Sept. 2011 Bird Feeder Notes
It's not officially Fall yet but I've got my Fall/Winter feeders up and I'm putting out about 3 cups of feed a day. I have noticed that if I feed them before sunrise that the early birds are my sparrows and a pair of cardinals. While my suet feeder is currently empty, I have seen two black birds fighting for dibs at the feeder. It seems to take them about 2-3 days to empty a package of suet feed.
My regular feeders are the various types of sparrows, cardinals, grackles, mourning doves, a lone chickadee, song thrushes (maybe song sparrows) and a few pigeons who swoop in from time to time.
I have now taken to putting out the food before dawn and watching from my back door or the side window.
4:30 AM - I've had a lone pigeon perched on my fence all night. I've chased it twice. It may be injured because it only flies a few feet and lands. It finally left walking down the alley towards it's roost in a chimney in the house behind mine. Perhaps that sounds cruel but I'm not very fond on pigeons. They intimidate the smaller birds and are really greedy birds.
6:30AM - two blue jays perched on the fence inspecting the suet feeder before flying off again. They appeared to be young and not full grown. The first of the sparrows appeared at the feeder. As the street lamp went out the rest of the flock started coming in.
Mama and papa Cardinal flew in for a visit. They eyed up the food on the ground before flying off again. My two mourning doves came in to feed on what lay on the ground. My whole flock of sparrows were there until they two feeders were empty. I filled the suet feeder and one of my suet birds picked at it.
I've identified my suet birds. Two of them flew in saw me on the porch and flew to the electric lines out front. They are European Starlings. I would not have known they were starlings because they have black beaks but they are spotted like the ones pictured.
There was storm overnight so I only put out two cups of food before church. When I got home it was all gone so I put out two more cups. That’s when the starlings did a fly by.
6:30 AM - Was finishing up some computer work in my dining room and turned my head as I prepared to go out to fill the feeders and observe my birds. OMG! There was a red-tailed hawk sitting on the fence to the back yard across the alley from my window. The picture is blurry because I took it through the window and there was a screen in the window. When I researched the species of hawk I found an organization that records sightings. I joined the ebird organization to record all of my sightings and how long I’ve watched.
It’s a rainy day so I put the food out in between showers.
2:00 PM – two starlings feasting on the berry blend in the suet feeder along with a lone sparrow sitting on the hanging planter watching from below. The sparrows are finishing up what is left in the regular bird food feeder and tossing the crumbs to the birds below. Two of the mourning doves are pecking away. I count four pigeons pecking away at the scraps that have landed in the rock garden. The whole herd flew away, something scared them. At 2:15 pm there are 3 starlings fighting over who gets to the feeder and who has to wait.
I told my neighbor about the hawk sitting on the fence. He told me that it was back this morning walking on the ground under the feeders. Obviously, he is trying to catch my little birds but that is the balance of nature.
I filled the suet feeder with the orange blend this morning. After I walked the dog around the alley to scare the pigeons away, I checked from inside the kitchen door. Papa cardinal was pecking along on the ground under one of the feeders. Since I’m working it’s hard for me to see all the birds during the week.
Darn squirrels. I came home from work today to find the lid off the vinyl supply can for the bird seed and bird seed all over my porch. Guess I will have to make some adjustments. I did put the extra bags in the storage seat.
Fooled the squirrels and moved the suet feeder. I was tired of the purple poopoo on my white railing. The first birds I saw today were the darn pigeons. Next came the black-billed starlings and my millions of sparrows.
That darn squirrel was trying to eat away the lid to the bird seed can. I had to put it into the storage seat that I bought for the porch furniture cushons. It was so bold as to challenge me until a car came through the alley. It was going to jump up at me.
We had a brown bird the same size and shape as the starling at the feeder today. It's head is brown and if my research is correct it's either a young starling or a cowbird. The picture I saw said if it acts like a starling and pecks the ground like a starling it could be a cowbird.
Now this is bold. The squirrel is back and feeding right under all the birds at the feeder and in the midst of the birds feeding on the ground. It's not the least afraid of me as you can see by the photo above.
The pigeons are out in mass this morning and I've only seen 2 mourning doves. The starlings are being scarce too. But my flock of sparrows is well in the foreground proving that the early bird does get the worm or in this case the seeds.
There is only a small chunk of my berry suet block left. I saw the starlings at it when I came home from church. There was one lone mourning dove and several sparrows eating what was left of the bird seeds I had put out. I'm assuming I missed the squirrel and the cardinals have been scarce lately.
Mr. or Mrs. Squirrel is out there. So, I broke down and put out some walnuts on the porch. Squirrely came up and nibbled away at some. He left some in the bowl. There's a method to my madness. By putting out some nuts I'm hoping to repeat my earlier bird feeding experience and attract the blue jay to the feeders.
Friend squirrel didn't eat all the walnuts. I guess I will have to buy peanuts next time I'm at the store. I know they like those best.
I stepped up my winter feed to 3 cups this morning only because I'm now up to about six pigeons among the mix every day. I'm still hoping that the blue jay will pay a visit. I'm guessing that the red winged blackbird I saw was a fluke and that they are nesting in the boy scout reservation about a quarter of a mile from my home. I'm not sure of the varieties of mid-sized birds but I'm getting brown-headed ones along with the spotted ones.
Something has been eating the peanuts. I'm not sure if it's the squirrels, the birds or my dog because tipper was out on the porch with my granddaughter for awhile yesterday. I swept the telltale shells away and put a few more out. Yesterday I saw my regulars but the pigeons are now becoming prolific. I guess there isn't much I can do about that. I did notice an increase in the mourning doves too. There were 4 or 6 out there yesterday morning.
Peanuts shells everywhere but not a hint as to who ate them. Sigh the saga continues. BUT! I did see something yesterday that interested me. There was one of the starlings at the suet feeder that had a shiny blue cast to his feathers. It was spotted but the feathers shone blue. The starlings are increasing in numbers but today I need to replenish my supply of suet feed for the feeders. It's almost gone. It is taking three days for them to finish a filler.
It's getting expensive to buy the suet cakes. With a little online research, I've found a recipe for making my own cakes. I think I will price the cost of suet if the butcher doesn't give it to me.
I talked to the butcher at the grocery store and he is going to put some fat together for me so that I can make my own suet cakes. I bought 2 more already made cakes so that I have the forms for making them. I also bought some bird seed with fruits and nuts in it to attract the nuthatches and other suet eating birds.
It's raining today but I put the feed out and we will see if they come out to eat today.
It's almost 7 am and it's not quite dawn yet. The sparrows are starting to arrive. I filled the suet feeder today and will go tell my friend to get me some fat together so I can make my own suet cakes. If it turns out and the birds like it I'll post the recipe.
I hear the blue jay outside my window and I think it is the jay eating the peanuts. They are cunning birds so I may never catch a glimpse of him scooping up his prize but I know he's nearby.
Success! The visitor to the peanuts is the blue jay and he is beautiful. His blues are so brilliant.
Not filling the suet feeder they ate it all in one day so they will just have to wait. Put an extra cup of seeds into the seed feeder for them. I am in the process of getting the porch ready for winter so there will be some changes on the horizon for my bird friends.
Filled the suet feeder. I'm reading articles on the various bird species and bird feeders in general. It seems that it is common for the house sparrow to take over a feeder and not let other birds in. There is also another responsibility of having to sanitize my feeders from time to time in order to prevent disease not only to the birds but the spread of disease that could infect myself. I'm more worried about that than the dependency of the birds on my feeding them. There are too many in my area who also put out feed.
I have not seen my cardinals lately but I also found out that they are ground foragers and that they are mainly interested in sunflower seeds.
The blue jay flew in like a thief in the night grabbed the peanut and away he went as fast as a speeding bullet. I thought I had a new bird. It was brown and all puffed up almost as big as a quail. When it let out of the extra air it was one of my mourning doves.
I'm kinda disappointed because there have been no unusual birds coming to my feeders and I found out this morning that a cat got one of the birds coming to my feeder. It came out from under my porch to attack the poor creature.
The only good thing was the blue jay came acalling while I was sitting out and sat looking at me while he picked his goodie out of the bowl. He came back several times to get peanuts and let me watch him while he was doing it.
This experiment in bird watching has become a complete bust. No new birds and the pigeons have all but taken over the feeding frenzy each day. I will continue to feed my feathered friends but this is the last post for this series of articles.
Bits and Pieces by llscotty
- Bits and Pieces