Saturday, January 21, 2012

Feeder Watch - Jan 21, 2012

I brought in all the bird feeders and cleaned them and filled them with fresh seed.  I have 4 feeders in the front yard and are therefore the only ones that I'll be using for my Feeder Watch (which is not the same thing as Project Feeder Watch...well, it is, but I'm not part of project feeder watch...mostly because it requires some amount of consistency; which I don't have - the same reason I haven't joined CoCoRaHS.  But if you are one of those consistent people, I highly recommend participating in both organizations).  I've done a little section below on each of the feeders and which seed I put them usually.

I put out all the feeders by 8:30 this morning.
Platform:  1/3 c Black Oil Sunflower (BOS), 1/3 c Safflower (Saff), 1/3 c "Trail Mix" nut blend.
Tube:  1/3 c BOS, 1/3 c Saff, 2/3 c InLaw mix (CostCo mix with added peanuts and BOS)
UpCycled:  2/3 c Thistle, 2/3 c "Song Bird Blend" (Thistle/Red Millet/Sunflower Hearts) in the bowl + 1/4 c Saff, 1/4 c BOS on the plate
Suet:  1 cake  in the upper holder - "Insect Feast" (Rendered Beef Fat suet, cracked corn, millet, peanut, dehydrated mealworms)

Notes:  The neighbors across the street are having a garage sale and the next door neighbors are moving.  Also it's cold and it's probably not going to be very busy at the feeders (or it will be very "flighty")

1625 - starling on suet and a starling on the platform; strike that, the starling moved to the suet.  3 juncos on the ground, male house finch on the tube.
1615 - male and female Lesser Goldfinches at the tube feeder.  House sparrows on the ground
1558 - Carolina chickadee at tube, house wren on upcycled, house sparrow at the tube, and a mocking bird (maybe - it looked like a smaller version of a mocking bird, but the tail length was all wonky) at the suet.
1557 - starling on the suet
1528 - male and female house finches in the platform feeder
1507 - female cardinal at the upcycled feeder, house sparrow at the tube feeder, and bewick's wren at suet.
1254 - male cardinal at the platform feeder
1206 - starling on suet
1205 - male house finch at the tube feeder, female house finch on the upcycled feeder
1204 - female house finch at tube feeder
1145 - dove and house sparrow on ground, there is a visiting starling, but it's not at any of the feeders.
1136 - dove at the upcycled, female house finch at the platform
1133 - male cardinal going back and forth between platform and the upcycled feeder
1114 - female house finch in platform
1058 - female cardinal and male house finch in the platform feeder
1055 - Female Cardinal and House Finch at the Upcycled Feeder, Male Cardinal at the tube feeder (going back and forth to the Upcycled feeder)
1045 - Female Cardinal at the Upcycled Feeder
0946 - 2 Gold Finches (later determined to be Lesser Gold Finches) at the tube feeder, Female Cardinal at the Upcycled Feeder, House Finch and Junco in the tree
0915 - House Finch at the tube feeder
0908 -  Female Cardinal at the Upcycled Feeder
0830 - Feeders Up.  Starlings gathering

**and at some point, probably around 11am, I realized that I probably should have created a spreadsheet instead of doing it this way so that i could just put a checkmark each time I saw a bird at the feeder.  So maybe I'll do that tomorrow instead.

**Also, Annie at the Transplantable Rose informed me that there is an event that happens every February - The Great Backyard Bird Count, which only requires 15 minutes of observation (or more if you want to) for at least one day during a specified four day period in February.  You can read more about it here:

The Feeder Types:

The Hanging Platform
Most used by: the Doves, Jays and Squirrels.  Also used by the Cardinals, and more recently the Starlings.  When the larger birds aren't around (read: when the peanuts and black oil sunflower seed are gone), the house finches and wrens will visit.

Seed used and frequency: 1 cup of Black Oil Sunflower/Safflower blend.  Depending on what birds I see at the feeder determines the 2:1 mix (more little birds = more Safflower, more of the big birds and the squirrels means more BOS).  I put out fresh food daily because the animals go through it within a day.  I did recently buy a "Trail Mix" nut blend from HEB so now the mix is 1/3 cup of BOS, Saff, and Nuts, each.

The Small Tube Feeder
Most Used By:  The House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and very rarely the Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, and Younger Jays (the young jays started using it when they saw how the woodpeckers managed to get seed)

Seed Used and Frequency:  I used to only have Black Oil Sunflower and Safflower in this feeder, but when I realized that the birds were ignoring a thistle seed feeder I had up, I started adding in a very small amount of thistle.  Now that my In Laws gave me a new feeder and some of their seed mix (the CostCo mix with added peanuts and BOS), I've been mixing more like 1/3 c each of BOS, Saff and Thistle, and 2/3 c CostCo.  I usually only fill the feeder once a week, though sometimes I'm nice and fill it 2 times.

The Upcycled Feeder (far right)
Most Used By:  The House Finches and the Cardinals.  Occasionally by the Doves and Jays.

Seed Used and Frequency:  I put Thistle seed (and/or the Thistle seed blend my coworker gave me - Thistle Seed, Sunflower Hearts, Red Millet) in the bowl part and a 50/50 mix of Black Oil Sunflower/Safflower on the plate (usually about 1/2 cup total).  I refill the thistle maybe only once a week or less, and the BOS/Saff every other day.

And Finally,
The Suet Feeder (also shown above)
Most used by:  The Downy Woodpeckers, and the damn Starlings (like 15 at a time).  Also occasionally by the Wrens, and what I think is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Suet Used and Frequency:  I'm currently using Wild Bird Unlimited Suet (Christmas gift from my sister).  I originally put in the Red Pepper suet in the top square and an Orange flavor suet in the bottom.  The top cake was gone about a week before the bottom cake, though I don't know if that was because it was preferred for taste or for location.  For my determination purposes I'm only going to put in one square at a time to make it account more for flavor than for location.  I just put out a new cake - "Insect Feast" or something to that effect (I had let it sit empty for a week hoping that the starlings will move on, but considering the number I saw in the tree 15 minutes after putting it up does not have me hopeful).

Placement Notes:  The Platform and Suet Feeder are located close together.  And the UpCycled and Tube feeder are located close together on the opposite side of the tree from the other feeders.


Bond said...

Do you not get house sparrows? That used to be all we got until I switched from a mix that had millet to just black sunflower seeds. Now we get finches and cardinals too (although the cardinals are flighty and usually wait until the finches go away). I've also seen mockingbirds check out the feeder and hang around, but they really don't eat much if anything.

katina said...

@Bond, I never got them until I started using the mix that my MIL gave me (which has millet), and of course cracked corn should also attract them (which is in the nut mix). Now then, the only feeder I notice them at is the tube feeder, which would imply that it's the millet, not the corn that's attracting them.