The Northern Cardinal

In my yard one bird that really stands out is the Northern Cardinal. Their great songs and bright colors make them very recognizable. A favorite of many people, Cardinals are the state bird of seven states. There is nothing quite like seeing that bright red bird fly in to the feeder early in the morning after a fresh snow fall. One thing I’ve noticed about cardinals is that they seem a little shyer than many of the other birds around my yard. Sometimes I can almost walk right up to the feeder before a Nuthatch or Chickadee will fly away, but as soon as I open the door the Cardinals fly back to the cover of the thick spruce trees. I think this shyness is one of the reasons I enjoy watching them so much, they like to hide in thick cover so you don’t always get to see them. The Cardinal is one of the only species of songbird where the female sings, usually it’s just the males that we hear all those cheerful notes from.

Northern Cardinals do not migrate, and their range stretches from the east coast of the United States West to about The Great Planes, and South to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cardinals are found in many areas throughout their range from city parks to the edges of forests. They often nest in thick nasty cover like shrubs and overgrown vines. There are nesting boxes on the market geared toward Cardinals as well. These boxes are generally constructed with three sides and a roof, with the fourth side of the bird house wide open. My version of this type of product will be coming soon, stop by www.wildstewardship.com for these and your other bird house or nest box needs.

The commercial bird feeds available that Cardinals seem to prefer are cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds, or a combination of these. I’ve noticed the cardinals in my yard seem to prefer a feeder with a platform where they can perch and pick through the seed mixture to find their favorites. When asked which of my bird feeders I’d suggest to attract Cardinals, I always recommend my Simple Seed Bird feeder. It has a large enough area in the front for Cardinals to sit, and can be used with any of the preferred seeds individually or as a mixture. You can find out more about my bird feeders and feeding birds in my previous blog “Feed Your Backyard Birds.”

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Wild Stewardship Simple Seed Bird Feeder

Chickadee dee dee dee…

In my backyard, here in East-central Wisconsin, Black-capped Chickadees are one of the most common visitors to our bird feeders. These tiny little birds are seemingly full of energy and are fun to watch. They will often fly down to perch on the feeder, quickly grab a sunflower seed and flutter back up into a nearby tree to crack open the shell and eat the nutritious seed inside. As soon as that one is gone it flies right back to the feeder for the next one.

Black-capped Chickadees are easy to identify both visually and by their songs. These small birds have a dark black cap on top of their heads, and a black throat patch under their beaks, with a white stripe running from the sides of their beak across their cheeks to the back of their heads. The Chickadee’s body and wings are primarily a brownish gray. In most of their range their typical song is a two or three note fee-bee. When they become frightened They will give their signature Chickadee-dee-dee-dee call adding more dees as the perceived threat level increases. The Black-capped Chickadee’s range stretches across the Northern half of the United states, into Canada and along the Pacific coast into Alaska. Along the Southern edge of their range they may share habitat with the Carolina Chickadee. Throughout the Rocky Mountains you will also find Mountain Chickadees, and Chestnut-backed Chickadees can be found along the Pacific coast.

Chickadees are curious little birds, even of humans; while sitting still in the woods, I have had them land on my hat, boot, knee, and even my shoulder. They are fun to watch as they dart around looking for insects, seeds and berries. Putting sunflower seed or suet feeders in your yard is a great way to attract Chickadees to your yard, and putting up a Chickadee nest box in the spring may keep these non-migratory birds frequenting your yard all year long. You can find my Wild Stewardship bird feeders and nest boxes at www.wildstewardship.com or search for my Wild Stewardship products on ebay.  Please also like my Wild Stewardship page on Facebook, and check out my shop there as well. Most important of all, get outside and enjoy nature!

It’s out there!

That’s right it’s out there, I’ve seen it.  I’m not talking about Bigfoot or even the snow that is currently falling outside my window.  I’m talking about my new website www.wildstewardship.com.  It is now released.  On the site, you will see my current selection of blue bird, wood duck, and wren or chickadee houses.  These are all made of long lasting cedar to stand up to the elements for years to come.  In addition to the bird houses that I show on the site I welcome custom projects as well so don’t be afraid to contact me with the bird house or bird feeder that you have been dreaming of.

Why bird houses you ask?  Well bird houses are a great way to help conserve and give back to nature.  Adding bird houses to your back yard is also an excellent way to attract birds toimg_2946 watch and enjoy from home.  Putting up bird houses is a great opportunity to get kids involved in nature.  Having children help to pick the place and install bird houses in your yard helps not only to begin to teach conservation but gets them outside and into nature.  By providing nesting spaces for these species of birds we help to ensure that they will be around for a long time.  In the case of the wood duck nest boxes like my Simple Wood duck House shown here, these have helped wood ducks come back from dwindling population levels.  Long ago the wood duck was the most common duck in north America but over time the population began to drop and the installation of nest boxes like this by conservation groups and sportsmen across the wood duck’s range have helped bring them back.

So, what does this mean?  Well it means I’m ready to start building your bird houses so if you or someone you know is looking to add some bird houses to their back yard have them stop over at www.wildstewardship.com and fill out the order form.  In the future, you will see a variety of additional bird house designs and hand made bird feeders available as well, so make sure to check back often.  Most importantly make sure you take the time to get outside to enjoy the wild-lands and wildlife in your area, better yet take a child along and introduce them to the outdoors.