ABOUT ME -
My name is Amy and I'm a birder living in central Florida. On this blog I post book and birding product reviews as well as birder gift ideas and announcements related to my birder gift shop on this site. I also have a personal birding blog called Powered By Birds.
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Unless otherwise stated, all books and other products reviewed on this blog were purchased or independently acquired by the reviewer. Readers who make a purchase by clicking on links in product reviews or featured t-shirt posts (T-Shirt Tuesday) may result in the blogger receiving a commission or referral fee.
Here in central Florida we are awaiting the arrival of our winter finches. American Goldfinches usually arrive in the area around the second or third week of November. That means it’s time to stock up on Nyjer seed. We’ve used socks like this Kaytee Finch Feeder Twin Pack in the past.
Multiple finches can feed at the same time and the feed is available all around the sock. Now you have to check out what a fabulous deal this twin-pack is from Kaytee. See what Amazon has as the list price?
At just $10.59 delivered (with Prime), that’s a savings of 99% over the listed $862!! Now that’s what I call a deal!
Did you get a new Wingscapes BirdCam for Christmas? Consider sharing your photos with the Wingscapes BirdCam Flickr group. The group is fun to browse, with BirdCammers located all over the world. Your photos can contribute! At one time the creators of the camera kept a life list of all species captured via their product; I’m not sure they still do this, but you never know. Your cam might just capture something that’s never been BirdCammed before!
Common Grackles enjoying suet balls in Florida: Caught on a Wingscapes BirdCam!
It’s been over six months since I first reviewed the EcoClean Dinner Bell bird feeder. While I was super happy with the feeder and the bag of Bark Butter that came with it, it took a while for the back yard birds to catch on. It seems in the rule of 2s game, this feeder and food fell into the “2 weeks” category.
I’m happy to say that both the feeder and the suet bits got a lot more action following my initial review. With the help of my WingScapes BirdCam I can report that at least nine species visited and used the feeder during the winter months. The Bark Butter was especially popular with Yellow-rumped Warblers; I must have hundreds of photos from the BirdCam just like this one.
When there was a spike in visits from Common Grackles, I lowered the upper dome, to mixed success. While hopping down from the feeder pole is impossible for them with the dome lowered, the large birds figured out they could access the feeder when approaching laterally, by flying in. This photo shows the dome before I lowered it.
Here are few more happy visitors.
After several months of use, the feeder is holding up very well and I’m still quite pleased with it. The large upper dome, which continues to keep the food dry and fresh, may not keep out every last grackle, but I don’t mind at all.
Since moving house in June, I’ve been trying to get the hang of back yard bird feeding here in Florida versus what I was used to in northern Illinois. I made the mistake of keeping unsealed bags of bird seed in the garage (hello meal moths), of offering nyjer bird seed in summer (no takers), and of using uncovered feeders in the rainy season (leading to a wet block of spoiled seed). I’ve gotten rid of the moths but I’m still working on using different feeders to offer appropriate seed to the regulars.
The EcoClean Dinner Bell Feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited is just what I need in our yard now. The small open feeding tray is covered with a sturdy, over-sized, clear plastic dome. The dome can be raised or lowered depending on the type of birds you’d like to attract. I’ve left it about as high as possible to offer the contents to any bird who wishes to visit. The dome protects the seed from the elements, which means the seed stays fresh longer when it rains. The tray has small drainage holes, which would be especially handy in case I ever decide to use the feeder without the dome. Click any photo for a larger view.
Easy to assemble
The EcoClean Dinner Bell is sold disassembled; assembly was extremely easy and only involved screwing the dome and the tray onto the metal wire.
A versatile feeder
This feeder came with a bag of Bark Butter Bits, which I have been offering along with some other general wild bird seed.
The EcoClean Dinner Bell is also compatible with WBU’s seed cylinder system, and is appropriate for almost any other type of bird food. The following video from WBU shows birds feeding on live mealworms and on a seed cylinder, both from this great feeder:
Bark Butter Bits are small suet balls (kind of like Dippin’ Dots for birds!). Bark Butter is known to attract over 100 species of bird (wow!) and these little balls of suet are perfect to offer a small amount to our small-but-growing group of back yard birds.
Cleaning is easy
According to WBU, the EcoClean products “feature a patented technology that inhibits the surface growth of damaging bacteria, mold and other microbes. This protection won’t wash or wear away, and it uses environmentally friendly technology.” This means that there’s no need to use bleach when cleaning this feeder. And cleaning is a breeze with this open feeder. While it’s extremely easy to completely disassemble the unit for cleaning, it’s not really necessary with such an open-style feeder.
In addition to providing me with the feeder-bark butter combo for review, WBU has generously offered my blog readers the chance to win a product of choice (valued up to $50) from their great catalog of back yard birding supplies and gifts.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
1. Mandatory entry: Visit http://shop.wbu.com/ and then leave a comment on this blog post telling me which product you’d like to win (up to $50)
2. Get one extra entry by becoming a fan of Wild Birds Facebook Page. Leave an additional comment on this post to let me know you’ve done this.
3. Get one extra entry by signing up for the Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter (sign up in the sidebar box here: http://www.wbu.com/). Leave an additional comment on this post to let me know you’ve done this.
So go ahead and browse through the WBU online shop catalog and pick out your favorite product. Here are some links to feeders and seeds to get you started:
This contest is open to anyone with a U.S. address. The winner will be picked via random drawing next Tuesday, December 20th, so all entries must be received by 11:59PM EST on Monday, December 19th. Good luck! Even if you don’t win, visit http://shop.wbu.com for great holiday gifts! For standard shipping, place your order before 9AM PST for holiday delivery.
I’ll leave you with a Wingscapes BirdCam image of the very first visitor to my EcoClean Dinner Bell: a Carolina Chickadee – keeping dry along with all that seed in the rain!
This week’s highlighted t-shirt design, made for back yard birders, was inspired by an angry rant I had recently. When we first moved in here back in February, I noticed one squirrel visited our back yard a couple of times a week. I found this kind of hilarious, since I’d never really seen one squirrel by itself before (except for some exciting sightings in the squirrel-deprived Netherlands), especially not at a back yard feeding station. My parents, for example, regularly have a practical infestation of at least 6 squirrels at a time. So our lone squirrel would come by a few times a week and that was fine with me. About a month ago I had my first double squirrel sighting and things went downhill from there, very fast. Two weeks ago these bold little furmonsters were spotted regularly on our suet log, methodically removing the bark and gnawing through the wood while pilfering every last smear of suet. Finding the log on the ground the other day set off my angry rant and I was chasing squirrels away every chance I had, cursing and babbling like a madwoman. After months of peaceful coexistence I have to admit we join the ranks of those suffering from a ‘squirrel problem.’ And so I had to make this simple design as a statement of this fresh war.
Anti-Squirrel is shown here on a Long Sleeve Raglan, modeled by an anti-squirrel sufferer with hands up in the air in exasperation. More products with this design are here.