Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bird feeders

In my non-wildlife gardening days, I figured birds were on their own. There's generally plenty of food out there, I thought, although habitat might be in short supply.

But putting out bird feeders (sunflower seed, thistle seed, and suet) some years ago opened a new arena of observation.

All of the usual suspects (speaking in 'now' terms) appeared -- and they're great -- I know all the songs and call of our regular garden birds, and whether they eat seeds or suet, or kick up insects in the leaf litter or eat earthworms in the spring.

In the mountains, we added all of these, and it didn't take long for the seeds to be discovered. There was a parade of cardinals, tufted titmice, and Carolina chickadees at the sunflower seed feeder, and this male goldfinch loaded up.

8 comments:

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  2. And if you put out suet, don't forget your woodpeckers! I still haven't been able to attract a Flicker but they have them only a few miles away. In the Winter, the Bluebirds like the suet as well. But they are either lazy or smart. They like to swoop down and pick up the droppings from the suet when there's another bird on the suet. - Dave

    http://snjgardener.blogspot.com/

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  3. I love having the birds around. Between the hummingbird feeders, the niger seed and safflower seed and the mealworms, we have a nice assortment of feathered friends to watch.

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  4. I made the mistake of putting in a mixed seed in my feeder which the sparrows decided to make a mess of. I went through an entire large bag in a week, most of which is on the ground! Next time I will stick with the bigger seeds.

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  5. I used to put a "mix" into a feeder but found that the cracked corn in the mix would have a tendency to make it "cake" in the feeder clogging it up. Now I only put sunflower in my feeder. Specifically I have found black oil sunflower makes less of a "shell" mess than "stripes" sunflowers. I have a silo feeder for thistle seed for the finches as well. I do buy the mix feed but only during the winter and then I just spread it on the ground. I put up suet feeders during the colder months (Nov-Apr).

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  6. I miss the birds, too! I put out peanut butter suet that the squirrels ate in half a day! They are so badly behaved! gail

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  7. It IS such fun to watch birds visiting the feeders. I was amazed at how quickly they discovered them after we hung them up.

    I stick to black oil sunflower seeds for the main feeders, with thistle seed for the goldfinches. Dave, I wish I had bluebirds visiting my suet feeders, but the downy woodpeckers and others are great.

    Janet, I haven't yet added mealworms to the mix, but maybe I'd get a stray bluebird passing by.

    Ladybug, I had starlings mob my feeders the one time I used a 'seed mix' -- I think it's better to stick to black oil sunflower seed or safflower seeds! More expensive, but more rewarding

    And Gail, I'm sure the squirrels are feasting on the peanut butter suet!

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  8. In the winter I also put up a squirrel feeder. It's a one gallon glass jar. Have you ever seen a squirrel in a jar? It lays on its side with its top in a wooden box. The box has holes for the squirrel to get in. I saw the plans in a magazine. This winter I will have to get a picture.

    http://snjgardener.blogspot.com/

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