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winter bird feeding

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1 winter bird feeding on Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:08 pm

Does anybody else do this?
We love to fill our feeders up and sit at the window with a hot cup of coffee and watch all the birds come to feed. It seems that the birds can tell when there's going to be a change in the weather as they seem to feed in earnest when there's a storm approaching.
We put suet out for the woodpeckers and so far have had 6 different species come to sample our offerings. We also offer thistle seed which brings the finches in droves.
I keep a list of "yard birds" which includes any bird seen in or flying over our yard.
So far the highlight has to be last winter when we watched an American Bald Eagle soaring over our backyard, or the European Goldfinch that came to our feeders for several days last winter.
I leave the waterfall running in our pond year-round so there is always open water for the birds to drink or bathe in. It is amazing to watch the starlings take a bath in the top of the waterfall when the temperature is hovering at 10 degrees and the wind is howling at a brisk 25 mph. That will make you shiver.
ex[brrrrr]

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2 Re: winter bird feeding on Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:55 pm

jw

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Master Bullshitter
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I used to love feeding all the birds and we would get Blue Birds and Goldfinches, Morning Doves, Humming Birds, Woodpeckers and many others. But the sad part is that I can't do it anymore since I got my two young cats. They will sit and wait at the feeders and grab the poor little things even tho they have a million bells on their collars.
You should post some nice pics of your birds so we can see them.


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3 Re: winter bird feeding on Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:13 pm

Esther


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There is feed in the feeder but not a bird moving here that we have seen in quite a while.


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4 Re: winter bird feeding on Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:11 pm

jw

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Esther wrote:There is feed in the feeder but not a bird moving here that we have seen in quite a while.

Oh they are moving alright Esther............................SOUTH


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5 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:36 am

bullfrog

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We keep feeders and love to watch them. I built some Bluebird houses and we had a pair nesting right off of our front porch. The parents fed them like crazy and I was lucky enough to be sitting out there and see the babies fly out. One was a straggler and afraid but he finally joined the flock. It was cool to see.


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6 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:12 am

3 inches of fresh snow this morning and there is a flurry of activity by the feeders

Last year we had House Wrens nest in one of our birdhouses out in the back-yard and both the wife and I were able to watch the feeding of the young for days on end. It was amazing how many insects were needed to feed the growing family.

WOW Bluebirds, huh We have seen them close to our house but not in our yard and the thought of having a nesting pair warms my heart on this snowy winter's day

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7 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:29 am


here is a picture from last winter
A White-Breasted Nuthatch and a Dark-eyed Junco

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8 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:32 pm

jw

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Master Bullshitter
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Thanks Freddie for the pics and keep posting them and everyone else post them too. I just love seeing them and I sure miss not being able to feed them but it is for their own safety. Some still come to my pond to get drinks so I am able to enjoy a few. ex[happy]


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9 Re: winter bird feeding on Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:39 pm

I found this picture of an oriole eating grape jelly last spring. We had 5 in our yard one day and were hoping to see them nest but that never happened

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10 Re: winter bird feeding on Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:10 pm

jw

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What a beauty of a bird and I like how you used that rake for a feeder...............quite clever Frederick ex[fan]


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11 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:46 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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Hey Freddie is that regular grape jelly that you are feeding the birds? I have never heard about using it. What do you put it in? Also, are those orange halves stuck on the rake?

I have heard to feed suet during the winter. I have purchased the suet blocks in the store with the birdseed pressed on the outside but the birds don't seem to go for it. Have you tried those? Do you know of a better way to put suet out that they will actually eat? I have noticed a lot of birds here for some reason this year so I would like to help them out with some food.


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12 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:33 pm

Yes that is regular grape jelly in the cup...in fact it was the cheapest stuff we could find at Walmart. They loved it. Orioles also like fruit and we happened to have oranges at the time so I just stuck them on the rake points.

We have an "oriole feeder" too, It's just a large version of a hummingbird feeder that holds sugar water. We put the oriole food out about the beginning of April here around the same time as the hummingbird feeders.

Regarding suet, We buy those blocks at the store too, mainly because they are convenient. The suet mainly attracts woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches. If you can get "raw" suet at the butcher,melt it down, then you can put anything in it you'd like and let it harden up again. We also like to smear cheap peanut butter or bacon grease on the tree truck outside our favorite window.

If you are only going to buy one type of bird seed then I would go with black oiler sunflower seeds. They attract the widest variety of birds and aren't as attractive to the undesirables like starlings and blackbirds

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13 Re: winter bird feeding on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:07 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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Thanks for the advice, Freddie. We have only fed sunflower oilers as we have found that is what they will eat. The mix with the little round seeds they ignore and only eat the sunflower oilers so that is all we have been putting out. Do you think I would get a more diverse group of birds if I would feed another seed in addition? I will try the suet again. I thought maybe the stuff sold in stores wasn't desirable to the birds.


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14 Re: winter bird feeding on Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:17 am

honestly, most of the mixed seeds especially the cheaper ones, have seeds that the birds don't like to eat. The little round red seeds in the mix are milo and most birds don't eat them. Cracked corn is pretty attractive to birds as is millet which is the small white seeds.

Our experience with the seed mixes has been that they are messy and produce numerous weeds from uneaten seeds in the garden. If you can find mixes that are marked "premium" or "waste free", those are much better but also much more expensive because they don't contain the undesirable seeds.

If you have a lot of cardinals around you can get safflower seeds because the only bird that likes them is the cardinal. We have never given them much of test, but our friends in another town have had good luck with them attracting the cardinals and a bonus is the squirrels don't touch them.

Cracked corn is a favorite of sparrows, doves, and juncos, but since it is "cracked" it does tend to rot a little quicker if it gets wet. We put out the oilers and thistle in tube feeders, mixed seed on a platform feeder and suet in cage feeders.

The nice thing about the store bought suet is that it doesn't melt if the temperature gets too high or turn rancid and smelly like raw suet from the butcher. We try to stock up on those suet blocks in the fall when the feed store has them on sale but usually run out before the winter ends.

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15 Re: winter bird feeding on Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:41 pm

Lari

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Minnow
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We feed primarily sunflower seeds and thistle seeds. Largely because of the mess of weeds that were caused when we tried the mix.

Mostly we get house finches and sparrows, but also get quite a few goldfinches, chicadee's and junco's in the winter at our feeders. For a while last spring I saw some nuthatches that resembled the chicadee's only they were larger with a different beak, they seemed to move on rather quickly.

There are some woodpeckers in the area as well as doves are common. We've seen both at the feeders and pond. We have nesting cardinals we see often, but rarely at the feeders.

We have once and only once each so far seen a scarlet tanager, a rose breasted grosbeak, an indigo bunting and a couple of times have seen bluebirds. I was rather suprised each time because we live in the city of Milwaukee. I have some rather grainy pictures of a couple of them taken through the window. But was thrilled to see them. However, we missed seeing it, but our neighbor saw a wild turkey in our yard one winter. We did see his tracks in the snow. They were huge. We were really disappointed we didn't see it.

I tried putting out an orial feeder and oranges in the past because we were told that it is not uncommon to have orials show up in our area. But so far we haven't seen them. I also put out a hummingbird feeder, but the rare times I've seen a hummer it's been visiting my flowers not the feeder.

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