Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birds and such

Renee asked what kind of bird seed I was feeding.

Well, I am not an expert, but this is what I have been doing this year and I have scads and scads and SCADS of Goldfinches (I mentioned that I counted 28 at one time). I also have two Downy Woodpeckers, a few Blue Jays and some Sparrows.

Now, sister Candy has mega birds of all kinds. She has Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, many Downy Woodpeckers, lots of Blue Jays and Juncos and Sparrows galore. In the summer she has had Orioles and Hummingbirds as well.

Her secret? The trees! The trees, my children, are what call her birds and don’t call mine. Now, I have lots of trees ... some Apples, lots of Ash, Maple and Cottonwood. But Candy has bunches and bunches (can we say hundreds?) of Mulberries, which attract birds galore!

So I have decided ...........my sister ain’t a gonna beat ME!!! I can get these birds, too! Well, it’s not really a competition, but I want birds as well!

So this fall we transplanted about 5 or 6 small mulberry trees from her place to ours. They will help make a wind break on the east and also attract birds, I hope.

Just today I ordered some plants that are attracters for the winter birds.

I have ordered 2 Winterberries, which are bushes that get up to 8 feet high. You need a male and female to get the berries on the bushes. And they might make a little bit of wind break in the west yard.

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And also 2 Bittersweets, which are vines. Norm has promised that he will help me build an old fashioned rail fence in the west yard to help make a windbreak from the strong North winds and to hold the Bittersweets and allow them to vine. You need male and female of these plants, also. I am hoping that these 2 will increase and make babies (not in front of the children, of course!) so that my fence will get swamped with the vines. Not only for the birds, but Bittersweet is popular in dried arrangements so I can pass my bounty on to others, as well as have a bunch in the house for the Yule (Christmas, Solstice, Hanukah) season.

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As far as feed (sorry, Renee, it took clear to here to answer your question), I feed Finch Mix (bulk is really not as cheap as pre-packaged, in my store), Sunflower hearts – I do have some Sunflower seeds in the shell (Black Oil ones) but Candy says the hearts are more popular. I have thistle for the Goldfinches. For several years, I fed Millet, but the birds seem to like that as much as the chickens do ............ kick it OUT of the feeder and give it to the bunnies! There is a mix that has berries and peanuts that is expensive, but I feed a little bit each time. I have suet – a commercial bar that is for woodpeckers and a bunch of regular from-the-butcher suet. I have found some recipes and hope to make my own suet as well, this next week or so. We have given cracked corn to the Jays, but we don’t have a proper feeder for them, so the chickens get it when they are out and about and the bunnies get it, as well. We need a stump of some kind and a bowl of some kind to hold it for them.

I have read in “Birds and Blooms” – a magazine that my friend, Fritzie, gave me a subscription to – that Jays like peanuts and peanut butter. So I might try to find some cheap peanuts (I’m not sure how much they cost at the store) for them. Norm sure loves the Jays.

We also have water!!! That is what is attracting so many Goldfinches (cousin Kathy said “have water, they will come.”) – I got a heated dog water-er, put some rocks in it so they wouldn’t drown and keep it filled. I have seen up to 6 Goldfinches there at one time.

So, that’s what I’m doing – not enough, but slowly building. I hope that next year the new plants will bloom and berry for the winter. The Mulberries will take several years, but it’s a start.

More trees around the feeders to make the birds feel more comfortable and I should be entertained more than I am now.

And, on a side note, I was watching when a Goldfinch landed on the old-fashioned rose bush less than 1 foot from the window – but my camera was not out where I could reach it fast enough to take a picture. But I snuck up and was almost nose-to-nose with him!!! Sweet!

It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Disclaimer - the pictures are not my own but from the company I ordered the bushes.


Candy Duell said...

You have been busy planning your bird attracting garden. Isn't it fun. I just use black oil sunflower seeds, and have good luck with that. I wonder if I should try the mixed seed too? Do you still hang out your thistle sock?

happyowl said...

Norm can have all my jays and cardinals too! I find them to be as much as a bother as the baseball team(hee hee).

I forgot to tell you the snowy owl is back in the tree. I was wondering where the crows went, now I know! He sings every night. Kinda haunting but beautiful too.

Enjoy your "warm weather"

Brightest blessings