Review: API 970 20-Inch Diameter Heated Bird Bath with Metal Stand

API 970 20 inch heated bird bathIf you live in an area where the temperature dips a little lower than is good for water in the birdbath, you may have gone through a number of options for keeping some water, not ice, available for visiting birds.

The problem with most heating mechanisms that go in birdbaths is they are unattractive bags that are little more than a heating pad put in the birdbath to keep part of the water from freezing. While the job is done, there is something about seeing that heating pad in the water that makes it so much less aesthetically pleasing.

Instead, the API 970 20-Inch Diameter Heated Bird Bath with Metal Standhas been designed to do the job while still looking as attractive as ever. In this case, instead of adding a heating unit to the birdbath, the birdbath is the heating unit.

This birdbath comes with a built in thermostat that will make sure the water stays at the right temperature so the birds can always have a drink, even when the mercury drops.

This is a completely self-sufficient unit with the birdbath on a metal stand that is ready to stand up in the yard, plug in and go to work keeping your birds happy.

In addition to making sure their water doesn’t freeze, the birdbath is also created to have a comfortable perch rim so the birds can land and stand easily.

What We Like

  • The whole birdbath stays thawed instead of just a little area around a heating insert.
  • It’s much more attractive than the heating pads you simply pop into the birdbath.
  • The built-in thermostat does the job without you having to run outside to turn the power on and off.
  • The stand is easy to put together.


Birds of America – Everything You Need to Know About the Blue Jay

Blue Jay Canvas PrintThe Blue Jay (Latin name Cyanocitta Cristata) is a passerine bird, which is an ornithologists term for a bird that perches.  If you don’t live in America, you may have never heard of it.  If you live anywhere in the western United States of America or Southern Canada, then you are probably familiar with this pretty native bird.  But how much do you really know about it?

Here is a Guide to the Blue Jay
______________________

Is it blue?

Yes and no.  The blue feathers are not blue due to color pigmentation.  The feathers do have pigment but it is melanin, which isn’t blue, but brown.  The glorious blue color appears because the surface structure of the barbs on their feathers causes light to scatter through modified cells when it hits them.  If a blue feather is damaged or crushed, the blue color disappears!

The Blue Jay isn’t totally blue.  Its crest, back, wings and tail vary from lavender blue to mid blue.  It has a white face and off-white underbelly.  Blue Jays have a black collar around their necks which goes up across the sides of their heads.

The individual patterning of this black bridle varies tremendously and it is thought that it helps the birds to recognize each other.  The primary feathers on its wings are edged with black, blue and white.  They have black bills, legs and eyes.  There is no color difference between males and females.  The only way to tell the difference is that males are a tiny bit larger.

How big is it?

From beak to broad, rounded tail, the Blue Jay is 22 – 30 cm or 9 to 12 inches.  They weigh in at from 70 to 100 grams (2.47 – 3.53 ounces) and have a wingspan of 34 – 43 cm or 13 to 17 inches – so they’re pretty hard to miss!

The crest

Blue Jays have a crest on the top of their heads.  This acts as an outward display of the bird’s emotion and as a warning to other birds.  If the Jay is aggressive or excited, the crest raises upwards to its full height.  If the bird is scared, the crest spreads outwards.  When it’s relaxed and calm, the crest stays flat against its head.

What do they eat?

Blue Jays are omnivorous which means that they eat ‘meat and veg’.  Their beaks are very strong so that they can crack open nuts and for crunching up seeds, grain and corn, which they hold in their feet.  They particularly like acorns and this is why they often live on the edge of wooded areas where oak trees tend to grow.  The strong beak also comes in handy for cracking through the exoskeletons of beetles.  They also enjoy grasshoppers and caterpillars.  They have the facility of a pouch in their throat for carrying items to either store elsewhere or to take to a place of safety to eat.

Do they migrate?

Yes, in huge numbers.  They migrate in flocks of thousands and if you live near the Great Lakes or on the Atlantic coast you may have been lucky enough to witness this amazing sight.  They have a strange migration pattern which is little understood.  Some Blue Jays don’t migrate at all.  It’s thought that younger birds are more likely to migrate than older ones, although older birds do migrate in huge numbers.  Some Jays appear to migrate individually.  No one knows why they choose to migrate when they do – or why the do it so erratically.

How can I attract them to my garden?

If you live in Florida, this could be difficult.  If Red-headed Woodpeckers, Florida Scrub-Jays and gray squirrels visit your garden, it will be hard to attract Blue Jays because they are strongly dominated by these other creatures.

The good news is that Blue Jays love bird feeders.  Because they are perching birds, they prefer tray style feeders or a hopper feeder fixed to a post.  They can’t manage well with hanging feeders because they’re just not designed to hang!  Put out plenty of seeds and nuts such as peanuts and sunflower seeds.  Suet is also a good choice.  If you’re thinking long-term, plant some acorns to provide oak trees for future generations.

Blue Jays are also attracted to birdbaths so having one of those will maximize your chances.

And the Flip Side of That is…..

Help – Blue Jays have taken over my garden!

These birds are very territorial during the summer months.  However, once they have finished breeding, they will start gathering food for the winter months, filling their throat pouches and taking it elsewhere to stock up.  At this point, they can invade your feeder and take over!  You are actually very lucky to see these stunning birds in such profusion but if they really are a nuisance, try not putting any food out for a few days and they will soon get the message.

And Finally – A Few Interesting Blue Jay Facts…

  • The Blue Jay is great at mimicking the hawk calls – in particular, the Red Shouldered Hawk.  This could be to let other birds know that there’s a hawk about or it may be to deceive them into thinking that there’s a hawk around so that the BJ gets first pick of any available food!
  • Ornithologists have never reported Blue Jays making and using tools.  However, during one study, captive BJ’s used strips of newspaper as a tool to reach and rake food pellets that lay outside their cages.
  • The major league baseball team of Toronto is called the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • The oldest known wild Blue Jay lived to be at least 17 and a half years old.


How to Clean Your Outdoor Bird Bath

Cleaning a birdbath is a dirty job, but one that must be done. Your feathered friends will thank you. Not to mention a clean birdbath will attract many more birds than a dirty one.

There’s not much to keeping a bird bath clean you just need to do a little bit of periodic maintenance to keep the birds flocking around all year round.

Here’s how to clean a bid bath the easy way.

  • The first thing you need to do is get rid of all the old water in the bath. Simply tip the birdbath over on its side and let all the old stale water run out onto the ground. If there’s just a little bit of dirt in the bottom of the birdbath you can just blast it out with a garden hose. This will remove any loose debris and you’re back in business.
  • If you have any mold or mildew growing in the bottom of the bowl you’ll want to use a commercial mold killer, diluted bleach or other bird bath cleaner to attack it. Use a spray bottle and soak the entire interior of the bowl with a cleaning solution. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to kill the mold and then rinse out.
  • If there is still mildew in the bowl repeat the process but use a scrub pad or scrub brush while wearing gloves to scrub out any scum.  Then hose the birdbath off to make sure there’s no residue that might hurt the birds.
  • Stand the birdbath back up and fill it with fresh clean water.  If you want to limit the growth of mildew in the bottom of the bowl you can place a piece of copper in the bottom of the birdbath. Copper reacts with the water making it more difficult for mildew to get a purchase and flourish.

Benefits of a Heated Bird Bath

20 inch Diameter Heated Bird Bath Bowl - No Stand

20 inch Diameter Heated Bird Bath Bowl – No Stand

There’s nothing like a birdbath in your backyard. A birdbath is a great attractant for wild birds. You can sit at your windows for hours and watch them frolic. Unfortunately if you live anywhere that has a cold winter your birdbath won’t work for part of the year. If you want to keep the birds flocking to your backyard all year long consider a heated birdbath. There are quite a few benefits of a heated birdbath.

Birds All Year Round

With a heated birdbath your bath will be one of those rare places that have open water. Since every living thing needs to stay hydrated, birds will flock to any water source not iced over. Chances are they won’t be splashing around like during the summer but at least you’ll still be able to get a few bright splashes of color on a dreary winter day.

Protect the Bird Bath

When water freezes it expands. This means that if your birdbath isn’t heated and left full of water you can risk it cracking when ice forms. A heated bath eliminates this danger. Since the water stays above freezing all winter long you don’t have to worry about the bath shattering in the dead of winter as ice and snow pile up everywhere else.

Ease

With a heated birdbath you don’t have to worry about winterizing it. Instead you can just plug the bath in to a standard GFCI protected outlet and you’re done. Keep it running all winter long then unplug it once the weather warms up. You don’t have to worry about dismantling and disassembling the birdbath, turning the bowl upside down or lugging a heavy piece of statuary inside.

With a heated birdbath you get to see birds all year, and you don’t have to worry about winterizing the bath. The cost to operate it is negligible compared to the benefit you will get from it.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

aspects-hummingbird-hummzinger-mini-feederThere’s nothing prettier than having hummingbirds in your garden. They can be notoriously fickle creatures though. You can’t attract them with regular birdseed and feeders since they feed mainly on nectar and small bugs. Getting these elusive creatures isn’t that difficult once you know how to attract them to your garden.

The cheapest and fastest way to attract a hummingbird is to put out a hummingbird feeder. Look for one that’s a bright red color. Hummingbirds don’t smell. Instead they look for food based on sight. They are attracted to bright colored flowers.  Be sure to install several feeders throughout the garden so you don’t get any bully birds dominating a single feeder.

Take care of your hummingbird feeder by making sure that you change the food every few days to prevent any bacteria from growing in it. This will keep the birds healthy and coming back.

Another way to attract hummingbirds is to leave the garden alone. This means don’t use any bug spray in your garden. There are a couple reasons for this. 1st off there will be less bugs for the birds to eat. Second any bugs that the birds do eat might be poisonous once they’ve been sprayed. These are little creatures with a really high metabolism so it doesn’t take much insecticide to kill a hummingbird.

Finally, plant flowers and shrubs that attract hummingbirds. They like bright colors and a lot of nectar. There are all sorts of options available at your local nursery just take a trip down there and talk to the experts about what plants work best for your region. Also be sure to pick up a variety of plants that bloom at different times, this will keep the birds around all spring and summer instead of just a few short weeks.

Hummingbird Feeders will to help you attract beautiful Hummingbirds to your garden.

What to Look for when Buying a Bird Bath Fountain

Decorative Three Tier Birdbath Fountain

Decorative Three Tier Birdbath Fountain

Knowing what to look for when buying a birdbath fountain is pretty easy. In its most basic form a birdbath is just a shallow pool of water. You can make that from pretty much anything. However if you want something a bit more decorative there are all sorts of options available.

The first thing to look for when buying a birdbath is a unit that will hold up over time. They cost a little bit more, but a concrete bath and pedestal will last for many, many years. The extra weight of the base and fountain unit ensures that it won’t tip over or go sailing off in heavy storms.

You’ll want to keep your new birdbath clean and mold free. So when buying one look for one that doesn’t have any intricate patterns in the bowl unit. These are much harder to clean than  a slick bottomed birdbath. The birds won’t care as long as they have a place to splash and play.

Choose a birdbath that has a separate base and bowl unit. It will be much lighter if you need to move it or dump the old water out when cleaning.

Finally look for a birdbath fountain that fits your garden. They don’t need to be huge ornate structures. You can find ground level pools as well as elevated units. Just pick something that works well in your garden.

What to look for when buying a birdbath is a cinch. Any item you choose will make the birds happy. You’ll get hours of enjoyment as you sit on the back porch watching them splash and play.  Just look for the unit that fits your home and isn’t too heavy for you to easily tip over to clean out.

Click here to view the Top 10 Bird Baths