Tag Archives: Cole’s wild bird products

Birds Keep The Bugs At Bay

During the summer, it’s important to know that birds are eating tons of bugs. They’re feeding their young lots of tasty caterpillars, moths, and more. So, if you want to keep these natural insecticides around your home, please don’t use chemical insecticides. Richard Cole, the founder of Cole’s Wild Bird Products, has some insight about how birds help you keep the bugs at bay.

Hummingbird Nectar Do’s and Don’ts

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe:
The standard formula for nectar is 4 parts water to 1 part table sugar. For example, to make enough to fill an 8-12 oz. feeder you would use: 1 cup water ¼ cup sugar Pour the sugar into warm tap water and stir until dissolved. Boiling the mixture is fine, but not necessary. You can make extra and store it in the fridge to make the next few fill ups quick and easy. Clean the feeder and replace the nectar every three to five days – sooner if the nectar gets a little cloudy. As tempting as it may be, you should never put anything other than sugar and water into a hummingbird feeder. Never add the following ingredients when making nectar at home:

  • Red food coloring – While hummers are attracted to the color red, adding red dye to their food is unnecessary and, depending on the chemical makeup of the dye, potentially harmful to their health. Most hummingbird feeders are already predominantly red so as to entice hummers to visit. If you think yours is not red enough, simply add a red ribbon to the hanger or place your feeder near a colorful flower bed.
  • Artificial sweeteners – Hummers do not need to watch their sugar intake, so never use any sweetener other than regular sugar when making nectar.
  • Honey or Molasses – When mixed with water, honey and molasses create a great breeding ground for potentially fatal bacteria and mold to grow.
  • Chili Oil or Powder – While not harmful to hummers if ingested, Chilies are not part of the normal hummingbird diet and therefore should be avoided. Hummers are strictly sweet nectar and insect-eating creatures – anything else might even cause them to quit using your feeder.

Now that the feeder is clean and filled with proper nectar, how do you keep the bees, ants and raccoons from helping themselves?   How to make sure your feeder only serves hummingbirds:

  • Bees – The Cole’s feeder does not drip so large bees can’t get to the sweet stuff.  Some very small flying insects will squeeze their way inside but will not hinder feeding by the birds.
  • Ants – The Cole’s Hummer High Rise feeder has a built-in ant moat.  Keep it filled with plain water and the ants will not be able to reach the nectar. Never put anything other than plain water into any ant moat device. Water alone will stop the ants.  Many other birds will stop and take a drink from the liquid in the moat, so poisons and repellents are a big No! Some people put cooking oil in moats which may not be harmful, but when rain or shaking spills the oil it definitely creates a big mess to clean up.
  • Raccoons – These crafty critters present a unique problem. They are everywhere, they are great climbers and they love sweets. You basically only have three ways to go.  You can bring the feeders inside each night, a lot of trouble but most effective. Another method is to mount a hanger under a porch roof or off of a wall where it is away from post and railings the raccoons might climb. Finally, if you prefer to leave your feeder hanging in the yard, use a tall shepherd pole equipped with a Tough Bird Feeder Guard or a good raccoon baffle. Never add ANY Chili oil or powder to your hummingbird nectar!

Hopefully these suggestions will ensure a fun-filled feeding experience and keep the birds safe and healthy!

Hummingbirds at feeder photo by Laura Taylor.

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

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.


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

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.


Purple Martin: Cole’s Bird of the Month for May

You could call the Purple Martin the “dog” of the birding world. Why you ask? The largest member of the swallow family has come to depend on people and we treasure their friendship as well – You might even consider them man’s second best friend!

You can spot the dark purple males and the brown colored females by their unique, acrobatic flight. It’s that amazing flight and their natural ability to keep insects at bay that have made people want to attract them for hundreds of years. We want them around, and they need us around. While most Purple Martins in the western United States still nest the natural way in tree cavities, Purple Martins in the eastern part of the country nest almost exclusively in manmade houses.

This switch from natural nesting places to manmade homes was caused by the need to survive in an ever increasingly difficult environment. Things were going well between humans and this dark purple insect eater until 1890. That’s when an American businessman got the idea to bring every species of bird mentioned in a Shakespeare play to the United States. Eugene Schieffelin, a drug manufacturer, brought the first European Starlings and European House Sparrows to New York and let them loose. They flourished in this country, but their presence hurt the Purple Martin. These European natives compete for the same territories. The starlings also invade the nests of Purple Martins, often killing the fledglings.

In the early 1800’s, it seemed everyone wanted to attract Purple Martins. While some people built houses from wood or metal, others chose gourds like those used by Native Americans of the time. The houses were so popular in the 1800’s that James Audubon is quoted as saying that he often chose an inn by the look of the Purple Martin houses on the property. His thinking was that the better the landlord kept his Purple Martin houses, the better he kept his inn.

Even today, martins are so beloved that something as simple as their annual migrations attract attention.  With flocks numbering in the thousands, their migration groups cover so much air space you can see them on weather radar. There are numerous festivals throughout the country that celebrate the event.  Probably the most notable thing that contributes to people’s intense fascination with this amazing creature is its unique and memorable flight marked by quick turns and sudden dives. Purple Martins feast on a diet of nothing but insects and they love catching bugs like dragonflies, flies, and bees mid-flight. It’s an amazing display of agility to see Purple Martins skim the surface of lakes to grab a few bugs and take a quick bath. It’s no wonder that people have come to depend on the Purple Martin for entertainment and a natural insecticide.

If you want to attract Purple Martins to your home, you’ll need to do some research. Here are a few things to think about:

One, consider how you will keep nesting boxes safe from predators. Landlords of Purple Martin houses often safeguard them with things like electrified poles, starling traps, and sometimes cages around the houses.

Two, think about whether you have the time and energy to clean out the houses each year so they will return to nest again and again.

Three, if you use insecticides and herbicides on your property, consider whether you could give them up for the safety of your new tenants who will become dependent on the natural foods available in your yard.

The Purple Martin is a beautiful bird with an amazing flight and an uncanny ability to keep the insects from taking over. The relationship between Purple Martins and people is a unique one in the birding world. It seems the more they need us, the more we want to care for them. For more information about Purple Martins, visit www.purplemartin.org. The site has all kinds of helpful advice about becoming a landlord and helping to conserve the Purple Martin population.

Here are a couple of videos we found that you might enjoy.

The link below shows you how to make a Purple Martin house from a gourd.

This link shows you the history and mystery of Purple Martins. It’s an excellent video documentary done by National Public Radio.

If you like learning about all types of birds, please join our birding community by clicking on the Cole’s Facebook page. www.facebook.com 

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.

Downy Woodpecker: Cole’s Bird of the Month for September

In Above video, hear the drumming of a female Downy Woodpecker.

If you have backyard feeders, chances are you get the pleasure of watching Downy Woodpeckers on a consistent basis. These relatively small woodpeckers love to frequent backyard feeders, and they are amazingly friendly with people. Several youtube.com videos show Downys feeding from people’s hands.

The Downy Woodpecker dons what looks like a black and white checked coat. They’ve enjoyed this classic black and white look long before humans caught on. The wings are black with white spots, and the belly is mostly white. Downys have black and white tail feathers, and watch for a white bar above the eye. The males are also easily distinguished with a spot of red on the back of the head.

These striking birds also have a short bill which helps to set them apart from other woodpeckers. While it’s hard to tell a Hairy Woodpecker from a Downy Woodpecker, you can usually differentiate by the smaller size of the Downy and the smaller bill. In fact, the Downy is the smallest woodpecker in North America. Downy Woodpeckers mix well with others. They can often be seen mixed into a flock of  chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, and kinglets.

You can find Downy Woodpeckers in just about every habitat. They love forests as well as residential areas and city parks. Listen for their drumming and for the characteristic high-pitched pik note and the descending whinny call.

The best part about the Downy Woodpecker is that Americans can enjoy them year round. Downys can be found from Alaska to Florida and almost everywhere in between. The desert southwest is the only part of the United States where Downys are not present. They can also be found in most of Canada. Only the far northern regions of Canada are excluded.

The males and females work well as a team, with the male chiseling deep into wood with his longer and stronger bill. The female is smaller than the male, and her beak is as well. The female pries under the bark with her shorter bill. The pair is able to share the food resources without competing with one another.

If you want to attract the Downy to your feeders, be sure to use suet. They love suet, but they will also eat peanut butter, peanuts, millet, and Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.

See just how friendly Downys are in this video by Kelly Dodge. She’s an artist who paints birds. The video shows her hand feeding one.

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

The Indigo Bunting: Cole’s Bird of the Month for July

The Indigo Bunting isn’t just another pretty face in the world of birds, it’s also as upbeat and cheery as it is beautiful. The bright blue male of the species sings with gusto from sunup to sundown during the spring and summer. He loves to perch high in the trees or on telephone poles to sing out his song for the world to hear.

Indigos are small, stocky birds with thick bills. The adult males are a brilliant indigo blue all over, while the females are mostly brown with a whitish throat. They will sometimes have just a touch of blue on the wings, tail, or rump. The young males are brownish blue. Indigos are often mistaken for another striking songbird, the Blue Grosbeak; however the grosbeak is much larger and has rust colored patches on its wings. Indigos are about the size of a sparrow. Also, the Blue Grosbeak has a significantly thicker bill.

If you want to attract these brightly colored, attention getters to your backyard then fill your feeders with Niger seed or White Proso Millet. Along with seeds and berries, they love to eat insects. So, you may want to avoid pesticides to keep this food source in ample supply. If you live near a weedy or brushy area, that’s another enticement. Indigos love to forage in seed-laden shrubs and grasses.

This is the perfect time of year to watch for Indigo Buntings. They breed in late spring and summer as far west as the California border, as far north as the southern central part of Canada, and all across the Midwest and eastern United States. This time of year Indigos are found in pairs, but during the winter they travel in flocks when they migrate to Central America.

Another fun fact about Indigos is that they are known to sing as many as two hundred songs per hour at dawn and then sing about one per minute for the rest of the day. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, young Indigo Buntings learn their songs from older males near the younger male’s breeding ground. This leads to “song neighborhoods” in which all nearby males sing songs that are similar to each other and that are different from those sung more than a few hundred yards away.

If you’d like to hear the songs of the Indigo Bunting, click the link below to watch the video and hear him singing.

We’d love to see your photos of Indigo Buntings and hear about your experiences attracting them. Please join the conversation on the Cole’s Facebook page by clicking the link below.


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

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak – Cole’s Bird of the Month for May

It’s one of the most striking birds around. The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak has beautiful contrasting colors. He’s black and white with a rose-red chest. The female is not so colorful enabling her to blend in with her natural surroundings. She’s brown with streaking and a white stripe over her eye. Young male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have brown and white streaking, a pinkish chest, and a bold face pattern. These songbirds are medium sized and stocky with large bills.

You can find the Rose-breasted Grosbeak at feeders, forests, and woodlands in much of the central and eastern United States at this time of the year. Some are migrating to their summer home in Canada. Some will breed in the central and northeastern parts of United States.

In addition to its good looks, another distinctive quality for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is its voice. They sound a bit like American Robins, but some say a robin who has had singing lessons. They also make a sharp chink like the squeak of a sneaker. Want to hear the song of the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak?  Click here:

These birds use their thick bills to feast on seeds, fruits, and insects, but they are not averse to stopping at backyard feeders for a little something different. If you want to attract them to your feeder, fill it up with Cole’s Special Feeder or Nutberry Suet Blend, which they will eat with abandon. They also like Cole’s straight Safflower seeds and Raw Peanuts.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks breed in forests in the United States and Canada. They are most common in regenerating woodlands and often concentrate along forest edges and in parks. During migration, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks feed on fruiting trees to help with the long journey to Central and South America where they spend winters.

Thanks to Cole’s Facebook fan Kathy Panian for the nomination. Please click the link below to join the conversation 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. For more information, visit www.coleswildbird.com.

Find out about Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Photo by: Beth Willis

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a small songbird with an abundance of energy. It’s striking ruby-colored feathers, for which it is named, are a rare treat for bird watchers patient enough to track a male bird and wait for it to reveal those crimson colors. Only the males have the noted ruby crown.

Tracking these birds is no easy task. They flick their wings quickly and dart through thick foliage searching for the next meal of insects or spiders. The “flicking of the wings” serves as a mean of scaring the bugs out of hiding. When the insects are startled, that’s when the Ruby-crowned Kinglet strikes.

Below is a video that shows you this squatty little bird that looks as if it has no neck. It’s olive and gray colored with bright white rings around its eyes and bright white bars on its wings. This is how most people spot the birds, by looking for the color pattern. The ruby feathers aren’t something you’ll see often. Also, watch for the wing flicking and listen for the male’s loud song and his double noted call.  You’ll hear both in the video.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets migrate back to the far northern areas of the United States and Canada for summer breeding. They are monogamous during the mating season. While the females do most of the work to build the nest, the males gather food. The couples usually have one brood each year. The 4 to 10 eggs are incubated for 12-14 days. Once the eggs hatch, both mom and dad take part in feeding for another 10-15 days then the young birds quickly leave the nest.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets like to breed in tall, dense forests. If you want to attract them, keep in mind, they like spruce, fir, and tamarack. In the winter and during their migration period, they seek out shrubby habitats, deciduous forests, parks, and even trees in the suburbs. In order to make your yard safe for them, you should also avoid insecticide sprays. In addition to the usual diet of spiders, wasps, ants, bark beetles, and many other insects, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet consumes copious amounts of seeds and fruit.

Bird lovers live for the challenge of trying to catch a glimpse of this energetic bird’s elusive and striking red feathers. If you are lucky enough to see a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and get a photo or video like the one shown above by Beth Willis. We love showing your photos to our Cole’s community of backyard birders. The best time to spot one singing is the spring or summer season. So, be on the lookout!

Click below to join the conversation 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 chili-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.

What Do You Do When A Bird Flies In?

This hummer wants out!

Many of us who love feeding birds have had the unnerving experience of having a bird fly in to our homes. So, what do you do when it happens? You start by trying to remain calm. Your goal is to help the bird get back outside without it getting too stressed or injured.

Wrens, in particular, are curious birds known to fly into homes. If you do have a wren in your home, just know they are also pretty smart about figuring a way out. The most important thing to keep in mind is that to a bird “up is out.” Loosely translated that means they will always look for a way out in an upward direction – even if they have an open window available down low.  You may have to consider getting the bird to fly away from an upstairs window. Usually though, just leaving the room will give the bird space to find the outside opening on its own,


Here are a few steps to take right away. 

Switch off all fans IMMEDIATELY. Birds often try to escape by flying up towards the ceiling and many die upon coming in contact with fan blades.

If you have cats and dogs, get them out of the area. Either put them in a closed room or outside. This way, they don’t stress or attack the bird.

If the bird is in the kitchen, switch off the stove, hood vent, and any heat-generating appliances that may harm the bird should it collide with the appliance. Cover all pots, pans and kettles that have hot food or liquids in them.

Open all the doors and windows to enable the bird’s escape. Close all doors to other rooms to stop the bird from becoming more confused and flying deeper into the house.

Do not use loud noises, sticks or hard objects to chase the bird out. Use your hands to gently wave, push, pick up or otherwise direct the bird towards and open door or window. A soft net, such as a swimming pool or butterfly net, may be used to catch the bird and get them outside – just be careful and gentle when releasing the bird.

If the bird appears stunned or injured, throw a light towel over the bird and gently pick it up. Inspect the bird for injuries. Injured birds should be brought to a vet for treatment. Birds that are merely stunned can be kept in a shoe box until they recover and are ready to be taken outside and released. Be on the lookout for dogs and cats that may be waiting to pounce on a dazed bird.

Do you have an interesting or funny story about a bird getting into your house? We’d love to hear it! Just email us at webbird@coleswild.com

Click below to join the conversation on Facebook.

Cole’s Is 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 chili 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.


Learn All About Common Redpolls

Common Redpolls are energetic little songbirds that travel in flocks, burrow in the snow, and thrive in the cold. They make their home in the arctic tundra and boreal forest and can survive temperatures of 65 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.  Since Common Redpolls live in these cold climates and aren’t used to humans, they tolerate people quite well and are very tame. They migrate erratically traveling to Canada and the northern United States depending on food sources. Common Redpolls are always a welcome sight at back yard feeders and have been spotted as far south as Kansas.

They are named Redpolls for their red “caps”. The males have a splash of red on the tops of their heads and a reddish pink blush on their breasts. In the breeding season, the male really stands out as his red becomes more vivid. The females have similar coloring on their heads, but their breasts are duller in color allowing them to better blend in with nature. Both males and females have brown streaking against white feathers on most of their bodies. The coloring is similar to that of the House Finch.

While birch seeds are a staple most of the year, Common Redpolls eat many types of seeds. In addition to their favorites Niger and thistle, they like black oil sunflower seeds. They have small beaks and must eat seeds that are easy to open. In the summer, this colorful bird loves to munch on spiders and insects for some extra protein. It’s a good thing their diet is so varied since they eat as much as 45% of their body weight a day.

You may wonder how these tiny little birds endure the bitter cold temperatures and harsh wind of the arctic tundra. They are resourceful, hearty, and smart. They create tunnels in the snow that help keep them warm. These tunnels can be a foot long and as much as four inches deep. When it gets too cold, several of the birds will sleep huddled closely together in the tunnels and escape the bitter cold wind.

Common Redpolls are also built to be resourceful. They have little pouches in their throats used to store seeds. Sometimes they fill these pouches completely, then fly away to swallow the seeds in a more safe and comfortable place.

Common Redpolls travel in flocks of several hundred birds, so you’ll rarely see just one or two. They have a sharp, buzzy call often heard when they are actively foraging. The oldest known Common Redpoll was 7 years and 10 months old. Not bad for a tiny bird that puts up with the harshest temperatures on the planet! They are truly tough little birds with the ability to make the most of their environment.

Click below to watch a video of a Common Redpoll eating in the wild.


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.


We’d love to hear from you on Facebook fans. Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coles-Wild-Bird-Products-Company/125017247634656

Learn about Turtle Doves

European Turtle Doves have long been a symbol of Christmas holiday celebrations. Best known for the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the turtle dove’s first connection to the Christian holiday actually dates back to the birth of Jesus as depicted in the Bible.

Representing innocence, purity and enduring love, turtle dove lore throughout the ages is well documented in such noted authors’ works as William Shakespeare. In his famous poem about the death of ideal love, “The Phoenix and the Turtle,” the title isn’t named for the reptile, but for the turtle dove instead.

While turtle dove imagery is featured prominently in books, poems and songs, the general term “turtle dove” does not actually refer to any one specific bird, but rather a group of Old World doves including the Mourning Dove, Ringed Turtle Dove, and most specifically the European Turtle Dove. Here in the United States  you are most likely to see the Mourning Dove and the Ringed Turtle Dove in your back yard depending on where you live.

A distinctive band of color on the top of the neck makes it look like the dove is capable of drawing its head into the neck, like a turtle – hence the term turtle dove. European Turtle Doves are light gray to brown with black spotting on their wings and white tail feathers. A typical adult male turtle dove has bright pink patches on the sides of his neck with a light pink coloring that reaches his breast. The crown of the adult male turtle dove is very distinguishable because of its bluish-gray color. While females are similar in appearance, they have more brown in their feathers and are a bit smaller in size. Juvenile turtle doves look striking like adult females only darker in color.

This graceful bird has an interesting mating ritual. The male begins by flying and gliding with his wings outstretched and head down. After he lands, the male will approach the female with a puffed out chest, bobbing his head, calling out loud. Their mating call sounds like “coooo-woo-woo-woooo” and is often mistaken for an owl. If the female is impressed by the male’s performance, she consents to a romantic grooming of each other’s feathers.

Once the two get together they form a strong pair bond that can last several breeding seasons. Like most birds, they prefer to nest in trees, but unlike most birds they are not averse to nesting on the ground should no suitable trees be available. Interestingly, both parents take part in the incubation process. These birds are dedicated to being parents and rarely leave the nests unprotected. If by any chance a predator discovers the nest, one parent will usually employ the quintessential decoy maneuver by pretending its wing is broken – fluttering around as if injured only to fly away when the predator approaches it.

Compared to other songbirds, their diet is a bit bland. European Turtle Doves are not huge fans of snails or insects instead preferring to munch on seeds such as canola, millet, safflower, and sunflower.  They will even eat a bit of gravel or sand from time to time to help with digestion. Though they love to visit bird feeders, they are most often seen foraging for food on the ground. Whether it’s up on the feeder or down on the ground, they are always pleasant to watch.

Known for their gentle nature and lasting bonds, European Turtle Doves are the perfect symbol for all things Christmas. That’s why they are Cole’s Bird of the Month for December.

Five Facts about Turkeys

Turkeys Can Fly

Turkey Are Missing From The First Thanksgiving

According to the Washington Post, there is no proof that turkey was on the dinner table during that famous feast of 1621. Historical documents do reveal the mention of deer and fowl, but no specific bird is named. William Bradford, who served as governor of Plymouth Colony, mentioned “wild turkeys” in a letter. But, no one cites turkey on the menu that day.  President George Washington made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1789. President Lincoln moved the holiday from November 26th to the fourth Thursday of November in 1863. Turkey became a popular dish for Thanksgiving only after a magazine editor wrote a recipe for turkey and dressing in the mid 1800’s.

Turkeys Are Hunters

Did you know turkeys are omnivorous creatures, meaning their diet includes a wide range of food, from both animal and plants.  Wild turkeys will munch on acorns, berries, small reptiles, snakes, frogs, salamanders, large insects, snails, slugs, and worms. They will also indulge in sand and gravel for grit. Commercially raised turkeys are the types that are usually sold for food. Those turkeys are likely to be fed very specific grains, and some graze on weeds and grasses.

Turkeys Snooze Up In The Air

Turkeys are large and heavy birds, so you might assume they prefer hanging out on the ground. However, turkeys like to perch on top of tree branches when they snooze. This helps to keep them safe from predators like coyotes, foxes, and even raccoons. Turkeys usually sleep in flocks, and when it’s time to wake up, they call out to the rest of the group to make sure their fellow turkey buddies made it through the night in one piece before coming down.

Wild Turkeys Are Speedy

Turkeys, despite their size, can fly and they can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. They usually fly low to the ground because they find food while on the ground. But, they can fly short distances quickly. Domesticated turkeys, those raised for food, have become so “fattened up” that they have lost the ability to fly.

Turkeys Have Two Stomachs

One is called the glandular stomach. This is where food is softened and broken down. The broken down food then enters the turkey’s gizzard. The gizzard has tiny stones that turkeys typically swallow. These stones are called gastroliths and help with breaking down food for digestion because turkeys don’t have teeth. A turkey’s gizzard is very muscular and turns the food  into mulch before sending it to the intestines.  Sometimes food can be moved back into the glandular stomach, if more digestion is necessary.

Turkeys are fascinating birds with the ability to sleep in trees, hunt animals,  and protect the flock. This Thanksgiving, remember and share these five fun facts about your feathered friends.

Honeyguides know about the birds and the bees


Ever want to find a honeycomb? Look no further than your friendly Honeyguides. Honeyguides are also known as indicator birds or honey birds because they have a tendency to lead humans directly to bee colonies. The Honeyguides use their demanding call to lead humans through forests and directly to bee hives. Of course there’s a selfish motive involved – once humans take the honey, these birds feast on the grubs and beeswax in the nests. The diet of the Honeyguide is wide ranging. In addition to the fruits of the honeycomb, these birds eat all types of larvae and flying insects. They will also eat spiders and fruits.

They are usually dull-colored (brownish and greenish), while some do have bright yellow coloring in the plumage. They all have light outer tail feathers, small heads with short bills and raised nostrils. Their actual size varies from 10-20 centimeters. These birds have strong legs and toes for clinging to tree barks. Their wings are long, narrow, and pointed to allow vigorous flying and impressive maneuvering.

Honeyguides are typically found in Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. They love to inhabit forests and woodland areas as well as the tree-line areas in the mountains. As far as migration, Honeyguides are known to be stable residents that may remain in the same area for as long as a year.

Honeyguides have an interesting egg laying process. For starters, they like to use the nests of other birds for their eggs. They usually drop their eggs in other host nests, so that their eggs will hatch along with the host’s eggs. Timing is everything if they want to be successful. Female Honeyguides can be in danger if the hosts notice that they are invading their nests. Typically, the female has 10-15 seconds to lay an egg and leave. Females can lay as many as 20 eggs in a season.

These birds are extremely resourceful and intelligent. From the way they assist their human counterparts for a meal to their daring egg laying practices, Honeyguides are intriguing creatures.


House Finch

Male House Finch

Originally a native of Mexico and the southwestern parts of America, the House Finch is a fairly new bird to eastern North America. In the 1940’s, a couple of risk-taking pet store owners from New York brought them to the United States and started selling them in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Once they knew they were about to be busted, they released the birds into the New York skies. At the time, many people referred to them as “Hollywood Finches” because of their west coast origin.

This new found freedom allowed the House Finch to create new habitats in deforested areas across the eastern United States. Outside of breeding season, they are very social creatures that are rarely seen alone. It is not unusual to see them crossing the skies in a large flock with their feathered friends.

If you are on the look-out for a House Finch, here are some things that may help:

They are usually identified by their small bodies, fairly large beaks, and long, flat heads. They have short wings, but sport a beautifully notched, long tail. Typically, the adult male House Finch is rosy red around their face and upper chest. Their back, belly, and tail all have a brown streak.

One interesting note: the diet of House Finches can affect their appearance, specifically males, making them look very different from one another. According to Cornell University, the pigments in food cause the color variations from yellow to orange to red.  For instance, in Hawaii where the natural diet is low in carotenoids, the birds tend to be yellow. The presence of betacarotene in the diet will cause a more orange color. And, in the east, where ornamental fruits are rich in another type of carotenoid, known as echineone, the birds are red.

On the other hand, the female adults are dull in color. They are grayish-brown with fuzzy streaks and a modestly marked face. During courtship, males sometimes feed females. This begins with the female gently pecking at his bill and fluttering her wings. The male then regurgitates food to the female a few times before actually feeding her. What a way to romantically spoil a lady bird, huh?

When it comes to eating, House Finches are pretty outgoing little birds that collect food at feeders. They like to be perched high in nearby trees to keep an eye out for potential food and potential predators. If there aren’t any feeders in sight, they feed on the ground, on stalks, or in trees. These birds enjoy natural foods such as wild mustard seeds, knotweed, mulberry, poison oak, and cactus. Their preferred fruits are cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and blackberries. If you want to attract them to your feeder, be sure to include black oil sunflower seeds and white proso millet.

When they are not in their native habitats, such as deserts, grasslands, and open woods, they prefer to occupy city parks, backyards, urban areas, farms, and forests across the United States.

House Finches have a unique twittering song that they like to sing. The male House Finches sing a long, jumbled tune that is made up of short notes. They often end with an upward or downward slur. Females sing a shorter, simpler version of this song. Male and female House Finch calls sound like a sharp “cheep”. If you would like to hear the call of a male House Finch, click here http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/house_finch/sounds. They usually call out when perched or while flying.

The House Finch is a favorite at the feeder. They are good natured social birds with a strong appetite and an upbeat tune.  These birds have come a long way and endured an odd introduction to this country. So, please help them feel at home.

Birds Stage a Sit In

What happened to my Cole’s?

One of our awesome Cole’s customers wrote to us to let us know how unhappy her birds became after she began stretching out the time between feeder refills. We thought this was so funny that we wanted to share her story with all of you. Please share your thoughts and your stories with us as well. We love this stuff! The message below was sent to us by Becky Falkin of Kennesaw, Georgia. We decided that filling our bird feeder every two days is not part of the Falkins’ family budget. So, we’re spacing out our Cole’s birdseed refills. The birds are not taking to this rationing too well. In fact, last night this little fellow decided to express his frustration by having a “sit in”. He stared at us all through dinner. If looks could kill, we would be dead.

He looked quite proud when some other friends joined the protest. We so appreciate Becky sharing these photos and this story with us. We know the birds LOVE Cole’s. Just to let you know, Becky wrote back to let us know, the birds won. Here’s what she told us.

Since we’re studying birds this year for science (we homeschool), we’re back to refilling the feeder frequently–we decided to incorporate it into our homeschool budget, so no more angry bird sit-ins as of late! 

Awe, What A Cute Window Shopper!

Imagine seeing this adorable little customer looking in your store window. That’s what happened to long time employee Karen Theodorou as she was closing up shop at the Birdwatcher Supply Store in Buford, one of the retail outlets for Cole’s Wild Bird Products. Karen says she had just closed out the register around 6:30 on July 13th and was headed for the door when she looked up and saw what appeared to be a curious pooch. She looked closer and realized it was actually a little fawn all alone at the door. Karen sat all her things down and grabbed her cell phone to take a picture. “He couldn’t see me because of the reflective glass. So, I snapped a few photos,” Karen said.

The store is located in front of a large forested wetlands area. So, employees are used to seeing wildlife such as deer, rabbits, and hawks behind the store. Karen assumed this little fawn came from the back and had wandered to the front of the store, where it could run into potential danger. “He was right in front of a busy shopping area, and the street isn’t far away. So, I wanted to make sure he would head in the right direction, back to the woods and his mother. He saw the reflection in the glass and hit the store window. I went outside, and he ran toward the store next door and fell on the wet sidewalk. But, he got up quickly. I followed him to make sure he headed in the correct direction, back to the woods,” said Karen.

As soon as Karen got home, she went straight for Google to find out why this little fawn might be without his mom. She found out that fawns are commonly seen away from their moms. There’s a very good reason for that. It’s nature’s way of keeping the fawns safe from predators. It seems the fawns don’t have a strong scent, but their mothers do. So initially, mom stays with the fawn just enough so that it can nurse. By one month old, the fawn begins foraging for food and by three months old, it is weened. If you’d like to read more about fawns, please check out the article below.

Wild fawns aren’t adoptable!

Here’s a photo of Karen Theodorou as she is banding hummingbirds. She describes herself as “a nature nut”. Thanks, Karen! Please share this story with friends. And, join Cole’s on Facebook.

Coles Wild Bird Products


Karen Theodorou



The Rufous Hummingbird: Cole’s Bird of the Month for August

The Rufous hummingbird packs quite a punch in its little body. It’s known for having a feisty nature and a brave determination to protect favorite feeders and flowers.  Rufous hummingbirds will chase away much larger hummingbirds and even chipmunks and other small animals.

The male Rufous has bright orange on his back and belly, as well as a stunning red coat, making him easy to spot and identify. The female Rufous is green with a mostly white neck. A bright orange spot on her throat is the female’s most distinguishing feature. Both males and females move in a dart-like fashion with precise maneuverability.

In addition to a feisty nature, Rufous hummingbirds are also known for their stamina. They have the longest migration, as measured by body size, of any bird in the world! They travel almost four thousand miles making the one way trek from Alaska to Mexico. In case you’re wondering, that equates to more than 78 million body lengths for the three inch hummer. It’s closest competitor, the 13-inch-long Arctic Tern’s one-way flight of almost twelve thousand miles, is a little more than 50 million body lengths.

The Rufous breeds farther north than any other hummingbird in the United States, traveling all the way up to Alaska in the summer. For a little rest and relaxation they then head down to sunny Mexico for fall and winter. Many people along the Pacific Northwest look forward to seeing the Rufous as these mighty little birds make the long migration up and down the western United States.

Additionally, they have a great sense for location, which comes in handy when looking for food on a daily basis. They can remember exactly where a specific feeder was a year ago, even if it has been moved. The typical habitats for these birds are open areas, such as yards, parks, and forests.

Along with visiting feeders, Rufous hummingbirds enjoy feasting on colorful tubular flowers, such as scarlet gilia, mints, lilies, fireweeds, currants, and heaths. To get the protein they need to survive, they eat insects like gnats, midges, and flies. They’ll live in gardens for a while, but move on fairly quickly after one or two weeks. To take good care of these amazing birds, you should make sugar water mixtures on a one to four mixture (one cup of sugar for four cups of water). Be sure to do away with the sugar water if it becomes cloudy or the feeder fills with insects because the spoiled nectar can ferment producing a toxic alcohol.

If you hear a hard ticking sound or a clicking tik or chik that is doubled like ch-tik or ch-ti-tik, there is a Rufous nearby. The adult male will also make a buzzing sound with its wings to draw attention to itself. They make a ch-ch-ch-ch-chi sound, which is very similar to a stutter. Interestingly, immature males do not make any noise or typical sounds at all while they are diving.

When it comes to tough little birds, with lots of aggression and a will to fight for food, you can’t beat the Rufous hummingbird. If you want to see a female Rufous fiercely defending her feeder with everything she has including her quick moves, fanned out tail feathers and quirky sounds – just click on this video and stand back!

Five Benefits of Landscaping To Attract Birds

Making your yard bird-friendly offers so many benefits. From hours of bird watching enjoyment to the practical benefits of natural insect control, you have so many reasons to create a little backyard paradise for your feathered friends.

Increased Songbird Visits
According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you can double the number of bird species visiting your yard if you have a bird-friendly landscaping plan. Many plants and shrubs supply great nesting material as well as protection from predators. Seed or fruit bearing plants will attract songbirds that typically do not eat seeds.

Energy Conservation
You’re helping to conserve energy when you plant large trees. In addition to providing birds with housing and shelter from the elements, trees help keep your home more insulated from extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Natural Beauty
Adding trees and other plants to your yard not only makes it more attractive for birds and visually appealing to people, but it will also increase your property value when it comes time to sell. Plus, all those beautiful songbirds in your yard definitely create another dimension of natural beauty.

Natural Insect Control
By landscaping specifically for wild birds, you’ll be able to enjoy your yard or deck more without all those annoying flying bugs and mosquitoes. Brown Thrashers, Tree Swallows, and House Wrens all significantly contribute to the reduction in local insect populations and Purple Martins are famous for their penchant for eating mosquitoes on the fly.

Environmental Education for Kids
Great wildlife habitats provide children with an understanding and appreciation of nature. That appreciation often leads to a lifelong interest shared with family and social groups alike. More time spent with family and socially responsible peers has been linked to increased test scores and high self-esteem.