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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Common Redpolls are Coming Your Way!


Common Redpoll, male


Common Redpoll, female, who is about to


dive off the perch to go to our feeder.

Common Redpolls are seen in flocks and move or "irrupt" down into the U.S. when their winter food supply is scarce. 

Attract them with feeders that allow for multiple birds to feed at once. They like hulled sunflower, which we are feeding here, and Nyjer (thistle) seed and finch mixes.

Common Redpolls have recently been sighted in NH, MA and northern New England and the upper Midwest and West. Most are still in Canada now. What a treat to see these little "irruptive" red-capped finches from far northern areas (they breed in Canada and AK) who move from their usual winter range when their food supply of seeds and cones is sparse.

There is another, less commonly seen, species of redpoll, called Hoary Redpoll, which also can move down into the northern parts of the U.S. in winter. Hoary vs. Common Redpoll is a very tricky ID. Here's the page on Hoary Redpoll with 8 photos, in our The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, which gives you all the most complete clues you need on Hoary Redpolls. There are 10 photos and 2 pages on the ID of Common Redpoll in our new guide. What, you didn't get The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America for Christmas? You can always use those gift cards for it. Congratulations, and enjoy, to those of you who did get our new guide from Santa, you're all set to nail those redpoll IDs.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Bird CountsAare About to Happen, Here's How You Can Help


What birds will show up to be counted for the annual Christmas Bird Counts about to happen? This Hairy Woodpecker and American Goldfinch are sharing the Stokes Select Jumbo Seed Bird Feeder.

Busy, busy time for everyone right now, but don't forget the Christmas Bird Counts are about to happen. This year marks the 117th year they have been held. Birders from an area (the country is divided into count circles, each with its own count date, usually in Dec.)  go out and count all the birds in that area during a 24 hr. period. Some birders just participate by watching their bird feeders and counting the birds, others take trips out to count birds in the wild. We shall see what turns up, that's part of the fun of counting every bird you see on that day. For more information on how you can join a Christmas Bird Count in your area go here.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Winter Bird Feeding Tips: Keep Birds Happy All Winter!



American Goldfinches and Pine Siskin on lower right 

Dark-eyed Junco in snow

To help your birds get through winter in areas of the country where there is severe winter weather, start with an excellent bird feeder set up. Make sure you include multiple Stokes Select®  tubular, hopper, screen, and suet feeders filled with a variety of quality bird seeds and suet. Focus on providing black oil sunflower (which has a high oil, thus calorie count), seed mixes that contain a good amount of black oil sunflower and, for finches, Nyjer (thistle) seed. Also include suet which is a calorie-rich food that provides much needed energy for birds in cold weather.

Place feeders near cover so the birds can escape wind and cold. Near pines or other evergreens is ideal, especially if they face south. Place feeders on poles with squirrel baffles and locate them 12 or more feet from any place from which a squirrel can jump.

Clean off snow from feeders whenever it accumulates from a storm. This includes shoveling snow from under the feeders so ground feeding species like Mourning Doves, White-throated Sparrows and juncos can access seeds that birds drop from the above feeders. Consider using the snow blower to clear under the feeders if it is feasible. Some people make a big brush pile with a hollow middle inside and sprinkle seed on the ground in the middle of it so ground feeding species can get the seed. The more feeders you have, the more kinds of birds you will attract. 

Winter target birds. In addition to regular winter birds like chickadees, titmice, goldfinches, nuthatches, cardinals, jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, juncos, and White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, you may attract rarer species like Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, and Evening Grosbeaks.

Once you finish shoveling the snow go inside, pour a cup of hot chocolate, get out your binoculars and field guide and, though the window, watch a lot of happy birds flock to your feeders.

And if you're looking for Chirstmas gifts for the bird lover, get our new Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America. With 250 species and over 580 stunning photos,  it contains all the birds you will see at your feeders and the essential ones beyond. For the more advanced birders on your list get our best-selling, 



It was recently divided into Eastern and Western editions,






Enjoy!