We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
4212 NW 16th Boulevard
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone: (352) 381-1997
Fax: (352) 381-1995
Email: Send Message
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Don’t miss this opportunity to see these remarkable creatures up close and enjoy Lubee batkeeper Anthony Mason’s discussion of their natural history and what Lubee Bat Conservancy does to promote bat conservation around the world.
This year’s annual Lubee Bat Festival is on Saturday, October 24 from 10am-4pm. Admission to this family friendly event is free. For details, visit www.lubee.org.
It’s that time of year when we start to see changes at the feeders. Here is a summary of the more common feeder birds whose activity varies due to migration.
|American Goldfinch - A winter resident that begins to return in September but doesn’t build at feeders until several months later. Favorite food is oil sunflower but prefers nyjer closer to spring migration.|
|Baltimore Oriole - Migrants move through in late summer and early fall and overwintering birds return in November. Favorite food is fruit (oranges, grapes, jelly, etc.), suet, and nectar.|
|Chipping Sparrow - Winter resident arrives in October and builds consistently into winter. “Chippies” can form large flocks. Favorite food is millet.|
|Yellow-rumped Warbler - One of the most abundant overwintering birds but unpredictable at feeders. Can become very regular at feeders in small numbers. Favorite food is insects, suet, and Bark Butter.|
|Hummingbirds - There are dozens of hummingbirds in the area in winter. Most of those are not Ruby-throated (right) which start to head south in late August. Most are Rufous (left), a species that breeds in the Pacific NW. Leave a nectar feeder up!|
|Indigo Bunting - Migrates through in large numbers in September and October and can be regular at feeders during migration. Favorite food is millet and oil sunflower.|
|Rose-breasted Grosbeak - A regular migrant throughout the fall. Many regular birdfeeders have seen a grosbeak at some point but none of us can predict what will happen year after year. They usually only stay a short time before continuing on south. The male (top) and female (bottom) look very different.|
|The bright red chest of the male makes it a pretty easy identification for most, but the female is more drab and difficult to identify. We get a lot of calls at the store during migration to identify female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Favorite food is black oil sunflower and chips.|
The Florida State Department of Environmental Protection is exploring the possibility of leasing portions of state parks for private uses and Paynes Prairie is one of the first state parks under consideration. For more information about what the DEP is proposing, perform an internet news search for “Florida Department of Environmental Protection state parks proposal” or similar terminology or see the news summary of Protect Paynes Prairie, a local group organized to oppose the DEP’s proposal, by visiting www.protectpaynesprairie.org/news.
If you would like to contact your elected officials about this issue then we have pre-addressed post cards created by the Alachua Audubon Society in the store. Drop by, sign them, and we will apply the postage and drop them in the mail for you. If you would like to speak to an advocate about this issue then we encourage you to visit WBU on Saturday, September 12 between 11am and 3pm when representatives of Alachua Audubon Society will be conducting a postcard signing drive.
We are avid users of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. We’ve hiked or biked every foot of the many miles of trails in the park, some of it many times over. The proposed use changes would have obvious negative effects on our enjoyment of the park but we feel strongly that the entire region benefits deeply from a park maintained for conservation and preservation values.
Feathers are essential for flight and they allow birds to convey a lot of information but feathers also provide layers of protection to the vital body parts beneath. Over time, birds encounter many physical stresses such as cavity entrances that erode feathers. Eventually, those stresses wear feathers down to a level that compromises that protection and so feathers have to be replaced.
The process of replacing some or all feathers is called molt. Molt requires a lot of energy and may take up to eight weeks to complete. Right now, many of our most familiar bird species are beginning one of their two major molts of the year. Distinguishing birds that are molting from those that are not can be difficult. Though some birds may lose patches of feathers and appear to be balding, most birds’ feather loss and replacement are far less noticeable.
You can assist in the process of molting by offering high-protein bird foods such as pea-nuts, Bark Butter, and mealworms. This will ensure that your birds have a reliable source of protein to help them with molting. We have everything you need to help your birds keep going (and re-growing feathers) during this critical time.
WBU of Gainesville has a Facebook page for birding and feeder news. Check it out!