Feeding the Birds
Feeding the birds that come to my backyard is a real treat for me. Their brilliant colors, and the melody of their songs, can brighten even the dreariest of days. One has only to watch them flit and flutter, landing gracefully on the ground or on the feeder's edge, to appreciate the beautiful gift we have been given by God, in these magnificent creatures.
After a while, the birds will get to know you and not be quite so timid. I have a family of cardinals that will sit right at the feeder while I water the garden, or check on the fish in the pond. A pair of Carolina wrens have nested in the same place on my carport for three seasons now. This year I was able to watch the "babies" as they took their first flying lessons with Mama Wren, and it was (for lack of a better word) awesome to watch. The little guys explored every inch of the carport and were singing up a storm. Mama wasn't really too thrilled with me taking their pictures, but she trusts me enough that she just kept a close eye on me and her little ones as we got to know one another.
My yard is a feeding ground for blue jays, cardinals, wrens, mocking birds, mourning doves, and robins. I have gotten so I know all of their songs, and have names for most of the "frequent Fly-ins". We put in a garden pond that serves as not only a tranquil spot in the yard, but a place to explore for the more curious types like the mocking birds and mourning doves. The birdbath that my husband made and put up next to the feeder, is a big hit. I have feathers of all kinds floating on the surface.
Birds diets are as various as their color and species. A feeder of "wildbird mix" will offer a little something for most backyard birds.
If you are a serious birder there are special feeds that you can purchase for certain types of birds.
Remember too, that certain birds like mourning doves and Robins are ground feeders so when your Bluejays scoop the seed out to the ground to get to the sunflower seeds, it'll be eaten by those on the ground. It will never go to waste. If the birds don't eat it, then the squirrels will.
Speaking of squirrels... I know that some people get really annoyed that the squirrels get into the feeders and eat most of the bird seed, especially if there is a sunflower mix in your feeder. There are all kinds of products on the market to keep the little guys out. Electric gadgets that zap them for instance. The manufacturers claim that it won't hurt them, but the thought of electrically shocking any creature just to save a little money on birdseed, is not at all something that I would even consider. There are two methods that work for us. First, you can grease your feeder pole with a heavy grade oil, or thickly apply vaseline to the pole. They will try climbing it, but won't be too successful. Watching them try can be a real comedy, and worth watching. If they fall, they don't get hurt because they can't get very far up the pole. If that doesn't work, try a baffle. You can buy them at most home and garden stores, but you can make them even cheaper, and they are just as effective. We use a heavy guage plastic light cover, the kind that you use on ceiling lights. It is round enough that they can't get a good grip, and can't climb up over it to get to the feeder.
One thing to remember, if you have had squirrels dining at your feeders for a while, when you put up the squirrel proofing of your choice, remember to provide them with a little something to eat. They have depended on getting their food from you , and won't leave right away to find something else, or somewhere else to eat. sunflower seeds in a tray or scattered on the ground , away from the feeder, is a good idea, or bits of stale bread spread with peanut butter is another treat they enjoy. Then there is always popcorn. (Plain popcorn, not buttered or flavored.) You can make a really simple squirrel feeder by hammering a large nail or spike into a block of wood and securing it to the ground or tree trunk, then stick an ear of corn on the spike, and they will feed off of that. Cooked corn or raw, they like both, and when it is done, just replace the ear. It takes a while to go through it, unless he brings friends for dinner!
Received from Solitary Spirits
June 16th 2001
Thank You Heidi