Tag Archives: downy woodpecker

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

Bullies at the Bird Feeder

By the title, you’d think I was talking about those pesky squirrels again.  But not this time.  This time it’s an even more obnoxious bully, the Blue Jay.

Blue Jay

Despite how handsome they look, looks can be deceiving.  They are the original “Angry Birds”.  My mom Peggy has a terrible time protecting her feeders, as well as the smaller birds visiting her yard, from the very unfriendly Blue Jays.  The Blue Jays aggressively scare away the other birds, sometimes even killing them, then gluttonously eat up all the seed they can.  It’s very frustrating to say the least.

Would you mess with this guy????

Blue Jay

 

Blue Jay

 

Blue Jay

They don’t just eat what they need, but hoard it in their beak and expandable throat and esophagus.  It’s said they can hold five to six Pin Oak acorns in their esophagus and beak, so you can imagine how many sunflower seeds it could hold!   Once they’ve gorged themselves, they take their cache away and store it for later.  Usually, they bury it in the ground like a squirrel or a dog might.  Then they return for more.

Blue Jay

Blue jays are also highly intelligent.  They are remarkable in their ability to mimic other birds like raptors, presumably to further scare off any competition. They are also uncanny in their ability to figure out bird feeders.  Peggy has even seen them hanging upside down from her suet feeder pretending to be a Downy Woodpecker.

Downy woodpecker

So what to do?  There are ways to hinder their ability to get to the feeders.  The suet feeder above is often suggested as one way, but in her yard they’ve figured it out.  Another option for protecting the suet from being devoured is to use a metal cage.  The small woodpeckers can slip right in, but leave the Blue Jays looking longingly at it.

Birdfeeder

They’ve also figured out how to get out peanuts from this tube feeder that is usually visited by White and Red Nuthatches, Titmice and Chickadees.  Into another cage it goes.  The Blue Jays can get a few peanuts now and then, but it’s a lot of work

Birdfeeder

You can also sometimes adjust the type of seeds you put out.  Blue Jays are much fonder of sunflower seeds than safflower seeds, and really don’t like nyjer (thistle) seeds.

Feeders like this Heritage Farms feeder also work to keep the Blue Jays off.  The feeder perch can be weight adjusted to keep out the heavier birds.  The seed tray gets shut tight when a too-heavy bird lands on it.  Peggy has it set to allow Cardinals and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks to land and eat, but if a little bird lands on the perch with them, it’ll close.  That’s a small sacrifice to make to keep the Blue Jays off.

Birdfeeder

Do you have any bullies in your yard?   The other day in my yard, one of the Cardinals was chasing off sparrows trying to eat seed off the ground.  Oddly though, he seemed fine with the Juncos also eating the seeds. I guess even he knows which birds are a nuisance.

Photos by Peggy

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.

20140102-123724.jpg

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.