Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Birds Inspire Gift Ideas for Mom
May 02, 2015
By Steve Grinley

     The first hummingbirds of the season have reached our area. Two were seen in a backyard in Ipswich on Wednesday. Orioles have been seen in the Boston area this past week, with a Baltimore oriole spotted at the Arnold Arboretum. More hummingbirds and orioles certainly should be arriving by the time you read this. The warmer weather predicted for the next few days should bring many more spring migrants pouring in.

     The only warblers I have seen thus far this spring have been pine, yellow-rumped, black & white, and palm warblers, and a Louisiana waterthrush. These are all typically April arrivals, but I would expect to see the first wave of May warblers within the next few days, coming in on predicted southwest winds. Hot spots could be Plum Island and other coastal locations such as Cape Ann and Marblehead Neck. Warblers might also visit you in your own back yard!

     House wrens should be arriving as well. Their bubbly song will announce their arrival and if you have an appropriate nesting box, you might enjoy their song all summer long. An added bonus would be that they will be eating the insects in your yard and garden. 

     Catbirds and those colorful rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and scarlet tanagers should also arrive this next week. These birds often nest in suburban settings and though some will migrate through, many will stay and nest in our area. Catbirds prefer low shrubs and trees, indigo bunting nest in trees near open fields, while both the rose-breasted grosbeak and scarlet tanager nest high in the tree canopy.

     With all these wonderful birds to enjoy as the weather warms in May, it should inspire you to chose an appropriate gift for Mom on Mother’s day that will help her enjoy them even more:

     Hummingbird feeders make great gifts and there are many styles and shapes to choose from. The flat “saucer” type ones are easy to clean and have a lot of red to attract the birds. The bottle type work very well too. The hummingbird feeders that adhere directly onto a window will bring the small hummers closer for better viewing. Even if Mom already has a feeder, a second is always a good idea. Hummingbirds are very territorial when they feed and each will want their own feeder well away from others, and will fend off any other hummers who try to encroach!

     Orioles enjoy feeders that offer them nectar as well, but they really enjoy oranges and grape jelly. Many oriole feeders accommodate more than one of these offerings at a time. Both Baltimore and orchard orioles come to feeders and their colors are just stunning. Catbirds and mockingbirds will also visit a feeder with grape jelly in it.

     Warblers, bluebirds, tanagers, orioles, and so many other birds are attracted to water. A bird bath makes a wonderful gift for Mom and could bring birds to her yard that might otherwise not visit. For the Mom that has a bird bath, a waterfall rock or a “Water Wiggler” would be a great addition. Moving water will help attract more birds for Mom to watch.

     A nesting box, or bird house, is always a gift that never goes out of style. House wrens, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, swallows, bluebirds and so many other birds that are cavity nesters could nest in your yard for Mom to watch and enjoy. Bird houses come in all styles, from simple to elegant, and they will not only dress up the yard, they will provide shelter for the birds.

     Other feeders will attract colorful birds as well. Mom will enjoy watching more male goldfinches turning bright yellow at another thistle feeder and she can watching for the stunning blue of an indigo bunting that might enjoy thistle as well. Giving Mom another sunflower feeder that attracts cardinals might also lure the striking rose-breasted grosbeaks to her yard.

     If you want to enhance Mom’s enjoyment of all these birds and more, consider giving her a new pair of binoculars. Good quality binoculars are available in all price ranges and they will help bring birds closer and will make those brilliant colors “pop”. Good optics will help Mom to enjoy the birds and wildlife, and the warmer May weather more.

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
Celebrating 2
4 years of service to the birding community! 
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