Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bird Feeders (Keep-It-Simple Science Gone Awry)

I had such high hopes for bird watching this winter.  So we made our own bird feeders - little gems mined from Pinterest - and used two kinds of feed thinking it would improve our chances of attracting a variety of birds.  And then I set my expectations way up there - I wanted to see cardinals, wood peckers, and chickadees at our windows on the first day, and maybe even that hawk I've seen around here lately.  I wouldn't mind him swooping in to pick off an unsuspecting sparrow.  (It's not cruel,  it's -cue Elton John here- "the ciiiiiiiircle, the circle of life!") 

Making the bird feeders went very well.  We had lots of messy fun... and we vacuumed a lot. 

Then my fabulous husband said of course he would get out the ladder and go out in the cold and hang the feeders at different windows all around the house.  *love*

Then we got out our bird guides and a lovely library find, Backyard Birds of Winter.  

And then we waited.  And waited.  And no birds came.  And my windows got pretty gunked up with peanut butter (it's like the smelly paperwhites... I'm willing to suffer for science...).  And then the squirrels came.  I wasn't surprised since we spent the better part of the Fall intentionally luring squirrels to our patio door... but the bird feeders were hung in areas that required the squirrels to scale the actual walls of our house, not just skitter across the deck.  Time to take the bird feeders down... because it just feels a little too creepy to have a squirrel crawling on the walls of my home.  (Squirrels eating nuts on our deck are cute... squirrels crawling on the walls of my home become rats with fluffy tails and it is not ok.  I will not suffer rats, even for the sake of science.)
(would you be so good as to overlook the poor quality of these pictures... it's tricky to get a good shot of a moving squirrel through a peanut butter smeared window)

Our last ditch effort was to move one feeder to a little tree outside one window.  Cute idea, but then the  bottom fell out of it - probably an engineering oversight on my part.  Bird watching was just not meant to be this winter.  My children were a little disappointed, but have already begun making plans for different types of feeders for next year.  I guess we'll try again next year, but I sure could use a little encouragement and advice in this department if you have any to offer.  Please?


  1. I love that you used wreaths - makes birdseed look pretty!

  2. Get some chickens and then you'll have plenty of hawks to watch PLUS chickens :) Or just come here. We'll even let you take home an obnoxious rooster as a parting gift...

    1. Well, Dom DID just ask me today how a rooster decides if an egg will be for eating or if it will grow a chick.
      (have some of your chickens really fallen prey to hawks? I've always had the psycho mom fear of the newborn baby being taken by some large bird of prey on a nature walk!! Maybe if I had some chickens I could distract the bird and it would buy me some time to hide the baby...) Ok, I'm starting to talk crazy... I better get off the computer and get ready for bed :)

  3. We tried bird feeders, too, and can't keep the squirrels off them. Every time we think "now we've got it so the squirrels won't reach it" they prove us wrong. It's become a game: how long will it take the squirrels this time?? Sorry you are having the same experience. I have been told that if you sprinkle cayenne pepper into the seed, the birds can't taste it but the squirrels will hate it and not come back. Our problem is that the squirrels destroy whatever we put out, so it's not there for them to return to.


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