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Old 12-06-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
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It's been so cold here, like a lot of the eastern part of the country so I've filled my feeders and put out the suet a bit earlier than I normally do. The seeds on the coneflowers have been eaten or fallen for next year's crop. The leaves dropped early and we have had snow flurries every day for the past week.

I decided to add some more sunflower seed feeders this year to reduce the competition and got a new thistle feeder because the old one self-destructed after 10 years. The old sunflower feeder has been abuzz with activity since I put it up a week or so ago and the new thistle feeder has recently been discovered by the goldfinches. Today I saw red bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, purple finches, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches at the feeders. Nearby scratching below the feeders were rufous sided towhees (I really like these guys, so colorful!) and juncos. A whole flock of juncos came through at once! That was cool.

The suet feeder and the new sunflower feeders are yet to be discovered. I did see a couple of chickadees at the new sunflower feeder but they seem to prefer the old one. Maybe they just don't like the location or need to get used to it. I haven't seen my bluebirds since the last clutch hatched in late summer, I'll put out the mealworms when I see them again, they usually hang around here all year. That fancy mealworm feeder I bought is a dud, a pie plate would be just as good if not better I think.

How are your bird friends doing?
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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I started filling mine early this year too.... I hope we're not in for another winter like last year. I've got suet out. I made a whopper batch just in case we got another really cold winter. I ran out last year and that was a 1st. I'm running with safflower and sunflower seed in our main feeders and thistle seed for the finches. That seems to keep the starlings away. I really don't know how our birds are doing since I haven't been around the last coupla weeks but.... the feeders are emptying quick so they're out there. I can see little birdie prints in the snow.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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My feeders have been really busy this week. It snowed Saturday and it hasn't been above the mid thirties since, which is a huge change since the week before when it had been in the 50s and 60s. The birds are really hungry.

My daughter made suet with a bunch of berries from the yard (pokeberries, holly berries, sweet box berries), bird seed, and lard, and it has been a huge hit with the pine warblers, Carolina wrens, a couple of downy woodpeckers, my pair of red-bellied woodpeckers and one eastern bluebird.

I have a tray feeder on my deck rail that I am filling with safflower, since the squirrels mostly leave it alone. The titmice, chickadees, juncos cardinals and nutchatches seem to like it.

I also have up thistle for the finches, although they don't seem to like the new batch I just bought, not clear why not. I have a tube feeder filled with a blend of sunflower, safflower and peanuts that they all come from - it is large, but I am filling it every other day this week.

Last year I put out mealworms, but decided it is too expensive.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turttle View Post
My feeders have been really busy this week. It snowed Saturday and it hasn't been above the mid thirties since, which is a huge change since the week before when it had been in the 50s and 60s. The birds are really hungry.

My daughter made suet with a bunch of berries from the yard (pokeberries, holly berries, sweet box berries), bird seed, and lard, and it has been a huge hit with the pine warblers, Carolina wrens, a couple of downy woodpeckers, my pair of red-bellied woodpeckers and one eastern bluebird.
...
I got spoiled by the unseasonably warm weather too.

I like the idea of using berries from your own yard. I'm not sure if I'll ever make my own suet, but I might freeze some pokeberries and others to pull out in the winter.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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Turttle: Way cool idea to use berries from your yard in your suet! I don't make my own, but my mom does. Will give her that idea!

My feeders have been up for quite some time. I have to refill them almost every day! I mainly get sparrows, house finches, cardinals, mourning doves and downy woodpeckers on the suet. Nothing very fancy, but they need to eat, too!
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:07 PM   #6
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...I mainly get sparrows, house finches, cardinals, mourning doves and downy woodpeckers on the suet. Nothing very fancy, but they need to eat, too!
Not fancy, maybe...but they are all favorites. ...and cardinals are kinda flashy/attractive to most people...personally I like them all.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:37 PM   #7
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I don't get many sparrow, I'm not sure why.

I have noticed a distinct drop this year in the number of finches and pine warblers, and I have no pine siskins. I wonder what happened to all of them?

Dapjwy brought up a question on my West Nille thread, about feeders causing birds to congregate, potentially enabling disease to spread amongst them and potentially to humans from them. Given this, should we be feeding birds?

Are we doing the birds a favor, allowing their populations to artificially increase if it then sets them up for disease to spread (think of house fince eye disease)?

Last year they sent out a notice about salmonella being spread by the pine siskins, partly coupled with the issue of salmonella in the peanuts in some of the feed.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turttle View Post
I don't get many sparrow, I'm not sure why.

I have noticed a distinct drop this year in the number of finches and pine warblers, and I have no pine siskins. I wonder what happened to all of them?

Dapjwy brought up a question on my West Nille thread, about feeders causing birds to congregate, potentially enabling disease to spread amongst them and potentially to humans from them. Given this, should we be feeding birds?

Are we doing the birds a favor, allowing their populations to artificially increase if it then sets them up for disease to spread (think of house fince eye disease)?

Last year they sent out a notice about salmonella being spread by the pine siskins, partly coupled with the issue of salmonella in the peanuts in some of the feed.
I hate to give up feeding, but after reading an article last year, I've wondered what to do. I'll search for the article and share it here if I can find it. (Or should I start an new thread?)

So far, I try moving the feeder every so often. I'm hoping to avoid ground feeding birds potentially searching for seed among bird droppings.

I do sprinkle some seed directly on the ground at times, but I vary the location for the same reason. This might not be doing enough.

I'm considering planting a lot of sunflowers this year, at least that way when bird eat all the seed from the seedhead, they will go to a fresh seedhead.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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The question of bird health and feeders seems to come up every year. I'm still using feeders but leave all the plant stalks with seeds until spring clean up so I guess I'm supplementing with feeders. I don't use platform feeders but like dapjwy will sprinkle some sunflower seeds on the deck (not the ground under the feeders) for the cardinals, sparrows, juncos and other ground feeding birds.

I haven't seen many purple finches around yet, but the goldfinches are abundant. We don't get pine siskins or warblers because our woods are almost entirely deciduous with eastern redcedars sprinkled in.

I too would hate to give up feeders because I enjoy watching the birds so much. I'll try doing more reading on the subject though just to be sure I'm doing the right thing.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:34 AM   #10
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I think giving up your feeders would be a mistake. One of the most important reminders of our need to be vigilant in protecting wildlife are the animals we encounter daily in our backyards. Furthermore, when neighbors (and their children) see your feeders, it is a reminder to them that people value wildlife and may encourage them to do likewise and take further interest. I have relatives that began with bird feeders and then decided to set aside some land. Granted, the land was used for hunting bobwhites lol but all the other birds were left in peace.
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