Friday, October 17, 2008

slow day in the 'burbs

I've become a little obsessed with attracting birds to my backyard. I started with a niger feeder, which the chickadees love (and so do the juncos, who pick up what the chickadees drop), and graduated to a peanut feeder. The squirrels have fattened up nicely on the peanut feeder, though it has also attracted a couple of stunning Northern Flickers. In an effort to lower my seed bill and give the birds a fair chance we made a squirrel baffle with the bottom of a 4L milk jug. Like crows, squirrels thrive for a reason:

Since then we've lengthened the hanging line! Next we got one of those kits for building a glass-sided feeder with a little roof over top. Talk about being a victim of its own success: yesterday I counted seven Steller’s Jays, one flicker and two squirrels duking it over squatting rights. When the crows got interested it was all over except for the crying (like Tuesday’s election). I had to rescue the feeder after they’d totally emptied it and knocked it out of the tree. The cat was thrilled by the show, though.

But enough endless excitement from the 'burbs. Wouldn't you rather check out what happens when bad cakes happen to good people?

Or maybe you'd prefer to become a walking Chia Pet (or take home a Chia Thug)?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a total of six feeders out now - a suet feeder, three filled with a mostly sunflower mix, one stuck to the window with thstle seed for the finches and chickadees, and a hummingbird feeder. It is definitely an obsession.

17/10/08 6:17 p.m.  
Blogger WW said...

I can't believe Homely Escapeons hasn't commented on this yet and gone on and on and on and on about all of his boring backyard battles with bothersome beasts that made him blubber like a baby.

Great pix though! It MUST have been a slow day in the burbs! But isn't that the beauty of backyards and 'burbia anyway?

17/10/08 9:20 p.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Here, I dare not even have a bird bath cos all the cats would treat it as their personal diner...

17/10/08 9:58 p.m.  
Blogger DONN COPPENS said...

Well Wienerhead your wish is about to come true!

I love birds too. For several years I fed those poor, little, starving, descendents of the Dinosaurs, until I discovered that the mess they scattered below (roughly 50%) attracted hordes of field mice..
who eventually decided to see how much food I had in my house!

and as Forrest Gump would say, "and tha-at's awl ah hav to say about tha-at."

17/10/08 10:46 p.m.  
Blogger andy said...

Hi Andrea, I know it's been a loooooong time since I did anything other than lurk around here, but if your squirrels think they're smart, they ought to take a look at what these guys can do.

Oh, and to save money, we now buy sunflower kernels by the 15kg sack!

18/10/08 12:56 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Citizen: A suet feeder is next on my list but I'll save the hummingbird feeder until next spring since it will soon be winter here in the Great White North.

WW: Who knew going on strike would generate such brilliant alliteration? Time to start working on that novel?

Dinah: Do they prefer boiled or in a fondue?

Donn: So much for 'wildlife stewardship', eh? I'm looking at this newest feeder and wondering what the heck to do with it now...

Andy: That video is brilliant! And that squirrel looks as fat and sassy as the ones in our garden. One of ours actually looks like it sports rolls and its tail is HUGE. They really are the rodent equivalent of crows, aren't they? Have you seen the short TED documentary on crows and their problem-solving skills?

18/10/08 7:19 a.m.  
Blogger andy said...

Yes, crows are amazing. Made me smile though to hear David Attenborough's voice on one of the clips in the middle of that TED video - is there nothing in the world of natural history that he's not a part of?

18/10/08 8:20 a.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

All the feeders up and running now? Sounds like quite a show.

And I just spend way too much time looking at bad cakes. I thought the baby shower one with the plastic baby exploding out of the female torso could've been more effective with better graphic detail though.

18/10/08 9:11 a.m.  
Blogger Deborah Ross said...

I've had a theater for my cats outside the back door, but then the squirrels overcame the birds and then the mice moved in. When I saw mice climbing around my garden in daylight I knew it was time to take a break from the feeders for awhile.
No granddaughter yet, but I'm holding my breath.

18/10/08 3:55 p.m.  
Blogger ziggi said...

You need a horse! Really, Freddie hates squirrels and chases them out of his field.

19/10/08 1:32 a.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I'm not a bird feeder....yet. My fil was just telling me about the birds that he feeds in Texas.

My neighbor does feed the birds (maybe that's why I don't have to) and has a squirrel guard up. The squirrels provide lots of entertainment for my dogs who watch them like it's TV or something.

I am one of those who makes tasty but ugly cakes.

19/10/08 8:08 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ellen: OMG. That is exactly what I thought about that cake!

Deb: You are the second person to say that and all of a sudden I'm thinking I need to put the brakes on here.

Ziggi: Absolutely right I need a horse. Got one for me? :)

Cynthia: I once make this elaborate dinosaur birthday cake that would NOT stick together no matter what I tried. Tasty, though, yes.

19/10/08 9:23 a.m.  
Blogger Alda said...

I love the ring in that last picture - what a fantastic idea!!

19/10/08 2:11 p.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

We have two feeders out currently, and the suet feeder and a further regular feeder are soon to come as the cold increases. Our Flicker is especially favored here, although he has to compete with our lone Steller's Jay.

20/10/08 10:33 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Alda: I'm just wondering how you avoid dumping the soil.

Ian: Aren't they amazing birds? Mine was back today, riding the feeder fun ride as it spins like a top now!

20/10/08 4:12 p.m.  
Blogger Kikipotamus said...

We have the same peanut feeder...but I'm pretty sure it's a different squirrel.

20/10/08 4:27 p.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

The first year after I moved here I fed the steller jays peanuts. By hand. It took only a little acclimation before they were coming down to sit on the railing and accept a hand out.

But they bury things too, you know? And they started "burying" peanuts in my eaves troughs. Bad, very bad.

21/10/08 6:58 a.m.  
Blogger tlc illustration said...

I have a number of feeders - seed and suet and hummingbird. I can see five from my studio window (one is right outside hanging from my eaves) and another two outside my kitchen window. The juncos were taking care of a lot, although not all, of the fallen seeds, but now with my darling backyard chickens - *everything* is cleaned completely up. It's their favorite thing to do when I let them out to 'free range' - they *run* to the closest feeder and eat anything on the ground (including sunflower seed shells? There don't seem to be any of those left either) and then they *run* to the next one to repeat until finished. No mice. No rats. Lots of birds.

You just need chickens. :-)

21/10/08 7:36 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

I miss feeding the birds. I had four feeders with niger thistle and sunflowers, and mixed seeds. My cats really enjoyed watching out the window and I was always thrilled to see a flock of customers show up at the feeder. But one day I was looking out the window and thought I saw the tan bark under the feeder moving. Then I realized it wasn't the tan bark moving but dozens of mice. Apparently I was helping to feed an ever increasing army of rodents too! I had to stop feeding the birds to get rid of the mice.

21/10/08 7:46 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Kiki: They all look the same to me. :) (I'm being species-ist.)

Hayden: That reminds me that I need to call the roofing guy...

Tara: Clearly I need chickens.

Jana: Yikes. That's what I'm afraid of.

23/10/08 9:40 a.m.  

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