Monday, May 15, 2017

Bird Feeding By Trial and Error Continued

The latest find is a Thrasher that didn't come to my feeder but I noticed a different bird on the street with a long curved beak and dark legs.  It was all brown and peaked my curiosity.

picture used to identify Thrasher
When I looked it up I found that it is a Thrasher.  It was just standing there defying me to do something as I gazed at it out of my car window.  It's beak was wide open in the cruel summer heat and it had two other companions of the same breed.  If I live long enough, maybe I'll get to identify more birds I don't recognize.

This past Winter I was disappointed that the birds did not come to the feeders.  I tried several types of feeders and finally bought some that make the birds cling to them while they peck at the seeds inside.  My neighbor told me that they are now afraid of the cats in the neighborhood that roam free.  I know this neighborhood is ferrel heaven and I see cats at all hours of the day and night instead of the one I used to see occasionally.

The birds with red heads that are about the size of a sparrow have been coming but none of the others.  About a month ago I saw the chicadees but they have not been back since.  The cardinals flew by last week and landed on the fence across they alley from my vantage point but have not stopped to eat their favorites.

A few years ago, I kept a monthly log of all the birds that visited my newly revived interest in the birds and bird feeding.  My deck had recently been completed and I had added some new hanging planters on each end.  Then the final step was to reinstall the double plant hanger in the middle.

New bird feeders early 2011 off my new deck.

Mistake #1:  I hung the feeders right off my deck.  I'm sure you can see the flurry this caused in the picture above.  There were birds on both feeders and waiting their turns on my freshly painted railing.

Mistake #2:  I bought huge bags of bird seeds and kept the feeders full at all times.  This attracted all types of birds.

I saw chickadees, wild canaries, mourning doves, sparrows (some of which were song bird types), starlings, grackles, robins, blue jays,

cardinals and finally one bird I couldn't identify that had white bands on the tips of its under wings and tail when it flew.  The biggest surprise was the red hawk that visited one morning and just sat there daring any of the smaller birds to descend.

Hawk on Fence across from my deck.

The above photo was taken from inside my house through a screen so it's not such a good photo but you can imagine my surprise seeing this fine specimen outside my windows observing my feeders. 

All was grand until I realized that I was a captive of my interest.  I was spending way too much on feed and the birds just kept coming and coming.  To top it off, my beautiful new deck was covered with little presents left behind by my little feathered friends.  Oh! and did I mention the pigeons?  Well, let me tell you; I had a flock all my own and my poor little buddies were being over run by them taking their food.

Fall and Winter Feeder Replacement

As a result I took down all the fancy feeders when Fall came and replaced them with a big rugged feeder.  I fed the little blighters a half full feeder at a time over the winter months.  This kept my friends coming back.

The double hanging rod (almost 10 years old) got weak and I had to remove it.  I was still getting presents from my little friends over the winter so I got smart.  Birds are used to foraging the ground for their food.  So I threw a cupful of feed into the middle of the alley and sat and watch my little friends to my heart's content.  I'm still getting the sparrows, starlings, grackles, and my best loved cardinals.  Best of all the cardinals are not just doing a fly in hop about and fly out this year.  They are actually picking and choosing what they want to take away with them.  So, I get to watch them a little longer and a little closer.  I have even seen the song birds that have the pointed tails that open up to have white bands under them when they fly.  Of course, the pigeons found the new digs but I guess they have to eat too.

At the end of last season I replaced my roll down blinds in preparation for the winter.  I bought the shortest bungie cords I could find and latched the bottom of the screen around the posts on the porch railing

The last thing I did was replace the hanging planters with my red bird feeder outside the corner of the porch where I could reach it from inside to fill it.

Last spring there was a new addition to the birds that come to the feeder.  This is the first time that the blue jays are came and walked underneath on the ground to get the seeds that the sparrows throw around with great abandon for the other birds to enjoy.  That is not the best though.  While I was sitting on the chair pictured in the picture above, I observed what I knew was a jay bird from its shape but it wasn't the brilliant blue that I'm  used to seeing.  After I looked through the ornithology sites, I was able to identify it as gray jaybird.  How neat is that, I found a new bird I had never seen before and learned about their habitats and peculiarities.

new location off the deck in a hidden corner
I now have canvas awnings on my porch.

I hung the newest feeder along the side rail nearest the house which is flat with a screened bottom and the bigger birds can land on it instead of wandering around the alley below the feeders.  I've seen blue jays, mourning doves, cardinals, starlings and purple martins.  Both seem to be attractive to many types of birds.  The second one is round with wire mesh which allows the birds to cling to it.  I've seen goldfinches, house finches, chicadees, and several types of sparrows.

I can now view my visiting friends from inside my window as do my cats.  The awnings give my porch more protection and the birds seem to have taken to the new spot.

I hope you enjoyed my little review of my bird feeding endeavors.  I will continue to feed them with the blinds rolled down to save my porch rails from the little presents my feather friends like to leave.

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