All posts by thebestnest

Where have all the birds gone?

  berries on a dogwood tree
I love to do this post every year. Here in NE Georgia the birds stop eating bird seed and suet right around Labor Day. The wild birds don’t completely stop eating but it is a noticeable difference in consumption.
The answer is simple. 1st the great fall migration is happening. Wild birds are leaving (towhees, catbirds, hummingbirds, etc) and new ones haven’t quite arrived (millions of sparrows, juncos, warblers, etc).
The 2nd reason is hiding in plain sight! The trees and bushes are fruiting. The picture shown here is a dogwood, those red berries will be bluebird crack in just a few days. My serviceberry in the backyard is about to pop with 1000s of berries. Frost grapes will be coming soon. Acorns, and tree nuts in general are dropping.
Yep, it’s a darn good time to be a bird in NE Georgia.
So, no… there is nothing wrong with your suet or seed right at this moment. Your feeder now has a lot of competition. Don’t worry, the wild birds will come back!

Keeping Bees Off Your Hummingbird Feeder

How do you keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder?
  1.  Buy a feeder that doesn’t leak!
  2. Buy a feeder that has extremely small feeding ports (ex: The “Best-1” 8oz feeder)
  3. Buy a feeder with built in “bee guards” (Perry’s Enterprises in TN installs bee guards in their feeders)
  4. Add a bee guard (Aspects hummingbird feeders are great no-leak feeders but their feeding ports are large. To keep the bees out you add an Aspects “nectar guard” to the bottom of their feeding ports.)
  5. If you are allergic there are “Bee Proof” hummingbird feeders. If you are allergic but still want to feed then contact “Copper Hummingbird Feeders” out of AZ. Here’s a link
Enjoy the hummingbirds while they are here!

Just what is that stainless steel ball for?

We get a lot of questions on the need for the stainless steel ball that is included with your Sugar Shaker Nectar Maker (R).  Basically that ball is used to break up the sugar particles so they can mix with the cold water.

So here are the simple steps when using the Sugar Shaker Nectar Maker (R):

  1.  After you add the sugar to the sugar line and the cold water to the water line place the stainless steel ball into the shaker.
  2. Screw the top on the shaker and shake for 30 seconds.
  3. Fill your hummingbird feeders.
  4. Place any remaining nectar solution in the Sugar Shaker Nectar Maker into the refrigerator with the stainless steel ball still in the solution.
  5. When all nectar is finally consumed. Place the shaker, the lid (with the reminder tag attached), and the stainless steel ball into the dishwater.

Here’s a quick video we did on this exact subject:


Stop the spread of Red Eye Disease

To help stop the spread of red eye disease and avian pox in your backyard wild birds make sure you are regularly cleaning your bird feeders.

Clean your wild bird feeders regularly

Please remember bird seed is FOOD and food can spoil. Especially here in NE Atlanta. Over the last few weeks we have had a ton of rain. Rain just adds to the spoiling problems.

When cleaning I suggest you let them soak in a 95%water/5%bleach solution. This will kill all the germs. Then use a mild soap to and a long handle brush to scrub the inside of the wild bird feeder.

Clean your feeders regularly! (please)

Time to take down those nectar feeder

It’s the 1st week of November and that usually means one thing here in Johns Creek, GA… The hummingbirds have left.

The hummingbirds arrived right on time this year. I was tracking them as they hit Macon, GA on the 15th of March. Then like clockwork I saw them at my own backyard on March 30th.

Some of you may know that I own the Wild Bird Center of Johns Creek. The store is located in Northeast Atlanta suburbs. We are just east of the foothills that lead to Blue Ridge Mountains.

From my “perch” at the store I get to hear hummingbird stories all season long. Here is the trend that I have been hearing for the past few seasons.

  1.  The ruby-throated hummingbirds have been arriving right on time but their numbers coming through during early spring are light.
  2. The hummers that do arrive in early spring typically don’t stick around. They are probably continuing their journey to the borel forrest in Canada.
  3. Sometime after Mother’s Day  we start to see the hummingbird activity pick up. It’s around this time that I will put up my 2nd nectar feeder.
  4. From Mother’s Day until the middle of July the activity has been just so, so around here for the past couple of years. We are not seeing the ruby throated hummers fighting for the nectar yet. It’s appears those that are here have the feeders to themselves.
  5. Right around late July the bulk of the birds start arriving and I will put up my 3rd and 4th feeders at this point.
  6.  From the end of July until the 2nd week of October is our busiest hummingbird period. And it is busy with hummers fighting each other all day long trying to control their favorite feeder.
  7.  My best guess is that we are not experiencing a loss of the number of hummingbirds in our area. Probably the northern flyway has shifted either to the left or right of us here in NE Atlanta. However on the hummingbirds return trip to the south our neighborhoods are right in the flight line which is why we get so busy in late summer and early fall.

Now that the hummingbirds have left go ahead and take down your nectar feeders and give them a good cleaning. Use a 5% bleach solution to kill any mold, mildew and other unwanted bacteria. Scrub the feeders out, dry them and hang them in the garage until next season.

Don’t be too sad the hummers will be back in six months!

Ruby Throated Hummingbird 08-26-2016 1
The hummers have left. Time to take down and clean your hummingbird feeders.