Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Attract Birds to Your Bird Feeder

People have been interested in feeding wild birds in America since the mid 1800s. In the early 1900s, the first hummingbird feeder was manufactured on a commercial basis. Today, feeding the birds is an exciting hobby that over 60 million Americans are enjoying everyday. One of the first questions that eager bird watchers ask when they get their first feeder is, 'How do I attract the most birds to my bird feeders?'
Tip #1: Be consistent. 
Try to follow a routine by keeping feeders filled with the seed or suet that is the favorite of the birds you wish to attract. Birds will return to the same feeders if they're rewarded with food every time.

Tip #2: Use the appropriate bird feeder. 
Since birds are attracted to different types of bird feeder designs, you can increase your odds by matching the species with the bird feeder design specifically made for it. Choose from the many types of feeders offered below:

Tube Feeder: American Goldfinch, House Finch, Nuthatch, Titmouse 
Platform Feeder: House Finch, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Titmouse 
Hopper Feeder: House Finch, Blue Jay, Titmouse, Northern Cardinal 
Suet Feeder: Northern Cardinal, Nuthatch, Titmouse, Warbler, Woodpecker, Wren 
Niger or Thistle seed Tube Feeder: American Goldfinch, House Finch, Purple Finch 
Nectar Feeder: Hummingbird 
Fruit or Jelly Feeder: Eastern Bluebird, House Finch, Oriole, Woodpecker

Tip #3: Where should I hang the bird feeder? 
Place your bird feeder in a spot where the birds can feel protected-somewhere in close proximity to shrubs and trees. Also, they will use foliage, grasses and twigs as nesting materials. Avoid predators by placing bird feeders at least four feet off the ground and away from fences and lower, hanging branches. Some birds, like bluebirds, prefer to have an open view while feeding so they can keep their eyes open for predators.

Tip #4: Include a water source close to the bird feeder. 
Birds are attracted to water for bathing and sipping. Since they are attracted to the sound of water, the light spray of a hose will bring them flitting to this water source. Robins and hummingbirds appreciate the sparkle of water and love to fly through the spray. The moist ground makes it easier for robins to snag a worm or two. Shallow, birdbaths welcome many types of birds who need to remove dust or mites from their feathers.

Tip #5: Include native plants in your garden. 
Native plants will attract specific birds to your backyard. Some birds such as woodpeckers and bluebirds enjoy berries and fruits along with insects, while finches prefer the seeds of native coneflowers or Echinacea.

How long should you wait to see birds at the feeder after you hang it? 
First, have patience. It will take some time for birds to find your feeder and start using it as a source of food. Wait for up to two weeks, then add a few new ideas.

Try sprinkling some of their favorite seed on the ground and around the feeder. This will help them find the bird feeder and realize that there is a food source nearby. Or, the location might not be the best for them. Most birds like to feel secure. Move the bird feeder to a new location that has shrubs or conifers for them to hide and observe from. Keep the bird feeder away from traffic, loud noises and predatory felines. Birds like to remain hidden from predators as they fly to and from the bird feeder.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

General Raccoon Information

Raccoons are clever critters, often studied for this fascinating characteristic in captive settings. These mammals are remarkably bright and resourceful in nature as well. There are a lot of interesting facts about raccoons, but before indulging in these, it is good to have a brief understanding of what the raccoon species is all about.
Description of a Raccoon
Raccoons are a medium-sized mammal, with a gray coat of fur, and a long striped tail. They are often seen with a black stretch of fur directly over their eyes, giving them the look of wearing a bandit's mask; hence the nickname, "little bandits". They usually weigh anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds, and stands at 1 to 2 feet, on its hind legs. This is at full adult size. They also have very human like hands that are great at grasping and even better for climbing.
Raccoons are also known as "little bandits" due to their curiosity and cleverness in residential areas. They can snoop and tear through garbage cans and dumpsters looking for food, in the middle of the night, and never get caught. People in these communities wake up to a huge mess in their lawn or drive-way! This is what most people think of when you mention, "Raccoon".
Reproduction, Life Expectancy, and Diet
Female raccoons give birth to litters of baby raccoons called "kits". Their gestation period ranges from a few months, or 65 days. They usually have anywhere from 2 to 5 kits per litter. After about nine weeks, the kits can eat solid food and even leave the den to explore. They are eventually weaned completely by 16 weeks or so. The mother shows them feeding grounds and dens, and the adolescent raccoons then split up and head off on their own.
For food, they will eat almost anything. They are by far one of the most interesting omnivores known to man. In certain times, they will munch on insects and worms, but will also eat fruits and nuts in other seasons. They are even known to indulge in certain vertebrates like fish and frogs. This diet is good for them, and must be, because raccoons have been known to also live a long time. In captive, raccoons can live past 20 years of age! However, in nature, there are more dangers and threats that affect the life span of a raccoon. In the wild, raccoons only live on average 1 to 3 years. They are in constant threat of predators, destroyed habitats, loss of food sources, and more.
For more information on raccoons, be sure to visit our Raccoon Removal website, or call us directly at 317-535-4605 today. We can provide you with all the raccoon knowledge you need!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Facts About Hurricanes - The Swirling Storms of the Seas

Hurricane, the word is derived from Spanish word, "Huracan" which is a further derivation of word "Juracan" a god of storm. For a layman every swirling thunderstorm which strikes the land is a hurricane or typhoon as people, in most cases come to know such terms in the news. However, in order to learn the difference, we have to learn few basic concepts of the tropical cyclones. Hurricanes, typhoons, tropical depressions, cyclones and tropic storms are all the derivative names for Tropic Cyclones, depending on their strength, size and location. These storms or cyclones are characterized by strong winds, low-pressure centers and heavy rains.
A hurricane can be differentiated from tropical depression or thunderstorm on the basis of its strength, location and concentration. Depressions or storms usually generate winds less than 34 knots, and they have no eye. Whereas, hurricanes and typhoons are moving storm systems with the minimum wind speed of 66 knots or 119 km per hour, which is potentially devastating. A cyclone of such intensity develops an eye, an area in the centre of system having lowest atmospheric pressure. This eye is surrounded by the Eyewall, which can cover an area of 16 to 80 kms and play havoc. Maximum speed of hurricanes has been estimated to around 314 km per hour.
Hurricanes develop usually due to the formation of favorable atmospheric conditions around disturbance in the atmosphere. Natural phenomenon like El-NiƱo, Madden-Julian oscillation and Atlantic Multi-decadal oscillation modulate the background environment. Tropical systems, once born are moved by fast winds in troposphere under favorable conditions. As the systems move it tends to develop an eye. However, if the atmospheric conditions do not allow, the system gets weak and dissipates. Presently, technology has not been advanced enough to artificially induce dissipation of such storms or a hurricane.
Atmospheric pressure recorded at the center of hurricanes or the eye is lowest occurring on sea level surface of the world. Condensed latent heat, when released in large amounts, drives the hurricanes and it happens when moist air lifts up condensing its water vapors. The said heat distributes around the storm's center in a vertical order. Due to this, temperatures inside the hurricanes are usually warmer than the surrounding area.
The eye of a hurricane should not be taken in literal meanings. It is usually 30 to 120 km in diameters, though smaller hurricanes carry as small as an eye in diameter of 3 km and as large as 360 km. The environment inside the eye is usually calm and mild compared to its surrounding fast moving winds.
Hurricanes produce extremely devastating winds and storm surges. As they receive their energy from warmer oceanic waters, they tend to lose energy when they move on land as they also face greater surface friction in addition to the absence of warmer water. For the same reason, hurricanes render more damage to coastal or tropic regions than inland areas. Hurricanes can be lethal at coastal regions going as deep at 1000 kms, whereas it can also cause flooding up to 40 kms from coastline. Size of a hurricane can be classified into three main categories. Hurricanes ranging under 222 kms in radius are termed as "very small", those ranging from 333 to 670 km in radius are termed as "Average" and those greater in radius than 888 kms are classified as "Very large" hurricanes.
A difference between a typhoon and hurricane should be understood to avoid confusion. Severe tropic cyclones, when born in Northwestern Pacific and obtains high intensity wind speed, it is called a typhoon. On the other hand, a tropic cyclone which takes birth in Northeast Pacific basin or Atlantic Ocean is called a hurricane. Storms arising from the Southern hemisphere and Indian Oceans are simply called the Cyclones.
"Bhola Cyclone" at the coasts of Bangladesh in 1970 has been recorded as the deadliest one in recorded history in which nearly 0.3 million lost their lives. Another destructive hurricane is Hurricane Katrina in USA, which killed around 2,000 people and rendered an estimated property loss of 100 Billion $. Typhoon Tip which arose in 1979 in Pacific Ocean has been the most intense hurricane having the pressure of 870 mbar and wind speeds of 310 km/ hour. Tip was also the largest cyclone with the storm force winds active in 2170 km diameter. Hurricane John holds the record of longest lasting hurricane, which lasted for a full month in 1994 in the northern hemisphere.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The African King of the Sand - Three of the Desert's Deadliest Creatures

The animals which currently inhabit the African deserts are some of the oldest species on the planet, and have undergone dramatic changes in terms of adaptation, in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the desert. From lizards to beetles they have a large selection. As the largest desert in Africa, which covers most of the Northern region, the Sahara desert has some of the most diverse creatures in the entire continent. Here we look at three of the creatures whose predatory nature and finely honed survival instincts have made each of them the king of the sand.
The monitor lizard is a reptile with highly poisonous venom, which rivals that of some of the world's most venomous snakes. These cold blooded creatures thrive in the hot temperatures of the Saharan desert during the day, but their bodies almost shut down at night, when the temperatures drop dramatically. This lizard is particularly aggressive when cold, and they feed mainly on insects and rats, or any other small mammals which they come across in the desert.
Sand Vipers are another deadly creature found in the deserts of Africa. These snakes can grow up to 50cm in length, and have horns above their eyes to protect them from the sand and wind. They usually come out at night to hunt for food. During the day, they bury themselves beneath the sand. Sand vipers are hemo-toxic as well venomous, meaning that the animal or person which they bite will not only suffer from tissue damage, but their red blood cells will also be destroyed. These bites are not always fatal, but can be extremely painful. This creature is now considered to be an endangered species, as a result of the degrading environment of the African deserts.
The world's most famous flightless bird also resides in the African deserts. Although the ostrich cannot fly, it compensates for this by being one of the fastest animals on land - it can run at almost 40 miles per hour. The ostrich is also the biggest bird on the planet and has incredibly strong legs, which it uses to kick its predators with. Furthermore, this bird has brilliant hearing abilities and eyesight, which are two of its primary defence mechanisms. Ostriches in the Sahara desert will rarely stray too far from the watering holes, and will generally feed on bush leaves and grass, although they will occasionally eat small animals as well.