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
See Holiday Hours listed on right
Late each winter, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds begin returning to the United States by crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a single, overnight migratory flight. As of the first week of March, there are already numerous reports from feeder watchers along the Gulf Coast although we have heard of only one having returned to the Gainesville area. By the end of the first week, though, there should be at least a few and by mid-March, hummingbird migration should be in full swing.
If you didn’t leave a feeder out this winter, it’s time to make some nectar, get that feeder filled, and put it back up in its regular place. Remember, nectar is a simple mixture of four parts water to one part sugar. Granulated cane sugar is the only advisable sugar to use. Never add red dyes or anything else to nectar solutions. Your feeder should have more than enough red to have the desired effect on hummingbirds.
If you need a new hummingbird feeder, we have plenty to choose from including a new, US-made, copper nectar feeder with low capacity. Florida doesn’t have a great density of hummingbirds once migration is over and so we’ve found that low capacity is best for feeder maintenance in most yards.
Nesting season has begun for several year-round breeding residents that will use nesting boxes including Carolina Chickadee and Eastern Bluebird. Nesting season for many others is just around the corner including Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, and Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. Great Crested Flycatchers return toward the end of March and set up territories around natural cavities and nesting boxes right away. Purple Martins use human-provided housing exclusively. While possible for some of us, Purple Martins are in a category of their own and require special consideration.
Most of the rest of our breeding residents build platform nests. There’s nothing we can do to get a cardinal or a hummingbird to use a nesting box, for instance, but there’s a lot we can do to make our yards more hospitable for their breeding needs including maintaining some undisturbed shrubbery and low canopy.
Offer “Plus Blends” such as Florida, White Deluxe, and Tree Nutty Blends at feeders as well during breeding season. Plus Blends contain a rich diversity of ingredients including calcium which goes straight to the fortification of eggs. Plus Blends also contain chopped tree nuts which have been particularly desirable at feeders during this busy late-winter and should get even more popular as we settle into the heart of breeding season.
Technology has brought a new dimension to the enjoyment of birdfeeding and birdwatching at Wild Birds Unlimited. Now, you can enjoy highly entertaining videos of local bird activity shot with our own GoPro action camera by subscribing to our Facebook and Youtube pages and by checking our store website frequently for updates to our Local Bird Videos page.
Every Wednesday at 8:30am until end of May, Alachua Audubon volunteers will lead a 2-3 hour walking tour of Gainesville’s newest nature park. The walk is free, but there is an admission fee for the park of $5/vehicle or $2/walk in. Yearly passes can be obtained on the 3rd floor of Building B in the Thomas Center.
The Sweetwater Wetlands Park restoration project has quickly become a regionally significant birding destination. It is located off Williston Rd near Main St.
WBU of Gainesville has a Facebook page for birding and feeder news. Check it out!