How are your Birds Doing?

beth4(z5 - Utah)January 10, 2008

Birds are related to gardening....so I'm going to post.

I live in South Ogden and got over 18 inches of snow yesterday. I have 3 bird feeders off the deck, plus a platform feeder on the deck, and it's just crazy. The birds are eating me out of house & home. It's a veritable Bird Watchers' Paradise!

At any time, there must be 50 birds eating at the various feeders, plus 50 more hanging out in the trees, waiting their turns. All kinds of neat birds....including the beautiful Stellar's Jay, wood peckers, Magpies (of course), Red Wing Blackbirds, all kinds of finches, junkos, nut hatches.

What fun this weather is for bird-watching!! Please be sure you keep your bird feeders full, as there is nothing for the birds to eat. In my neighborhood...the snow has covered all the bushes, shrubs, berries, seeds, etc.

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dereks(6 Utah)

How is it you get all those different birds? I live on the Terrace and all I get are a few juncos. I have one feeder out filled with a seed mix from Wal Mart. I have some suet handing in a bush and it has barely been touched.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 5:39PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

Two thoughts come to mind: I live further east that Washington Terrace...very close to Harrison, so am at a higher elevation than WT.

And, I buy the bird seed from the Wild Bird Center in Layton, off of Antelope Drive. I supplement what I buy from the IFC store on Wall. Never before have I had luck wiht suet, but the suet I bought at the Wild Bird Center has been phenomenally popular.

I confess that yesterday and today, with the warmer temps, I haven't seen as many birds. The absolute delight is the pair of Stellar Jays....and they are addicted to the peanuts in a shell (raw, unsalted). You can get those at the grocery, or for $1.50 lb at IFC.

Go to the Wild Bird Center and check out their wonderful products...and they have a very helpful handout on the many birds in the area, the kinds of food they like, and what types of feeders they prefer to eat out of.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 4:13PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Great information! Thanks! I will definitely check out the Wild Bird Center.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 12:57PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Beth, I made it down to the bird center yesterday. What a neat store. I spoke with a lady there for quite a while. She showed me the feeders and types of foods the different birds like. Thanks for telling me about this store!
When I got home I saw, what I think was a woodpecker, eating the suet I have hanging in the lilac bush.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:50PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

Great, Derek!! I fed "my" Stellar Jay raw peanuts in their shells today (platform feeder), and he got 1 peanut, and then the magpies moved in. There were 5 magpies running relays, taking the peanuts from the platform feeder. I tried to shoo them away and let the beautiful Stellar Jay come in, but wasn't very successful. I did put out the excellent platform seed the Jay likes, so he got some good food...no bird is going hungry at my house. I just don't like it when the bullies get all the "good" stuff.

I may call the store and talk with them -- I think Linda is the woman you spoke with -- and ask if they have any advice for helping the Stellar Jay get his share of the goodies.

Glad you liked the store! The owner, Bill, writes a regular column on Utah birds for the SL Tribune. It's a wonderful resource to have in our area!!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:50PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

At this Bird store I bought some nyger(sp) seed and put it in a seed sock, if that is what you call it. This morning there was a little black and white bird feeding from this 'sock'. I have never seen this type of bird before.

Yes, those magpies are bullies. Too bad, they are neat looking birds, I think.

Have you visited the Bird Watching forum here on Gardenweb?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 1:18PM
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pinepixy

I also live on the Ogden bench and we are seeing a lot of birds too, including jays and lots of quail. You're right that they really come out after the big snows (another 10-12" today). This summer they went nuts for the sunflowers and I got some good pix of tanagers, chickadees, jays, and LBJs. If you like birds and you haven't grown sunflowers I highly recommend them! :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 10:24PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

OK, I had to google LBJs and found out that's an acronym for "little brown jobs" or little sparrow-type birds you don't care to identify! Wow, learn something new every day, huh?

I just wanted to add that when I was a teen, I was given a baby magpie by a neighbor who had "rescued" it when it was out of the nest. It probably was fine, but he brought it to me. I raised it and it was a fun pet! It learned to talk at three months old and said things like Here, kitty, kitty! pretty boy, good boy, hello, hey!, quit that, stop that, etc. Those last phrases were learned because my mother would yell at him to stop when he was raking his beak across the cage wires.

Anyway, I had planned to let him go when he was grown, but the thought of him sitting on someone's back porch, eating their cat food and saying "Here kitty, kitty!" was a little frightening! I did feed him dry cat foot, and he thrived on it. Anyway, I kept him about four years and gave him to a friend. He lived about eight years, which is their normal lifespan.

One of the funnest things was to have a wild bird sitting on my shoulder while I rode my bike around the neighborhood. Sure got a lot of funny looks!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 12:43PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

Very cool, Steve. My Utah bird book writes that Magpies are very intelligent, and your anecdote confirms that. They also live in "families" of 5 birds, and I can attest to that. They live in my back yard in a huge Colorado blue spruce, as does the Stellar Jay pair. I just wish they weren't so dominant at the bird feeder....especially when I put out the peanuts in a shell...they totally monopolize these goodies.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:45AM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

I forgot to report that yesterday I identified a Flicker at one of my feeders....feeding from the deck floor. The Flicker is a woodpecker....a very pretty bird, 12" long. It is so much fun to find the various birds in my backyard...I highly recommend the Utah bird book....dedicated to birds of Utah, and arranged by color, so it's easy to flip through the book and find the bird for which you're searching. Nice, large color photos of the birds, too.

Anyway, look for Flickers at your feeders.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:48AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

What's the exact title of that Utah bird book? Is it only available at the Wild Bird store or can I find it on Amazon? I just looked and saw these books on Amazon:

Birds of Utah Field Guide (Our Nature Field Guides) by Stan Tekiela (Paperback - April 1, 2003)

Utah Birds by James Kavanagh (Paperback - May 1, 2001)

Backyard Birds of Utah by Bill Fenimore (Spiral-bound - April 2008) -- available for pre-order now

Utah Birds: A Revised Checklist (Occasional Publication (Utah Museum of Natural History)) by William H. Behle, Ella D.

Feeding Utah's Birds by Utah Wildlife Resources (Paperback - 1994)

And this software:

Birds of Utah v3.9 by Thayer Birding Software (CD-ROM)

So, which do you recommend? I used to do a lot of birdwatching as a kid in California and I enjoyed the Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds quite a bit. A few years ago, thinking I might start identifying more of the little Utah birds that I don't know, I bought The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. It's good, but I on some of these, it's hard to tell what I'm seeing outside, and something specific to Utah might be better.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 3:20PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

It's the "Birds of Utah Field Guide" by Stan Tekiela. I bought mine from Wisebird Bookery. For my purposes, it's exactly what I need....plus I like the information about each bird, the large color photos, which make it easier for me to ID what I'm seeing, and the color coding of the page edges, so you can quickly flip to the brown pages for brown birds, blue for blue birds, etc.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 6:38PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

About mid morning I looked out at the birds and one was caught in a spring on the trampoline. I rescued the bird and it flew off. It's leg was really mangled up and I'm wondering if this bird will survive. What a sad thing to have happen. Now I'm going to worry about that stupid trampoline being out there.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 1:38PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

Hmmmm..I think I'd try to cover up the springs so birds couldn't accidentally get caught. Sure hope the little guy heals and recovers. You'll have to keep looking for him, and give him special food so he can heal.

Linda at the Wild Bird store has an incredible story (complete with photos she took) of a bird (I think it was a Stellar Jay) who had severe beak damage, which cut off his beak. It took a year, but he grew a new one. In the meantime, she kept looking for him and would feed him special seed that he could pick up, without his beak. Birds can be resilient, so hope your little fellow is.

I just added more seed to the feeders and have so many birds out there....plus the magpies hogging the peanuts!
I can't get over how beautiful the Flicker bird is....I really enjoy watching it eat the seeds and the suet. What simple, pleasing fun!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 1:15PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

What color is the Flicker? I have this woodpecker looking bird out there quite often eating the suet. I need to get the book that was mentioned.

I just refilled my feeder also. It's all ready for the next storm to move in tomorrow.

Yes, I hope that injured bird is ok. I spread some seed over the snow. It seems the Juncos prefer eating from the ground so it should be easy for this bird to get something to eat.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 6:28PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

Here's a link. The Flicker we have is red-shafted, not yellow, and mine is much more brown than gray. It's a very pretty bird, and looks like the 1st bird shown, BUT with the red shafts in #3 photo.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flicker Photos

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 12:19AM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Yep, that bird looks very fmailiar. Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 12:13PM
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