Learn about PA Songbirds at Hawk Mountain

Categories: Wild Bird

Hawk Mountain hike

The early part of Hawk Mountain’s PA Songbirds class includes a hike for viewing its famous migratory corridor.

The more birds that visit the bird feeders outside your window, the more intrigued you get by the little creatures. You find yourself asking, “Why do they do what they do? What makes them tick?”logo-hawk-mountain

You can gain tremendous knowledge by reading books, blogs and various online resources, but learning takes a huge step forward when you meet someone that lives and breathes for birds. Their stories and insights form a strong connection with you and your understanding of the birds around us. We found those enthusiasts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s PA Songbirds workshop, a teacher education course presented by the Hawk Mountain staff. (more…)

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Photographer’s Spotlight: Ricky L. Jones goes from a wedding photographer to the birds

Indigo Bunting by Ricky L. Jones

Ricky L. Jones went from a wedding photographer to a great bird photographer as he pursued the hobby. Here he captures an Indigo Bunting.

Ricky L. Jones was born in Memphis, Tenn., but currently resides in southeastern Wisconsin. He’s a Distance Learning Technician for Gateway Technical College and says he’s “basically a computer tech that helps students with their computers and software.”

Wisconsin's Ricky L. Jones has been a bird photographer for decades.

Wisconsin’s Ricky L. Jones has been a bird photographer for decades.

In his spare time, Ricky explores his all-time favorite hobby — bird photography.

WBJ: Hello Ricky! How did you get started photographing birds?

RLJ: I’ve been a photographer since about 1980. I took my first photography class in High School and have been hooked since then. In the ’90s I started to do weddings, portraits and event photography. After that dried up in the 2000s, I looked for something else to do with my photography.

Since I love wildlife, nature and birds, I started to take bird pictures –badly in the beginning — but I stuck to it. I spent a lot of my time studying the great wild life photographers like Art Wolfe, Steve Winter and Arthur Morris.

WBJ: Where are some of your favorite spots for taking bird photographs?

RLJ: I’ve been to some great places in my time as a wildlife photographer, but not nearly as many places as I want to go! I hope to visit those places after I retire.

Here in Wisconsin, without a doubt, my favorite place to visit is the Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area, it’s about a 1.5-hour drive northwest of where I live. My birding friends and I try to make it up there a few times a year. Horicon is great! One reason is that it’s the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States and is teeming with wildlife of all kinds. If you take a look at my photos, you will see a lot of photography from there.

Another great place, a lot closer to home, is Bong Recreation Area, in Kenosha County, just south of my home. Bong is a 4,500-acre managed-prairie area. It was going to be an Air Force base back in the ’60s. The base was never finished, so it turned into what we see today.

I also love visiting Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary up in Green Bay Wisconsin. Bay Beach is what they call an urban wildlife refuge featuring dozens of birds, exhibits and hiking paths. Great place to visit, if you’re ever up near Green Bay.

My backyard is also one of my favorite places to take pictures of birds. In the spring, I set up a temporary bird blind, and spend hours taking pictures of the migratory birds that stop by and use our feeders.

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25 perfect plants for hummingbirds

Categories: Wild Bird

Columbine for hummingbirds

A humming bird feeds at a columbine flower on a misty morning.

Every bird fancier knows that certain species are attracted to certain plants – whether for food, protection or a place to roost overnight. For hummingbirds, plant selection is especially important since they have evolved to feed in a very specific manner. They require sugary nectar to keep their wings flapping and their metabolism running at the speed of a jackhammer.

In nature, that means they seek out plants where they can harvest this nectar — usually from trumpet- or tube-shaped flowers. As humans, we’ve also helped these little birds along with Perky-Pet® Hummingbird Feeders. The ideal backyard habitat, however, includes a mix of feeders and flowers, and with a little gardening know-how, you can open up your yard to a steady parade of hummingbirds.

Setting aside time and space to develop such a welcoming habitat isn’t as difficult as you think though. All you need to do is plant a few bushes and flowers and let nature do the rest. For the most part, hummingbird-friendly flora requires only a few hours of maintenance a year.

Hummingbirds favorite color

Hummingbirds don’t naturally prefer red colored objects — humans have trained them to associate the color with nectar.


Hummingbirds and the color of attraction

The first thing you need in any hummingbird birdscape is color. You’ve probably noticed that every Perky-PetⓇ Hummingbird Feeder has splashes of red. That’s because many hummingbirds have learned to investigate red-colored objects. The Wild Bird Journal Blog Team has read reports of the little guys zipping up to people wearing red shirts, investigating a flickering wind spinner  or even carefully examining red-handled garden tools.

Sure, hummingbirds are curious about other colors too – oranges, purples and yellows – but red can really entice them into a yard and a hummingbird feeder or two is the best all-season way to do it. After all, feeders don’t wilt in the sun or fail to bloom after a frost. Unlike plants, feeders are (more…)

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How the Hummerbar® found a home at Perky-Pet®

Categories: Product Spotlight

Hummerbar inventor

The inventor of the Hummerbar® developed the design of the revolutionary feeder in his yard.

Greg H., the man who would become the inventor of the Perky-Pet® Hummerbar®, had a problem we would all love to have: There were too many hummingbirds visiting his feeders.

It all started about four years ago after Greg realized he had a lot of hummingbirds to feed, and, as a result, a lot of feeders to clean.

“We had a hummingbird feeder set up that attracted hummingbirds, and always had two or three waiting to feed. We put another up and that brought in more. Just for fun, we put up a third. We kept putting up more and more feeders and more came.”

The problem, Greg explained, was that filling and cleaning was too much for all those feeders. It was a time drain, but he still wanted all those hummingbirds to visit.

“We tried to figure out a feeder that could feed them all at once,” he said, noting there would be a lot less cleaning involved with a single feeder that served more hummingbirds
That notion was the start of the project where Greg and his son, Steven, would soon develop (more…)

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‘Into the Nest’ is a fascinating look at bird behavior

Categories: Product Spotlight



"Into the Nest"

“Into the Nest” looks at the mating and nesting behavior of a variety of North American birds.

Most of people have a fairly limited exposure to birds. People see them when they are visiting bird feeders or when they flit around our yard.

“Into the Nest,” a new book by bird experts Laura Erickson and Marie Read, shows us another critical aspect in the lives of birds — their mating and nesting habits as well as the growth of chicks into fledglings.

Taking a selected list of bird species, the authors explore a variety of bird behavior and each bird is selected because of its unique story. Likewise, the species chosen are limited to North American birds, and that makes it all the more interesting to bird feeder fans — these are the birds we see on a regular basis, not some strange species from Asia or Africa. Those same bird feeder fans will gush over the copious illustrations too because inside we see some gorgeous photos of some of our favorites — including Blue Jays, American Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals and several varieties of hummingbird and oriole.

The chapter on the Northern Flicker is a good example of how interesting this book is. In just two pages, it covers the basics of the how the species selects a mate, creates a nest in a wood cavity and then raises a family. It’s chock-full of facts too — did you know a female Northern Flicker is an “indeterminate layer”? That means she’s a bit like a chicken — she’ll keep producing eggs if she doesn’t have one to incubate.

The photos within each section are (more…)

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