(BPT) - The buzzing, the crack, the call of "timber!" Whether you're trimming vegetation on your rural property or updating the landscaping by your suburban home, a chainsaw helps you get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Millions of homeowners safely use chainsaws every year, however, it's important to recognize outdoor power equipment is dangerous. Every person who uses a chainsaw must take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries.
Follow these 10 smart steps to help keep you safe every time you use a chainsaw, from the power equipment experts at Husqvarna:
Pause before you begin
Before you start working, follow these rules:
– Tell someone where you’ll be working.
– Always carry a mobile phone.
– Keep a first aid kit close at hand.
– Park your vehicle so that you can make a quick exit if necessary.
Wear a helmet
Whether a professional logger or weekend DIY warrior, you should always wear proper chainsaw safety equipment. A helmet with earmuffs, full-face visor and protective glasses will help protect your entire head, including your eyes and ears.
Dress to protect
The most common chainsaw injury is a laceration, an injury that breaks the skin. The right protective clothing minimizes the risk of laceration and other injuries. When using a chainsaw always wear:
– Protective pants or chaps
– Forestry jacket/shirt with proper upper body coverage
– Protective trousers
– Anti-slip boots
Select a chainsaw with safety features
Husqvarna chainsaws combine professional-grade performance with top-of-the-line ergonomics. Safety features include a kickback guard and chain brake to ensure the chain stops if the saw isn’t handled correctly. A throttle lock allows the saw to only function when you keep pressing a certain button. Finally, a chain catcher stops the chain from flying off in case of chain break or derail.
Get equipment checked
If you have a chainsaw, it's important to have it regularly inspected. A professional inspection will ensure the chainsaw's safety features are functioning properly. If issues are found, a simple tuneup can correct any problems so you stay safe.
Handle with care
Using these proper chainsaw handling techniques will minimize the risk of injury or strain:
– Wrap thumbs and fingers completely around the handles and hold your left-hand thumb under the front handle to reduce the force of a kickback.
– Don’t fear the saw; be confident and hold it close to your body to achieve balance, control and accuracy.
– The optimal working position is with your left foot in front of your right and with your knees bent rather than your back.
– Never rotate the chain when you move to another spot.
– Make sure no one is within 10 feet when you’re working with a chainsaw.
– Never use a chainsaw while on a ladder or around a downed power line.
Secure site safety
If you're cutting down a whole tree, study it to see if it has been damaged by decay or cracks. Is the tree leaning? In which direction will the tree or branch naturally fall? Create a plan and always make sure nobody is within the distance of at least twice the tree height you're working on so they're not susceptible to injury from the fall.
A chainsaw can still cause injury even when not in use, so proper storage is essential. After use, clean the equipment of any debris. Protect your chainsaw from dust and sunlight by using a hard case or protective storage bag. Always store in a location out of the reach of children and other people, ideally in a locked space. If storing for the season, empty the fuel tank and remove the chain to clean and oil.
Refine your skills
If you're not an experienced chainsaw user, practicing can mean learning a host of dangerous habits. Consider taking a class at your local power equipment dealer.
(BPT) - When you fill your bird feeders and put fresh water in the birdbath this season, you’ll definitely be giving your feathered friends a helping hand. But you could also be serving the greater good!
Take note of the birds that visit your yard, and you’ll be ready to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a four-day annual event during which thousands of people around the world record information about the species of birds they see. The information backyard bird-watchers gather assists scientists in better understanding the movement of species around the globe, how well different species are — or aren’t — doing and how factors like climate change are affecting bird populations everywhere.
And when the bird count is over, you’ll still enjoy a yard filled with the pleasing colors and sounds of wild birds.
Birds are important
“We enjoy birdwatching and feeding birds because they brighten our backyards and entertain us with their antics, especially during long winters,” says Richard Cole, co-founder of Cole’s Wild Bird Products. “But birds also play an important role in maintaining environmental balance around the world. They pollinate plants, scatter seeds so new plants can grow, help control insect populations and recycle nutrients back into the soil. It’s critical for us to have a greater understanding of how bird species are doing around the world, and to do our part to help take care of them.”
Bird populations are so diverse, large and widespread that it would be virtually impossible for scientists to gather all the data they need without help from backyard bird enthusiasts who participate in the GBBC. The information gathered help scientists identify species whose numbers are decreasing or increasing, changes in range or migratory patterns and more. Fluctuations in bird populations are often the earliest signs of greater environmental changes.
What you can do
Founded in 1998, and co-sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, the next Great Backyard Bird Count will be Feb. 17-20, 2017. You can start preparing to participate by taking steps now to make your own backyard an oasis for birds.
* Start by offering a variety of feeders. Different species prefer different styles of feeders. Tube feeders are versatile and appeal to a wide range of bird species. They can also handle large (think sunflower) or small seeds (like petite mixes) equally well. Some birds prefer to cling to feeders while dining, rather than perch, so use a versatile Mesh feeder; or try a Bowl feeder, perfect for serving suet in kibble form, dried mealworms and fresh fruit. You can find a variety of feeders from Cole’s. Be sure to keep all feeders clean and in good condition to help prevent disease and injury.
* Serve a variety of birdfeed. In winter, seeds with a high fat or oil content are best for birds, so offer black oil sunflower seeds, niger, raw peanuts and suet. To attract the greatest variety of birds, try Cole’s Blue Ribbon Blend, which incorporates black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower meats, white proso millet and cracked corn. Special Feeder is a high-energy blend that also attracts large numbers of birds, with the perfect mixture of black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, black stripe, raw peanuts, safflower and pecans. Birds also need (and love) suet, Cole’s offers no-melt suet cakes, specialty suets and a seed and suet mix, Nutberry Suet, to help ensure birds get the fat stores they need to weather winter.
* Fill every feeder with quality food. Birds won’t be satisfied with birdfeed that contains cheap fillers, and they won’t get the nutrition they need. Think of it as the difference between serving your family fresh veggies instead of fast food. Serve birdfeed that contains quality ingredients and is free of chemicals or other toxins that could be harmful to birds. Cole’s formulates all its feed to attract birds, and uses only natural, top-quality seeds. Their products contain no fillers, preservatives, mineral oils or pesticides.
Be sure to also offer birds plenty of fresh water; it can be very difficult for them to find unfrozen water sources in winter.
By feeding backyard birds and participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, you can be counted on to help protect the wellbeing of wild bird populations. What’s more, the work you do prepping your yard for the count will benefit you — and your feathered friends — throughout the year. For more information about birdfeed and how to attract birds to your yard, visit coleswildbird.com.
(BPT) - Bright colors aren't often associated with winter - but they can be. In fact, a backyard full of beautiful colors and cheerful chirps may be just a few feedings away. If you've never fed wild birds before, winter is the perfect time to get started. Opening up your backyard to birds during the coldest months of the year means you are helping sustain them during a time when food and water are scarce.
"The winter months are especially tough on birds," says Seth Estep, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Tractor Supply Company. "By providing them with a clean water source and food to eat, you'll not only enjoy seeing far more of them in your garden, but you'll also be helping them survive and thrive at a time when their natural resources are being threatened."
If you're interested in turning your backyard into a hotspot for birds this winter, consider these tips from the experts at Tractor Supply Co.:
Just like any other living creature, the survival of birds depends on their ability to find food, water and shelter. But as temperatures drop and winter months approach, the availability of these resources dwindles.
That's where you come in.
Attracting wild birds to your backyard is as simple as creating a space that includes these three essential elements. But remember, birds are quick learners and it won't take long for them to grow accustomed to your generosity. In other words, if you're going to open up your backyard to birds, it's important to continue providing them with food and water throughout the season.
No two birds sing the same song; different types of wild birds prefer different things. Everything from the food you serve to the feeders you serve it in will vary depending on the species of bird you're dealing with. If you're not sure what types of wild birds are native to your area, visit the National Audubon Society's website to find out. Once you familiarize yourself with the specific types of birds that reside in your neighborhood, you can tailor your menu to serve their favorites.
First, focus on the feeder; Tractor Supply carries a number of different style bird feeders, but before making your selection, consider where your feeder will be located. For instance, feeders should be positioned approximately 8-10 feet away from shrubbery where predators may hide. They should also be placed in a sheltered area that's less exposed to harsh weather and strong winds.
Inclement weather and pesky predators aren't the only harrowing threat to birds. A dirty feeder can harbor many deadly illnesses, so you'll want to get in the habit of regularly scraping off bird droppings and disinfecting the feeding area. Make a quick and easy at-home solution by using one part vinegar and 20 parts water - just remember to wait until the feeder is completely dry before refilling.
Types of food
When it comes to wild birds, there are many varieties of feed to choose from. To attract a wide array of birds, consider black oil sunflower seed. You can also mix things up by using multiple feeders to serve different types of mixtures and blends. A great option to consider is Royal Wing TotalCare, which is available in four blends and specifically formulated to attract all types of species, including Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Chickadees.
Royal Wing TotalCare also makes great products containing suet. Feed containing suet acts as a substitute for natural fat, which is not only difficult to find during colder months but, upon consumption, provides birds with the calories and energy they need to endure the harsh winter elements.
The importance of water
Finding fresh, unfrozen water can be even more difficult for birds than finding food during winter. One or two bird baths arranged around your yard can help ensure birds have an ample source of water for drinking and bathing - which is essential to help them keep their feathers clean for flying.
When temperatures fall below freezing, a birdbath with a built-in heating element can help ensure birds are able to find the water they need. If you already have a birdbath but it doesn't have a heater, consider buying a drop-in heating element that sits in the bottom of the basin. Another option suggested by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is to place an incandescent light bulb inside a flowerpot and sit the basin on top of the pot. The heat from the bulb will help keep the water in liquid form.
Tractor Supply Company carries all the supplies a family needs to attract wild birds to their backyard, and during the month of October, the rural lifestyle store will be hosting Flocktoberfest where customers will receive great deals on products related to wild birds and poultry. To find a local store near you, visit TractorSupply.com.
For more ideas and tips on how to attract wild birds to your backyard, visit Tractor Supply's Know How Central.
Grilling and game day go hand-in-hand, but if your tailgating menu needs a makeover, it may be time to explore new ways to bring bold flavor to your favorite dishes and drinks. Before planning your next game day bash, heed these additional meal prep tips from chef Justin Smillie and try his Tequila Grilled Shrimp at your next tailgate.
Interested in Publishing on The Outdoor Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!