Ask Zach?

Here your chance to ask our Wildlife Specialist anything you want to know.
Zach Stienhauser

“My goal is to instill the idea of community-based conservation by providing the education and resources to effectively cohabitate with wildlife. It’s more than birds…it’s being here to answer questions; it’s about helping our customers combine their love of plants while supporting local ecology. I like to say …Wingard’s is going greener!” Zach Steinhauser

Backyard Birding and Wildlife FAQ’s

Backyard bird watching and wildlife enjoyment is the fastest growing hobby in America! Whether you are just getting started or an experienced watcher you are bound to have questions and we are here to help.

  • Is it too late to put a Purple Martin house up?
    • Anytime is a good time to add Purple Martin housing to your yard. Even if you put up a house when they are not nesting, chances are the Martins will see the new house and return to it the next year. When placing Purple Martin houses remember that they like wide open spaces, so with that in mind, the house should be placed in a very open area, but within sight of your own home. 
  • I just put a feeder out, but birds are not eating from it. Where are they?
    • It is normal for birds to not immediately start using on a newly installed feeder. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for the birds to find it. Be patient. Birds are more attracted to water than they are to food so to potentially speed up the process, install a birdbath close by.
  • Can a frog live in my swimming pool?
    • No, swimming pools can be toxic to frogs because they’ll absorb the chlorine through their skin, which can kill them after prolonged exposure to the chemical.
  • Is it safe to use red food coloring in my hummingbird nectar?
    • No, most food colorings are proven to cause damage to a Hummingbird’s internal organs, potentially resulting in death. Hummers are attracted to bright colors, and red happens to be an exceptionally bright color in the garden.  So, use a red-colored feeder, with clear liquid.  Or place red flowers near your “not-red” feeder.
  • “I see a snake in my garden. What should I do?”
    • “Take two steps backward and let the animal be on its way.”  The most common snake seen in this area is the harmless Eastern Rat Snake. Snake tongs provide the ability to grab & handle the snake at a safe distance which can allow the customer to relocate the animal safely.
  •  How often should I clean my bird feeder?
    • It is best to clean your feeder about once every 2 weeks. A dirty feeder can cause disease for birds and can potentially kill them. To clean your feeder you can wash it with soap and water or throw it in your dishwasher.
  • I just put a feeder out, but birds are not eating from it. Where are they?
    • It is normal for birds to not immediately start using on a newly installed feeder. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for the birds to find it. Be patient. Birds are more attracted to water than they are to food so to potentially speed up the process, install a birdbath close by.
  • Are birds affected by the “Spicy,” pepper-flavored bird seed?
    • No, birds do not have taste-buds, therefore, they can eat all the spicy food they’d like.
  • How do I keep Raccoons and Squirrels out of my feeders?
    • You can install Baffles around the pole your feeder is on. If they continue to get into your feeders, implement our “Spicy” bird seed products in your feeders to give the critters a bad taste in their mouths.
  • My Cat keeps scaring the birds off of my feeder. How can I make that stop?
    • You can prevent your cat from scaring birds off of your feeder by:
      • Placing your feeder in the open, away from shrubs or low-hanging limbs. Birds will be able to see your cat coming.
      • Fencing off or encaging your feeder. This will create a barrier between your feeder and your cat stopping or slow it down from getting to the birds.
      • Spraying a scent deterrent around the area where your bird feeder. This will cause your cat to find that area unattractive and won’t venture towards your bird feeder.
  • What do I do to keep ants off my Hummingbird feeder?
    • We do sell Nectar Protectors here at Wings & Things. They prevent ants that climb up polls and onto feeders.
  • I see a Praying Mantis on my Hummingbird feeder. Why is it there?
    • Praying Mantises have been known to hunt Hummingbirds. If you have one on your feeder it is probably there to catch a bite. You can easily move the insect off of your feeder and back to your garden.
  • How often do I need to clean my Nest Box out?
    • After every time a bird family is done using it. Clean out all the debris and wash the box out using a diluted bleach mixture and make sure to rinse it out with water.
  • Where should I place my Nest Box?
    • That depends on the species of bird. For more information, make sure to visit Cornell’s NestWatch guide to birdhouses.
  • It looks like something has chewed around the hole of my Nest Box. What’s going on?
    • It’s probable that Gray Squirrels or Flying Squirrels have made their home in you Nest Box. To deter them, purchasing a portal protector that goes around the entry hole of the Nest Box and prevents animals from widening the hole.
  • I see an animal in my yard that I think is hurt. What should I do?
    • Leave the animal where it is. Call your local wildlife center or Department of Natural Resources for further instruction.

Carolina Wildlife Center

 

Proud to be a Conservation Partner for Carolina Wildlife Center.