• How to Help Your Birds Thrive Through Winter

    How to Help Your Birds Thrive Through Winter

    Written By: Jack Embery

    Even as the cold weather sets in, there’s no need for the pleasure of bird feeding to diminish. In fact, with the drop in temperature, it becomes even more crucial to provide your backyard feeders with the necessary elements for survival and maintaining their health throughout the winter.

    While many assume they lose a significant number of birds during winter due to migration to Central and Southern America, it’s worth noting that new birds migrate south from Canada and Alaska which can introduce a fresh array of visitors to your home feeders. For Colorado residents, anticipate a diverse influx of new birds from the Pacific and Central Flyway Migration. This includes species such as American Crows, Goldfinches, Robins, Bullock’s Orioles, Dark-eyed Juncos, and more.

    Birds still need the same necessities as usual: Shelter, Food, and Water. 

    When it comes to shelter, Wild Birds Unlimited offers a range of options, including bird houses tailored to different sizes and species. Our selection includes eco-tough houses designed to withstand various elements, natural wooden houses ideal for attracting woodpeckers and other birds, as well as decorative yet functional houses. Alternatively, for a more natural approach, consider having a brush pile in your backyard. While it may seem simple, it can offer birds protection from the weather and potential predators.

    During the chilly winter months, especially cold nights, it’s crucial to provide your birds with the right nourishment. We recommend bird seed enriched with nuts or super suet, as these options offer a high-fat and high-protein content, ensuring your feathered friends stay well-fed during the winter. A top choice during winter, and our staff’s number one recommendation, is the Wild Birds Unlimited Winter Blend. Available in a 7-pound bag or 28- or 85-ounce cylinders, this seed is an ideal mix of high-fat and protein, complementing any of our other seeds, particularly our No Mess DP blend, which includes millet for ground feeders. 

    In addition to providing the right nourishing food for the birds, it’s equally crucial to regularly replenish the feeders both in the morning and evening. This ensures that the birds have a continuous supply of food throughout the day, allowing them to stock up on essential nutrients to endure the cold night.

    Ensuring your birds stay well-hydrated is as vital as it is for humans. Bird baths offer more than just a water source; they provide a space for birds to drink, clean themselves, and attract a diverse array of species to your backyard. This becomes particularly crucial in Colorado, where the fluctuating cold temperatures pose challenges. A true lifesaver in these conditions is a bird bath heater, eliminating concerns about scraping ice off the feeder or discouraging birds due to freezing conditions.

    Among our winter best-sellers at WBU is the Bird Bath De-Icer. This efficient device avoids overheating the water with its multiple thermostat controls, adapting to changing temperatures while conserving energy. Suitable for any bird bath less than 30 gallons, it comes with a 10-foot cord and a one-year warranty, making it a clear choice for enhancing and winterizing your bird bath experience.

    As winter wraps its icy embrace around us in Colorado, the act of bird feeding transforms into a gesture of care and connection with the avian world. Through the cold months, we’ve delved into the necessities of providing proper shelter, nourishment, and hydration to our feathered friends. From strategically chosen seeds to heated bird baths and thoughtfully placed feeders, each effort contributes to the well-being of these resilient backyard friends. 

    A snapshot showcasing the featured products discussed in the blog. Explore the full range of our winter items at Wild Birds Unlimited to address all your feeding requirements.

  • The Advancements of Technology: Helping Evolve the Future of Bird Feeding

    The Advancements of Technology: Helping Evolve the Future of Bird Feeding

    Written By: Jack Embery

    In the ever-evolving landscape of new phones, high-resolution TVs, and the convenience of having everything just a couple of finger clicks away, bird enthusiasts and companies alike are embracing innovation to enhance the ease and knowledge within the bird feeding community.

    Not too long ago, identifying a bird feasting at your feeder involved navigating through countless pages of bird identification books. However, recent strides by Cornell Labs, a member-supported unit of Cornell University dedicated to the study of birds and wildlife, have introduced a game-changer: the Merlin Bird ID app.

    Photo credits: Merlin.

    Accessible on both Apple and Android phones, this app leverages eBirds, a database compiling information from their 100 million annual bird sightings contributed by users globally. This ensures an always up-to-date and accurate online bird database, facilitating the identification of the birds in your vicinity.

    Merlin Bird ID employs cutting-edge Sound ID technology, comparing the sounds of birds in your vicinity to those in the Merlin database for precise identification. Once identified, the app provides a comprehensive overview, including a picture of the bird, its songs and calls, and tips from experts.

    The versatility of Merlin Bird ID extends beyond sound-based identification. You can also identify birds by uploading a picture or inputting specific criteria to narrow down possibilities. Additionally, the app allows you to explore the birds in your area, giving you a preview of what to expect at your feeders on a daily basis.

    Gone are the days of uncertainty when encountering unfamiliar birds. Merlin Bird ID offers a user-friendly and direct approach to identify, learn about, and log your bird sightings.

    You can also enhance your bird watching experience with the Haikubox. This innovative device effortlessly syncs with a dedicated app on your smartphone, providing you with real-time notifications and audio recordings of the birds in your vicinity.

    Photo Credits: Haikubox

    The Haikubox goes a step further by automatically reporting its findings to Cornell Labs, the masterminds behind the Merlin Bird ID app, contributing valuable data to update their extensive database. By supplying information on bird species, frequency of visits, and specific locations, you become an essential contributor to maintaining a comprehensive and current bird database.

    By using the Haikubox, you become an integral part of your community, actively participating in the evolving field of bird identification. Your involvement helps shape the future of birdwatching and ensures that enthusiasts like yourself have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available. Elevate your birdwatching journey with the Haikubox and make a meaningful impact on the world of avian exploration.

    Introducing one of the latest innovations in bird feeders worldwide—the bird feeding camera. At Wild Birds Unlimited, we proudly offer the Beakview Bird Feeder, a game-changer in the bird-watching experience.

    The Beakview Camera with the Wild Birds Unlimited No Mess seed.

    This unique camera provides a literal bird’s-eye view (pun intended) of your feeder and its surroundings. The Beakview Bird Feeder, renowned for its durability, takes the bird-watching experience to the next level by incorporating a built-in HD camera. This camera captures high-quality video day or night, accessible through a dedicated app on your phone. Receive instant notifications to witness the feathered visitors at your feeder from anywhere in the world.

    Setting itself apart from other cameras, the Beakview Bird Feeder boasts an impressive battery life that lasts for months. For those who prefer a hassle-free experience without worrying about recharging, an optional solar panel is available, making the camera self-sustaining.

    The Beakview Bird Feeder, when paired with the Merlin Bird ID app, provides a seamless solution for identifying and keeping track of all your backyard visitors effortlessly and conveniently. Elevate your bird-watching experience with this cutting-edge combination.

  • The Great Renaming

    The Great Renaming

    Written By: Heather Weber-Langvardt

    It seems an impossible thing to ignore if you’re at all involved in the bird world; the AOS (American Ornithological Society) has committed to changing all English-language names of birds that are named directly after people (eponyms). Birds that are named after places, like Canada Jays and Carolina Chickadees will remain the same.

    This decision is going to mean the initial change of around 80 common bird names across the US and Canada! Because of the way the West was settled and discoveries were made a majority of those name changes will affect our Western birds.

    Steller's Jay

    Steller’s Jay

    What does that mean for those of us who love the birds? The answer could vary; for someone like me it only means I will have some new bird names to remember. I’ll have to re-learn some beloved species. I know that personally the Steller’s Jay, a bird that was an everyday visitor to my home growing up in Black Forest, will be a difficult one to adjust to – I still forget that Grey Jays, who I used to hike with in the mountains, are now Canada Jays. But to me they were always just names. I enjoyed the birds, like most birders I wanted to know their names but I watched birds for the birds. I never really considered the eponyms connected to those birds, for good or bad. So it ends up just being a small change, albeit one that will take some time to get used to! To others, it could mean the removal of a barrier to birding, whether that barrier is caused by the dislike for the eponym or simply in understanding the birds themselves. Some others are completely against the changes. But regardless of the opinions, bird names change all of the time; species are split and lumped together, and our understanding of things in the bird world are constantly evolving and changing. Just like nature itself!

    I think that the decision to remove all eponyms and go to more descriptive names is a smart move. It removes the decision of whether someone is “worthy” of having a bird named after them or not and removes any other controversy without needing to judge each case. Although I may initially miss Steller’s Jays, I like the move to more descriptive names, it feels like a move that will make birding easier for newcomers. For example, the name Yellow-Rumped Warbler or Red-Winged Black Bird tells you exactly what that bird is and exactly what to look for, but if it was called a Heather’s Warbler or Weber’s Blackbird you wouldn’t have any context of what that bird would be.

    Yellow-rumped Warbler

    Yellow-rumped Warbler & Red-winged Blackbird

    Besides, what a treat to get to honor something about the bird in its name! There is also the chance to get some beautiful and poetic names, like the Shining Sunbeam in South America!

    Shining Sunbeam – A Hummingbird found in the cloud forests of South America. Photo courtesy of Jory Teltser and the Macaulay Library

    The AOS has said that they are also committed to actively involving the public in the process of selecting new English bird names. That’s an exciting prospect, that those of us who watch and love these birds could have a say in the future of their names!

    The name change is slated to take place over the next few years and information about the public comments will come out in the following days.

    What do you think of the changes to the names and what are some of your choices for new names for our soon-to-be-renamed birds?

  • Just a Bunch of Pretty Birds

    Just a Bunch of Pretty Birds

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    This week I thought it would be fun to step back from all the informative posts and just take a moment to appreciate some good old-fashioned bird beauty! I feel I’ve talked a lot about parrots and birds of paradise in the past so this time we’re going to explore other amazing bird families! So without further ado we will begin the post with…

    1. The Pheasants

    Pheasants definitely take home the gold in the ‘dramatic appearance’ category. From their striking bright hues, magnificent tails, and exaggerated mating displays, it’s no wonder these birds were long-sought as additions to menageries, and coveted for their plumage as additions to hats and other garb. Thankfully, we have mostly steered away from those damaging practices and can admire these birds in their natural habitat, or in responsible, accredited zoos.

    Our first featured pheasant Native to western China, the Golden Pheasant is the Phasianidae family that includes other pheasants, junglefowl, peafowl, as well as domestic chickens and turkeys. The female is less showy but still beautiful with her very detailed feather patterns and long tail.



    This guy might be my favorite member of the Pheasant family. Meet the Grey Peacock Pheasant, native to southeast Asia. His rich grey plumage is decorated with iridescent discs that flash all shades of purple, blue, and green.



    Next we have the Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, also a native of southeast Asia. What I think makes this guy so special is the sheer variety of patterns and feathers. Quite the looker. Let’s hope the female agrees!



    2. The Hummingbirds

    Hummingbirds are always a fan favorite. Sometimes they are facetiously called “The chihuahuas of the sky” due to their feisty temperament and small size. Our first featured hummingbird is the Horned Sungem, native to central South America, mostly in Brazil.



    Our next lovely hummer is the Rufous-crested Coquette. (By the way, don’t all hummingbird names make them sound as though they should be mythical creatures?!). Their range is very small, limited to parts of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and a few small regions of Central America. His impressive crest is reminiscent of the ancient cultural headdresses of the area.

    Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures


    Next, we have the Violet-crowned Woodnymph, who can be found in Central America and the very north of South America. This guy spared no expense when it comes to color. His entire little body is covered in rich violet and blue-green feathers.



    3. Pigeons and Doves

    Yes, there are so many beautiful pigeons and doves out there! Here are just a few of my favorites.

    First up we have the Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove, who is native to the Philippines. Their colors are on the darker side, perhaps best described as plum, goldenrod, and emerald. What a sight he must be in person!

    By jojo nicdao from muntinlupa, philippines – 20120226-DSC_2997.jpgUploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18511755


    Next up we have the Nicobar Pigeon. Their range is pretty impressive, living on islands from the Indian Ocean, through Indonesia and Oceania. Apparently, this is the closest living relative of the extinct Dodo bird, who was essentially just an oversized pigeon!

    Jaochainoi / Shutterstock


    A pigeon fit for royalty, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is named for the British Queen Victoria. Their unique, lacey crest is their most defining feature, accented by those striking red eyes. These birds are found in New Guinea.

    By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5832419

    5. The Tragopans

    A bird whose feathers are not the main attraction, the tragopans are instead known for their colorful wattles, which inflate and grow in length when trying to impress females. Tragopans occupy a large range from China to India and into Pakistan.

    First up is the Cabot’s Tragopan, native to China. Aside from his multi-colored wattle, he also sports some stylish blue ‘horns’ above his eyes (also inflatable of course).

    twitter.com, photo by yujifeng


    Our next Tragopan is the Temminck’s. You can see differences in this species’ wattle, as well as their plumage. The Temminck’s Tragopan lives mostly in Myanmar and Vietnam.



    This next Tragopan might have the most dramatic coloring! Meet the Satyr Tragopan, native to the mountainous regions of India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.

    Rich Lindie / Rockjumper Birding


    6. The Turacos

    Turacos are a family of birds native to most of Africa. Turacos are very unique among birds, as they are the only bird family to produce red and green pigments in their feathers. Other birds that display these colors are actually utilizing unique feather structures to shine different wavelengths of light, thereby giving the appearance of certain colors.

    First we have the Livingstone’s Turaco, a bird that (at least to me) appears to have a field of daisies growing on his head! So mystical!



    By Anton Frolich – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25685436


    Above is the Knysna Turaco. This bird’s plumage sports a beautiful blue-to-green gradient. Like other Turacos, they are native to most of sub-Saharan Africa.

    I could go on and on about beautiful birds, but this post will be long enough already! I am sure I’ll do another similar post in the future 😁

  • Squirrels Got You Down?

    Squirrels Got You Down?

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    Well you knew it was coming…although squirrels are cute, fluffy little furballs, they can sometimes be a pest. They are not shy about stuffing their faces with birdseed when they get the chance. Today we will be discussing safe, humane methods for keeping squirrels at bay. There are a lot of options, so choosing which methods work best for you will keep your birds happy and your stress levels low.


    There are physical ways to keep them away from your seed, such as pole baffles, hanging baffles, feeder cages, and placement of feeders. There are also seed and suet blends that contain hot pepper, which is harmless to birds, but unpleasant to squirrels. 

    Unfortunately some other methods, although effective, are both inhumane and dangerous. Spinning squirrel-proof feeders might make for some amusing YouTube videos, but they can injure and disorient the squirrels. More moving parts = more risk. It’s also not advisable that you utilize traps and poison. While squirrels might seriously irk some people, the bottom line is that they are animals just trying to survive, and the squirrels do not deserve to suffer injury, abuse, or death just for wanting to eat.

    Some humane squirrel-proof feeders


    Squirrel baffles


    Photo showing stackable squirrel baffle on the Advanced Pole System, courtesy of WBU Riverside, CA


    There are a myriad of physical deterrents to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders. Different methods work best for different people, so learning about your options can help you come to an informed decision.

    If you have a pole system that you attach your feeders to, you can use a pole baffle to keep squirrels from climbing up the pole. There are also hanging baffles that you can hang above individual feeders that keeps squirrels from accessing the feeders from above. 

    Catherine displaying one of our caged feeder setups!


    One of the most effective and fool-proof items you can buy (if you have tube feeders) are cages with at least a 1.5” hole diameter, which will allow songbirds through but not squirrels and larger birds. Our cages provide 360° of protection, and are easy to attach to any Wild Birds Unlimited tube feeder.

    Keep in mind that squirrels can jump up to five feet vertically and eight feet horizontally, so plan your feeder placement accordingly!

    Just a few of the many hot pepper bird foods available here in the store


    If you haven’t heard, there’s a nearly fool-proof way to keep squirrels away from your feeders, and it’s not much higher than your typical bird food bill. The capsaicin in hot peppers is a natural defense produced by the plant to keep mammals away from the seeds. Fortunately for birds, this chemical has no effect, due to differing protein receptors in the birds’ mouths. In fact, plants in the Capsicum family WANT birds to be the primary disperser of their seeds, because birds travel the greatest distances of any land animal. This ensures the plants’ genes are spread over the most area possible —  a win for the plants.

    So naturally, hot pepper makes for a great squirrel deterrent. Wild Birds Unlimited has seed mixes, suet cakes and cylinders, seed cakes and cylinders, and other food items to keep your birds happy and your squirrels at bay!

    You will have the greatest success keeping squirrels from your bird feeders by implementing several of the methods we’ve discussed today. Obviously nothing is absolute and if there is a starving or desperate squirrel they may be harder to keep away. But overall these tips should really help you in your quest to keep squirrels off your feeders!

    “Wait, wait! Don’t put up that squirrel-proof feeder! I swear I won’t steal any more food!”
    Photo taken by Mary McGowan
  • The Infamous Squirrel

    The Infamous Squirrel

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    The Infamous Squirrel… Loved by some, hated by others. Whether you’re locked in a battle of wits to keep them off your bird feeders, or you happily indulge their appetites and give them all the corn and peanuts they can eat, there is one thing that both sides can agree on; They are crafty and determined little creatures! For the next couple of weeks we are taking a closer look at this most Machiavellian of rodents. This post will be ‘pro-squirrel’ (cool facts, what to feed them, etc), and next week will be ‘anti-squirrel’ (humane deterrents, how to keep them away from feeders, etc)


    Did you know? Squirrels are actually responsible for more damage to US power grids than cyber attackers! In an article published on the website Cybersecurity Insiders, since 2013, squirrels and other animals like birds, rats, and snakes have been responsible for causing $8 billion in damage to critical infrastructure.



    Squirrels also have quite the acting chops! Characters like Rocky, Scrat, Sandy Cheeks, and Secret Squirrel (just to name a few!) have become etched in Hollywood culture. Marvel even has a superhero named Squirrel Girl, who has the power to communicate with squirrels and possesses squirrel-like abilities.

    Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, which includes squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and other small-to-medium sized rodents. They are largely opportunistic feeders, eating everything from seeds and nuts, to fruits, insects, and bird eggs. But if you have resident squirrels around your home, you probably already know this! As evidenced by the creative ways in which they can access your bird feeders, squirrels are intelligent little creatures.

    Employee photo


    Since squirrels are rodents, their incisors are constantly growing. Because of this they have a persistent urge to chew. Unfortunately this sometimes means that our belongings will become the target of their chewing. This is an opportunity to provide squirrel-specific chewables, like our Nut’n’Sweet Corn Squirrelogs, as they provide both a food source and a nice place to grind down their teeth.

    In a study conducted by the University of Exeter, squirrels were put to the test with puzzles designed to test their spatial memory. The squirrels exceeded every expectation! Even in this video below, you can see how quickly squirrels are able to adapt to new situations to achieve the desired result.


    Birds Choice


    As I mentioned earlier, squirrels are opportunistic feeders. Two of their favorites are corn and peanuts. There are several ways to offer these delectable treats, with a variety of feeders to pair with them. And even if you do enjoy feeding birds and squirrels alike, it is easier to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders by providing these options in a different location.

    It’s also imperative that squirrels can feel safe while eating, as they are preyed upon by many other animals. Keeping your squirrel feeders at least 4-5” off the ground will provide some security. We also recommend against hand-feeding your squirrels, as there is more risk paired with this method. Squirrels are wild animals, and there is always the possibility of getting bitten or the passage of germs, either squirrel-to-human or vice versa. As long as you do it safely and properly, feeding your squirrels can be very rewarding and enjoyable!

    And if you are not a squirrel person, or you just don’t like how destructive they can be, next time we will discuss options for keeping them away from your feeders and the damage to a minimum!

    Employee photo
  • Blog Series Week Six: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Sustainable Practices!)

    Blog Series Week Six: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Sustainable Practices!)

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    For the last few weeks we have been going in depth about the different criteria needed to get your yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat! If you missed the introductory post from August 17, it does have a few links to the NWF site with more information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

    In this post, we come to the fifth and final criteria which is using sustainable practices to maintain your wildlife-friendly yard. While this is a habit that can take some real effort, it is the one that will be most beneficial in the long run. The hardest part can be switching over, but once you’ve developed more earth-friendly methods of caring for your yard, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner!

    Rocky Mountain PBS


    The NWF recommends implementing practices from at least 2 of their 3 categories, but preferably all 3: Soil and Water Conservation, Controlling Exotic Species, and Organic Practices.

    So what are some good ways to cut down your water use? If you have xeriscaped your yard with native flora, woodchips, and/or rocks, you will find that maintenance is sooo much easier. You’ll be cutting your water usage by 50-75%, according to National Geographic. Another benefit is that weeds will be much less common, thus making pulling or weed-wacking an easier task.

    The best way to prevent invasive plant and animal species ties into xeriscaping as well. In the process of transforming your property into a native oasis, invasive species will be discouraged from visiting. And while the convenience of chemical pest and weed sprays cannot be denied, the convenience is about the only benefit. There is massive risk of poisoning wildlife who forage on plants and on the ground. The chemicals can leak into groundwater, drain to streams, and kill beneficial food sources for dozens of creatures. If you keep your yard chemical-free, it’s safer for EVERYONE!

    Photo by Nurpalah Dee on Unsplash


    The National Wildlife Federation’s website, as was stated in the intro post, goes much more in depth for the criteria that we’ve covered over the past few weeks. But if you want to become a full-fledged wildlife habitat guru, you should check out the book they’ve published on this very subject called Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and other Backyard Wildlife. It delves deeper into all of the criteria, and is full of beautiful photography as well. You can find more information on this book at this link https://blog.nwf.org/2019/03/get-our-new-book-attracting-birds-butterflies-and-other-backyard-wildlife/

  • Blog Series Week Five: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Raising Young!)

    Blog Series Week Five: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Raising Young!)

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    For the next few weeks we are going in depth about the different criteria needed to get your yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat! If you missed the introductory post from August 17, it does have a few links to the NWF site with more information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

    The ultimate goal for every animal on earth is to ensure that their genes are passed on to the next generation. From the amusing courtship displays to the sweet sound of baby birds, this is what it’s all about.


    Fortunately, many of the criteria for providing shelter also check the box for places for animals to raise young. However there are some animals like rabbits, squirrels, woodpeckers, and chickadees that prefer deep cavities to nest and raise their babies. In that respect, some creatures will dig/excavate their own burrows, but you can also buy houses specific to certain species. 

    A mama squirrel gathering nesting material. Photo from Perky Pet
    Curious baby squirrels! Photo from Perky Pet


    Before any child-rearing takes place though, animals must court and mate. Remember when Friend Owl from Bambi taught the gang about being “twitterpated”? That’s the general idea here! For birds, high perches such as mature trees or rooftops are perfect for achieving maximum range, ensuring as many females as possible will hear their songs and choose them as a worthy partner. Small mammals like squirrels and rabbits love to dart through trees and meadows. And once all is said and done, babies must be brought into this world in a safe home. 

    If you provide these spaces for your animals, you will be privileged with the sight and sound of new life, ensuring that nature has a fighting chance to thrive.

  • Blog Series Week Four: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Shelter!)

    Blog Series Week Four: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Shelter!)

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    For the next few days we are going in depth about the different criteria needed to get your yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat! If you missed the introductory post from August 17, it does have a few links to the NWF site with more information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

    Part of what makes this process so fun is the creative freedom that it allows. Nature is vastly diversified in what it provides, and similarly your yard can be too! So when you start pondering the next qualification for your NWF certified habitat, which is to provide proper shelter for your animals, there are a host of ways to approach it! Would you like to plant shrubs or trees? Make a rock pile or brush pile? Or provide roosting boxes where birds can perch during harsh weather?

    Yards with lots of bushes and trees provide great shelter for birds and other animals. Photo by Tania Melnyczuk on Unsplash


    These enclosed and darkened places also provide hiding spots from predators. For example, if you have a mated pair of goldfinches who enjoy eating the seeds from your sunflowers, they might be a lot more nervous or hesitant to visit if they feel exposed, with nowhere to escape to should a hawk fly overhead.

    In the picture below are several great shelter opportunities for animals. Can you spot them all? Things like trees, bushes, or roosting pockets are all sufficient.

    Own work


    The good thing about providing shelter is that unless your yard is dominated by a lawn, you probably already have a couple of these already! Your animal friends will thank you for the sense of comfort you’ve provided, knowing they can quickly find cover if needed. And it’s definitely a good feeling to know that animals are comfortable enough near your home to consider it a safe haven. They deserve it!

  • Blog Series Week Three: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Water!)

    Blog Series Week Three: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Water!)

    Written By: Sarah Girton

    For the next few weeks we are going in depth about the different criteria needed to get your yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat! If you missed the introductory post from August 17, it does have a few links to the NWF site with more information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

    No habitat is complete without a source of water. Every lifeform on earth needs it to survive. Even in the driest deserts, like the Atacama desert in South America, the native flora and fauna have evolved to be as efficient as possible with this rare and precious resource. So it goes without saying that the NWF requires a permanent source of water for your yard to be certifiable. Here in our dry Colorado, it is a little more of a task to set up and maintain, but it is so worth it! Even animals that don’t visit your feeders or other food sources will appreciate a cool drink on a hot summer day. Additionally, birds also need water for bathing. Without it, their feathers are not in tip-top shape, causing their flight and health to suffer.


    There are a variety of ways to provide water for your animals; anything up to a lake or an ocean that happens to be on your property! For most of us in Colorado though, we have to install a water feature… so things like bird baths or ponds are perfectly acceptable.

    Once you’ve secured a source of water for your yard, the most important thing is to keep it clean. A common misconception that many people have about wildlife is that since they are wild they are “used” to dirty water. Unfortunately this is not the right approach. Any installed water source in your yard can develop deadly bacteria, parasites, and algae. So be sure to research the best methods for your particular feature.

    Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash


    Once everything is said and done, you will get endless hours of joy watching your animal visitors relish in their reliable source of fresh water, and you’ll be that much closer to your Certified Wildlife Habitat!

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