Get Your Share Of The $3 Billion Bird Feeding Market With Lyric

As an Independent Garden Center, it’s important to pay attention to upcoming trends to help grow your business and be prepared to take advantage of changing consumer demands with products that meet the need. Many are already familiar with the impressive stat, that backyard bird watching is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States – second only to gardening. Because bird watching is an all-year, all-region activity this category has potential to pay big dividends and assortment can be a significant key to success.

In a recent study conducted by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry, research revealed that the average US household spends nearly $80 annually on wild birds’ feed – broken down into spending for the following: economy seed mix; premium seed mix; straight seed; suet and other pressed seed cakes; and “other.” With over 40 million households participating – that puts the US Retail market size, at well over $3 billion. With premium seed mix accounting for nearly 20% of market share, you’ll want to ensure your overall bird food offering is well diversified to meet the needs of all potential customers. Lyric Wild Bird Food, for years – has offered an exceptional lineup within the premium seed mix segment. Backyard birders love all varieties of this premium wild bird food line for its fine natural ingredients and hand-crafted mixes that attract more birds all year long.

Lyric Wild Bird Foods will now stay fresh longer too, with the integration of their new Stay Fresh Technology. Oxygen absorber packets are included in bags 15 lbs and smaller. Reduced oxygen content keeps the food fresher longer. The StayFresh packets coupled with Lyric’s pest-resistant, impermeable bags ensure our natural ingredients are at their nutritional and bird-pleasing best at all times.

Consumer testimonials validate that switching from lower-priced, lower-quality bird feed to Lyric products, typically nets increased wild bird activity at the feeders.

Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, the manufacturer of the Lyric Premium Wild Bird Food brand, has plants and distribution centers strategically located to ship to major wild bird food markets in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic very cost effectively. Lyric also responds quickly to changing market conditions to remain very competitively priced, for a premium quality product. Lyric Wild Bird food consistently receives rave reviews from customers that appreciate the bird varieties attracted by the gourmet blends.

Don’t miss out on this growing trend and important premium wild bird food opportunity with Lyric. If it’s not part of your current offering there has never been a better time to add it. You will sell more bird food, while your customers will feed more birds. Nothing keeps them coming back for more than the simple delight experienced by a mix that attracts more birds. In a recent customer testimonial about the Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix – a birdwatcher writes: This has to be the cleanest bird food I have yet come across. As compared to less expensive bird food mixes there is no dusty, debris riddled filler such as millet in this blend. No shells, no chaff, no twigs, no stones.”

Lyric – the Finest Nutrients. See the Difference.

Shop now for Lyric products on Arett’s Virtual Open House.

Why Feature Lyric Wild Bird Food?

As an Independent Garden Center, it’s important to pay attention to upcoming trends to help grow your business and be prepared to take advantage of changing consumer demands with products that meet the need. Many are already familiar with the impressive stat, that backyard bird watching is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States – second only to gardening. Because bird watching is an all-year, all-region activity this category has potential to pay big dividends and assortment can be a significant key to success.

In a recent study conducted by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry, research revealed that the average US household spends nearly $80 annually on wild birds’ feed – broken down into spending for the following: economy seed mix; premium seed mix; straight seed; suet and other pressed seed cakes; and “other”. With over 40 million households participating – that puts the US Retail market size, at well over $3 billion. With premium seed mix accounting for nearly 20% of market share, you’ll want to ensure your overall bird food offering is well diversified to meet the needs of all potential customers. Lyric Wild Bird Food, for years – has offered an exceptional lineup within the premium seed mix segment. Backyard birders love all varieties of this premium wild bird food line for its fine natural ingredients and hand-crafted mixes that attract more birds all year long.

Lyric Wild Bird Foods will now stay fresh longer too, with the integration of their new Stay Fresh Technology. Oxygen absorber packets are included in bags 15 lbs and smaller. Reduced oxygen content keeps the food fresher longer. The StayFresh packets coupled with Lyric’s pest-resistant, impermeable bags ensure our natural ingredients are at their nutritional and bird-pleasing best at all times.

Consumer testimonials validate that switching from lower-priced, lower-quality bird feed to Lyric products, typically nets increased wild bird activity at the feeders.

Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, the manufacturer of the Lyric Premium Wild Bird Food brand, has plants and distribution centers strategically located to ship to major wild bird food markets in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic very cost effectively. Lyric also responds quickly to changing market conditions to remain very competitively priced, for a premium quality product. Lyric Wild Bird food consistently receives rave reviews from customers that appreciate the bird varieties attracted by the gourmet blends.

Don’t miss out on this growing trend and important premium wild bird food opportunity with Lyric. If it’s not part of your current offering there has never been a better time to add it. You will sell more bird food, while your customers will feed more birds. Nothing keeps them coming back for more than the simple delight experienced by a mix that attracts more birds. In a recent customer testimonial about the Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix – a birdwatcher writes: This has to be the cleanest bird food I have yet come across. As compared to less expensive bird food mixes there is no dusty, debris riddled filler such as millet in this blend. No shells, no chaff, no twigs, no stones.”

Lyric – the Finest Nutrients. See the Difference.

Order Now Using Program Number: G81D1

Attract Finches with Specialized Finch Feeders

Arett Outlook May 2016

Finches Eat Differently Than Many Other Wild Birds; Give Them a Feeder Designed Specifically for Them!

Finches are a favorite among many backyard birders across the country. Their tiny stature, feisty attitudes, and beautiful, bright colors are entertaining to watch as they fly from feeder to feeder in search of their next meal. They are some of the most unique songbirds known to visit bird feeders, and if you’re willing to cater to their specific needs and preferences, attracting finches can be fun and rewarding!

There are quite a few varieties of finches and sparrows that visit bird feeders all over North America. Most are year-round birds and will stay in your area throughout all seasons, however, a few species located in the southern United States may migrate north to Canada for breeding during the summer months.

Some finch species are easily identified by the unique colors the males display. House Finches and Purple Finches have beautiful raspberry colored feathers on their heads and necks, while others, like the American Goldfinch, have vibrant yellow and black markings all over in the spring and summer months.

Finches eat mainly seeds and insects, and they are particularly fond of smaller seeds like black oil sunflower and Nyjer® at feeders. Black oil sunflower seed is more of an all-around seed choice that many bird species love. But, if you’re looking to appeal mainly to the finch species, offering Nyjer® seed is a great choice since many larger birds won’t eat it.

Nyjer® seed is extremely nutritious for these tiny birds. The high oil content of Nyjer® provides loads of energy that these guys require. Once the oiliness dries out from the seed, it loses its attractiveness to birds. That’s why it’s important not to overfill feeders when using Nyjer®, and always store unused Nyjer® seed in an airtight container. To make the seed in your feeder last a little longer, gently shake your feeder every day to jostle up the seed and prevent seed clumps and mold from forming.

Although popular, Nyjer® can be quite pricey. Because Nyjer® has such a small kernel, it easily can fall out of regular bird feeder ports. Instead, you will need a feeder with ports that have a tiny, slit-like opening so you don’t waste your expensive Nyjer® seed. An added bonus when choosing to offer Nyjer® is that squirrels prefer Nyjer® less than most other types of bird seed. That’s right, squirrels will likely leave your finch feeders alone if you choose to offer 100% Nyjer® seed!

If you want to attract finches to your yard, put out a feeder that is specifically made just for them like the Perky-Pet® 10 Inch Metal Finch Feeder. This metal bird feeder is designed without perches to allow for only clinging birds, like those in the finch family, to cling anywhere on the feeder’s surface area and pull out seed. And because there’s no perches, you can see more birds eating from this feeder than you would with a traditional bird feeder. The tiny holes all over this feeder securely hold Nyjer® seed so it won’t spill all over the ground, and the sturdy metal construction resists damage if it should fall or be knocked to the ground.

The Perky-Pet® Select-A-Finch Tube Feeder is another great feeder option for attracting finches to your yard. This feeder also holds Nyjer® seed, and is designed to not only cater to finches, but even more specifically to goldfinches. Goldfinches are the only finch variety that will eat seed while hanging upside down. They’re known to be finicky eaters, so providing them with a feeder that’s all for them will increase your chances of attracting these bright yellow beauties.

With the Select-A-Finch Tube Feeder, you have the option of changing the ports to attract either all varieties of finches or just goldfinches, making this the perfect 2-for-1 finch feeder! You can choose where the perch is placed by rotating the ports. When the perch is underneath the port, you’re able to attract all finches to this feeder, but if the perch is above the port you’re sending a message to all other birds in the yard that this feeder is only for goldfinches!

Finches are great birds to have visiting your feeders. Many varieties of finches, like House Finches, travel in large groups, so if you attract one, you’re likely to attract a whole flock of 50 or more birds! By offering a feeder designed specifically for finches, you’ll make your yard the hot spot for multitudes of cheerful birds all year long!

Order Now Using Program Number: W75S9

Vintage Hummingbird Feeders Attract Hummingbirds with Style

Arett Outlook March 2016

Perky-Pet® Vintage Glass Hummingbird Feeders Bring Back an Era of Elegance to Dress Up Backyards

Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating and alluring creatures on the planet. Only found throughout North and South America, these tiny animals are some of the smallest birds on record. Their ability to fly in any direction at speeds up to 30 miles per hour makes them captivating to watch. It’s no wonder millions of people want to attract hummingbirds to their yards.

Because hummingbirds are so small, they expend a great deal of energy each day just by flying from place to place. It’s important for them to restore the energy they burn by eating protein-packed insects and drinking sugary nectar. Hummingbirds get nectar from two sources: nectar-producing flowers and nectar-containing hummingbird feeders.

Hummingbird feeders have come a long way since they were first produced in the 1950’s. Today you can find all kinds of hummingbird feeders from beautiful, decoratively designed feeders, to top-of-the-line feeders loaded with added features. Now, you can have the best of both worlds with the all new Perky-Pet® Vintage Hummingbird Feeder line!

You will love how these vintage inspired hummingbird feeders will look hanging in your backyard. With features like antique hobnail embossing, traditional vase style shapes, and bold color choices reminiscent of high-end glassware from the early 1900’s, these hummingbird feeders are anything but ordinary. Each glass nectar reservoir is complemented by a decorative metal hanger and a delicate brushed nickel or copper finished base to complete the antique look.

Not only are these vintage hummingbird feeders stylish, they’re also loaded with quality features that make your life easier when filling and cleaning. It’s recommended to thoroughly clean your hummingbird feeders at least a few days a week, and Perky-Pet® realizes this can sometimes be a challenging task. That’s why they added a convenient wide mouth opening to the entire vintage line. Never again will you struggle to reach every crack and crevice when scrubbing your hummingbird feeders! Filling is super simple too with the roomy opening; now you can pour your sugar solution into the nectar reservoir with ease.

If your hummingbird feeder collection is filled to the brim with red feeders, why not try adding something new, like the Perky-Pet® Sapphire Starburst Vintage Hummingbird Feeder? The unique sapphire blue color is sure to stand out from the crowd and make a statement! While red is a popular choice for hummingbird feeders, hummingbirds are actually attracted to many colors. When on the hunt for a tasty meal, hummingbirds look for bright colored flowers that signify they are nectar-rich and ready to drink. These flowers include colors like pink, blue, purple, orange, yellow, and even white. Once hummingbirds realize there is nectar for the taking, they will never forget your always abundant nectar supply, and return time and time again, no matter the color of your feeder.

If you get multiple hummingbirds coming to your yard, it may be best to hang more than one hummingbird feeder. Hanging two or more feeders close together will discourage territorial behavior amongst hummingbirds. With having multiple ports to defend, a territorial hummingbird will realize he or she can’t possibly chase away contending hummingbirds from all ports, thus typically allowing others to dine with them in peace.

Feeding hummingbirds can provide many hours of enjoyment and entertainment to hummingbird admirers, while also providing much needed nutrition to fast-moving hummingbirds. Why not do it in style with a Perky-Pet® Vintage Hummingbird Feeder! With so many designs, shapes and colors to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect hummingbird feeder for you and your tiny feathered friends.

Order Now Using Program Number: W75S9

Birding Briefs

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By Abby Kleckler
Managing Editor, Lawn & Garden Retailer
 
There is no doubt birdwatching is an old pastime, but that’s not to say it is outdated. In the U.S., more than 68 million people say they watch wildlife for recreation around their homes, according to the latest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service study.
 
These 68 million people are not all males or all females, they are not all Baby Boomers or Millennials, and they are not all birding experts.
 
The following three garden centers have all given their birding departments some extra attention.
 
One-of-a-kind products, well-attended events, unique displays and employee expertise help start the birding conversation with customers at their businesses.
 
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Hillermann Nursery & Florist
Washington, Missouri
 
At Hillermann Nursery & Florist, it is not just a birding department, but a complete wildlife section.
 
“We encourage butterflies, bug houses, bats and any other critters that help in pollination,” says Sandi Hillermann McDonald, president of Hillermann Nursery & Florist. “We promote song birds as great insect eaters and promote the health of frogs, toads, bugs, bats, and butterflies for pollination purposes.”
 
Hillermann McDonald and her team offer workshops, seminars and make-and-take events in as many departments as possible. They have at least two kids birding events during the year and support the Missouri River Bird Observatory. The nonprofit has come to the store for bird tagging events.
 
“It is interesting to see them put up huge nets along our woods line on our property and catch birds in flight heading to the feeders,” Hillermann McDonald says. “The birds are then brought over to the crowd where we get a great close-up look at the bird for identification, then they band the bird and release it.”
 
A “Bird of the Week” is featured in the company’s newsletter, and corresponding sales bring customers into the store.
 
“Bird of the Week came about two years ago when I was looking for articles to put into my weekly newsletter, besides talking about houseplants and starting seeds,” Hillermann McDonald says. “It is a way to keep nature front and center year-round.”
 
Hillermann Nursery & Florist prides itself in carrying high-quality seeds, seed mixes, and suet types, without fillers.
 
“We even developed a ‘Bernie’s Blend’ birdseed mix that is named after my dad who is a huge birder,” Hillerman McDonald says. “It has been our No. 1 seller for many years.”
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Tumalo Garden Market
Bend, Oregon
 
Many products at Tumalo Garden Market have a strong connection to nature, can’t be found anywhere else and have customers requesting more.
 
“The fly-through feeders are made out of lodgepole by a guy who’s between 70 and 80 years old,” says Michael Ludeman, owner of Tumalo Garden Market. “I sell out of this product every year.”
 
Ludeman says he centers his business around the birds and the bees because they’re interesting, require attention, and are fun to have around the nursery. “The idea is to set up the experience, so people get interested in birding and see there’s support products to get them what they’re looking for,” he says.
 
This idea, and help from Mother Nature, led to a bird fence. “We had a heavy windstorm with a lot of blow down of the trees, so I put some fence posts in and started weaving branches into a big fence system with very little wire connecting,” Ludeman says. “I’ll get up to 100 birds in the bird fence. People sit and watch the birds and want to create these fences in their backyards.”
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Tagawa Gardens
Centennial, Colorado
 
The Seed Shack houses 5-pound or larger bags of seed and suet. The enclosed space means Tagawa Gardens can shut the door at night to keep any raccoons or mice out.
 
Along the back outside wall of the shack are hooks and replacement pieces and parts for feeders and birdhouses, including branch hangers and predator guards.
 
Tagawa hosts one of its most popular events, the Bird and Nature Festival, in February, which is National Bird Feeding Month. The day includes classes, family activities and opportunities to talk with state park and Wildlife Federation representatives.
 
“We have a local raptor education group, HawkQuest, that actually flies a hawk through our greenhouse,” says Beth Zwinak, manager at Tagawa Gardens. “We get really nice crowds.”
 
The birding department at Tagawa Gardens is right outside the annuals department and on the way to the restroom – not nearby though – so it gets a lot of foot traffic throughout the year. Some hot items include birdhouses, nesting material, butterfly houses, ladybug houses, bat boxes, and feeders.
 
“Hummingbird feeders are huge in Colorado from April to September, so we always have a really large selection of hummingbird feeders,” Zwinak says. “We have handmade ones all the way down to beginner, plastic ones.”
 
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Article provided by Lawn and Garden Retailer.

Perky Pet: Make Your Yard Hummingbird Central

outlook_w75b_headerAmong all the birds that reside in the U.S., hummingbirds are perhaps the most. In fact, they’re absolutely adorable and always welcome guests to any yard.

In the 1950s, the first commercially available hummingbird feeder was introduced by Perky-Pet® and from there on, America’s love affair with feeding the tiny helicopter-like birds blossomed as the company unveiled more and more feeders over the years.
 
Basics of Hummingbirds
 
The most striking feature of any of the 300-plus hummingbird species is how they fly. Whenever a hummingbird is near, you would swear there’s a swarm of bees about to attack! The thrumming noise is, in fact, the sound of their wings flapping upwards of 70 times per second.
 
Hummingbirds power all those wingbeats with a steady diet of flower nectar, or in the case of hummingbird feeders, a mix of sugar water. While nearly any natural sugar works for man-made hummingbird nectar, sucrose based nectar is the best for energy conversion.
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Also high on the list of favorite hummingbird qualities are their beautiful feathers. Most have an iridescent shine, which is a visual effect much like the way a soap bubble glimmers with colors.
 
These tiny birds often build their nests with spider webs, dandelion thistle and other material. Their nests are just as small as they are, since a newly-hatched hummingbird baby can be as small as a dime!
 
Hummingbird Migration
 
Most hummingbirds that visit North America don’t permanently reside in the U.S. Instead, they migrate to Central and South America during the winter where they feed on rainforest flowers along with the occasional small insect.
 
This migration is especially treacherous for the small-bodied bird. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, for example, must travel non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico on whatever energy reserves it had before setting out.
 
Many hummingbird enthusiasts even log sightings of the birds into the Hummingbird Migration Map, which helps them know when to put out feeders for when the hummers return to their area.
 
outlook_w75b_body2Feeders
 
A wide range of hummingbird feeders are available: Some are highly decorative and match the good looks of the hummingbirds they feed. Some can feed an entire swarm of hummers at once. Others bring them right up to your window.
 
The variety is wonderful, and it’s important to keep them clean and keep the nectar fresh. Dirty feeders can develop a fungus that’s bad for a hummingbird’s health. Likewise, hummers will stop returning to a feeder that’s filled with spoiled nectar.
 
The ideal feeder should be one that allows you to monitor nectar levels and has an ant moat and bee guards. Since these insects also love sugary nectar, they also gravitate to hummingbird feeders. An ant moat creates a water barrier between the ants and the nectar. Bee guards are small protective cages around the feeder ports – the hummingbird’s long bill can reach the nectar but bees and wasps can’t.
 
How many feeders should you buy? Start out with one and add more as your hummingbird flock expands. If you see a hummingbird waiting for its turn at the feeder, then you definitely need more!
 
Feeder Location
 
Hummingbirds gravitate to feeders set a short distance from cover, they seem to prefer having a wide view of the area around them so they can watch for predators.
It’s also important to place the feeder out of direct sun and wind. Intense and prolonged heat can cause nectar to spoil faster. Heavy winds can cause some hummingbird feeders to tip and ooze nectar.
 
Birdscaping
 
In addition to setting out feeders, you can add some outdoor features and make your yard more hummingbird friendly.
 
Try planting trumpet-shaped flowers, including morning glory, columbine, honeysuckle, desert willows, fuchsia and sage.
 
Even though they drink liquid nectar, hummingbirds also need plenty of water. A trickling fountain is the best way to offer water for hummingbirds as birdbaths are often too deep for their little bodies.
 
Finally, consider planting small trees and bushes that hummingbirds can roost in and even build their nests in during breeding season.
 
Follow these simple steps and make your backyard hummingbird central!
 
Order Now Using Program Number: W75E4

Cole’s Wild Bird Food: What’s HOT & What’s NOT?

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HOT! HOT! HOT!
 
Turn up the heat with Cole’s hot and spicy line of wild bird feeds, suets and the famous Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce. Nutritious sunflower meats infused with fiery hot habanero chilies, Hot Meats are a great no-waste, no-mess feed. Why do birds love the spicy flavor? Well, the chili pepper plant evolved over time to be attractive to birds that make it a meal. When a bird eats a chili, the seeds remain intact and pass through the bird’s droppings where they are spread over a wide area to grow and multiply. So chili peppers may taste hot to mammals, like people and squirrels, but birds do not feel the heat at all – all they taste is “Mmm Mmm Good!”
 
You may see different animal visitors trying the hot feed over the first few weeks, but what you shouldn’t see is any one animal emptying out the feeding in one sitting. You may see them sneeze, wipe their noses or run to your birdbath for a drink of water – all perfectly harmless to the animal. What you will see is a significant increase in bird visits and maybe even a few species you have never seen before at your feeder. Bluebirds and cardinals are especially fond of the hot Cajun flavor. With Cole’s Hot Meats you’ll get more bird visits than ever before!
 
NOT! NOT! NOT!
 
It’s fiction that feeding wild birds will make them too lazy to find food on their own. Despite years of research, they can find no evidence of any harm from feeding wild birds and studies show birds use feeders for only about 25% of their diet. According to the Humane Society of the United States, experts still disagree about whether feeding backyard birds will increase bird populations overall; however, they say feeding birds can certainly help the birds in your neighborhood. In fact, the Humane Society encourages people to feed wild birds, especially in the winter.
 
Birds are most likely to eat where they feel safe from predators, including free roaming cats. Place feeders twelve feet from a brush pile, evergreen tree, or bush. Birds can quickly fly twelve feet to reach the safe cover, yet predators cannot use it to hide within striking range of the feeder. As further protection, place chicken wire or thorny branches around ground-level feeders.
 
Bird Feeding Chart (click on image to enlarge)
 
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Order Now Using Program Number: C86S2

Why Feature Lyric Wild Bird Food?

outlook_g81c_bannerAs an Independent Garden Center, it’s important to pay attention to upcoming trends to help grow your business and be prepared to take advantage of changing consumer demands with products that meet the need. Many are already familiar with the impressive stat, that backyard bird watching is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States – second only to gardening. Because bird watching is an all-year, all-region activity, this category has potential to pay big dividends and assortment can be a significant key to success.

In a recent study conducted by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry, research revealed that the average U.S. household spends nearly $80 annually on wild birds’ feed – broken down into spending for the following: economy seed mix; premium seed mix; straight seed; suet and other pressed seed cakes; and “other.” With over 40% of households participating, that puts the U.S. Retail market size at well over $3 billion. With premium seed mix accounting for nearly 20% of market share, you’ll want to ensure your overall bird food offering is well diversified to meet the needs of all potential customers.
 
outlook_g81c_bodyLyric Wild Bird Food, for years – has offered an exceptional lineup within the premium seed mix segment. Backyard birders love all varieties of this premium wild bird food line for its fine natural ingredients and hand-crafted mixes that attract more birds all year long.
 
Lyric Wild Bird Foods will now stay fresh longer, too, with the integration of their new Stay Fresh Technology. Oxygen absorber packets are included in bags 15 lbs. and smaller. Reduced oxygen content keeps the food fresher longer. The StayFresh packets coupled with Lyric’s pest-resistant, impermeable bags ensure the natural ingredients are at their nutritional and bird-pleasing best at all times.
 
Consumer testimonials validate that switching from lower-priced, lower-quality bird feed to Lyric products, typically nets increased wild bird activity at the feeders.
Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, the manufacturer of the Lyric Premium Wild Bird Food brand, has plants and distribution centers strategically located to ship to major Wild Bird Food Markets in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic very cost effectively. Lyric also responds quickly to changing market conditions to remain very competitively priced for a premium quality product. Lyric Wild Bird food consistently receives rave reviews from customers that appreciate the bird varieties attracted by the gourmet blends.
 
Don’t miss out on this growing trend and important Premium Wild Bird Food opportunity with Lyric. If it’s not part of your current offering, there has never been a better time to add it. You will sell more bird food, while your customers will feed more birds. Nothing keeps them coming back for more than the simple delight experienced by a mix that attracts more birds.
 
In a recent customer testimonial about the Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix, a birdwatcher writes: “This has to be the cleanest bird food I have yet come across. As compared to less expensive bird food mixes, there is no dusty, debris riddled filler such as millet in this blend. No shells, no chaff, no twigs, no stones.”
 
Lyric – the Finest Nutrients. See the Difference.
 
Order Now Using Program Number: G81E3

Feeding Wild Birds

outlook_wildbirds_bannerThere are many different bird foods in the stores and the adage is true that you get what you pay for in bird seed. The less expensive seeds have less expensive ingredients and most likely the bird watcher will not be satisfied with the results. For the best results attracting birds it is necessary to buy better quality bird food. We have a great promotion going on with one of our premium birdseed suppliers, Wild Delight.

To the responsible person, the decision to feed wild birds is not a casual one. The dedicated bird feeder buys hundreds of pounds of feed each winter and at least a bird book and binoculars to identify and study the birds. Additionally, several times each week the food needs to be replenished, which over several months and years amounts to a substantial investment of time. Such a commitment carries with it the expectation of attracting a handsome, interesting variety of birds. Furthermore, most of us want to get the most for our time and money.

Selecting Bird Feed

There are many kinds of feeds available to attract birds. You can buy mixes or single types of feeds at supermarkets, livestock feed stores, garden supply stores, or through catalogs. The particular type of mix you put out influences the number and variety of birds that will use feeding places. Until recently, there has been little scientific information to guide the selection of bird feeds. Now we know much better what feeds attract or fail to attract different kinds of birds to feeders.

This information on relative attractiveness of bird feeds is based on 710,450 observations of birds choosing between two or more feeds at experimental feeders in Maryland, California, Ohio, and Maine. In these studies, black-striped sunflower and white prove millet were used as standards. All other feeds were presented at experimental feeding tables along with one or both of these standards to measure relative attractiveness. The work was done under the direction of the Urban Wildlife Research Program of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. However, the bulk of observations were made by volunteers.

Table 1 lists 18 kinds of birds that frequently visit feeders across the country, and their preferred foods. Many birds are generalists and will eat a variety of foods. However, even generalists have preferred foods. By presenting foods known to attract the birds you want to see, you will attract desired species and your feeders may be less attractive to unwanted birds, such as starlings.

Table 1. Preferred Foods of Common Birds.
American Goldfinch Hulled sunflower seeds, niger seeds, and oil-type sunflower seeds.
Blue Jay Peanut kernels, black-stripe, gray-stripe, and oil-type sunflower seeds.
Brown-headed cowbird White proso, red proso, German millet, and canary seed.
Cardinal Sunflower seeds of all types
Chickadees Oil-type and black-striped sunflower seeds, peanut kernels.
Dark-eyed junco Red proso, white proso millet, canary seed, and fine-cracked corn.
Common grackle Hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
Evening grosbeak Sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
House finch In Maryland, oil-type and black-striped sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels and pieces, and niger. In California, white prove millet and flax also readily taken.
House sparrow White proso millet, canary seed, and German (“golden”) millet.
Mourning dove Oil-type sunflower seeds, white prove millet, niger, and German (“golden”) millet.
Purple finch Sunflower seeds and kernels.
Starling Peanut hearts and hulled oats.
Song sparrow White and red prove millet.
Tufted titmouse Peanut kernels, black-striped and oil-type sunflower seeds.
White-crowned sparrow Oil-type sunflower seed, sunflower kernels and pieces, white and red prove millet, peanut kernels and hearts, niger seed.
White-throated sparrow Oil and black-striped sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels and pieces, white and red prove millet, and peanut kernels.
Sparrow Prove millet, and peanut kernels.

Sunflower seeds attract most seed-eating birds. The most attractive sunflower seed is the black, oil-type. Another outstanding food is a type of millet, known as white prove or white millet. White millet attracts house sparrows and brown-headed cowbirds. However, when there are small sparrow-like birds around, such as juncos and song sparrows, white prove millet is needed. The common cereal grains – sorghum, wheat, cracked corn, oats, and rice – rate significantly below black oil-type sunflower seed or white prove millet in feeding tests. Other relatively unattractive seeds are flax and canary. A common ingredient in mixes, peanut hearts, strongly attracts starlings. You can discourage house sparrows, brown-headed cowbirds, blue jays, and grackles while at the same time offering a moderately attractive food to cardinals and mourning doves by feeding safflower seeds. Safflower is of little interest to other bird species, however.

Rather than buying mixes, the bird feeder will spend his money more effectively by buying black, oil-type sunflower and white prove millet separately, in bulk from seed or animal feed dealers. Depending on the kinds of birds present, the amounts of these two best foods can be varied to attract the birds you want to see.

Presentation of Bird Foods

Having attractive bird feeds on hand is of course most important, but placement of those feeds is important too. Just as birds vary in size, shape, color, song, and preferred foods, so do birds differ in feeding behavior. Some feed almost exclusively in trees, others nearly always on the ground, and others are opportunists, feeding wherever they can find acceptable food. Using a variety of feeders, such as those shown on the cover illustration of this bulletin, makes sense.

Most common birds will visit platform feeders. They are simple to build, or you can buy hopper-style feeders that can be suspended by a wire or placed on a pole. Juncos, white-throated sparrows, fox sparrows, and towhees prefer to feed on the ground. These species will feed on seed kicked off platform feeders by other birds or on feed placed on the ground for them.

Hanging, tube-type feeders attract American goldfinches, chickadees, and a variety of other species. Tube feeders permit goldfinches to avoid competition with blue jays and grackles which take over platform feeders. Tube feeders will also attract pine siskins and red polls when they are in the area.

In general, ground feeders prefer white millet, whereas birds attracted to tube feeders prefer oil-type sunflower. Therefore, white millet and mixes rich in millet should not be used in tubes or other elevated feeders with small perching surfaces. Suet attached to tree trunks in wire baskets is attractive to woodpeckers and, unfortunately, starlings. In addition to food, birds readily use water placed near feeders.

Most people concentrate their feeding efforts during the winter months. Satisfaction comes not only from attracting good numbers of birds, but also because winter feeding helps birds survive the rigors of cold, icy, and snowy weather. Actually, feeding birds year-round is enjoyable. Because naturally produced seeds are uncommon in the spring and summer, flocks of gold finches and house finches visit tube feeders filled with oil-type sunflower seeds in the growing season. Cardinals, chickadees, and mourning doves will visit daily. Young birds, often with clumps of down still attached, will come with their parents.

Many people believe once a feeding program is started that it must be maintained without interruption. However, birds in any locality visit several feeding sites daily and will waste little time at an empty feeder. Although abundant food at feeders during the winter helps birds, occasional periods of emptiness are unlikely to result in starvation.

Landscaping for Birds

The attractiveness of a feeding area is greatly enhanced by a landscape rich in trees and shrubs, both deciduous and evergreen. Bird feeders placed in areas with large lawns and few trees and shrubs attract few birds. Consider managing open areas as meadows rather than as lawns. A rich growth of grasses and flowering plants provides cover for nesting in the spring and summer and natural sources of seeds during the winter.

Authors: Peter T. Bromley; Aelred D. Geis In cooperation with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University

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Chickens Are the Best Tool For Your Garden

outlook_h19_bannerBy Edward Gates
August 5, 2014

Boerne, TX– Chickens can be used to help maintain and strengthen the health of your garden. Having a flock of chickens in your backyard is beneficial in several ways.

A single chicken can bio recycle about seven pounds of food residuals in a month. If 2,000 households raised three hens, it could divert 252 tons of waste from landfills annually. A flock of hens will also perform most of the labor of having to “turn” your compost pile by scratching at the pile.

Chickens are efficient producers of nutrients for your soil as well. Chicken manure fertilizer is high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, making it one of the best organic fertilizers for enriching your garden soil. Just one hen will produce about 90 pounds of manure a year.

Chickens also provide great pest control by eating problem-causing insects like crickets, grasshoppers, snails, and slugs. Chickens have been known to kill, and eat, small snakes too. Since they naturally love to eat a wide variety of the most common garden pests, chickens are a great organic pest control option.

Not only are chickens a valuable addition to your arsenal of garden tools and equipment but they also provide fresh eggs for the family. In 2007, Mother Earth News did an egg testing project and found that, compared to official USDA nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.

Chicken Raising Overview

Caring and raising a flock is easy and takes about the same time and effort as raising a dog. With the essentials, you can successfully raise happy chickens in any garden.

There are many resources to help you as you start up your backyard flock. There are several good books on the subject, such as The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens by Tara Layman Williams. This will arm you with the knowledge that you need, including which breed you want and what to feed them. Books like this will also give you information on how to tell if your chicken is sick.

A chicken coop is required to provide a safe shelter for your hens to lay and to protect them from predators. You want about 3-4 square feet per chicken inside the henhouse. A coop with an open floor will be easier to shovel out manure to use in your garden.

A feeder and waterer can be found at your local feed or lawn and garden store. Your local store will carry a variety of shapes and styles to choose from that will fit any size flock. One of the easiest ways to give your chicken water is to attach a nipple waterer to the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, hang it in your coop, and fill with fresh clean water.

You must also be prepared to protect some of your more tasty plants with chicken wire. Chicken wire is easy to install. You want to make sure your chickens have access to the perimeter of your garden to act as a defensive barrier for bugs and insects.

You can use treats to train your flock to perform many different tasks, like getting them to come to you when called. Get your chickens to scratch and aerate the soil where you spread the treats, or simply reward them for their help.

About Happy Hen Treats

Happy Hen Treats were the inspiration of a seven year old girl named Kassidi who raised chickens in her backyard in a small town just outside of San Antonio, Texas. During a trip to the pet store to purchase treats for the family’s dog, Kassidi asked her father if she could also buy treats for Bailey, her favorite chicken. As her father gently explained that treats were not available for chickens, he could quickly see that his explanation was not setting well with Kassidi. She insisted on searching the store in hopes of finding something special to take home to Bailey.

Less than a year later, Happy Hen Treats developed Mealworm Frenzy and declared it to be “The World’s First Treats for Chickens.” Thanks to one little girl’s vision and determination, chickens across the country can now enjoy a special treat developed especially for them.

Happy Hen Treats provides healthy and all natural high-protein treats that let you interact with and train your chickens.

Be sure to visit happyhentreats.com to see other great quality products that you and your chickens will love.

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