19093 West Road
Woodhaven, MI 48183
Down from Home Goods
Serving You Today Until 7:00 pm
|Monday||10:00 am - 6:00 pm|
|Tuesday||10:00 am - 6:00 pm|
|Wednesday||10:00 am - 6:00 pm|
|Thursday||10:00 am - 7:00 pm|
|Friday||10:00 am - 6:00 pm|
|Saturday||10:00 am - 5:00 pm|
|Sunday||11:00 am - 4:00 pm|
Phil & Therese Barraco Franchise Store OwnersView Our Store Site
Fabulous Feathers – Time for a Change
A quick quiz: What is a feather made of?
And it is not, “Snips and snails, and puppy dogs' tails.” But it is made from the same thing as a little boy’s hair…protein! Over 90% of a feather, or a hair, is made up of a tough protein called keratin. In fact, a bird’s feathers contain over 25% of the total protein found within its entire body. Who knew?
A little longer quiz: How often do birds grow new feathers?
Not as easy to answer…it can vary depending on the bird species.
All birds grow an entire body full of new feathers as youngsters in the nest. It is the only time in a bird’s life that it will grow all of its feathers at one time. It boggles the mind to think that a chickadee can grow all of its feathers and be ready to leave its nest in as little as 11 days!
Feathers are amazingly tough…but they do wear out and need to be replaced. Most adult song birds will molt (shed) and replace their feathers once a year, usually after their nesting duties are completed. A majority of backyard feeder birds perform this annual molt from July-September, but some, like Downy Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds continue well into October. Having a strong set of fresh new feathers is of tremendous benefit to birds that are facing the rigors of migration or the struggles of surviving a long, cold winter.
Come nesting season, some of our backyard birds exchange just a portion of their feathers for more colorful breeding plumage. While American Goldfinches do molt and replace all their feathers (body, wings and tail) each autumn, come spring, they molt only their body feathers to transform into their showy yellow courtship attire.
Whatever the reason for growing new feathers, it comes at a high price. The demand for energy and nutrition during this process is through the roof, and large amounts of protein and fat are essential for being able to create strong and colorful feathers.
Can you say feeder frenzy?
Look around your yard today. Nesting is still going strong for some birds, while other adults are starting to take on that “shaggy” look that signals the start of their annual molt. Young birds that recently left their nest are also busy growing more “adult-like” feathers to replace their less efficient juvenile plumage.
If you want to have a blast watching your feeders, while also doing your birds a big favor…be sure to keep your feeders well stocked with the high-fat and high-protein foods like Nesting SuperBlend seed and cylinders that will keep them healthy and looking sharp for the coming year!
You may have heard the sad news that there have been multiple reports of mysterious bird deaths in surrounding states. At this time, the overall scale of this outbreak and the cause of the bird mortalities are not known. In addition, while the deceased birds were originally reported in the Washington DC area, they have also been found in parts of Northern Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Both State and Federal Wildlife officials are actively looking for answers. The disease has not been reported in Michigan.
There is much speculation as to potential causes, including that this illness might be related to the Brood X cicada emergence in some way. The timing and geographical location of these occurrences makes this an interesting idea, but nothing has been concluded and this is purely speculation.
What we know so far:
- Symptoms include swollen, crusty eyes and balance/neurological issues.
- There is no known cause or cure at this time.
- Lab results have ruled out the most common diseases that would typically impact feeder birds in our area.
- Testing is ongoing. We are all waiting for further results.
- Because there are many unknowns, wildlife officials in affected states have requested that bird feeders and bird baths be taken down until the cause of the mortalities has been determined and/or the event has ended. This is to reduce the number of birds congregating in one area in order to limit the spread of this malady should it be something contagious. The disease has not been reported in Michigan. The Michigan DNR is monitoring the situation, but is not asking people to take down their feeders.
If you choose to continue feeding the birds, please clean and sanitize your feeders regularly. If you observe a sick bird…stop feeding, sterilize your feeders, and keep them down over the next few weeks. In addition, please report any birds exhibiting symptoms to the Michigan DNR at https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/ors/Survey/4.
The key to keeping birds safe is to ALWAYS be a responsible bird feeding hobbyist. Keep your bird feeders and bird baths clean! Please refer to our recommendations for Responsible Bird Feeding shown below.
The health and well-being of birds is our number one priority! We know that under normal circumstances, feeding the birds can have a tremendously positive effect on them when done responsibly. Feel free to stop by our store or call us with any questions. We appreciate your support as always! #savethesongbirds
Responsible Bird Feeding Techniques
If you enjoy feeding and watching your backyard birds, then you probably want to do as much as you can to practice your hobby safely and ensure the birds’ overall health and well-being. While the incidence of birds falling ill from feeders is small compared to other natural hazards birds face, there are things you can do to help your birds stay healthy.
- Provide multiple feeding stations in different areas of your yard to disperse bird activity.
- Provide seed from a bird feeder rather than scattering it on the ground.
- Keep areas clean under and around your feeders.
- Keep fresh seed in the feeder and be sure it doesn't get moldy.
- Clean your bird feeders regularly with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water.
- The following strategies will help improve the health and safety of birds when the spread of avian diseases is a concern.
- If feeder birds are exhibiting disease symptoms, then remove all feeders so local birds can disperse and utilize natural food sources.
- Clean and sanitize all bird feeders, bird baths and hardware with a 10% bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water) solution. Rinse thoroughly and allow to completely dry before refilling feeders. Continue to sanitize feeders every few days.
- Rake up and discard seed debris and bird droppings from the ground below and around feeders. Continue to clean these areas on a regular basis.
- Give the birds more space. If using multiple feeders, place the feeders farther apart from one another. This will reduce crowding, lower stress and lessen the potential for disease transmission between sick and healthy birds.
- Only use feeders that can be easily cleaned. Replace wooden feeders with ones made of plastic or recycled materials for easier cleaning.
- Bird feeders with cracks and crevices are difficult to sanitize and should not be used.
- Remove open tray and platform feeders that allow fecal material and food to come into contact with each other.
- Use antimicrobial bird feeders such as Wild Birds Unlimited EcoClean® Feeders. These feeders have built-in antimicrobial product protection on the treated surfaces.
- Limit the amount of seed you provide. Offer only as much food as the birds will eat in one or two days.
- Store all bird seed in rodent- and insect-proof containers to avoid contamination.
- Always discard any seed that has become wet, moldy or foul smelling.
- Avoid handling sick birds and always wash your hands with soap and water after filling bird feeders.
How to Provide Water for Summer Birds
To attract the greatest variety of birds to your yard, provide a source of water along with your feeders.
Bird baths come in many shapes, sizes and materials, and they can be placed on the ground, pedestal-mounted or hung.
1. Concrete baths are often the centerpieces of well-manicured landscapes. These baths are difficult to relocate because of their weight, and they can become a permanent decorative element in your yard.
2. Ceramic bath styles can range from simple to very decorative. Their light weight makes them easy to relocate about the yard and to clean.
3. Plastic and metal baths are light, versatile and able to be easily moved about your yard. These baths work well with a bird bath heater and, unlike concrete and ceramic baths, they can be used in freezing conditions.
Birds prefer to bathe and drink in different depths of water. Use a bath with a sloped edge or add stones to vary the depth so birds can bathe comfortably.
Place your bath 10 to 12 feet from shrubs so predators can’t surprise the birds. Shrubs also offer birds a place to preen their feathers and dry off.
You will attract more birds with moving water. Use the Water Wiggler™ to create motion in your bird bath and to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water.
Regular cleaning will help reduce algae and is good for your birds’ health. Scrub your bath regularly with our EcoTough® Scrubber Brush, rinse well, and replace with fresh water.
Attach our WBU Dripper to your bird bath to provide a source of moving water. Many birds will creep down the dripper spout to take a drink.