Cherry Saturday, Feb. 1, 2018

February is Bird-Feeding Month.

I love bird feeders but we’re not supposed to have them because of bears.  (I remember visiting Pat Gaffney once, and watching her yell out at the window at a huge black bear that was snacking on her bird feeder.  The bear ignored her, which isn’t easy to do with Pat.)   I keep thinking if I can hang  a feeder high enough on the house away from trees (we have a lot of trees), maybe it would work and I could watch the birds again, but bears climb, and the idea of waking up and seeing a bear looking in my bedroom window while he snacks is not attractive.   And then, of course, there are the squirrels.

Feed the birds because I can’t.  Thank you.

(It’s also Library Lovers Month, but that’s pretty much all year round here, so I went with the birds.)

The early bird gets the earworm:

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

46 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, Feb. 1, 2018

  1. I feed birds daily. Then watch them eat and fly about as I do my morning philosophy reading. It’s a very calming, pleasant experience.

    0

    1. I don’t have a squirrel problem with my feeders but my daughter does. I gave her a neatly designed feeder which has spring loaded platforms. Squirrels and greedy heavier birds like jackdaws cause them to drop, pulling down a door which closes the aperture. Need to keep it lubricated but works well. Can’t see it working for bears though.

      1+

      1. I’m trying to think how angry a bear-sized spring-loaded feeder would make a bear. Our bears are pretty chill (black bears not brown) but there’s a limit.

        1+

  2. I feed the birds. I once went on a multi-day tirade about annoying squirrels that we’re eating all the birdseed and then one morning I looked out the window to watch a deer hop up on her back legs and vacuum all the seed out of the feeder. I did not apologize to the squirrels.

    My calendar says today is National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast day. I don’t know where it got the information, but I am going to go with it.

    11+

    1. I have seen both deer and squirrels eat out of our bird feeder.

      Off to get some ice cream. So what if I’m a day late.

      6+

  3. We used to feed birds but now we plant flowers and grasses that produce seeds the birds eat, like bachelor buttons. I enjoy the flowers in the spring and the birds enjoy the seeds in the summer and fall.

    Don’t the bears hibernate during the winter in your neck of the woods? You could feed birds in the winter and take the feeders down in the spring when the bears wake.

    3+

    1. In theory. But it keeps warming up, so they’re in light hibernation; they wake up and wander.
      I let the berries and weeds go wild here and I have half an acre of woods that’s completely wild, so there’s plenty of forage. I just like seeing them up close.

      2+

  4. I wondered about the bears hibernating as well. I’m in Alaska, and we have bears nearby, but still put up bird feeders while the bears snooze. We just put the feeders away in the spring, and don’t put them up until we have reports that the bears aren’t roaming anymore.

    At least the moose don’t seem interesting in the birdseed. That’s the only kind of deer we have in my area. Squirrels, though, are plentiful.

    2+

    1. My cottage is on a hill, so the first floor is a floor-and-a-half high in back. I keep thinking if I put a birdfeeder outside my bedroom window, the bears probably couldn’t get it. But then the squirrels would and the dogs would go INSANE because their motto is All Squirrels Must Die. Sigh.

      3+

      1. We have monkey troops that come by and raid bins, if there’s no fruit on the trees.

        Some dogs go nuts, others couldn’t be bovvered.

        2+

  5. I have a humming bird feeder on a hook outside my kitchen window. They’re nasty, territorial little snots, but at least they’re pretty to watch.

    3+

    1. That would explain the hummingbirds chasing each other last summer. Love watching them. I have one who hovers in front of me while I write. He (assuming its a he as it is quite big), just watches me for a bit and flies off. Have been feeding them this winter. Then there are the chickadees still about too. Carol

      1+

  6. I’m not a bird person, but a friend’s father was visiting me with her once and spotted a rare (in New England) bird in the field behind my house. This was maybe 25 years ago, and he still talks about it! I feed them by growing (or not not-growing) milkweed and thistle and elderberries and wild grapes and Queen Anne’s lace and assorted herbs.

    1+

  7. I have bird feeders at my current house because for the first time in my life I have indoor cats. It always seemed kind of cruel to put up bird feeders when I had cats that went outside. [Come eat…and die.] I eat my breakfast in the living room, where not only is the light the best in the morning, but I can look out the window and watch the birds.

    Admittedly, the squirrels do get as much as the birds do, and there are always deer tracks around the feeder as well. This year I’ve spotted a very cool ring-necked pheasant a number of times. No bears…yet.

    On a gloomy winter’s day, seeing a bright red cardinal (and I have many) can really boost my spirits. I only feed in the winter, though, because it can get expensive, and in the other seasons, there is plenty for them to eat.

    3+

    1. There was a grad student in one of my classes that lived up the mountain, who kept bridge feeders to attract falcons to his backyard. He had a pretty good success with it, especially during migratory season.

      2+

    2. I love the cardinals!! I don’t get many, but last week there was one in the lilac trees lining the side of the house. It was snowy and the red and white is so pretty. I was chuffed.

      At my feeders I have mostly jays, black capped chickadees, juncos and goldfinch. Except when I forget to take the feeders down in the spring. Then I get a whole host of other birds. And bears.

      3+

      1. I was spoiled in Ohio. That’s the state bird so there were always cardinals around. Now when I see them, it’s a surprise. But here we have bluebirds, so it’s a fair trade.

        2+

    3. My husband calls our feeder a “bird lure” when speaking for the cat. “Hey Dad. The bird lure is empty.”

      2+

  8. I not only feed them, I have a heated bird bath for them, which (sigh) I usually have to put water in every day. On the bright side, the bird bath is right outside my husband’s home office window, so he actually gets to see the birds drinking and bathing.

    5+

  9. I am lobbying for a bird feeder on a pole with a slinky. As I understand it the squirrels will climb the pole and when they start to put weight on the slinky slide back down. I also understand that sometimes they figure out to work in teams with the first one pulling the slinky down and the second one then climbing the slinky like a stairs.

    4+

  10. I must put a bird feeder up outside my window at work this winter. I’ve got a suitable little tree there now.

    Jenny, if you put up a sugar-water feeder, would the bears get into that?

    2+

  11. Lots of bird forage in the gardens here, and nesting spots. Our backyard fountain – slow-tumbling water over a pot’s edge, with stones to stand on and a thick pot rim – is the focal point to watch the birdies bathe and flap around. They sit above on the bottlebrush and climbing rose branches to wait their turn. Outside the bedroom doors, in addition to lots and Lots and LOTS or roses, is a salvia patch. That’s where I watch the hummers sip the throats of (currently) orange salvia flowers. Birds seem unbothered by the moving, creaking, water-spitting two-bobbing-crows fountain, but they don’t use it either.

    2+

  12. I only put a handful out when the birds arrive – and they usually eat the lot. No bears here in Australia, but I’ve been told that you need to have fresh seeds, or the birds can get sick. The biggest problem is bored sulphur crested cockatoos eating wooden window frames and balcony rails…

    3+

  13. I live in a small seacoast town and vaguely remember a controversy in town about a woman who put up numerous bird feeders much to the dismay of her neighbors. They complained to the selectman because of bird droppings and also bringing vermin to their property. I think you have to keep other people in mind and be reasonable in endeavors, imagining like it was like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Now about those wind chimes!

    1+

    1. She put out feeders on the coast? Doesn’t that just get you a lot of seagulls?
      I live a good two hours from the ocean, and we get seagulls in our parking lots here. I can’t imagine being on the coast and luring those guys.

      2+

      1. Yes, just last week there was swarm of seagulls hovering over the bay and when I looked over to the right I saw my neighbor throwing bread crusts (I think) into the water. Seagulls should be on their own, give the crusts to the little guys.

        1+

          1. Seagulls can look pretty cool when they land on the beach, grab a clam and fly up in the air only to drop it to crack the shell to feed. Another trick is when they catch the wind and just soar, but pooping on my car is not nice. We had a couple of cardinals at the end of fall and they looked awesome on the bare branches. The bird I’m wary of is the blue jay especially in the spring, boy do they guard they’re nests. I’ve seen them attack other birds to keep them away and even gone after me when I would go to the clothesline. Pretty much given up on the clothesline except for big items.

            2+

          2. We get both blue jays and scrub jays. A few years ago I watched 5 crows swarm a scrub jay nest. They were very effective at attacking the parents so the other crows could get the chicks.

            1+

  14. Years ago, we had tall fir trees across the street from our house. When they were taken down, birds started to crash against our livingroom window because they didn’t see it as a barrier. So I had to put up curtains (which I don’t particularly like), otherwise our cat would just sit below our window and wait until the next concussed bird fell down.

    So we don’t feed the birds. But we have a huge rowan in our backyard which produces enough berries to feed birds and squirrels. I love to watch them both from my bathroom window. Those are red squirrels, though. I heard they are endangered because the grey kind (originally from America but now also living in Europe) is outcompeting them (is that the term? I had to look it up…)

    2+

  15. We have no bears in airport-adjacent L.A. I haven’t even seen a squirrel in our neighborhood! But we do have birds. An Allen’s hummingbird laid claim to my backyard feeder this weekend.

    I have to plant some real plants in the front yard and then put my seed feeder out there. I’ve had it in the back but the seed-eating birds have not found it, or have found it and don’t like the ambiance. I observe and obey, my tiny feathery overlords.

    2+

  16. I haven’t met a feeder that squirrels couldn’t break into, and besides so-called squirrel-proof feeders I’ve tried slinkies or petroleum jelly on the hangers. I admit I enjoy watching the squirrels come up with ways to get to the seeds.

    When I left the feeders up too long last year, I got a bear. Fun to watch. The real problem is that I don’t want to encourage them to hang out near me or other people.

    I’m in New England. Interesting, different birds come at different times of day. The wild hen turkey joins the squirrels first thing in the morning. Swarms of little birds come at a separate time from the jays, crows, and mourning doves. The woodpeckers are a constant. I like to slow down my life and watch for awhile.

    2+

  17. I wonder if you could train the birds? Put out a small dish of seed every day at XX:XX o’clock, and then bring it back in after an hour. Sounds like a hassle.

    I will add that one of my country schools has a squirrel feeder with walnuts that the kids gather up. Maybe the squirrels get the walnuts before the bears (and to be honest, that school probably doesn’t have bears in a 10 km radius) so there’s no temptation? The squirrels really are cute, Hokkaido squirrels, and seem to have a genetically wary personality. I love going there (-:.

    2+

  18. Mom puts up hummingbird feeders every year. They don’t attract bears or squirrels (no bears around here and the squirrels are more interested in the pine cones and acorns) but they do sometimes attract ants, even when they’re hung from a hook to minimize contact with the ground. 😀

    1+

  19. The most popular feeder in my yard is a scratched board about 8 feet x 6 inches (2 and a half meters long, 15 cm wide) that we scrounged from a dumpster. We set it up right above a box shrub, which provides plenty of cover when the hawks come. Birds can see the seed from above, perch on the wooden supports the board rests on, and flee into the box bush when the hawk is seen (or announced by blue jays — one of their redeeming features!). I think the proximity of natural hiding places is key to a successful bird feeding setup.

    3+

  20. One of my two dogs would be over the moon if we put up a squirrel feeder — she’s out in all weathers, surveying the trees in the yard for signs of squirrel. She and her sister nearly caught one yesterday morning, even without a feeder — I’m willing to bet that squirrel A) has nightmares for weeks; and B) never comes back in our yard.

    2+

    1. My daughter’s cat brought home the same chipmunk twice. The chipmunk even nosed our sliding glass door as if to say, “When are you coming out to play?” The cat did not kill the chipmunk, but that thing rated on the Darwin list anyway.

      4+

Comments are closed.