Tag Archives: creative bird feeders

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

Male Scarlet Tanager singing

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.

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.

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

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Cole’s Bird of the Month for November

When it comes to color and contrast, the Baltimore Oriole can’t be beat. With bright orange against jet black, accented with white, this little bird makes quite the style statement. Such striking beauty doesn’t come quickly. The males are born dull in color similar to the females with grayish heads and a yellowish-orange breast. It takes two full years to earn that fiery orange color. The older male has a jet black head set against his bright orange breast. White bars on his black and orange wings add to the striking contrast.

The Baltimore Oriole has quite the distinction. It’s the namesake for Maryland’s professional baseball team and the official state bird of Maryland. The Baltimore Oriole was an obvious choice for state pride as the colony of Maryland was being settled. The First Lord of Baltimore, George Calvert, whose family initially governed the state, has a coat of arms with a remarkable  resemblance to the bird’s striking colors.

The Baltimore Oriole is a little smaller and more slender than the American Robin. It has a cheerful, distinctive song. In fact, you’re more likely to hear these beautiful birds than to get the chance to see one. They tend to feed in the highest branches of trees.

Baltimore Orioles seek deciduous trees. They prefer open woodlands, river banks, and small groves of trees. They’ll make a home at the forest edge but not deep in the forest. In addition to tall trees, they’ll also forage for insects and fruits in brush and shrubbery.

If you want to attract Baltimore Orioles, you might want to try growing fruit trees or nectar-bearing flowers. Orioles love very ripe fruits that are dark in color. They go for the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest-purple grapes. They may also visit your hummingbird feeders. Another way to attract them is to place cut oranges or even a bit of jelly near your feeders or hanging from trees in your backyard.

If you are interested in making your own oriole feeder, here’s some great information for you.


If you’d like to see some different types of oriole feeders, this link shows you a few ideas.


During the summer, Baltimore Orioles can be found throughout much of the central and eastern United States, as well as in parts of southern Canada. When the weather starts to get cold, they migrate as far south as South America for the winter.

Many people look forward to seeing Baltimore Orioles during the breeding season. Their courtship is a display of song, color, and dance. When trying to impress a mate, the male hops around the female bowing forward and spreading his wings to show her his orange back. If she’s receptive, she’ll respond by fanning her tail, lowering and fluttering her wings and making a chattering call.

Once the two pair up, the female chooses a nest site within her mate’s territory. She’ll build an amazing sock-like nest. The nest is constructed in three stages. First, the females weaves an outer layer of flexible fibers for support. Next, she’ll bring in springy fibers which provides the bag like shape. Then, she’ll weave in a soft lining of downy fibers and feathers to cushion the young. The male sometimes helps by gathering materials. But, he doesn’t do any of the weaving. Baltimore Orioles usually have just one brood during the mating season. Their favorite trees for nesting are elms, maples, and cottonwoods.

Here’s a link to a video of a Baltimore Oriole singing.

This video shows you how to use fruit to attract these beautiful birds.

Baltimore Orioles have an upbeat, distinctive song, striking beauty, and an entertaining courtship. If you get the chance to snap a photo or video of one, please share it with the Cole’s community. Just click below to join the conversation on Facebook. Special thanks to our loyal Facebook fan Linda Leary for nominating the Baltimore Oriole.

Cole’s 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

Cole’s Bird of the Month for June: The Pileated Woodpecker

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see a Pileated Woodpecker in the wild, chances are you remember it as an amazing sight. It’s considered one of the most beautiful of all wild birds with an almost prehistoric look.

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America. They are about 16 inches long and roughly the size of a duck. With a bright red-capped crest and bold white stripes down its neck, the Pileated Woodpecker is truly one of the most striking creatures in the forest.

Although very noticeable when out in the open, Pileated Woodpeckers aren’t always easy to spot. They can be reclusive and do not regularly visit backyard feeders. They live in forests and love to make their homes around lots of dead trees and fallen logs. You’ll find them searching for carpenter bees and ants while drumming on trees in woodlands where they make impressive rectangular excavations that can be a foot or more long and go deep inside the wood. These birds also use their long tongues to extract wood boring beetle larvae or termites lying deep in the wood. In the video below, above you’ll see one enjoying a hearty breakfast.

Take the time to look and listen for them. They are among the loudest of birds with whinnying calls. Their drum is a deep, slow, rolling pattern. Watch the video below to see one and hear its call and its drum.

With a nesting cavity of 12-24 inches deep, these monogamous creatures prefer large trees in old forests. The male does most of the work to create the nest, but the female contributes as the nest is nearing completion.  Unlike other birds, Pileated Woodpeckers don’t line their nests with any material except for leftover wood chips. It takes about three to six weeks to complete the nest and once it’s used, Pileated Woodpeckers rarely return to it.  These birds lay from three to five eggs.

Once the nest has served its purpose for the Pileateds, it becomes a valuable commodity within the forest community. The large cavity provides shelter and nest space for many other bird species including swifts, owls, ducks, pine martens and even the occasional bat.

If you want to attract Pileated Woodpeckers, there are a couple things you can do. Make or buy a suet log and keep it well stocked with suet, especially during the winter when they are more likely to visit your feeders. Also, resist the urge to clear out old dead logs, stumps, and log piles – keeping rotten or decayed wood around is probably the best way to get Pileateds to visit. Since these magnificent creatures don’t migrate, once you do get their attention you’re likely to have made friends for a good, long while.


Please click the link below to join the conversation on Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coles-Wild-Bird-Products-Company/125017247634656


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.

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.


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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! 

The Northern Flicker is Cole’s Wild Bird Products Bird of the Month

Northern Flicker is actually the name for several subspecies of medium sized woodpeckers which include the Yellow-shafted Flicker, Red-shafted Flicker, Gilded Flicker, Guatemalan Flicker, and the Cuban Flicker.

They are beautiful birds with striking markings. The males and females are grayish brown with horizontal barring across the back and wings. The tail is white with brownish black bars and solid black tips while the breast is light brown to off-white and has blackish brown spots. The best way to spot the males is to look for a stripe that may be bright red or black that starts at the beak and looks like a mustache down the side of the neck.

Northern Flickers live all across the North American continent as well as Central America and in Cuba. If you live west of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll see the Red-Shafted, east of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find the Yellow-Shafted, and if you live in the Southwest, you’ll see the Gilded.

Although Northern Flickers have adapted well to living around humans, making their homes in urban areas, the suburbs, the edge of forests, parks, meadows and farms, they’ve struggled over the past 20 years. Sadly, the population is declining because of intense competition with European Starlings for nest sites combined with the removal of prime nesting trees every time land for a new subdivision or commercial center is cleared.

Northern Flickers tend to be picky nesters preferring to nest and excavate in a tree of their choosing, but when a good tree is not available they will use posts and birdhouses, or even re-use and repair damaged and abandoned nests.

Northern Flickers are the most terrestrial of all North American woodpeckers and can usually be found on the ground hopping along looking for ants. These birds love to eat ants. They eat more ants than any other bird species in North America with ants alone making up 45% of their diet. The other 55% is comprised of flies, butterflies, moths, beetles and snails with some fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts thrown in to round things out. Occasionally, they will visit a feeder, but that is not very common.

Northern Flickers return to their breeding ground in March and April. A few weeks after returning, courtships begin. By late April to early May, pairs have bonded and begin to breed. They are monogamous for life, but if a bird loses its mate due to death or disappearance, it will find a replacement.

Both the male and female aggressively defend a territory, which consists of the prospective nest site and its immediate surroundings. Vocalizations and “drumming” are used to define and defend territory boundaries. This bird’s call is a sustained laugh, “ki ki ki ki “and is easy to identify when heard. Since the drumming is about territory defense, they like it to be as loud as possible. That’s why woodpeckers sometimes drum on metal objects. One Northern Flicker in Wyoming could be heard drumming on an abandoned tractor a half-mile away. Once incubation begins, however, the pair spends less time defending their territory and will even allow other pairs to move into the vicinity and nest nearby.

Northern Flickers are adaptable, beautiful birds with an upbeat call and a big appetite for ants. If you see one or have photos of one, please share them on the Cole’s Wild Bird Products Facebook page.