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Advanced Cat Training: Tricks
by Samantha Matheny

So you have started training your cat? That is great! By now your furry friend is sitting, shaking, and maybe even waving. But there is so much more you can teach your cat to do. Here are some tricks (and how I got him to do them) my 12-year-old cat loves to do for everyone.

Sit up

Once kitty is sitting, bring a treat above his head and say "Sit Up". As soon as kitty lifts his front feet up and stretches up for the treat, give the treat and praise. Repeat two to three times.

Round About

With kitty standing and facing you, let him smell the treat in your fingers. Lead him in a circle to either the left or right while saying "Round About". As soon as kitty completes the circle, reward him with the treat and praise. Repeat two to three times.

And here is my favorite, Big Toes

I figured this trick out by accident, but have managed to teach other cats. All the cats are de-clawed and enjoying people holding their front feet. Begin with kitty sitting in front of you. If kitty likes you holding his feet, you will already have one, if not, ask him to shake. With his foot in one hand, stretch your fingers out on your free hand while you say "Big Toes". You may have to show kitty a few times how you stretch your fingers out, but he will quickly imitate you. Reward and praise kitty immediately, even for just a little bit of a stretch.

Training your cat gives you not only a better relationship with your cat, but also keeps kitty thinking. Remember to be patient when trying to teach new tricks. All cats are different with different personalities. Some tricks will come easier to others while they just do not like other tricks (my cat HATES being asked to lie down!).

If you are interested in learning more about cat training, you may want to check out 4 Legs And A Tail. You can find lots of great information on training and care of your pet!

About the Author
Samantha is an ambitious young woman from west Michigan who is dedicated to finding a better way to live. She has a wide variety of interests and is always seeking new knowledge. Samantha's love of writing has lead her to become an author of e books and articles in hopes of helping people to live a better, healthier life.

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How the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) Began

In 1989, when Deborah Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) noticed the cramped, unsanitary conditions at a Docktor Pet Center, she became enraged. The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. Ms. Howard joined forces with Robert Baker, the foremost puppy mill investigator in the country. They generated two "20/20" exposes and articles in People and Life. These exposes took on the pet shop industry - "20/20" and People named Docktor directly - and showed the horrors of puppy mills. As a result of their efforts, Docktor Pet Centers, who refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993. Ms. Howard started CAPS in 1992. Mr. Baker is CAPS' vice-president.

USDA licensed facility in Iowa. The dogs on the left are crammed into pens. An Akita and English Springer Spanial are pushing through rusty metal fencing with sharp points.

As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet industry employee relations.

CAPS defines a puppy mill as a "commercial breeding facility that mass-produces puppies for resale through pet shops or individuals."

How You Can Help

Write your senator or representative and ask him or her to address the USDA's failure to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

If your senators or representative are on agriculture committees, ask them to call for oversight hearings on APHIS/Animal Care's failure to enforce the AWA.

Distribute CAPS' pet shop fact sheet ("Why You Shouldn't Buy That Puppy in the Window) which is available on our website or from CAPS.

Ask local and national media to do stories on pet shops and commercial dog breeding/brokering facilities.

If you currently work for a pet shop or puppy mill and would like to provide information about conditions, contact CAPS. All information is confidential.

Adopt a companion animal. Every year, animal shelters destroy millions of dogs - including purebreds and puppies - and cats. PLEASE adopt a companion animal from your local shelter, humane society, rescue organization (some specialize in a particular breed) or veterinarian. In addition, many pet supply stores, such as Petsmart or Petco, sponsor adoption days.

Efforts and Accomplishments - Programs
Research and Investigations

USDA Licensed Dog Breeding and Brokering Facilities

As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. CAPS investigators are an integral part of our organization. We investigate federally licensed commercial dog breeders and brokers to determine: (1) compliance with local, state and federal (the Animal Welfare Act) laws; (2) humane treatment of animals. CAPS works with state humane investigators and submits documentary evidence to local prosecutors.

Since 1995, CAPS' focus has been on the USDA's failure to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as it pertains to commercial dog breeders and brokers. In order to document AWA violations, CAPS investigates federally licensed facilities in the Midwest (more than 100 since 1997). Based on our years of investigative experience, CAPS has concluded that although the AWA gives the USDA the power to license, inspect and regulate breeders and brokers who deal in dogs for commercial purposes, the USDA's implementation of the AWA has been grievously insufficient - fulfilling neither the letter nor the intent of the AWA. The USDA's rules are too often ignored, not only by those who are regulated but also by the regulators themselves.

CAPS is requesting oversight hearings on the USDA's failure to enforce the AWA, advocating changes to the AWA and recommending new policies regarding the actions of USDA inspectors. CAPS visits Washington, DC several times a year and continues to present documentary evidence to top USDA officials and members of Congress.

Pet Shops

CAPS works with members, local animal welfare groups and the public to monitor pet shop conditions and to ascertain the names of breeders and brokers. We investigate some of these breeders and brokers.

Public Outreach and Education

Media Relations

CAPS has a targeted media relations program that exposes companion animal abuse, particularly the plight of pet shop and puppy mill dogs We provide information and documentation on pet shops and puppy mills to print media and television news programs (national and local).

Consumer Assistance

CAPS encourages consumers who purchased sick or dying puppies to contact CAPS for assistance. We have pet shop complaint forms on our website. We inform these consumers of their options, including the right to recover veterinary expenses under state lemon laws. CAPS relies on consumer information to document illnesses, veterinary expenses and names of breeders and brokers.

Rescue and Rehabilitation

During our investigation of USDA licensed facilities, CAPS rescues puppy mill dogs, especially unwanted breeding stock who are about to be destroyed - humanely or inhumanely - because breeders no longer view these dogs as profitable. Puppy mill breeders often want to get rid of dogs that cannot get pregnant, have difficult pregnancies or deliveries, or who don't produce large enough litters. CAPS often rescue sick or "defective" puppies, including those that have been returned to breeders and brokers by pet shops.

CAPS works with shelters, rescue organizations and individuals to provide foster care and permanent homes for these dogs. We cover veterinary costs, including spaying and neutering. CAPS also makes contact with the families who adopted the rescued puppy mill dogs.

Would You Please Help?

Please help CAPS fund this critical work by giving online today.

Green Living with Pets in Mind
Pet Friendly Homes and Gardens
Sue McGuire - PressDemocrat

Pets used to live outside. The farm dog hung out in the barn or slept under the front porch. Cats lived in the barn loft and did their job of keeping the vermin at bay. Fast forward a few generations. It’s often recommended that cats be “indoor only” and hundreds of dollars can be spent on an orthopedic bed for the dog.

Toxins to Pets*
• Azaleas
• Geraniums
• Lilies
• Mistletoe
• Mushrooms
• Oleander
• Snail and slug baits
• Weed killers
• Fertilizers
• Cocoa Mulch
• Fertilizers

Household Toxins*
• Fabric softener sheets
• Ibuprofen
• Most cleaners and detergents.
*American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Just because we bring those former barnyard residents inside the house may not mean they are healthier for it. Scientists often cite our companion animals as “canaries in the coal mine.” Household environmental toxins can be a major concern. According to a report from Environmental Working Group (EWG), industrial chemicals show up in our pets at even higher rates than the average human, The chemicals most detected were stain and grease proof coatings and flame retardants used in furniture and flooring.

“At the forefront of people’s minds is if a home is pet friendly, then more importantly it will be human friendly,” says Andy Bannister of Earthtone Construction in Sebastopol. He says it makes sense that if animals are more susceptible to the toxins often contained in building materials, making it safe for them will make it safe for the human occupants. Bannister says he put in formaldehyde free flooring in his home with wood that was certified from the Forest Steward Council. “It’s antique stained so that if Bailar (his Golden Retriever) digs in her nails, it doesn’t show,” he notes.

Bannister says if he were putting in flooring for a client with animals he would recommend the “harder the better like tile or concrete.” Those too can be installed using green friendly methods.

Pergo™ flooring or laminate wood flooring often withstands the dog nails and although tough, it does contained formaldehyde and should be out-gassed after installation. A Sebastopol man recalls getting new carpeting throughout his house and not realizing the impact it was having on his miniature Schnauzer who lost his hair. It lasted until the carpet quit smelling “new.”

For people with committed sofa surfing pets, hemp mixed with raw silk or wool are often the best bets for fabrics says Susan Bahl, owner of Natural Home Source of Forestville. “Pets are really sensitive to the chemicals put into products,” says Bahl. Because of that, she discourages people from using cat scratch posts made from polyester carpeting or pet beds made out of polyester batting. “Back in the old days, cotton and/or wool batting was used and that is what is best to use now,” she says.

Garden Design with the Pet in Mind
Having a pet and a beautiful, healthy garden are not mutually exclusive says Rick Taylor, owner of Eldercreek Landscaping of Sebastopol. Aside from not using toxic fertilizers and plants in gardens, there are other pet friendly approaches. “Observe where your pet naturally walks and create pathways of hardscape along those trails.” If your dog likes to throw balls and toys Taylor suggests that people “plant more durable foliage, like grasses that can take a blow” toward the front of bedding areas.

Taylor has been putting in sedges, which are a tuft grass (Carex tumulicola/pansa), instead of turf into yards because “it’s more durable and the carbon footprint of a regular turf lawn” is enormous.

Kier Christensen, a landscape designer in Western Sonoma County, says one of the biggest issues for clients with pets is the tendency of animals to dig up irrigation lines. Short of fencing off garden beds, Christiansen recommends people use overhead sprinklers. “They are not as efficient as drip systems but the pop up sprinklers are virtually indestructible,” he says. He has one client with a pet rabbit that will “chew just about anything” but has been unable to destroy the overheard sprinkler. Christiansen has planted catmint (Nepeta) to encourage clients’ cats to venture into the garden. Cats are attracted to the plant.

Not to be indelicate, but for owners of male dogs, an upright stone placed tastefully in the garden, will often allow the dogs to “mark” on the stone instead of everywhere else in the garden. But Christensen says to look at dog urine as a fertilizer rich in nitrogen. “It’s not going to kill a plant.”

Training your pet to eliminate in one area of the garden ensures dog waste is not accidentally stepped in and run off can be contained.

Wintress Huetter, a landscaper designer in Sebastopol studies dog parks to find durable surfaces and plantings for gardens. Most dog parks favor mulches that can take a beating. But ultimately she says “landscapes are for enjoying not just looking it. It should be a happy place for everyone in the family to be.”

More Helpful Green Ideas
•Create a digging box for persistent diggers. Put sand at a 12-inch depth, in a boarded box. Hide never before seen toys in the box and praise your dog for using the box.

•If you wash your dog outside, contain the run off. Allowing soap suds to get into waterways creates its own toxic challenge.

My View: Richard L. Cupp Jr.
When Beloved Pet Dies, Law Should Stay Out of It

My dog Shasta lies sleeping at my side. At age 15, he can no longer stand up without help. His condition has deteriorated to the point where keeping him alive would be for me rather than for him. So today I made the heartbreaking decision that it is time to euthanize him.

I am a native Hoosier, and I learned to love animals from my now-deceased parents, who grew up on farms near Muncie. But I have often thought about how differently many Americans relate to their animals today than they did when my parents grew up on farms. Ten years ago, I read a news story about a pet owner who was suing for emotional distress because someone negligently killed his dog. My parents' generation would never dream of this kind of lawsuit.

Reading about the lawsuit started my interest in animals' evolving status in our courts. In the first article I wrote on the topic, I discussed how I would feel if someone negligently killed Shasta. I concluded that, although losing Shasta would devastate me, allowing such lawsuits for emotional distress would be bad for humans and for animals.

I thought they would be bad for humans because emotional distress damages are not available for negligent deaths in most human relationships, and we should not place animals above humans. I thought such lawsuits would be bad for pets because veterinarians would be sued most frequently, and they would pass along the costs to consumers. Demand for veterinary services is more price-sensitive than demand for human medical services, and thus higher prices means fewer pets receiving needed treatment.

When I wrote the article in 1998, such lawsuits were rare. Since then, although most states still disallow them, pet death distress claims have become much more common, and some states have even passed legislation specifically allowing them.

Indeed, pet death distress claims have become one of the focal points of a rising phenomenon known as "animal law." Animal law is likely the fastest-growing subject in American law schools. Only a few law schools offered a course on animal law in 1998; now at least 94 law schools are offering or have offered the course.

Other than inevitable aging, Shasta has not changed much since 1998. As I have recently contemplated with sorrow the reality of his imminent death that I hypothesized about a decade ago, my views about pet death emotional distress lawsuits also have not changed much.

I am still concerned that such lawsuits seem deceptively pro-animal, but actually would increase suffering for pets on the whole. I am also still concerned about the societal implications of placing human/animal relationships above most close human/human relationships.

I concluded my 1998 article emphasizing this point, noting that although Shasta is my closest buddy, he is not my highest calling. A decade later that remains true, but of course it is more difficult to write today as I am losing him. Humans are often difficult and complicated; pets are pure in their simplicity and are easy to love. If we and our legal system should value our human relationships over our bonds with animals such as Shasta, humans must be very special indeed. I think my parents would agree.

Cupp is associate dean for research and John W. Wade Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, Calif.

Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?
Houston Pets

We have a 2.5 yr old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Pitbull mix -- sweetest thing around, very silly, wiggly and a complete joy. However, one of our biggest issues with her is that she has what we call OCLD, or better known as, Obsessive Compulsive Licking Disorder. She licks everything. Windows, blankets, your pants, legs, hands, seats -- you name it, she licks it. Sometimes, she'll do a "drive by licking" where she walks past you and licks your leg. She was weened very young and we've heard that it could be part of the reason, but we would just like her to ease off on the licking. Apple Bitter works at times, but we would have to coat ourselves in it to make her stop licking us. Thumps on the nose, loud noises, water bottle -- none of that fazes her. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

If you pay attention to her licking, it will increase. I would also not recommend using punishment to try to fix it because this will increase her anxiety, which will make her lick more. Helping dogs who lick too much takes patience and will-power. You have to ignore the licking (which is very hard) and begin praising her for other behaviors that she offers that you like. So, if she licks you and then sits down to stare at you, catch the moment she's sitting and staring and give her a treat. Do not be overly enthusiastic because that will probably cause her to lick. Calm, gentle praise is the way to go. She would also benefit from training so she can do 'leave it' on command and you could even train her to keep a toy in her mouth which would solve the licking problem!


Four Common Causes of Canine Hair Loss
By D Swain

Your dog can begin to shed excessive hair for a number of reason. Some diseases that cause canine hair loss, or alopecia, can be very serious. A few of the most common causes include allergies, parasites, and various diseases. Let's take a look at some of these causes of canine hair loss.


Allergies can cause your dog to lose some of his hair. There are various things that can cause an allergic reaction in your dog. He can be allergic to certain foods, metals, wool, plastic, or rubber. Chemicals in the carpet such as deodorizer and dye can also be irritants. Some dogs will suffer an allergic reaction from medications like antibiotics. You will have to eliminate the irritant or allergen so that your dog's hair will grow back.


Parasites can also cause canine hair loss. Some dogs suffer a severe allergic reaction when they're bitten by a flea. In addition to losing their hair, these dogs also have redness, scales, and itching. If parasites are the cause of your dog losing hair, you will need to adopt a flea control method for the dog and environment. It may also be necessary for your dog to take antihistamines and steroids.

Cushing's Disease

Cushing's disease is one of the next most common causes. This disease can be caused by a tumor or prolonged use of steroids to treat another disorder. If it's caused by a tumor, treatment options may include surgical removal, radiation, or chemotherapy. If your dog is taking steroids to treat another condition, he should slowly be taken off of them.


Infections are one of the last common causes of canine hair loss. An infection from sarcoptic mange or ringworm is most likely. Both of these conditions can be treated by giving your dog a bath using a special shampoo. If your dog is infected with ringworm, you may also have the option of giving him an oral medication.

Hair loss can be caused by some serious dog illnesses. So, stop by to learn about some of these conditions like canine pancreatic cancer.

Article Source:


The Seattle Times

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cat-Loving Pope Urged to Stop Wearing Fur

(Reuters) - Italian animal rights campaigners are urging Pope Benedict to stop wearing ermine on his hats and robes, appealing to his reputation as a cat lover.

The Italian Association for Defense of Animals and the Environment, which has a white bunny logo, has started an online petition signed by nearly 1,900 people asking the German-born pontiff to stop wearing fur. Corriere della Sera newspaper had photos Benedict and one of his predecessors, Pope John XIII, wearing an ermine-trimmed hat and cape. It put the shots next to a picture of a live stoat.

Ermine is the white winter fur of the stoat, which has been used to trim the crowns, ceremonial hats and robes of European royalty, aristocrats, judges and popes for centuries.

The pope wore the fur-trimmed hat and cape before pilgrims around Christmas in 2005, giving him the look of Santa Claus and delighting well-wishers and photographers alike.

But the petition appealed not to the pope's fashion sense, but to his reputation as an animal lover, which has even prompted an authorized biography of the pope narrated by a cat.

Published last year, "Chico and Joseph" is based on a real cat called Chico who took up with the pope in his native Germany when he was plain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The cat belongs to the caretakers of the house where Ratzinger lived before moving to Rome in 1981. As a cardinal in Rome, the future pope befriended another cat he found on the street and kept it in his apartment until being elected pope.

Petitioners gave their reasons for signing on the website: here

"The pope has a cat he loves a lot, so why doesn't he use it for one of his capes?" wrote one of the petitioners, who signed as Sergio Porcelli from Ercolano, near Naples.

The pope's fashion sense has come under light-hearted media scrutiny, with Esquire magazine naming 81-year-old Benedict "accessorizer of the year" in 2007 for red leather loafers it said were made by Prada -- which the Vatican newspaper denied.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Michael Winfrey)

Basic Backyard Bird Feeder Guide - Six Feeders You Need to Have
By Dave Titterington

Backyard birds have different feeding requirements. Different styles of feeders will attract different and a larger variety of birds to your backyard. These are the basic bird feeders for an all around good backyard bird feeding program:

Seed Tube Bird Feeder: Open port seed tube bird feeders are considered exclusive bird feeders meaning, they exclude many larger birds. These feeders primarily attract a variety of smaller birds. However, when a seed saver tray is added, it will allow larger birds a place to perch and feed.

Exclusive bird feeder. Excludes larger birds. Primarily feeds smaller birds such as chickadees, finch, and nuthatches.
Made from a variety of materials. (PVC, Polycarbonate, steel, acrylic) Most PVC and Polycarbonate tubes carry a lifetime guarantee.
Preferred feed to use is black oil sunflower seed, sunflower hearts, safflower seed, or other nut based mixes.
Easily hung, but can be post mounted.
Seed saver trays can be attached to the bottoms.
A good starter feeder for the backyard

Nyjer Thistle: A very specialized feeder for Nyjer thistle or finch mixes which primarily attracts birds of the finch family such as Goldfinch, House Finch, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. Indigo Buntings will feed on these feeders if those birds are in your area.

A tube feeder that is designed for feeding Nyjer thistle, a small imported seed.
Attracts goldfinch, house finch, pine siskin, purple finch. Indigo buntings and other finch like birds.
Made from a variety of materials.(PVC, Polycarbonate, steel, acrylic, and wood. PVC and Polycarbonate tubes usually carry a lifetime guarantee.)
Use Nyjer thistle or a quality finch mix.(Best Finch Mix: 50% Nyjer seed and 50% fine sunflower chips.)
Hang thistle feeders near small bushes or trees with lower branches.

Hopper Bird Feeders: This is a good all around feeder for attracting a variety of both large and small backyard feeder birds. It is considered a non-exclusive bird feeder since it does not exclude any birds. If the feeding area is large enough occasionally ground feeding birds will feed on this type of feeder, especially if the ground is covered with snow or ice.

Non-exclusive feeder which attracts both large and small birds.
Storage capacity for holding quantities of feed.
Available in a variety of durable materials. (Cedar, metal, recycled plastic, acrylic)
Recommended feeds: black oil sunflower seed, safflower seed or any nut based mix combination.
Can be hung or post mounted.
Good basic backyard bird feeder.

Platform Bird Feeders: Elevated platform bird feeders are another of the non-exclusive bird feeders. It does not exclude any birds. Large and small birds alike can access it very easily along with some birds that typically feed on the ground.

A non-exclusive bird feeder that is very versatile.
Can be hung or mounted on a pole or post. Some have a roof to protect the seed from inclement weather. Screen or perforated steel or nylon bottoms prevent water from accumulating in the feeder and helps to dry out seed if it becomes wet.
Available in a variety of durable materials. (Cedar, metal, recycled plastic and acrylic)
Recommended feeds: Black oil sunflower seed, safflower seed, sunflower hearts, or any nut based mix combination. Also a good feeder to use with general wild bird mixes.
Excellent bird feeder for peanuts in the shell, meal worms, and fruits.

Ground Feeders: Ground bird feeders are the perfect feeder for ground foraging birds such as native sparrows, juncos and doves. Also attractive to the more opportunistic birds such as Cardinals and Jays. These feeders keep the bird seed off the ground reducing spoilage. Besides being more sanitary for the birds it is also keeps debris off the ground and is easier to dispose of the shells.

Ground feeders are just that, feeders which sit on or near to the ground for ground foraging birds such as mourning doves, native sparrows, Juncos, and towhees.
Screen or perforated bottoms prevent water from standing in the feeder and allows the seed to air dry after rain & snow. Available with or without roofs.
Use safflower seed and white Proso millet in this feeder which will attract a variety of the birds you prefer while deterring squirrels and the Common Grackles. (A good feeder for general wild bird mixes if squirrels are not a problem.)
A variety of other birds will also feed at ground level such as northern cardinals and house finch.
Keeps seed off the ground to prevent spoiling.
Can be located under an existing feeder to catch seeds dropped by birds.
Suet Bird Feeders: Suet bird feeders using either commercial suets, or suet from your local meat market, provide a great source of year round protein. Placed on or near a tree this feeder will attract Nut Hatches, Brown Creepers, Chickadees, and a variety of woodpeckers. Wrens will occasionally feed on the suet as well. Suet is in high demand for these birds during the spring and summer months.

Suet is for the birds of the tree trunk zone.
Commercial suets of 100% rendered beef fat are preferred. There is a large variety of commercial suets which contain various products from seeds and nuts to fruits mixed into 100% tallow.Pure suets, mixtures which do not contain nuts, seed and other products are least attractive to squirrels and European Starlings.
Feed suet year round. Although it provides a great source of energy during the winter months, birds will actually consume more animal protein between March and August during the stresses of nesting and raising their young. Oftentimes woodpeckers will bring their young to the suet feeder once they have fledged the nest.
Up-side down suet feeders will help to reduce Starlings from over-powering the feeder. Suet feeders surrounded by cages will repel Starlings as well as squirrels.
If using a simple hanging wire suet basket, simply leave the hard plastic shell on the suet cake so the suet is only exposed one side. Then hang the basket at a steep angle or directly upside down. If Starlings land on the top they cannot peck through the plastic shell.

2. General wild bird mixes are best placed on or near the ground for ground feeding birds. Reserve elevated feeders for the nuts or nut based mixes. Avoid general bird mixes containing Milo, red millet or wheat. These are filler seeds which bulk up the weight thus lowering the price. While game birds and house sparrows consume these products they are not desired by song birds. Read the label for key ingredients.

3. Thistle seed has an extremely short shelf life of 3 to 5 months. This is the result of heat sterilization of the imported seed by the USDA. This method is used to avoid introducing non-native plants into North America. A newly purchased bag of thistle seed does not guarantee freshness since many merchants may stock large quantities for long periods of time. Songbirds will reject feeders containing old thistle seed is the primary cause in failing to attract birds to a thistle feeder. Inquire about the freshness of the seed you purchase, or purchase from reputable suppliers.

4. To deter squirrels and grackles, use safflower seed by itself in any of the bird feeders with the exception of thistle tube feeders. Safflower seed is attractive to cardinals, house finch, chickadees, doves and other birds, yet grackles rarely feed on it if at all. A feeder filled with safflower seed may be hung in a tree next to a squirrels nest and they will totally ignore it. Make it a part of you feeding program. It may take up to a week for your birds to become accustomed to safflower seed if it has never been offered to them before.

5. Although winter is the traditional bird feeding period, many people have established year round bird feeding programs. Natural foods become scarce after winter until a new crop of seeds and berries ripen in late summer. Wildlife biologists have found that birds nest earlier, quicker, and have more successful nestings when supplemental foods are offered. This is due to less time spent foraging and competing for low food reserves after winter. For example: Woodpeckers during the nesting season eat more suet between March and July than all winter long. You can attract a large variety of birds through-out the year by establishing a year round bird feeding program.

6. Providing a fresh source of water for birds is an important feature during all seasons. Puddles of rain water contain pollutants and toxins that are harmful to birds. In winter, open water is a rare commodity. Searching for water in frigid temperatures can waste precious energy needed to get birds through cold winter nights. And clean feathers provide valuable insulation to help keep them warm. Motion created in water, either by a waterfall or a dripper, attracts high flying birds, and is heard at a great distance.

These are the six basic bird feeders for a well planned backyard bird feeding program. For more information on additional kinds of bird seed to use with these bird feeders, and what birds you can expect to attract, please refer to the Bird Seed Preference Guide.

Dave Titterington of the Wild Bird Habitat Stores. Providing bird enthusiasts with quality backyard bird feeding products and information since 1993. With two locations in Lincoln, Nebraska, or at

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