Tag Archives: Chickadee

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.

rustoleum

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.

IMG_3895

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.

http://amzn.to/1Oed2FZ

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?

 

August, Oops, September Garden Update

A while back I thought I was getting caught up, but then sending twins off to college this fall proved to be quite a time consuming effort!  So the garden has been a bit on auto pilot for a little while now.  Thank goodness it got off to such a good start this spring.  Here’s some tidbits on what I would have written about, if I had had the time 🙂

There was a family of chickadees that must have nested and fledged near my feeders.  For weeks, I was so entertained by the hilarious antics of the 3 young chickadees that truly behaved like little kids.

baby chickadee

baby chickadee

I got a lot more green peppers and Mariachi hot peppers as the summer went on.  Unfortunately, Daisy was not at all dissuaded by munching on the hot peppers and continued to eat almost all this year’s pepper harvest (Little White Pepper Thief).

green pepper

Surveying the garden for her latest snack…

Westie

A couple of years ago this patch of creeping thyme was a disaster.  I wrote about it in my earlier post, Creeping Thyme Problems.  I was skeptical that the severe pruning was going to help, but it has.  It looks gorgeous and lush, and smells awesome when I walk on it to get to the garden hose.  So if in doubt, cut away, it’ll be better for it!

Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme

I didn’t get many sunflowers this year thanks to the bunnies.  But I did get this one, beautiful Evening Sun Sunflower.  Made me smile.

Evening Sun sunflower

Thankfully Daisy doesn’t seem have found the tomatoes or basil. I don’t ever seem to tire of fresh tomato salads.

tomato basil salad

The raspberries I planted in the spring flourished over the summer.  I even got a few tasty raspberries in the late summer.  Looking forward to having the plants mature and getting lots of berries.   What did I plant?  See my previous post “My Raspberries and Strawberry Plants Are Here!”

raspberries

Two of my clematis plants got a terrible case of Clematis Stem Wilt earlier this spring (What’s Wrong With the Clematis and Clematis Stem Wilt).  I was hopeful that the plants would survive and I think they did.  Both plants put up a couple of new, healthy looking stems that looked good until the last few days when something has decided to munch on the leaves.  We’ll see in the spring how they look.  At least there’s hope.

clematis

The petunias were home to lots of pollinators.  This bumblebee was fun to watch as he dove deep into each flower.  He seemed to really prefer the dark pink over light pink.  While I have no decent pictures, I had hummingbirds also visit my yard late this summer.  I don’t always get them, so it has been a treat the last few weeks to have them visit.

petunia

How was your garden this year?

(BTW Go Hokies! Go Blue!)

Visitors to the Homemade Suet

Suet Feeder

While I was out there putting the new homemade suet in the feeder, I heard, and then finally found a Flicker in the neighbor’s yard.  I haven’t seen him at my suet feeder yet, but I hope he comes to visit.  In the meantime, the last couple of days I’ve seen Chickadees, a Downy Woodpecker, a Red Breasted Nuthatch and a squirrel on the suet feeder. They seem to like this new suet!

Suet Feeder

 

Suet Feeder

 

Suet

 

Suet

 

suet

Something, well, probably that darn squirrel, knocked the feeder onto the ground. The Downy seemed to have liked the homemade suet so much it also went down to the ground to eat it.  I’ve never seen a woodpecker eat off the ground.  He must have been really hungry!

Suet

 

Suet

 

Suet

Since I am hoping that spring is coming soon, I decided to put the other suet cake I made out for the birds.   I don’t have another feeder, so used an empty onion bag.  We’ll see how that works.

Homemade Suet Cake

Winter Birds

I showed you my mom Peggy’s bird feeders in a recent post (Peggy’s Feeders).  A natural follow up is to show off some of the birds that visit her in Northern Michigan in the winter.  Enjoy!

Junco

Junco

 

Blue Jay

Bluejay

 

Bluejay

 

Bluejay

 

Mrs. Cardinal

Female Cardinal

 

Mr. Goldfinch

Goldfinch

 

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

 

Black-capped Chickadee

Chickadee

 

Chickadee

 

And of course where there is bird seed, there’s a squirrel.  

Squirrel

 

Squirrel

 

 Photos by Peggy 

Birdfeeder Cams

From my computer, I can’t really see much outside. Even if I did, my feeder (yes, only one right now) doesn’t usually attract a wide variety of birds.  I do enjoy watching the Goldfinches, Chickadees and Juncoes, but they are often overrun by the usual suburban fare.  So, I’ve taken to watching the bird cams that have popped up the last few years.  Many watch nests, but those are pretty quiet or off-line right now.  Instead, in the winter I mainly watch the bird feedercams run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds.  They have 2 feeders that have cameras on them.  One in Ontario, Canada, and the other at the Cornell Labs in Ithaca, New York.  The Ontario site is in a large, diverse, residential backyard in northern Ontario and is only on during the day.  The Cornell Labs site is located on the edge of Sapsucker Woods, right near a pond.  It’s supported generously by Wild Birds Unlimited and runs 24 hours a day.  Both are great locations for attracting birds and they get a variety of visitors.  If you have some time to watch , it’s a nice diversion, especially when your own yard isn’t all that interesting.   It’s also nice sometimes to just have it open in the background.  You can hear all the visitors and it makes you feel like you are there.

Here’s what I saw today:

Ontario was a little quiet today, probably due to snow and wind.  The Chickadees did venture out, though.  I love the holiday theme!

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

The Cornell labs location was quite busy today.  Lots of Chickadees, the Tufted Titmouse visited for a while, and ducks swam in the pond.  There were also some sparrows that were a little tricky to identify, but the consensus from watchers was that they were American Tree Sparrows.  I have to admit I am not very good at identifying LBJ’s (little brown jobs).

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

 

Cornell Lab FeederCam

I visited quickly this morning before my post was scheduled to go out and the Ontario feeder was a having a gathering of Grosbeaks!  

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

Do you watch any Feedercams?