The migratory birds arrived a couple of weeks ago, and our bird feeders are a popular meeting place, right in front of our bay window. We have gone through many bird feeders in the last thirty years. First we used the one the former owner had left behind. It had a lot of character and was a favorite spot for the squirrels. When they sat in the bird feeder the birds stayed away, waiting for their turn. So we upgraded to a squirrel-safe bird feeder. It worked well- for a while, but it kept the bigger birds out. So we have gone through many variations of feeders.
Some feeders are well suited for only smaller birds, so larger birds are left to scavenge the seeds that are flicked out by birds making room for their preferred seeds. Others will accommodate many sized birds, in which you will usually see larger birds muscling aside smaller cousins to feed first.
So we bought a new feeder and determined that we had to hang it out of the bear’s reach. We could use one of the wires well above six feet to hang the feeder. With the help of an old broomstick with a hook on one end, I was just tall enough to hang the feeder on the wire.
But the arch nemesis of all feeders are the squirrels! In order to keep grey squirrels out of the feeder, we put a cage around it. But now the red squirrels use the cage to sit while eating. Adding sheet metal 'squirrel baffles' as roofs to feeders we bought to stop their raids has given us limited success. Eventually they conjure a way in. We have not found a good method to just feed the birds.
When I fill the bird feeder, I hear all around me this precise bird call, rippling away from the house in all directions, informing the others that dinner is ready. Usually first it is the chickadee, who over-wintered and watches us, and is acutely attuned to our patterns. The call will then be recognized by one of the various sparrows who sounds its own call. And so the ‘dinner bell’ radiates away from the house in cascading languages of wrens, titmouses, veros, orioles, finches, robins and bluejays. Time for the dinner party.
Please check out our page about Hummingbirds and our August post with a hummingbirds update including a short video!