10 Valentine’s Day gifts for Bird Lovers

Categories: Wild Bird

Hummingbird feeder by Perky-Pet

A bird feeder is a great Valentine’s Day gift for any bird lover.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and you may have plans to purchase chocolates and flowers, but consider getting something extra for that special someone! If you are still searching for that perfect gift, we are here to help. The WBJ Blog Team came together to create a list of top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts for bird lovers!

1. Bird Guides

Bird lovers enjoy the exciting surprise of a new bird that visits their yard, but they may not know exactly what type of bird their new visitor is. Sure, they could go to the internet to try and find out what it is, but there’s nothing better than having a good bird guide at your disposal. There are a few options of bird guides to choose from, but a few specific ones include: bird guides that focus on hummingbirds and digital bird guides for any birder with a techy side. Take the time to select the bird guide that best suits the bird lover you’re buying for.

L.L. Bean field vest for birding

A field vest can be a great gift for a bird watcher. (Courtesy of L.L. Bean)

2. Field Vests

When the bird lover in your life wants to take their bird watching skills beyond their yard, a field vest is the perfect gift for them. This will allow them to carry all that they need, whether it’s a pair of binoculars, their bird guide, or even a notepad and pen.

3. Seed Storage Bins

We all know how sneaky squirrels can be when they are hungry. Protecting your bird seed is just as important as keeping the squirrels out of your feeders. To help the bird lover in your life with this we recommend that they use a heavy duty storage bin to keep their extra seed safe. Plastic bins are fine, but as we tested, you might be better off with a galvanized metal can to ensure that pests leave the seeds for the birds.

4. Squirrel Proof Feeders

Bird lovers enjoy visits from small, feathered flyers, but they do not like the sneaky little squirrels stopping by and ruining all the fun. If you know someone like this then a squirrel proof feeder is a great Valentine’s Day gift option! Perky-Pet® offers numerous options that help keep the squirrels out but allow the birds to feast to their stomachs’ content.

 5. Smartphone Lenses to Take Bird Pictures

Smart phone lenses for birding

A clip-on lens for your smartphone can help with birdwatching pictures.

Today’s smartphone camera is a high tech piece of equipment that can take excellent photos. We’re sure the bird lover in your life has taken several wonderful shots with their smartphone, but what if they could take even better shots from farther distances? Well that’s where a smartphone lens could come in handy. These lenses range in price, so if you’re on a budget, go for one of the lower priced options. Any lens will increase the quality of their photos and put their birdwatching over the top.

6.  Prints of Their Bird Photos

Do they already have print-worthy bird photos? Then print them out! A bird lover can admire their photos from a phone or computer screen all they want, but the best way to enjoy an image is to have it in print. You can have the shots framed so they can spread their bird love around the house or at that their office desk.

7.  Window Feeders for the Office

Speaking of offices, why let their bird love stop at a picture. Why not bring their hobby to work? By getting them a window they can enjoy feathered visitors throughout their 9 to 5 work day. Our K-Feeders® Window Bird Feeder is a perfect, compact option for any window!

K Feeder Window Feeder

A small K Feeder for the office can be a perfect pick-me up.

8. Bird Magazine Subscriptions

If you have an avid bird lover who can’t seem to get enough, then try a subscription to a bird magazine. This way they can stay on top of birding news, trends, and topics to feed their bird-loving hearts. There are several magazines to pick from, including the American Birding Association’s publication, as well as Birdwatch Magazine. Once again, if this person you are looking to buy for is also techy, why not try the digital magazine version?

 9. Hummingbird Kits

Have a fan of hummingbirds in your life? Set them up with a full kit of hummingbird feeding goodies! The Perky-Pet® Hummingbird Feeding Kit includes a hummingbird feeder, one nectar concentrate packet, a feeder cleaning mop, a vibrantly illustrated “how to” pamphlet complete with hummingbird facts, and one vinyl coated red hanging wire. With this they can enjoy the numerous hummers that will visit their yard!

 10. Bird Waterers

The bird lover in your life knows how equally important it is to keep their birds hydrated. That’s why we recommend getting them a bird waterer for Valentine’s Day. There are many ways to provide a water source for the birds in their yard, including bird baths, glass waterers, and top-fill waterers.

What gifts are you getting the bird lover in your life? Have any other ideas to suggest as great gifts for bird lovers? Let us know in the comments!

Hummingbird Starter Kit

Try buying a Hummingbird Starter Kit for your Valentine.

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America’s Most Wanted — Squirrels Gone Wild

Categories: Backyard Battles

Wanter_Poster_Perky-Pet

A worldwide alert has gone out. Six squirrels are on the loose and considered armed and dangerous.

The Wild Bird Journal has all the facts on these felonious furballs, and we'll do whatever we can to stop their rampage across the continent.

Just who are these buck-toothed bandits?

How did these "squirrels gone wild" make it on the list?

What can we do to stop them? Let’s take a look.

 

AMERICA'S MOST WANTED SQUIRRELS

 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Yakuza)

No. 6) Suki “Star” Yakuza

Mixing a ninja with a squirrel has created a nearly unstoppable
peanut thief. She may have an insatiable hunger,
but now there’s something to keep her at bay,
and it even matches her all-black wardrobe. 


 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Escobaro)Most Wanted Squirrel (Escobaro)

No. 5) Pablo “Picante” Escobaro

This guy is absolutely nuts, but they do say
you are what you eat! Instead of putting him
behind bars, we decided it’s best to do that
with the bird feeder he’s always trying to bust into.  


 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Desjardins)

No. 4) Nick “Hard-Head” Desjardins

This guy just won’t quit. He sees his target – your bird feeder –
and goes at it again and again. If he’s successful, you’re
not gonna be happy. Why not make an
investment in an even tougher security system


 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Gordon)

No. 3) “Greasy George” Gordon

“Greasy George” earned his nickname from an unfortunate incident
with a greased bird feeder pole back in the old neighborhood.
Since then, he’s gotten smarter, but not smart enough.
You can beat him at his own game — with this


 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Muranka)

No. 2) Riku “Mad Dog” Muranka

Muranka’s bark is worse than his bite. He’ll curse you out
every time he fails to break in to this bird feeder, but
he’ll never make it. He just keeps falling flat on his face.


 

Most Wanted Squirrel (Doe)

No. 1) “No Name” Johnnie Doe

He’s got no name. He’s got no record.
But we’ve got another set of “No’s” for this serial offender –
A feeder worthy of his name and guaranteed
to keep him on the straight and narrow! 


 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT
THESE SQUIRREL BANDITS

This is all-out war. We need your help in keeping these fluffy-tailed fiends at bay. Here are three things you can do to help curb the crimewave.

1) Increase awareness! Download the wanted poster.

2) Learn more in the battle against bird-seed stealing squirrels! Check out our tip sheet.

3) Dive in on the battle against squirrel-kind! Invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

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5 Smartphone Tips for Bird Pictures

Categories: Wild Bird

 

Smartphone pictures of birds

We’re sure many of you have been watching your bird friends flying around your feeders in the back yard, and thought to yourself, “Wow, what a picture-perfect moment!”

Lucky for you, that smartphone in your pocket will allow you to easily snap that shot in a jiffy. Now you may think this might be a difficult task, but have no fear! The WBJ Blog team has a few tips to share with you on how to take good pictures of your feathered friends with your smartphone.

Use the sun to help your photography

1. Put the sun at your back when possible

Lighting is key when taking a picture. A flash can help brighten up your images, but they tend to not work well outside during the day. Instead, why not use the biggest light source we know  — the sun. 

If the time of day (and the bird) allows it, put the sun to your back and allow it to light up your subject. This will ensure that your favorite wild birds show up even better in your digital photos. 

2. Focus your camera

When you see that hummingbird buzzing around your feeder, you may want to quickly pull out your smartphone and snap a shot before it flies away. However, before taking the picture, you need to make sure that your camera is focusing on that little hummer — not the lovely wind spinner hanging next to your feeder. 

To focus your smartphone camera, simply tap on the screen where your subject is. The box that appears in the center of your screen shows you where your camera has the focal point. If you’d like to move the focus on another area in the frame, simply tap and the square should zip the focus to that point.

Avoid using your smartphone's zoom


3. Don’t use the zoom-in feature

Getting close to a bird to take a picture can be difficult. They will most likely fly away at the first sign of movement. 

Your first thought might be to use the zoom feature to capture your feathered friend. We recommend against that. Your smartphone's lens is fixed. So in actuality when you use the zoom function, you’re just blowing up the image, not using a magnifying lens. This is a digital function, not an optical one, and ultimately makes the picture blurry. 

You don’t want to takes away from the beauty of the wild bird you trying to capture, so don’t use your zoom function.

4. Take more than one photo

Nothing can be more upsetting than taking what you thought was the best picture of a bird feeding at your bird feeder to then realize much later there’s a problem. Maybe the image was too dark to see the bird. Perhaps the bird flew off just as you were snapping the picture. 

Don’t let that disappointment happen to you. 

Instead, keep your eye on your subject, and keep snapping pictures until it flutters away. Some cameras even offer specific settings that shoot multiple pictures within milliseconds of one another. Others offer a “Sport” setting, which takes pictures quicker (at the expense of gathering less lighting from the scene).

Anyway, if you get several photos of a particular scene, you’re more likely to get the perfect shot.

Birds on smartphone

5. Use the Rule of Thirds

If you have been playing around with the camera on your smartphone, you may have come across a setting that places a grid on your view screen. This option is there to add composition to your photos, which is what The Rule of Thirds is all about. This rule suggests that you divide a shot into thirds, vertically and horizontally, using the grid. Then place the subject either where these lines intersect or within one of the "thirds." 

This rule will do wonders for your bird pictures! It reduces vast amounts of empty space, helps your camera focus and creates visually appealing images for bird enthusiasts across the globe.

Now that the WBJ Blog Team has showed you how to take good photos with your smartphone, it is time to have a photo shoot with your backyard visitors! Get creative with your images and take as many as possible. Your smartphone’s camera is convenient and when used correctly can produce some of your favorite bird-friendly photography. 

In no time, you’ll develop a full collection of beautiful bird photos and we’d love to see what’s flying around in your backyard.  Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+!

Do you have any tips on how to take good photos of birds with your smartphone? Have you taken any great shots of your bird visitors? Share them in the comments!

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