Fall / Winter preparedness

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  • #2891
    Bobs Farm
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    So this being my first season living in a blue bird area I have a few questions. I currently have 5 BB’s that visit my yard / bird bath. 2 adults and 3 juveniles. As we head into fall and eventually into winter is there anything I can do to keep these beautiful things in my yard all winter? I will have a supply of meal worms and also a heater that I will be running to my bird bath to supply unfrozen water. I am also leaving out 3 bird houses as roosting boxes. Being new to this if you guys have any suggestions I’m willing to try them.

    Thank you,

    Bob

    #2892
    Love my blues!
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    Hi Bob- where are you located again? Eastern bluebirds are permanent residents of the SE US. You can google a migrating map for EABL & it will show you their ranges. I’m in AL, so mine stick around all year. Feel very lucky for that! Glad you’ve got those beauties hanging around! Regardless of where you’re located, it sounds like you’ll at least keep them coming back!

    Nicole

    #2895
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Bob, I believe you live in Missouri, as I do (Mid-Missouri). My blues have always overwintered with me since 2008. I switch from worms to peanut butter suet (which I make) around November or December, because cheaper & the worms won’t survive our cold weather too well. I too have a heater for my birdbath, small cheap one that works well. I also leave up my bird houses, but I have never seen them roost in them – but the HOSP will – VanErt trap is always ready! Good luck with yours staying around!

    #2896
    Bobs Farm
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    Carol is right I live in southern Missouri just north of the Arkansas state line. Carol would you mind sharing your recipe for the peanut suet? Thank you guys for the input. I have a ground trap I need to invest in an inbox trap.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Bobs Farm.
    #2898
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Bob, your blues should stay around in southern Missouri. Here is recipe for peanut butter suet – they love it but takes them a while to get used to it when switching from worms. Once they get the fact there are no more worms, they devour the suet.
    Melt in microwave: 1 cup real lard (not shortening like Crisco) & 1 cup crunchy peanut butter & then stir in 1/3 cup sugar.
    Add: 2 cups regular oatmeal
    2 cups yellow cornmeal
    1 cup flour, (wheat is better)
    Mix all together – let cool and then break up until crumbly – it will get more crumbs as it cools – want it about in pea sizes. You need to store it in refrigerator or part in freezer. It takes about one recipe to get hang of the consistency. I feed about 1/2 cup to a family of blues, 2 times a day. The lard (fat) helps them keep warm, peanut butter is good protein for them & the small amount of sugar gives them energy (so the books say). This is our administrator’s (Bluebird Nut Cher) recipe & I have used it going on 9 seasons. Of course, you could continue with the worms, just be sure they don’t stay long enough to freeze, but I really like to take a break from the expense of worms.

    #2901
    dogsandbirds
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    The recipe also works well in a suet block feeder. I make it with no flour, pour it into a 9×9 or 8×8 pan that I line with foil so I can remove it easily. Cut into blocks to fit the feeder. EABL will peck away at it.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #2902
    David in Stafford,VA
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    Bob – you should have the BB during the winter. They will find shelter as they need it and may not stay in the same location on consecutive nights. I am certain that they have used my nestbox during the winter as there are a couple of down feathers, some fecal matter, and maybe a loose wing feather (blues) but I do not know when they have stayed in the box. They are always gone by the time that I am awake enough to want to go out and check.
    Providing the mealworms and heated water dish will keep them in the area, but they will continue to forage the trees, woods, and brush for insects, larva, berries, etc. if it is available.

    Have a great fall and winter of observing.

    David

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #2906
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    There are times when, no matter what you do, the birds don’t stay. If they decide to go they just go.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #2908
    Bobs Farm
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    Thank you for the input, excited to see what happens throughout the fall and winter.

    #2911
    Dana
    Participant
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    Hi Bob –
    I’m in Pennsylvania and fed “my” bluebirds dried mealworms all winter long and they stayed. Had a flock of about 10-12 of them that came everyday. They also like peanut butter suet cakes, and fruit, nut, and berry birdseed mix.

    Dana
    Lancaster, PA

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