Scarlet Tanager: Cole’s Bird of the Month for December

It’s the perfect Bird of the Month for December. The male Scarlet Tanager’s bright, beautiful red coat trimmed in black makes him look ready for any holiday party. While cheerfully dressed in crimson for the spring and summer, he tones it down a bit throughout the fall and winter trading his festive outfit for a more subdued olive and black. This allows him to blend in like a true master of disguise, and consequently he looks more like the female and immature males who are olive and gray year round.

You’ll find Scarlet Tanagers all over the eastern United States during the summer. If you want to spot the beautiful Scarlet Tanager in your area, head for the forests and look for the males in the tops of trees. You’ll want to listen for the distinctive chick-burr call note. You can hear it by clicking on the video below.

Male Scarlet Tanager singing

Scarlet Tanagers feast mostly on insects and spiders during mating season adding fruit once migration begins in the spring and fall.  If you want to attract Scarlet Tanagers to your backyard, your best lure might be a nice birdbath. Keep in mind they generally like to stay high in the trees, but they do need to drink and bathe. In early spring, try Cole’s Dried Mealworms, suet cakes, orange halves, and ripe bananas for getting them to your feeders.  Cole’s Natural Peanut Suet ™ is chocked full of peanut butter, giving tanagers a boost of energy similar to what they get in a protein filled snack of grasshoppers and bees.

Known for their striking fiery red against black coloring and their distinctive call, Scarlet Tanagers are one of the most alluring songbirds and a source of inspiration for centuries. Henry David Thoreau once said the Scarlet Tanager “… flies through the green foliage as if it would ignite the leaves” – a more definitive description there never was!

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-run business that packages its own top quality line of wild bird feed, feeders, and suet products. Cole’s specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a birds only “hot” spot. Cole’s was born in the garage of “mom and pop” entrepreneurs, Richard and Nancy Cole, back in the early 1980’s and today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.

Yellow throated Warbler

yellow-throatedwarbler

It’s among nature’s cutest creatures. The Yellow-throated Warbler has bright colors and a beautiful voice. That’s why so many birders love them. If you’re lucky enough to see and hear these elusive little birds, you can easily distinguish the adult males from other warblers.

The male Yellow-throated Warbler has a bright yellow throat and upper chest.  His face has a bold, black mask that stands out against the yellow on his throat and the white stripe above his eye. The black and white striping on his feathers contrasts nicely against his gray back. He’s quite the sharp dressed man and appears to know it announcing his presence loudly by singing as he goes. The females and juvenile males look similar but aren’t quite as bright.

Yellow-throated Warblers are faithful to one love interest. They spend most of the spring and summer in the southeastern United States nesting in the tops of hardwoods. You can spot them searching for insects and spiders as they pry into crevices along tree branches. Unlike other warblers that move quickly and sporadically while hunting for food, the Yellow-throated Warbler is more confident and cool with slow and deliberate moves as they search the branches, leaves, and ground.

These warblers get all they can from Spanish moss. They use it for foraging as well as for nesting. They typically create a cup-like nest and raise one to two broods a season. The female does almost all the work caring for the young and teaching them to fly.

These active warblers have a distinctive and pleasing song. The males tend to sing high in the trees with a cheerful, high-pitched song. The females have what’s been called a husky call note.

Click on the video below to hear the song of a male Yellow-throated Warbler.

See what makes birders everywhere want to attract these bright little birds when you click on the video below that shows a Yellow-throated Warbler giving himself a bath.

If you’d like to attract Yellow-throated Warblers to your yard, you should know it isn’t easy as they are not attracted to a wide variety of seeds; however a good quality Black Oil Sunflower and high fat suet like Cole’s Suet Kibbles will bring them in close. Cole’s sells the highest quality Oil Sunflower on the market.

If you have videos or photos of Yellow-throated Warblers, please share them on our Facebook page, where we’d love for you to join our community. Thank you for supporting our family business.

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-run business that packages and distributes its own top quality line of wild bird feed, feeders, and suet products. Cole’s specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a birds only “hot” spot. Cole’s was born in the garage of “mom and pop” entrepreneurs, Richard and Nancy Cole, back in the early 1980’s and today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.

American Crow: Cole’s Wild Bird of the Month for October

It’s the month for all things creepy and the American Crow has somehow always been a part of the scary experience. So, it’s only fitting that this bird, known for causing fright, would be our bird of the month.

Have you ever noticed how often crows are seen in Halloween promotions? Crows in general are considered bad omens and their dark black coloring makes it easy to associate them with the supernatural and all things evil. They are often seen in horror movies to portend danger; but, do these smart, social, and gregarious birds really deserve such a nasty  reputation?

crow

Crows are much like any other bird in that they eat worms, insects, and seeds. But, the fact that they also like to eat garbage, carrion, and the eggs – as well as chicks – from other nests is part of what gives them such a bad rap. They also didn’t help their reputation during the Civil War when they ate the soft tissue from dead soldiers on the battlefield.

The American Crow is a relatively large, dark bird. It’s solid black from head to toe including its beak, squawks out an ugly “caw” versus the melodious tones of our favorite songbirds, and, they gather in huge numbers – all those qualities are part of what make crows the perfect symbol for horror movies.

Nonetheless there is another, more positive, side to their story. For instance, consider all the ways that crows are like humans. They are very social and family is important to them. Crows live in families with generally two generations of young with the older generation often helping to raise the younger siblings. While crows stick together in these family units, they also flock in large numbers up to a million birds when gathering to roost. Like humans, crows are opportunistic when it comes to food and will make a meal out of almost anything, much to the consternation of gardeners and farmers everywhere.

Crows are also similar to us in that they play just for amusement. In the video below, watch as a crow plays ball with a dog and a human. Crows are known to be amazingly smart, often using tools to figure out a problem. The second video shows a demonstration of their problem solving skills.

 

While crows can be aggressive, they often use that aggression to drive hawks and other predatory birds out of their territory, protecting the songbirds at your feeders. When crows work together to drive off predators, the behavior is called “mobbing.”

Crows are one of America’s most controversial birds. Some people are very annoyed by them while others admire their intellect and resourcefulness. A 2015 survey in Seattle found that some residents would be willing to pay for efforts to help reduce the population of crows. If you are one of those who wants to learn more about this amazing creature, watch the video below to see an extraordinary documentary showing just how smart, sensitive, and social crows really are.

 


Documentary

If you have photos, videos, or stories of your experiences with the American Crows, please share them with the Cole’s community on Facebook.

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-run business that packages and distributes its own top quality line of wild bird feed, feeders, and suet products. Cole’s specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a birds only “hot” spot. Cole’s was born in the garage of “mom and pop” entrepreneurs, Richard and Nancy Cole, back in the early 1980’s and today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.

 

 

The American Redstart: Cole’s Bird of the Month for September

American Redstart

Fall is a great time to watch for one of nature’s most lively and vibrantly dressed creatures. The male American Redstart, with its bold, black body contrasted against its bright orange and bright yellow wings and tail, appears ready for the Halloween holiday.

This lively little warbler isn’t just dressed for Halloween. It lives up to the spirit of the holiday by actually frightening its prey. American Redstarts have a unique style of hunting. They dart in and out of leafs while quickly fanning their tail feathers to expose the striking orange and yellow feathers in a flash. Those fast moving bright colors startle the bugs into the air, where the redstart gobbles them up.

The music video below shows you an American Redstart in action – flashing its tail for food.

Aside from their striking appearance and their ability to “jet” in and out of foliage, you might also identify them by their upbeat song. The males are known for their sweet song, which they use to claim their territory and attract a mate or two.

 

During mating season, the male won’t settle down with just one girl. He’ll stay with the first female until she starts incubating the eggs, then he’s off to find another one. In fact, while other bird species will do this same sort of thing, the American Redstart is a little different in that he chooses a completely separate territory for his new family.

American Redstarts spend the breeding season throughout most of Canada and much of the eastern United States. During the fall and spring migration, people all over America get the chance to see them as they take off to their tropical homes in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. If they don’t normally live in your area, watch for them from September through mid-October and again in April and May.

Their diet is mostly made up of all types of bugs, including, leafhoppers, planthoppers, flies, and moths. During the late summer, they’ll change their diet a bit and will start to snack on various berries and fruits. If you want to attract them, you might plant things like barberry, serviceberry, and magnolia. Also, offering Cole’s Nutberry Suet Blend in your feeders will certainly get their attention.

American Redstarts are worth attracting. You’ll enjoy seeing their striking, bold colors, watching their unique style of hunting, and listening to their sweet songs. If you have photos, videos, or stories of your experiences with American Redstarts, please share them with the Cole’s community on Facebook.

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird: Cole’s Bird of the Month for August

Broad Tailed Hummingbird
It’s greenish, shiny, quick, and always hungry – our Cole’s Bird of the Month is the Broad-tailed Hummingbird. This appropriately named medium-sized hummer has a relatively long and wide tail. It’s kind of the cowboy of hummingbirds, living in the meadows and mountains of the western United States and in the high elevations of Mexico.

The Broad-tailed hummingbird is an independent breed. The males and females will mate and then select their nest site together. But, they don’t like to be pinned down to one relationship. Once the female is ready to make her nest and raise her young, she’s pretty much on her own. The males don’t stick around to help out. In fact, during the nesting season, the males often spend the evenings in higher elevations where they can stay warmer.

One of the most interesting attributes of Broad-tailed hummers is their ability to withstand very cold climates. To stay warm when the temperatures drop, all hummingbirds enter what’s known as hypothermic torpor, a slowed metabolic state that can keep their body temperature about ten degrees warmer than the outside air. Unfortunately, this ability comes with a price – It takes more energy. So, the males often head for the hills at night where the warm air rises as the cold air descends into the valleys. This thermal inversion means the female must use extra energy to keep warm, while the male conserves his.

As it turns out, the promiscuous males need the extra energy to perform their impressive acrobatic courtship dances for the ladies. They fly high in the air, trill their wings, and then dive down to the females hoping the display catches her eye.

To keep up their energy, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds prefer flower nectar from Red Columbine, Indian paintbrush, sage, and Scarlet Coyote Mint; however they’ll also feed from flowers other hummers ignore such as pussywillows and Glacier Lilies. Like most hummers, they always enjoy a protein filled snack of insects when they can catch them.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a Broad-tailed Hummingbird, we recommend this video so that you can get a close up view.

This is another great video, showing a typical mountainous habitat for Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. This one is in Colorado. You don’t see the hummer until 2:50 into the video.

Used alone or combined with a pretty red flower bed, Cole’s High Rise Hummer is the perfect feeder to attract hummingbirds to your backyard. Hummingbird nectar should be made with a four to one ratio of water to sugar. No red dye is needed.

 

Hummingbird feeder

Cole’s High Rise Hummer

For advice on how often to change the nectar from company founder Richard Cole, click on the link below.

If you have photos or stories to share about hummingbirds, we’d love for you to share them with the Cole’s community on our Facebook page. Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.ColesWildBird.com.

 

If you have any questions for the experts here at Cole’s, please contact us directly. Your quickest response will be from our Contact Us form. We are happy to help.

The Bald Eagle: Cole’s Bird of the Month for July

BaldEagleflying

It’s only fitting that in a time when we celebrate our nation’s independence, we choose the Bald Eagle as our bird of the month. The Bald Eagle has served our country as the national emblem since 1782 and while it is hard to believe that anyone would disagree that such a majestic and beautiful bird would be anything but perfect to symbolize the strength and freedom of America, The Bald Eagle was not always a favorable choice.

In fact, in 1784 Benjamin Franklin made it clear he had no part in choosing the Bald Eagle over the Wild Turkey. Franklin didn’t like the idea of choosing a bird that steals its food from others and could be so easily intimidated by small birds. “For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”

As far as stealing food goes, indeed the Bald Eagle seems to prefer grabbing an easy meal from another bird or a human to going to the trouble of hunting. Bald Eagles are also happy to go dumpster diving or grab a bite on the road. While Bald Eagles are skillful hunters and fishers, they’re not picky about what they eat or how they obtain each meal. These eagles prefer fish but will eat snakes, turtles, rabbits, and waterfowl. The Bald Eagles’ love for fish is what drives them to set up territories near oceans, lakes, rivers, or streams. You’ll find them up and down the U. S. coasts during various times of the year.

Eagle'snest

Ben Franklin may not have admired the Bald Eagles’ hunting abilities, but he’d have to admire their home building and parenting skills. Their nests are huge, and year after year couples will return to the same nests making it larger and more elaborate. While most nests are about five to six feet in diameter and two feet high, they can be much bigger. According to the website for the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest bird’s nest ever built was constructed by a pair of Bald Eagles near St Petersburg, Florida. The site reveals that the nest was examined in 1963, and it measured nine feet six inches wide and twenty feet deep. The nest was estimated to weigh more than two tons.

Record Breaking Nest

Eagleonnest

Once Bald Eagles begin incubating the eggs, they are incredibly dedicated parents. They will stay in the nest through the harshest winter weather. A National Geographic documentary follows a pair of Bald Eagles who illustrate the challenges and the fortitude of these amazing birds. At one point, the father must make a painful decision about how long to stay with his nest. After he has lost hope that the female will return, he does abandon the nest. Sadly, the female did not return because she died from an unknown cause.

Eagles are depicted as strong and powerful, but in reality this top of the food chain raptor has a very hard time just surviving to the mature breeding age of four years. Born weighing just a few ounces, the odds are stacked against these vulnerable creatures from the beginning. Mom and dad feed the young for the first four months, then they must fend for themselves.  It’s at this time that the young eagle struggles to survive. In fact, it’s estimated that only about one in ten eagles makes it to four years old. The ones who do make the cut are powerful hunters and can be expected to live to be about 20 – 25 years old.

Although at one time Bald Eagles were endangered because of hunting and herbicides including DDT,  efforts in the 1970’s to bring back this national emblem have worked and populations have increased. It is no longer considered endangered.

If you want to see Bald Eagles, head for water where they winter in large numbers at lakes and national wildlife refuges. Below is a link showing the best places for spotting Bald Eagles.

Where To Spot Bald Eagles

If you have photos or experiences with Bald Eagles, we’d love for you to share them with the Cole’s community on our Facebook page.

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.ColesWildBird.com.

If you have any questions for the experts here at Cole’s, please contact us directly. Your quickest response will be from our Contact Us form. We are happy to help.

 

Pine Warbler: Cole’s Bird of the Month for June

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

 

 

Nature packs quite a punch in the Pine Warbler. This feisty little bird has no problem standing up for itself. Whether it’s a bright yellow male staking out his claim to territory or a more subdued yellowish female calling out sharp short calls to declare this is her “stomping grounds”, this warbler will not be deterred. In fact, Pine Warblers are daring enough to get up close and personal with people. Just watch this video showing a couple of them willing to venture onto a human hand in order to snatch up a few live mealworms.

 

As the name suggests, the Pine Warbler generally hangs out in pine trees. They fly high in the tops of deciduous forests of the eastern United States, where they usually find everything they need. They enjoy snacking on pine more than any other seed, and they are the only warbler that will eat large quantities of seeds. For that reason, it is possible for you to see them at your feeders. In the winter, you can lure them with sunflower seeds, suet, mealworms, and yes, even peanut butter. Elaine Cole has the most success attracting these cute little birds with a home-made blend of Cole’s Suet Kibbles and Dried mealworms offered in a Mighty Mesh feeder. She finds their number two choice for a meal is Cole’s Hot Meats suet cakes.

When trying to identify the Pine Warbler, it is very easy to confuse with the more brightly colored Yellow Warbler. To tell the difference and spot the Pine Warbler, the distinguishing characteristics for both males and females are the white bars on the wings, thicker bill, and a stockier appearance. In color, the Pine Warbler has what looks like a coating of olive on the top of its head muting his otherwise striking yellow feathers.

 

Pine Warblers live year round in the southeastern United States. During the summers, Pine Warblers will nest atop or near the tops of pine trees and feast on all types of bugs in addition to pine seeds. In the fall when they migrate, Pine Warblers will form large flocks of 50 – 100 birds mingling with their friends who live year round in the southeast. Imagine seeing all those beautiful birds in one place!

Pine Warblers have an interesting song and learning their distinguishing call is one of your best tools to locating these elusive birds that can hide so well in the trees. Click on the video link below to hear the song. Be patient. It sings at about 16 seconds into the video.

These high flying daring little birds are making a comeback in the United States. Back in the 1950’s the herbicide DDT used to control Dutch Elm disease, killed many Pine Warblers. In addition, much of their native forests were changed or destroyed because of development and logging. Fortunately, in recent years extensive reforestation projects have led to an increase in the Pine Warbler population.

The Pine Warbler is a brave, colorful, and elusive little bird that can feel right at home flying in the tops of trees or grabbing seeds from your feeder or even worms from your hand. If you have photos of Pine Warblers, please share them with the Cole’s online community on Facebook. We’d love to see them.

Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.ColesWildBird.com.