Birds on a Wire

Sometime last week, Noel told me the birds had discovered the tray of bird seed set in the dahlia bed. And boy had they. They've taken to hanging out on the cottage roof and along the electrical service wire, swooping down to nosh on the seeds as soon as the coast is clear.

Birds on the electrical wire

Oddly, they don't seem to care for the black sunflower seeds, which I was assured were of interest to all birds by the guy at the birdfood store. I even told him what the birds we had in the yard were, after painstakingly looking them up in a book. On the other hand, he was a guy who works at a birdfood store, so maybe I was expecting too much actual expertise. I think I'll buy the "songbird mix" next time and see if that goes over well with them.

Seed tray

Also in bird news this week is the arrival of a set of feeders and nests -- more classy and official than using a planter tray. I need to come up with some sort of pole system for hanging them, given the dearth of suitable trees, so more news on that later. I'm also plotting ways of making a tray feeder that is not on the ground, so as to protect the little birdies from our neighborhood felines.

posted by ayse on 08/01/06


The thing I learned from bird feeding is that different species have different styles of feeding. There are the ones who like dinner up high. Others like to sit in the seeds on the tray while eating. There are some who take a seed and fly off and work it and come back. Then, the towhees are the ground crew. They like to eat while on the ground. (Beanie likes to lie four feet from them and stare at them.)

Of course, there are the squirrels. I can tell when they've been around. The seed's all over the place and not in the feeder. I think they like to just jump on the platform and swing it back and forth.

Dan and I have been using black iron pip from the hardware store, it is sold in 10 foot lengths. We have it cut to 8 feet, the buy a flange to fit the threated end. To this you can screw a tray-type feeder, or a cross piece and from that hand tube feeders.

To prevent squirrels, we slide 2 empty 3 liter soda bottles with the bottoms cut off on the pole, and use a pipe clamp to hang the bottle.

This is about half the cost of the "Bird Feeder Post" sold in most shops, and will last for years. The soda bottles as squirrel blockers are effecive and entertaining, as the squirrels try and climb up the pole into the bottle. I'll try and post a photo on my blog soon.

Enjoy the birds -- we've been watching a family of grosbeaks all summer-- 2 weeks ago, mom and dad stopped feeding their young'uns and we saw the whole episode.

Ali, that was what I was thinking: some kind of pipe or maybe even wooden pole. I think it's going to be a while before we have enough plant material in the yard to allow for nesting, but you never know.

We only have one squirrel and it's afraid to come in our yard because of the dogs and cats, so that's not too much of a concern.

I need your dogs! Our precious Golden Retriever is a lazy so-and-so who can't be bothered to chase off a squirrel, let alone a woodchuck!

Sorry for all the typos above, I think I was suffering from heatstroke!

Since I'm here again, I just have to say thanks for sharing the story of your renovation -- I have learned heaps.

I think it helps that we basically don't have much in the way of squirrels at all: the one we do have has many dogless yard options -- yards with big trees, no less -- and tends to avoid ours except on his way over to the another neighbor's yard.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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