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Feeding the Animals

  1. Dec 12, 2006 #1

    SpaceTiger

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    [​IMG]

    Who here puts out feeders for birds, squirrels, deer, etc.?

    About a week ago, I tried attaching a suction cup feeder to the window of my bedroom, but was unable to keep it stuck to the window. So, instead, I decided to fashion a crude plank feeder. Basically, I took an old bulletin board and propped it under the window to my bedroom. This let a bit of a draft into the room, so I shoved towels and styrofoam in the gaps. Unfortunately, the window was still free to slide and couldn't hold the weight of the heavier birds, so I used a twenty-pound hand weight to balance the other side. The weight sat precariously on the window ledge, so I pushed up an old television set to keep it in place.

    A bit of a hassle, but it worked. Here's a photo of our first visitor:

    First visitor

    In the past few days, the feeder has attracted chickadees, titmice, blue jays, and juncos. Melissa got a great shot of a chickadee:

    Black-Capped Chickadee

    Also, here's a nice one of a cardinal in a nearby tree:

    Northern Cardinal
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
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  3. Dec 12, 2006 #2

    BobG

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    We have bird feeders at work. I finally have an office with a window where I can see them (that was one of the results of the turmoil we went through last fall).

    I've also had bird feeders at home, but stocking them is kind of sporadic. Periodically, I get tired of fighting with thieving squirrels and obnoxious magpies. The thistle seeds for the finches work well in the summer, though.
     
  4. Dec 12, 2006 #3

    Evo

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    Awww, that is so wonderful. Your effort sounds like something I'd do. :smile:
     
  5. Dec 12, 2006 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    We have quail - hordes of quail sometimes. Scaled quail and Gambel's quail.
    One snowy day we had quail packed solidly into our feeding area -about 20 sq meters - almost head to head. We went through 20 pounds of feed....

    Anyway, because of the quail we feed all our birdies on the ground. The songbirds don't mind, and the mice love it, I'm sure.
     
  6. Dec 12, 2006 #5

    turbo

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    We have seed feeders, hummingbird feeders, suet feeders etc. The house has deep overhanging eaves, so we can hang feeders all over. Here is a male rose-breasted grosbeak. He is so big that this feeder (designed for chickadee-sized birds) is hard for him to eat from. We had several nesting pairs here last summer - the males had enough variations in their coloration that it was easy to pick them out.
    [​IMG]

    Here is an oriole that has taken a real fancy to the hummingbird feeder. He didn't stick around long after the hummers showed up - they are really aggressive and fast.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the alpha female ruby-throat taking her sweet time at her favorite feeder. The other females typically dash in and hover while they feed so they can make a quick getaway when they're attacked by this girl or her mate. We have feeders on the back deck, too, and when the males dogfight they (intentionally?) make a lot of noise with their wings. The females fly much more quietly. The males seem to like the big feeders on the back deck and fight over them constantly, though when we put up an additional one in the front, where this one is, it complicated things greatly. They do not share well.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a few finches. There are times when all the feeding stations are occupied, with more finches on the ground or hanging onto the wire that the feeder hangs from. The messiest of all are the goldfinches, who seem to reject about 8-9 seeds for each one they eat, throwing the rest on the ground, where chipmunks and squirrels can eat them. The purple finches are much neater birds, and don't waste as much.
    [​IMG]

    From this same window (where my PC is located) I have seen great blue herons, broad-winged hawks (including one in the process of nabbing a mourning dove), goshawks, wild turkeys, several varieties of woodpeckers, including those flashy pileated guys.

    It's cold enough now that the suet won't go rancid, so I'll hang a couple of suet baskets this afternoon for the woodpeckers and nuthatches. It has been very warm this season, so that although the chickadees have flocked up, natural feed is plentiful and they don't need the seed feeder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  7. Dec 12, 2006 #6

    SpaceTiger

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    Nice photos, turbo! Most of the birds you listed used to come to my parents' feeder back home in State College (except the grosbeak, we didn't get much activity in the summer). I'm not sure how much variety I'll be able to get in my apartment complex, but Princeton is pretty woodsy, so perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. Of the ones you showed there, I think my favorites are the orioles. I just love those colors!

    If this feeder works out well, I plan to invest in a suet feeder and perhaps a hummingbird feeder for the summer. Also, you mentioned that you get chickadees to eat of your hand. The ones here seem pretty bold as well, so maybe later in the winter I'll give that a try. :smile:
     
  8. Dec 12, 2006 #7

    SpaceTiger

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    The squirrel I showed in the OP is no longer visiting the seed feeder. I decided that, rather than try and fight them, I'll just feed them elsewhere. Back when I had a roommate, he used to leave the kitchen window open during the summer, letting the smell of his cooking drift outside. Eventually, the local squirrels were so enticed that they chewed a hole in our screen! We were awoken one morning to the sound of a squirrel crashing around in the kitchen.

    That was about a year ago, but the screen still has a hole in it. I never leave the window open anymore, but I've taken to leaving food in the gap between the window and screen. This spot is easily accessible to the squirrels and not very inviting to the birds (they're not thrilled at the idea of being wedged between the screen and glass), so it acts as a wonderful squirrel feeder. The squirrels don't bother with the seed anymore, since they have to jump from the roof to even access it.
     
  9. Dec 12, 2006 #8

    turbo

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    Once wild food becomes less accessible, the chickadees and nuthatches flock to our feeders. I simply stand near the feeder with my hand full of seeds outstretched toward the feeder. The brave ones land on my hand, grab a seed, go to a tree to eat it, then come back for another. When the other birds in the flock see them do this, many of the work up the courage to do it, too. I have had two feeding from my hand and one on my shoulder and one on my arm waiting their turns. I have not gotten a white-breasted nuthatch to take food from my hands, but the red-breasted nuthatches are braver. At first, they would hover, pick a seed and go, but after getting used to me, they would land and warm up their feet while choosing seeds. Until they get used to you, you may have to be patient and stand pretty still for a while (maybe 10-15 minutes at a stretch), so dress accordingly. Good luck.
     
  10. Dec 12, 2006 #9

    BobG

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    I hate squirrels. A squirrel robbed my wife - on her mom's front porch no less. It cornered her and threatened her with buck teeth, chattering, and implied sexual molestation. It wouldn't let her off the porch until she gave it her fudgesicle.

    I think squirrels should be effectively relocated: Squirrel relocation video.
    Or, better yet, one could recreate the most popular scene from Marathon Man: Perform your own dental procedures on a squirrel
     
  11. Dec 12, 2006 #10

    SpaceTiger

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    I've attracted another animal, it seems. Just now I heard a minor ruckus coming from the squirrel feeder (a rattling window screen). I went over to look and there was no squirrel to be seen, but a cat was sitting right below the window. After a few seconds, he looked at me and, to my surprise disappeared under the apartment! Turns out there's not only a gaping hole in our screen, but also the apartment itself. The latter hole sits right below the screen, so the neighborhood cats having been waiting in there to ambush the squirrels coming to the feeder. I've never seen a cat take down a squirrel, so I'm not too worried, but still...

    Fortunately, there's no good cover by the bird feeder, so the cats would have difficulty ambushing them. I hope they don't scare the birds away, though.
     
  12. Dec 12, 2006 #11

    SpaceTiger

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  13. Dec 12, 2006 #12

    turbo

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    ST, I forgot to add that getting the birds to feed from your hand MIGHT involve acclimation on a person-by-person basis. When a particularly chummy flock of chickadees was hanging out during one of my father's visits, I went out with seeds and within a minute or two they were taking turns eating out of my hand while my father watched through the window. I went back inside, gave him a handful of sunflower seeds so he could try it, and though he stood very still, they didn't come to him. If you get some 'dees to come to your hand, see if your GF can get them to eat from hers. I'd like to know if the wild birds actually recognize individuals rather than just thinking "there's one of those humans".
     
  14. Dec 12, 2006 #13

    SpaceTiger

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    I'm curious about this too. Right now, I'm still at the stage where they're getting accustomed to me sitting by the window while they feed. I moved my computer to the table by my window so I could watch the feeder (~5 feet away), but it makes most of the birds visibly nervous. The chickadees don't seem overly bothered by it, but the titmice and juncos have been quite jittery.
     
  15. Dec 12, 2006 #14

    turbo

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    Yeah, the titmice are very alert and jumpy guys, and even when they show up with their chickadee cousins, they spook easily. I had hoped that they would take the cue from the chickadees and realize that I was giving them food and wouldn't hurt them. That never seemed to sink in. The chickadees are so brave that they sometimes land on the seed feeders while I am hanging them up.

    BTW, when I took my hummingbird pictures, it was through an open window with macro and flash, from a distance of about 2 feet. They are brave, and sometimes when the dogfight, they use me as an obstacle for tactical purposes, but I haven't had one come to my hand. I'll have to try holding a brightly-colored flower next summer when they come back to see if they are brave enough to come to it.
     
  16. Dec 12, 2006 #15

    Moonbear

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    I just re-"seeded" the bird feeder last week. I had been meaning to do that a bit sooner, but when we got snow last week, that reminded me it was past time for it. I don't fill it in the Fall so the migratory birds are encouraged to move along and not stick around where there's a free feast. But, that also means the rest of the birds have forgotten there's a feeder there. It took about a week or two when I first put up the feeder for them to find it, so I don't think it will take too long once a few figure out it's there.
     
  17. Dec 12, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    We had to quit feeding the hummers because too many ended up as cat food. We do feed the neighbor's cats though....:grumpy:
     
  18. Dec 12, 2006 #17

    SpaceTiger

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    [​IMG]

    :biggrin:

    Image 1

    Image 2

    Image 3
     
  19. Dec 13, 2006 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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  20. Dec 13, 2006 #19

    SpaceTiger

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    Update, today I got several cardinals, a house finch, and a carolina wren! Pictures when I get them.
     
  21. Dec 13, 2006 #20

    turbo

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    Things will improve! Many birds key in on the behavior of other species to find food, and this is especially true during migrations when the birds passing through are not familiar with the terrain. When I got that oriole picture last spring, a flock of them stayed here for a couple of days topping off their tanks, then they moved on and none stayed to nest. Same with the scarlet tanagers and the pine siskins. The one bird that I really hoped to see here is the indigo bunting - as luck would have it, my father who lives about 20 miles north of here had a pair for most of the summer, and I have yet to see one here.
     
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