Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas is for the Birds

My family drove down from Colorado, battling snowstorms and having the better half of New Mexico roads closed, to spend Christmas with us this year.  My family, as always, did a great job selecting gifts for me, and this year my sister and mother in law picked up on the fact that I had gone a bit bird brained this past summer.

My sister managed to find some amazing deals at a Wild Birds Unlimited that was going out of business in Colorado, while my mother in law got me one of those up-cycled ceramic bird feeders.  The ziplock bag of food pictured above is a gallon sized bag of the CostCo bird food (which, while it has millet, it isn't as prevalent as it is in most mixes) that my MIL gave to me.  You may be wondering what the yellow, hummingbird feeder looking thing is - that's a butterfly feeder.  My sister has stated that she is never coming down here again (she doesn't like butterflies).

As today was a gorgeous day with 70 degree weather (that and it was the first day since Christmas that I've been home during daylight hours), I decided to hang the bird feeders.  I opted to take down the finch feeder I was using because the birds never liked it much, and I have replaced it with the ceramic feeder.  I put the suet feeder close to the platform feeder and am keeping my fingers crossed that the squirrels won't bother it much (I put the hot pepper suet at the top of the stick).  I haven't put out the butterfly feeder, though I did see a butterfly today, so I should have, but I didn't know where to put it permanently (probably by the garden so I can attract the pollinators).  I also have to figure out where to put the bird house.  It's a bluebird house, and it says to put it 5-6' off the ground on a tree trunk, but I think I may go a bit higher than that...

So far, the thing I think is going to end up being the biggest problem is the feral cats - and not just because they hang out by the feeders, hoping for a bird.  I get the feeling that they can tell that the suet cakes are made out of beef fat and I can see the little wheels in their heads turning trying to figure out how to get to the feeder.


Roberta said...

Oh my goodness, the feral cats remind me of the zombies in Walking Dead. They can smell the fat, can't they? I hope that you see lots of birds in your garden this year. Do you grow giant sunflowers for the birds? I've thought of it but never really have any luck. I did some mini sunflowers and even those were stunted. I had nothing but a garden full of mutant sunflowers. Happy 2012 to you!

Bond said...

I feed birdseed that is mostly sunflower seeds and ever since then I get tons of sunflowers in any area I don't regularly weed or mow. I just let them grow and die and leave them there and the doves especially go crazy for the seeds.

And on the subject of suet, I put out that feeder you got me in October. The birds completely ignored it until a few weeks ago I noticed it had a nice patina of black mold. Now the birds have eaten half of it in only a few weeks. I guess they prefer it "aged" like a fine cheese.

katina said...

Roberta - No, I've never grown sunflowers specifically, but I've had plenty of volunteers throughout the years that I usually just leave alone. When I first put out the B.O. Sunflower seeds, the squirrels went crazy burying them all over the yard and now our yard looks like we're trying to grow sunflowers instead of grass.

Bond - That's just a little bit disgusting, but I could see it happening. So far I've seen like 2 birds on the suet feeder - and I think they were both wrens who were chased away from the "good" feeders by the house finches. I really wish the woodpeckers would find the suet - but they keep combing the tree in the backyard instead.

Dani said...

Good picutre of the loot. I'm interested to find out (but not to see first hand) how the butterfly feeder works. Also curious on how the suet goes and if the birds like one favor over another.