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Friday, March 6, 2009

Bird Questions and Thoughts


As most of you know, I'm a fairly new birder. I never paid much attention to them (how silly is that?) until the bluebirds nested in our backyard this past Summer... I 'caught' the bug then--and my love of birds has just grown and grown. I started reading and looking at photos and information, and learning all I could. I started feeding the birds, added a birdbath ---and then started reading others' blogs about the birds. WELL---everything has gone fine until recently. My problem: the Pine Siskins have taken over the feeders and have almost run off all of my favorite birds.


For awhile I was thrilled to have all of the little siskins... I fed them and fed them and fed them... They were truly eating us out of house and home! We probably had well over 100 of them off and on all day long. AND-- I have noticed fewer and fewer of my other birds. SO I began to read some others' ideas on getting rid of the siskins. Here's some of what I have found out:
-Pine Siskins are supposed to go to Canada SOON (once it gets warm). Will they???????
-Quit feeding them.
-Take away all of the nyger/thistles/mesh feeders/finch blend bird food.


So--this past week, I've been experimenting.. I totally put away ALL of the feeders for about 4 days. I couldn't stand it. The Cardinals would just sit on the deck looking so pitiful. I than began putting out just a little Sunflower seed. I've done that for a couple of days --and there have been a few Siskins, but not many. AND--a few of my old regulars have been coming back.


We are going to be gone all next week. I guess my question is:
--Would it be best to leave all of my birdfeed inside ---to totally eliminate the siskins??
--OR---should I just leave Sunflower seed out --so that the others will have something to eat??? I don't want to lose all of our regulars---so I'm confused as to what to do. Any thoughts would be appreciated from all of you who are birders!!!



A couple of more questions:
--Is there any good way of getting the sunflower seed hulls off of the ground below the feeders???? I tried to rake ---but got everything up except the hulls.
--How often do you totally clean your feeders? I haven't cleaned them very much --and just continue to add more birdfeed to them. I did throw everything out this week and cleaned all of the feeders really well. There's no evidence of any mold or bad food in them. I always take them in during rain and at nights. (Feeders that I have: suet feeder; mesh bag with thistle; seed bell; plate with combo of sunflower seeds and chips, and safflower; a house with the same combo as the plate; and 3 hanging feeders (one with Finch blend, one with sunflower seeds, and one with safflower.)


Thanks for your help, Birders.. If you prefer to email me, that would be fine (betsyadams@mac.com). For you non-birders, IF you are still reading, here are some of my regular birds that I want to see MORE of again --like I had BEFORE the siskins came!!! Above is a beautiful male Bluebird and below are some of the others..







This is one of my fav's, the Carolina Wren. We still have a few, and they love the suet feeder along with our regular woodpeckers. But--I'm hoping that more of these little wrens will return.







We used to have lots of Goldfinches.. I've seen very few recently. Sigh!







I love our Tufted Titmice. We still have them--but not as many as we did. Hopefully, they will start coming back.







This beauty is a White-breasted Nuthatch. We still have a few, but hopefully more soon.







Finally, I LOVE this picture. It was taken on a very foggy afternoon. The little Carolina Chickadee came there and talked to me for awhile (since I was standing out on the deck). Isn't he a Cutie????
Hugs,