Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birdie Buffet with Surprise Visitor

We’re a little bird crazy at our house.  Our kitchen window is bird-theater central with five feeders providing a little something for all the birds that may be passing through. 

Check out the finch in mid-flight in the lower left corner of the picture below. 
Finch in Mid-Flight (lower left)

Busy Feeders

Each season brings different birds to the garden.  In the summer, the painted buntings are the stars and in the winter, the finches steal the show.  

The finches ability to eat upside down is so fascinating, I could watch for hours. They love nyger seed which is served up in a special feeder. The umbrella domed top helps keep the seed dry for these picky eaters.

During the shoulder seasons, Baltimore orioles and other exotic visitors pass through our yard, but Cardinals are our most colorful and constant visitors.  Cardinals will keep the same mate for multiple seasons, and I have witnessed males sharing food with their female mate.  It's very sweet to watch. 

The male is bright red and black, while the females are buff with an orange beak and redish tuft of feathers on their head.

Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to my feeders, so I bought a special feeder just for them.  Our new peanut feeder is specially designed for woodpeckers.  Weight sensitive perches protect the peanuts from being pillaged by unwelcome visitors.  I haven't spotted a woodpecker on my new peanut feeder yet but the chickadees seem to like it.
Woodpecker on Traditional Feeder
Chickadee on Peanut Feeder
Protecting feeders from squirrels and raccoons can be challenging.  Baffles are commonly used to keep climbing animals from creeping up poles.
Squirrel Baffle
Squirrel Baffle Closeup
Raccoon Baffle
Raccoon Baffle Closeup
A squirrel proof feeder with weight sensitive perches keeps even the most persistent critters from accessing the seed.

Safflower is highly desired by Cardinals, but the squirrels just leave it alone.

Unprotected feeders are free game for squirrels.  Squirrels will suck a feeder dry in a short period of time if you let them.  Unfortunately, they will destroy feeders, so it's best to keep them out of your bird feeders and provide them with separate ground feeders. 
Mr. Squirrel Climbs the Pole
Reaching for the Feeder
"The seed is mine for the taking", says Mr. Squirrel
Yum! Yum!


  1. Great shots of your birds.

    We love the birds, too. We don't have a feeder up right now. We bought a new weight sensitve feeder, and that along with a hanging baffle, kept the squirrels out. But, raccoons ripped all the feeders down, and actually broke the new one.
    We need a new plan of attack. Maybe try to get a pole in the ground, like yours. A lot of rock to work through...ugh

  2. maybe my squirrels have become complacent or something, but they haven't bothered the feeders that I don't really want them at. It's like they're happy enough with me supplying a feeder of just black oil sunflower that they have easy access to and they'll leave the other ones alone...of course, now that I've written this on the internet, that will all go to hell and I'll see them in one of the other feeders.

  3. Wow--you have so much action on your feeders. I'm impressed with the shots too--I especially like the cardinal "glaring" at you in the shot. :) The shot of the finch mid-flight is a great one!

  4. When I'm taking pictures, the birds seem to be quite alert to my presence. In several of the photos I took, they seem to turn around and look right at me, or they peak around the edge of the feeder to see what I'm up to. It's pretty funny.

  5. Really good pictures. The 'glaring cardinal' is magazine quality.
    You're making me want to go out and get a bird feeder.
    Cindy S.

  6. How exciting!! I love watching the finches. I currently have a finch feeder outside my kitchen window. Sure makes washing dishes less of a chore. The Cardinals are so beautiful. They come to my feeder in pairs. I noticed they are the last to feed in the morning and at night.

    Looks like your yard is a birding bonanza:)

  7. Hey Rambling, great minds think a like. My main feeder station is outside of my kitchen window as well. It's a great winter for bird watching.

  8. What a fabulous post! Loved all the pictures, and descriptions, Ally! Gorgeous! And I think that putting all the feeders together in a cluster is a great idea! The birds feel safer in greater numbers and see and are attracted even more to them and the variety offered! It never occurred to me until I saw how you did it! By the way, are these Droll Yankee feeders? They look really high quality.

    1. Hey Emil, some of our older feeders are Droll Yankee, but these days Wild Birds Unlimited on Bee Caves is my store of choice. Their feeder warranty is unsurpassed and their staff are very helpful. The pole with all the feeders is a Wild Birds Unlimited product which is fully customizable. It's a little spendy, but the set up was a breeze and I know it will last forever.