Posts tagged Steve Frye
The Wild Bird Center in Boulder is your ultimate backyard bird feeding shop! They specialize in attracting wild birds and nature to your backyard while fostering a healthy and attractive habitat that enhances any home. Birdseed and exclusive seed blends are field-tested and proven to attract the widest variety of birds. Also they offer a selection of feeders, birdbaths, nest boxes, books, media, binoculars, gifts and other bird feeding products second to none.
Mon-Fri: 10 to 6
Sat: 9 to 6
Sun: 11 to 5
Welcome to the Boulder Bird Man video blog. Steve Frye owns the Wild Bird center in Boulder. Every Saturday morning at 7:00 A.M. he leads a bird walk and talk for birder of all levels. Steve has remarkable knowledge about local birds, migrations and habitats and we are honored to have him as part of our shows here on the Channel 1 networks. Look for a new blog each month right there. Check out the Wild Bird Center website and make sure to tell Steve you saw it. For more information on the Boulder Bird Man walks email Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you stop by the store too. It is the only bird store in Boulder. The staff are all birders so you’ll get your questions answered. Look for the Boulder Bird Man on our Colorado Magazine on CET channel 5/4 all over Colorado.
Steve Frye grew up in the woods of Minnesota where he began a lifelong interest in natural history, especially birds, at a very early age. After graduating from St. Olaf College with a degree in chemistry, Steve joined the Peace Corps in Kenya to teach high school science. The incredible birdlife in Africa intensified Steve’s birding zeal. Steve worked as a chemist for a short time after returning from Kenya. He eventually settled in Colorado and opened the Wild Bird Center of Boulder in January 1989. The Wild Bird Center, with the support of its customers, has provided the community with quality bird products and educational opportunities since that time. Steve married Julie Graf in 1997 and they have 2 children, Genevieve and Charlie.
BOULDER BIRD MAN
Wild Bird Center Saturday Walks:
From 7:30 am (promptly)
to 9:45 am (approximately)
Every Saturday year-round.
We couldn’t have done this without you! Twenty-one years is a long time in anyone’s book and we owe our success to you — our customers, compatriots, fellow birders, and friends. A hearty thank you to you all!
Steve, Wendy, Marlene, & Bill Contact Information
Steve Frye, Owner . Wild Bird Center Boulder
Boulder, CO 80301
As a child in the 60′s, I remember sitting in my parents’ dining room looking out at the huge, cumbersome and wonderful bird feeder that sat in the backyard. I can still recall how the cardinals and blue jays swooped up to land and grab a sunflower seed. It was a large glass globe that screwed onto a metal tray and sat on top of a pole. Because it was made of glass and was large, it weighed a ton even without seed in it. I’m sure it must have gone empty at times just because it was difficult to fill. No feeders manufactured today are built like that one, and for good reason.
Since I am in the bird feeding industry, I often have thought about the history and evolution of bird feeding in this country. Indeed, I feel that the Boulder Store has been part of that history. When I opened the Wild Bird Center of Boulder in January 1989 there were no bird feeding specialty stores in the mountain west and very few on the west coast. Now there are about 10 bird feeding specialty stores just in Colorado. For many years after I opened the store, people would comment ‘can you even feed birds in the West?’, assuming that it was only a mid-west and east coast activity.
I recently received a copy of “Feeding Wild Birds: A Short History in America” by Paul Baicich, Margaret Barker, and Carrol Henderson. This is a fascinating little book which answered many of my questions about how much and how little has changed in the bird feeding industry and in attitudes about wild birds
The article below highlights some of these topics;
In the late 19th century the attitudes towards birds as a natural resource, commodity, or just an abundant, expendable entity were vastly different than our attitudes today. Cardinals were commonly trapped, caged, and sent off as pet birds. American Robins which we often dismiss as being common and abundant were becoming rare because they were apparently good eating. We all know the fate of the Passenger Pigeon which was playing out at this time mostly due to market hunting. The feather trade to adorn clothing and hats was also having devastating results to many species populations including herons and hummingbirds.
Amidst these attitudes and actions that were having negative impact on bird populations, a small, but growing influence spoke on the birds’ behalf. In June of 1868 the weekly journal of the ‘Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ published a poem titled “Boys, Spare the Birds” which encouraged boys (and girls) to be kind to the birds and feed them in the winter time instead of hurting them and destroying their eggs.
As many of you know, the Audubon Society’s first cause was shutting down the feather trade. The snowy egret population was decimated by the feather trade and the egret’s image remains the symbol for the National Audubon Society today. Mary Thatcher wrote an essay entitled “The Slaughter of the Innocents” in the popular Harper’s Bazaar Magazine in 1875 which further rallied the cause against the feather trade.
Many pamphlets, books, and essays were written towards the end of the 19th century all encouraging people to feed birds, especially in winter, using table scraps and waste grain. One such publication was Dietrich Lange’s 1899 book “Our Native Birds, How to Protect Them and Attract Them to Our Homes” which served as an introduction to the concept of feeding birds for many.
The days of specialty seed mixes and extensive bird food preference research was a long way off in those days, but some companies were starting to take notice of the new pastime. Present day wild bird seed companies Wagner and Kaytee started to cater to the bird feeding hobbyist in the late 19th century. Audubon Park Seed Company in Akron, Colorado a supplier of bird seed to grocery and hardware stores was originally a feed store in Illinois in the 1920′s.
The early articles on bird feeding focused on benevolence toward the birds and had a very paternal tone. They did point out the benefits that people would derive by feeding the birds, but the main current was still feeding thebirds so they could survive coupled with concern about ruining their natural instincts. It wasn’t until 1929 when Charles Shoffner wrote “The Bird Book” which informed people that feeding the birds would not ‘spoil’ them or take away their ability to find food on their own. Birds make choices like all animals. If they don’t like what you’re putting out, then they go elsewhere. Many studies have been conducted on feeder dependence since that time and all have shown that birds can benefit from access to feeders, but they do not become dependant on the feeders. This is still a subject that we revisit with our customers daily.
Bird Feeding was a home-grown affair initially. Magazine articles shared information on how to build feeders and houses along with recommendations on what to feed. Table scraps, waste grain, and ‘floor sweepings’ were most often suggested as a means of feeding the birds. Around the turn of the century more mention is made of bird seed preferences and the use of such present day staples as sunflower. Bird-Lore magazine in 1913 ran one of the first advertisements for a bird feeder. It was a weather-vane feeder with pole for $6.00 from Joseph Dodson, director of the Illinois Audubon Society. This same design is still in use today.
Feeding tables and simple hopper style feeders ruled the day until Peter Kilham invented the first tube feeder in 1968. His company, Droll Yankee, was originally founded in 1960 as a nature recording supplier. Peter was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. After completing a project, he was contemplating what to do with the leftover plastic tubes. From these leftovers the A-6 tube feeder was born. We still sell the A-6 and little has changed with the design since then. Most feeders on the market today are based on the tube feeder. Two of my favorite things, A-6 feeders and the musical group Talking Heads, both came out of the Rhode Island School of Design.
In 1980 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its most popular pamphlet ever, “Relative Attractiveness of Different Foods at Wild Bird Feeders” by Dr. Aelred “Al” Geis. This study brought real science to the bird feeding industry. Showing the relative attractiveness of various seeds allows one to attract target species and it also showed which seeds to avoid. I had the pleasure of spending the day with Al in 1988 at his home in Maryland and having fresh sunfish sandwiches. Bird feeders, seed, and birds were everywhere around Al’s house. His place was one big bird feeding laboratory. I still rely on that experience and the things that Al taught me.
What’s next in bird feeding? Before his death a few years ago, Al Geis was experimenting with providing fruit flies to attract the insect eaters using rotten fruit. My Compost Tumbler in the back yard is a terrific source of fruit flies so I have been experimenting with this same concept. Is this the next best thing for you to attract birds? Many questions need to be answered before you see rotten fruit feeders showing up at the Wild Bird Center, but wouldn’t it be great to have warblers perched around your feeder?
Baby Bird Season
We have been getting a lot of calls about baby birds like we always do in June. The best advice is to just leave the birds alone. However, if the bird is injured, then you need to call Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at 303-826-8455 to arrange care for the bird.
Fireworks Start on the Fourth of July
The fireworks we’re talking about are provided by the rufous hummingbirds. Around July 4th male rufous and calliope hummingbirds are returning south through Colorado. Rufous are known for their feisty attitudes and are not always appreciated. This also signals the start of the hummingbird season on the plains so all of you folks in Boulder, Louisville, Longmont, and points east be on the lookout for hummingbirds. Interestingly, the most common hummingbird in my Longmont yard is the calliope, which is generally thought to be the rarest of our three expected hummingbirds.
Rufous Hummingbird by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
Q: How can I keep my bird bath clean?
A: First of all let me say that algae is not harmful to the birds. You may not like the look of it, but the birds are fine with it. Algae is a naturally occurring plant which is found just about everywhere so you need to manage the algae level in the bath because you will never eliminate it. Here are a few tips on managing your algae. Like all plants, algae needs sunlight to grow. If your bath could be located in a spot that does not receive strong afternoon sun, that would help. Also, regular scrubbing and rinsing the bath will help keep the algae from forming a thick layer on your bath. If you have a heavy cement bath there is no need to lift the bath, just put your hose on ‘jet’ and blast the water out. I have a scrub brush outside near my baths and fountain. When they are getting really cruddy looking I just give them a little scrub before blasting out the dirty water. Then it’s a simple matter of filling them back up. For fountains (and baths) you can also add hydrogen peroxide to kill back the algae. Pour in a large amount (i.e. > quart) to your fountain at night. The next morning just rinse your fountain out and refill it. That should knock back the algae for a while. The hydrogen peroxide is harmless to the birds and breaks down into oxygen and water.
If your problem is bird droppings then you can use the same procedures as stated above. Remember, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands well after you fill your feeders or scrub out your bath.