Tag Archives: cardinal

The Feeders Are Ready for Winter

I don’t really feed the birds over the summer because there’s plenty of natural food around for them.  But as the plants die back, seeds become scarcer and the cold sets in, I get the feeders out.  I have to admit, I’m pretty sloppy when I put things away, so they really needed cleaning and checking out for any problems.

First up was the Squirrel Stopper Feeder Pole.  I still love this pole set-up for keeping off the squirrels and hanging a good assortment of feeders.  I just wish I hadn’t put it up so close to a tree that the squirrels can jump from (they warned me in the instructions!).  But, I decided to sacrifice for the ability to watch the birds so easily.  I will say that to the pole designers credit, NO squirrel has climbed up the pole.

But, back to cleaning.  I had been noticing a little rust and accumulated bird dirt on the poles, so after wiping it down, my husband Steve sanded the rust spots and sprayed a little Rustoleum on it.


Now ready for the feeders.  I have feeders for peanuts, suet, sunflower seeds, a fun No/No Sunflower Ball for the chickadees, a No/No Cardinal Feeder and cheerful a No/No Sunflower Feeder.

Bird feeders

I wiped down the wire feeders and scrubbed out the tube feeders with a long handled brush using a dilute bleach solution (1 part bleach:9 parts water and rinse thoroughly).  While checking the feeders, I did notice some issues with a couple.  The squirrels had chewed a hole in the peanut feeder.  Right through the wire mesh.

peanut feeder

So I ordered a new Perky Pet Sunflower and Peanut Feeder  that is supposed to be super strong against chewing squirrels.  Seems pretty solid to me.


The squirrels have also chewed away at the No/No Cardinal Feeder, but other than making it a little oddly shaped, haven’t made any holes.  The cardinals don’t seem to mind.

No-No Cardinal Feeder

The seed bins were full and ready, too.  Although, I did notice that I am out of shelled peanuts so I need to make another trip to the feed store.

IMG_3890 (1)

Here’s some of my favorite feeder “scoops” and funnels.  This small investment has made the process of filling the feeders a lot easier and less messy.


All finished and ready for winter!  If you know anything about our current winter here in Chicago, you know that this “finished” picture was taken a few weeks ago during the one snowfall we’ve had so far.

Then in addition to the usual birds that arrived almost immediately–chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, cardinals, goldfinches, downy woodpeckers–I had an extra special visitor at my Snowman Feeder.  A Northern Flicker!

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

What’s your favorite feeder?  Any interesting birds in your yard this winter?


Winter Weariness

photo by peggy

While we may not be having the horrendous weather some of my friends on the East Coast are having, we in Chicago, Michigan and the rest of the Midwest are having our own winter frustrations.

This winter started out not too bad, but January and February have really kicked it up a notch.  Record snow, record cold, Old Man Winter is really piling it on, especially tough on top of last winter.

Today’s news…

weather chart

It’s hard to even think about the garden.  I haven’t really been in the mood to look at the seed catalogues that are piling up or to get ready to start any seedlings yet.  I feel like spring is never going to come.  But I know, all of a sudden this will be over and spring will sneak up on us.  Hopefully sooner than later.

My mom made use of a recent blizzardy day, where she couldn’t even see the neighbors house, to takes some photos of the feathered and furry friends who are thankful for her food.

photos by peggy


Photo by







I think these photos made the cold, snowy, wintry day a lot better!  Hope you enjoyed them, too.

(Photo Credit: Weather graphic from Tracy Butler/ABC 7 Chicago)

Snow and More Snow

The last couple of weeks we have already had what feels like, and may turn out to actually be, a whole winter’s worth of weather here in Chicago. The problem is, it’s only early January.  I grew up in the snow belt of Buffalo, so I should be used to this. But, over the last 20 years, I’ve become a bit more used to the weather here. And the weather we’ve had lately is highly unusual both in low temperatures and snowfall. In some cases even record breaking and we I know we aren’t alone!

Storms all seem to be needing a name these days. The Weather Channel has officially named this storm “Ion”.  But, really, I find the whole concept of officially naming snowstorms like hurricanes odd.  The US NWS Chicago is using #chiberia to tag photos and comments. That’s actually fun since you can easily follow storm reporting from everyone on Facebook and Twitter. Then there’s #windchillmageddon. That’s my husband Steve’s contribution.   Do you have a name to add?  Whatever the case, this has been quite a couple of weather weeks, and I’m sure this will be a stretch of weather we’ll all remember.

I finally got all my feeders and seed out there just in time. I wish I had already picked up the heated birdbath my mom is passing on to me since she got a new one. I think the birds could be using some spa time. She says hers is busy all the time.

The feeders are all full.

snowman feeder







The arborvitae and other shrubs are providing the birds with some winter protection from the snow and wind.  They collect in the shrubs, then pop out to the feeders.  Back and forth all day, until something invisible scares them off for a bit.




Daisy spends most of her time outdoors staring at the tree…


..and the squirrel quite boldly staring back.


Here’s some more storm images from my yard. Doesn’t look quite as inviting as in the summertime.








As of Sunday night (1/5/13), we’ve had about 8.5 inches in the last 24 hours, and about 21 inches since New Year’s Eve when this all started. The water content has averaged about 8%, making it nice and fluffy snow. While I am writing this Sunday night, the temperature has just dropped below zero with significantly dangerous wind chills.  It’s not expected back above zero for about 34 hours. Brrrr. The kids are getting and extra day off so they are happy. Hope you are all warm and safe!

Blog-Themed Christmas

The gifts under the tree this year from my kids definitely had a outdoor theme to it.  My daughter has been one of my first blog followers, and even a photo contributor to my site, but who knew my 17 yr old boys paid attention at all?  (To be honest, I may have given the boys some hints, but they put their own spin on it)

First, I already get a few gardening and cooking magazines, but now I can add  Organic Gardening to my reading list.  I already follow it on-line, and I’m sure it’ll come in handy as I expand my gardening skills and knowledge.  Then, they got me a new bird tube feeder, a suet feeder and suet to go with the nyjer sock feeder.  I’m enjoying the visits from the goldfinches, but I hope I’ll be seeing more birds arriving in my yard with these new feeders.  I also put the feeders out just in time too, with the frigidly cold weather and snow settling in for a while.   The cute snowman feeder I saw on the Feeder Cam, also mysteriously made it under the tree.

bird feeders

Luckily we had a couple of days above freezing and I could get this pole moved into the right spot.

bird feeders

Then, I added the suet feeder and moved the snowman to the area.  I filled his brim with seed and hope we don’t have any winds to knock him over.  This area has the added bonus of being visible from the kitchen window.  But, this was the view and as soon as the birds started showing up, I knew there was a problem.


The screens were going to have to go!  Now the view is much better!  Cardinals, Juncos, a Downy Woodpecker are already visiting.  Being at the sink is going to be much more fun now.

bird feeder

My daughter surprised me with a very cute air-plant terrarium from a garden shop near her apartment. I’ll show that in an upcoming post.  

Hope you had a lot of fun things under your tree, too.