mix had and the peanut pieces are easier for the smaller songbirds to eat.
If you used our Sonoran Blend, we now have No Milo / No Mess. This blend is high in Millet with cracked corn, Black Oil Sunflower, and Wheat. It’s a higher quality blend for less money!
Our Thistle is about the same price per pound, however, it’s triple cleaned and oiled. Without sticks and dust this seed is much nicer to handle and cleaner for the feeder, and therefor better for the goldfinches, too!
We have a new Cardinal / Grosbeak blend, too. We will continue to hand blend our Exclusive Cardinal Mix on site. Although, you may consider adding in to the cardinal mix our new Banquet Fruit and Nut blend with Cashews, Shelled Peanuts, Black Oil and Striped Sunflower, Sunflower Hearts, Raisins, Cranberries Pumpkin seeds and Cherries!
Our Shelled Peanuts are much less expensive at $2.25 per pound or $39.99 for 20 pounds.
Safflower is now $1.65 per pound or $28.99 for 20 pounds.
Black oil Sunflower is now $1.29 per pound, $19.99 for 20 pounds or $38.99 for 40 pounds.
So far, we have been delighted with the change. We’re sure you will be too!
Support for Merry & Mike Starr Many of you have met our newest employee, Merry Starr. We have known her and her husband Mike pretty much since the start of the Wild Bird Store. First, she was a customer. Then, she became a friend. Now, she’s working with us a day or two a week. She’s always upbeat, with a smile on her face, enthusiastically ready to help. Her family has recently fallen upon hard times. Mike has had two heart attacks within 6 days of each other and been in and out of the hospital for the last month or so. He was their primary breadwinner and is now unable to work. He’s kind of a self - taught genius. He worked on the Mars Lander, he worked on the CERN collider, is an amateur music producer, and more recently held a job at Caterpillar as a test engineer in Green Valley. We have started a gofundme account to help with their bills and the expenses of daily life since they only have one part time job between them now. If you’d like to contribute go to gofundme.com/2m7qdqv8. The Wild Bird Store family sincerely appreciates any help you can give.
Our three part article about the Demise of the Passenger Pigeon
Confessions From Camp
Trickle of a stream
Huachuca Mountains, USA
Take the Arizona Trail
To the American Robin
Sit and Wait
The hooting and hollering
Of my daughter
A desert child
Dances through the forest
Waking me from a lovely trance
The crush of humanity can wait
A world away
Just down the road
Ordinary world be damned
Give me the Bridled Titmouse
BIRDWALKS WITH MATT NORRIS
With spring comes migration and with migration comes a new array of species here in Southeast Arizona.
I am giving a public BirdWalk. These walks are $25 a person and these walks are limited to 10 people per walk so register early to ensure a spot. Waiver of liability must be signed and Method of payment must be paid before day of walk.
Matt is in the store on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. For more specific details (times, meeting place, trip travel, etc.) about Matt's BirdWalk please contact him directly via email (Norbird84@gmail.com), his work cell (5208692828) or via the Wild Bird Store (5203229466).
Birding in Alaska Slideshow
We have added an article about our August trip to Alaska---Birding in Alaska with a slideshow.
Zhangli Bu is a Chinese national who is a junior at the U of A studying journalism. Her family resides in China and she intends to make a career in journalism. Like many 22 year olds, she enjoys mucic, traveling and reading. She approached me at the store asking for permission to make a video about our business and how the business evolved. This is the result of her effort
On October 11, 2011 I was invited to do an interview on “the Jolt”, AM 1330. The show Ron Asta’s Tucson gave us a digital recording of the interview. The show runs about 36:36 minutes long. We didn’t get through all the talking points we wanted to so I’ve been asked to return for a second interview sometime in the near future. We’ll keep you posted. We did have a great conversation about the nectar eating bats that are unique to our area and a little about birding. The next conversation will focus more on the wonderful birds we experience here.
The Wild Bird Store has moved to 3160 East Fort Lowell Road, on the southeast corner of Country Club Blvd. and Ft. Lowell Road – in the Winterhaven Square. After two decades, we are beginning a new chapter in our efforts to aid and educate birding enthusiasts in a...
THE WILD BIRD STORE
Located in Tucson, Arizona and begun in 1992 as a true mom and pop business, has a strong regional
reputation as an independent wild bird store featuring our line of innovative
and unique wild bird products. Our loyal customer base depends on us for
quality products, expert advice and dedicated customer service.
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no longer have to wait at the periphery of the yard for the feeding frenzy
to quiet down before coming to the feeder. Now, with this feeder for their exclusive use, they can feed undisturbed from sunrise to
sunset. This weight-activated feeder will accommodate the entire cardinal
family - from fledglings to adults. All other birds both heavier and lighter
NUTS 'N' BUGS
If you had to choose just one food for birds, one they would not only
survive on, but actually thrive on, Nuts 'n'
Bugs is it! Created from a recipe of ground pecans and dehydrated
insects (over 1,000 per pound), it has calcium, soybean meal, and rendered
suet to bring in insect and nut eating birds. With Nuts
'n' Bugs you can attract a wide variety of insect eating
birds- many of which are not attracted to seeds.
GOLDFINCHES IN SOUTHEAST ARIZONA
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
Southeastern Arizona birders have experienced a phenomenal increase in the numbers of goldfinches that can be attracted to our backyard birding stations.
Twenty years ago and more, it took us months to attract our first goldfinches. Patience, we reminded ourselves as we did our customers, is the number one rule for birders.
The preferred food for the intended species and the right feeder to deliver that food is number two. Understanding these principles will always reward us and the birds.
Nyjer seed, unlike true thistle, is the preferred choice of seed for all the goldfinch species. Most other species in our area will reject Nyjer for almost any other seed that is easily available and accessible. Almost any design of thistle feeder filled with Nyjer seed will attract mostly goldfinches. The feeder models that have food ports under the perches are species specific to goldfinches.
BIRDS, WATER AND SUMMER HEAT
Cooper's Hawk by Richard at SearchNetMedia
In our desert heat, we are stating the obvious - birds need clean reliable water sources all year round, but no more than when the temperature soars. As we write this, the projected heat for this afternoon is 113°F, and likely to remain in the triple digits for the rest of the week. As the drought deepens in southern Arizona, natural water sources continue to dry up. Our record setting fire season has taken its toll on the wildlife. Birds pant and hold their wings out from their bodies in an attempt to keep cool. Supplying a water source for the birds is of great assistance to them and the necessity of clean fresh water cannot be underestimated.
Of course, you want to do this in a way that does no harm - no drowning, no disease transmission, no increase in predation, no harm what-so-ever. Here's what you need to know about bird baths and other water features to help the birds, without harming them.
HOW TO INCREASE BACKYARD DIVERSITY
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
With more species of birds than almost any other region in the country, Southeastern Arizona's biodiversity offers backyard birders one of the best opportunities to attract a wide variety of birds.
The combined number of year-round resident and migrating birds that one can see in the cycle of a year's time is greater than most other regions throughout the continent. However, if you don't devote some time on a regular basis to observing, you may miss some of the migrants which only pass through our area and remain only for a relatively short time.
Southeastern Arizona is also an excellent place to notice quite a few rare and exotic species that migrate through or use our area in spring and summer as their traditional breeding territory.
With relatively little effort and expense, you can easily double and triple the number of species attracted to your feeding stations.
INTRODUCING A NEW CARDINAL FEEDER
We have become the exclusive authorized dealers in Arizona for a new species-specific cardinal feeder that serves as a less expensive version of the cedar wood model we pioneered about twenty years ago.
This model is constructed of tough polycarbonate material, can be hung or pole mounted, and is manufactured in Montreal, Canada by the Wild Bird Conservation Center. We have received our first shipment and we expect it to sell for around $60. While it was created for a cold, wet northern climate in that it is weather proof (keeps rain and snow out), it works perfectly well in our region as well. (Keeping seeds dry in Arizona isn’t too much of a concern).
So, for customers who wish for a more economical way to give cardinals, pyrrhuloxia and grosbeaks what they want most (our cardinal mix and a little exclusivity) this is the feeder you’ve been waiting for!
BASIC BINOCULAR KNOWLEDGE
Birders, whether the backyard or in-the-field- variety, need only two essential items as the basic tools for learning about bird identification and behavior - a good field guide and reliable binoculars. The Wild Bird Store carries the best field guide for our area. It is the new Birds of Southeastern Arizona by Richard Taylor and has established itself as our best selling identification guide since its publication late last year. With just these two things, you can teach yourself all you want to know about the birds of our specific region, or anywhere for that matter.
The Wild Bird Store offers a comprehensive selection of Vortex Binoculars
WILD BIRD STORE DISCOUNT CLUB
For almost twenty years we have offered our customers the opportunity of reducing costs on each and every purchase they make. The cost of annual dues is $16.00 ($1.25 per month). Discounts begin on the day a membership is activated and expires one full year from the last day of the month the membership begins.
HOW TO ATTRACT ORIOLES
Orioles are not as common or abundant as most of our year round resident birds. Yet, as a migratory species, they are reliably present from early spring to fall. We have had orioles at our station from as early as February until as late as early November.
Orioles (and their relatives, like the tanagers) have beautiful and strikingly colorful plumage, their exquisite and fluid songs, and their parenting and nesting abilities make them very desirable birds to attract and observe. The relatively small effort to attract and feed orioles rewards...