Fill a birdfeeder....slog slog...fill another...

carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)December 26, 2011

How do I forget, over the summer, the winter slavery of keeping the birdfeeders filled? I have learned, finally, to not completely fill them, since the birds don't stop eating when they (the birds) are full. So the seedholders start off the day half filled and when the seed is gone, the birds fly down to the ground and compete with the squirrels for the spillage. And keep a birdy little eye out for cats.

When I get to the bottom of the 50-lb. bag, I'll have to go out and buy another. And another.

If they were pretty birds, like cardinals and bluejays, I'd feel rewarded. (actually, we have 1 jay and 1 cardinal.) Or maybe some green parrots, or a lyrebird....

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gardenweed_z6a

So many branches snapped off in the October storm, I've only got three seed feeders & 2 suet feeders out this year. There's a gazebo-style pole feeder in front and a large, square wooden tray feeder hanging from a hook on the breezeway. Normally there are several more seed feeders hanging in the crabapple tree. My neighbor whacked three branches off the tree that were damaged in the storm and were touching the house so those are gone. Now it takes about half the usual time to fill the feeders but at least so far I can still get to them. Last winter I was forced to feed on the breezeway because the snow was too deep on the front lawn.

I can't lift a 50 lb. bag so I buy it in 25 lb. size which means, of course, more frequent trips to the feed store. The store isn't too far a drive and I suppose in a pinch if I were really snowed in I could buy seed at the local hardware store.

I've always fed the birds and love watching them. The hawk landed in the crabapple one day last week and let me snap quite a few shots through the big window.

There are lots of cardinals here and the bluejays have made a comeback the past few years to where they come in noisy groups of 5 or 6. Nuthatches, junkos, chickadees, eastern bluebirds, titmice, finches, wrens, mourning doves and various woodpeckers make up the rest of the indigenous species. We'll rarely see a Baltimore oriole, evening grosbeak or red-wing blackbird.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 12:47PM
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defrost49

I am jealous over your cardinal. Twice we have had cardinals visit to check us out and then never return. Apparently, they don't like our feeders or feed or something. Do cardinals prefer a feeder like the one in your photo?

My husband takes the two tall metal hooks I use for hanging baskets in the summer and uses them for the thistle seed socks. One also has a suet feeder. The birds seem to prefer the feeders hanging in the maple tree across the driveway although the goldfinches don't seem to mind the feeders on the metal hooks which are close to our window. They are right next to a viburnum so the birds can also perch there.

After a squirrel chewed thru the rope to the sunflower seed feeder, my husband replaced it with metal wire. The dang squirrel is trying to chew thru that, too.

We look forward to seeing the migrants. If we're lucky we see a small flock of visitors who only stay a day or two. Right now the wild turkeys are hanging around a cornfield. There's hardly any snow so they can still find lots to eat. Later in winter when the snow is deeper they'll make a visit to our feeders to see what's on the ground.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 7:48AM
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gardenweed_z6a

The cardinals apparently prefer the lantern-style feeders such as the one above for whatever reason. I have a wooden feeder that's shaped like a tall, thin house and have yet to see either the male or female cardinal on it except when the other feeders are empty. Cardinals live (apparently) in the pines across the road and down at the back of my property. I see them come and go in both directions so I assume they live in the pines.

I haven't seen many squirrels since the October snowstorm that did so much damage here in central CT. Normally I see a lot of them but the red squirrel is about the only one who seems to still be in residence.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Cardinals like to face the seed when they are feeding and of course they prefer sunflower (both types) and safflower seed. Here's a couple from today.

Female

Male. This feeder is a bit small for them, but it's full of safflower. Squirrels don't like it. Cardinals do.

Steve

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 11:59AM
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ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

I love all the pics. and it makes me torn..I have 2 cats that were usiong the feeders to hunt..so i stopped using them. But it sure would be cool to see the birds closer...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 2:59PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

OTT -

When I had a cat, I placed the birdfeeder far enough from places the cat could shelter/hide to sneak up on the birds so that they could see her coming. Although she was a great hunter, she never caught any birds since they were able to get away when she tried. My memory is that it was in the range of 10 to 15 feet, close enough for us to watch the birds without endangering them. It did mean that there was a bareish patch of lawn right around the feeder from the sunflower seed hulls, but no one but folks in the house could see that. Perhaps that could work for you. (I don't have feeders now due to the blackbears . . . )

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 9:06AM
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ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

I don't have feeders now due to the blackbears
THAT's a good reason to not have them ! WOW.

Thanks for the tip..I am goin to look in to it

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 9:40AM
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