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Antelope Island

Antelope IslandThe next place on our list of top birding locations in Utah is visited by many outdoor enthusiasts.  In my opinion, Antelope Island is the closest thing to paradise we have in northern Utah.  Where else in the state can you eat a buffalo burger while watching buffalo? Ok, I admit, that last question seems wrong on so many levels; especially for the buffalo.  Moving on...Antelope Island is the largest of the nine islands located on the Great Salt Lake.  You can get there by boat, but most take the causeway via Syracuse.  Enterance onto the island is $9 per vehicle, or if you are a cyclist you can enter for $3.  

 

I, personally, go there to run trails.  Every March there is a race on Antelope Island called the Buffalo Run.  altThere are various distances one can race, raging from 25k to 100 miles.  Usually it is the perfect time of year to be on the island.  There is relatively no smell, and the bugs are at a minimum.  If you have never been to the island, I recommend you go.  The wildlife is up close and personal...you can literally drive up next to a bison like you are in Yellowstone.  If you are really adventurous, you can try running by them to see if they react. One year, my friends and I were training for the Buffalo Run, so we went to the island a few weeks early for a practice run.  On our was back to White Rock Bay there was a herd grazing within feet of the trail. Since this was the only way back, we just continued on the path.  However, once we were near the herd, there was one bison who was not in a good mood, and began charging us.  Instinctually, my friend through up his arms in an attempt to appear bigger than he really was.  Thankfully, it worked.  However, in hindsight, standing still is probably the optimal choice, and the worst thing you can do is run.  Check out this video of what not to do; bison charges child.  

 

I am sure many of you birding/outdoor enthusiasts have been to the island on numerous occassions, please email us, or share photos on our facebook page, so others know what they are missing.  

 

Cheers!

 

Brian 

 

 

 

Pinecone Roasting Anyone?

Winter may finally arrive this weekend, and as such, you may begin using your fireplace. It is also time to purchase any last-minute coworker or neighbor gift. It seems like our list of people to buy for grows every year, so we have evolved into making gifts for our neighbors and coworkers as a way to save money, but still show gratitude.  If you want to be creative this year and you have pinecones lying in your yard...continue reading.  

 

I found a post written in Birds and Blooms from December, 2011 that shows you how you can change the color of the fire in your fireplace with the use of pinecones and other house-hold products.  This seems like a unique gift idea that most other people would not think about, so I thought I would share it with you today.  color changing pinecone

 

Preparation:

Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread out the pincones on a sheet.  

Bake your pincones in the over at 200 degrees for one hour to get the bugs out, and open them.  

(You can skip this step if you purchased your pinecones from a craft store).

 

 

Materials:

Large bucket

Tongs or slotted spoon

Flame colorant – choose one of the following, depending on the color flame you prefer (though most are common household chemicals, remember to keep out of the reach of children and pets):

Yellow – Table Salt

Yellow-Green – Borax

White – Epsom Salts

Green – Boric Acid

Red – Strontium Chloride (found with aquarium supplies in pet stores)



The Process:

Pour 1/2 gallon of hot water into the bucket.

Add 1 cup of the colorant of your choice, and stir until dissolved.

Add pinecones to the mix. Be sure to add only as many as can be completely covered by the solution. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the pinecones and set on newspapers to dry completely – at least 3 days.

Now your pinecones are ready to burn! Simply add them (one at a time) to your fireplace and watch the colors appear.

Tips and Precaution:

You can make several batches of different colors, but don’t mix the colors in a single batch. Burn only one color of pinecone at a time.

Do not use colored pinecones on cooking fires or BBQ grills.

Always use common sense and caution around open flames.

If you try this process and have a story to tell; please share your story with us on facebook!


Brian

image from: www.rusticroasters.com



Feed the Birds...not the squirrels

alt 

This past week I stumbled upon an article written on the Cornell Lab website.  The article is titled "Dos and Don'ts of Feeder Placement."  I thought I would share some of the information that was presented, and provide the link to you, so you may read the full article if you choose.  There is also a handy map you can use for determining where to place your feeders.  

 

The reason I wanted to share this article is because I too have had a problem with feeders and their placement.  The first feeder that my wife and I purchased was a basic, elongated feeder with mesh sides...I am sure you can see where I am going with this.  Yes, within days, squirrels had chewed through the mesh and rendered our feeder worthless.  This event caused us to take a different route.  We enjoy watching all types of animals, so we bought a peanut wreath to watch the squirrels, and a Classic Squirrel Buster to view our avian friends. I think our kids like the squirrels best though. 

 

The main focus in the article was about protecting birds from dying by flying into a window.  The optimal distance from your house was three feet and closer, or more than 30 feet.  This works great for me, since I live in a townhome with virtually no backyard, so almost everywhere is within three feet.  There are other important things to consider when placing your feeder, such as: placing it somewhere you are likely to walk frequently, so you will keep the food stocked; and not placing it near a sidewalk or high traffic area because this will deter the birds from visiting.  In an effort keep this post short I will not divulge any more of the great tips that were provided, so if you want to read more please check out the link. 

 

Lastly, with Christmas quickly approaching we will be starting daily specials in our store soon, so please continue checking in on the blog or on Facebook, so you do not miss out on some great deals.  

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Brian

 

image from: http://blog.duncraft.com/

Cleaning Your Bird Feeder

Happy Thanksgiving!  It should be a glorious day in Utah, so get out and excercise before football and eating commences.  Every Thanksgiving I usually go for a 10k run, so my self esteem can handle all the over-eating I engage in...today will be no different.  Thanksgiving turkey

 

Anyway, hopefully you have a similar plan for starting your morning, which will likely be followed up by reviewing all the Black Friday adds somewhere in between the tryptophan coma.  If you are like me, and are frustrated by stores opening earlier and earlier, please boycott the large establishments, and support small businesses like ours; who value family and do not force employees to work on major holidays.  

 

Enough of my opinion, I guess you are here to discuss cleaning your bird feeder.  I felt this was an appropriate topic in anticipation of our 25% off sale tomorrow, and our changing weather.  Additionally, I thought it was a little ironic to discuss feeding birds today when many of us will be feeding on a bird.  bird feeder

 

In dryer seasons you do not need to clean your feeders nearly as often because bacteria and parasites do not live as long.  However, in the coming winter months it is important to clean your feeders on a bi-weekly basis to limit the spread of diseases.  First, you should remove any of the pieces of your feeder that you can, so you can get into all those nooks.  Then, submerge the pieces in a soap and water mixture.  Once your parts have been submerged for a few minutes, take out a brush and scrub all the surfaces to remove any particles.  Once your feeder is clean, then I recommend using a solution of 9 parts water and 1 part bleach to steralize the feeder; let the feeder soak for 2 - 3 minutes. Once your feeder is done soaking, let it air dry...and now you are back in business.   

 

If you have any questions, please let us know.  Addtionally, there are many good Youtube videos you can watch.  Here's one I feel is helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIywYYU3duw

 

We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, and stop by tomorrow for a visit.  

 

Take care,

 

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

photos from: http://www.homeandgardentreats.co.uk/images/P/kernel_bird_feeders_ss2_1.jpg; and http://birdsguide.blogspot.com/2013/02/turkey.html


Black Friday Sale

It's that time again, everyone is frantically beginning their holiday shopping; hoping to find just the right gifts for family, friends, or co-workers.  If you are like me, you feel blessed to have a wife who takes care of the majority of the shopping for the family.  Now, if only I could figure out what to get her...I have not been able to convince her to buy her own Christmas presents yet. 

 

At Feed the Birds and More, we too are going to have our first Black Friday sale.  Since it is supposed to snow this weekend, and it appears that winter is finally here, I thought it was a good time to tell you about some of my favorite bird foods for the winter months.  

 

Red Billed Woodpecker eating suet

 

    1. Suet - this delectable treat is composed primarily of fat, so it is a great option because it provides the birds with the energy they need to migrate and stay warm during the cold. 
    2. Cracked corn - this is a great food for the winter months because it will attract almost any feeder bird.  Thus, since the selection of birds diminishes in the winter, this is a good option to increase your feathery visitors.
    3. Mealworms - this is a great winter food for birds because everything else is dead or hiding, so it provides a nice natural treat during a time when everything else is not accessible. 

 

There are many other options to choose from, depending on where you live and the type of bird you are hoping to see, so if you are interested in learning more and getting started in this enjoyable hobby, please stop by and talk with Larry, and if you do it on Black Friday you will also be able to take advantage of huge savings; as most of the items in the store will be 25% off.  

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Brian 

 

 

 

Store will open at 9:00 am on Black Friday 

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