The Birds are Back

Note: This was originally written back in February, but never posted. So here is an update, along with the original post.

October 27: The bird feeders have all been cleaned and refilled. Now that it’s getting colder and we’ve had a frost, I think it’s a good idea to keep them filled. I think the Goldfinches have gone South for the winter, but the House Finches are still feeding, as are the Chickadees.

Original Post:

At some point during the COVID pandemic lockdown I decided that instead of sitting around vacantly looking out the window I’d try to find something more interesting to look at. I decided that a bird feeder would be interesting so I put one up in my back yard. It worked out surprisingly well. Birds started coming to feed, I started getting interested in what kinds were feeding, and the whole thing turned into a project of sorts. I added some different feed; suet for the woodpeckers, smaller seeds for the finches and some sugar water for the humming birds. I dug out my old Birds of Eastern North America book and started learning to identify the various species.

This went on for almost a year. Then the birding professionals warned that feeding should stop because of the threat of bird flu. And, at the same time, a hungry raccoon managed to outwit me and got into the feeders, knocking some down and emptying the seeds from others. It seemed like the right time to stop for a while.

Then, about a week ago, news sources reported that it was safe to start feeding again. Not wanting to temp the raccoons more than necessary, I dug out two of my window mounted feeders. One has a small tray that gets filled with seed, and the other is a standard suet cage. Both have suction cups so they can be stuck up on a window. I put them up yesterday, and today there are birds feeding at them.

The window feeder tray was up before and seemed to attract particular types of birds. There were a pair of House Finches, male and female, who were the most frequent users. Black-capped Chickadees were the second most frequent, but they usually preferred the pole mounted feeder out in the yard. A Grackle or a Red Winged Blackbird would stop by every so often, but those species are a bit large for the size of the tray feeder so they would not stay long. I didn’t have a window mounted suet cage; the woodpeckers used the one on the pole in the yard.

Today the two House Finches were back, along with a female Brown-headed Cowbird. A bright yellow American Goldfinch buzzed the feeder a couple of times, but wasn’t willing to challenge the Cowbird for seed. I hope it will be back, as these finches are really colorful and fun to watch.

There have not been any visits to the suet feeder so far. I’m not surprised. The seed feeder has been on the window before, but the suet cage has moved from were the woodpeckers were used to seeing it. I’m really hoping that they find it. They are great fun to watch, and their red-capped heads and mad pecking make a great addition to the show.

I’m really glad that the feeders are back up and the birds have returned. Aside from the interesting and entertaining aspect of the feeders for us, they’ve proven to be a real hit with our eighteen-month old Granddaughter. If she’s in sight range of the feeder when birds arrive she latches her focus on them and whispers ‘bird – bird’. Her parents have been teaching her baby sign language, so she makes the sign of a bird beak with her thumb and first two fingers. She really seems to enjoy them, and has started making the ‘bird – bird’ sounds when she sees birds in the yard. It’s such a marvelous thing to watch her learn and focus on things in nature.