Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From this window - 1/15/13...

We've had an unusual winter this year.  I think that might be true for most of the United States.  We've had pretty moderate temperatures until just recently when we had a fast freeze.

We keep our feeders full when we aren't traveling and we have lots of feeders.  We have a feeder with a squirrel guard for clinging birds we keep filled with black oil sunflower seed.  Several house sparrows have learned how to grab a seed or two but for the most part, this feeder supports 'good' birds:  titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches.

We have two upside down suet feeders that we keep filled with a variety of suet.  The same house sparrows have learned how to fly up into the feeder, grab a bite and fall to the ground.  They aren't very graceful and they don't get much but they are persistent.  Last year a starling learned how to do the same thing but I haven't seen any try this year although we've had some huge flocks in the area.

We have one peanut feeder on the north side of the house and one peanut feeder on the east side.  One contains shelled peanuts and the other whole peanuts in the shell.  Both are well loved.  In the winter, peanuts and suet are high energy feed for birds.  When the weather gets really cold, the birds need the energy to stay warm.  We purchase our peanuts from both Forest Park Nature Center and Kelly Seed but find the peanuts from Kelly Seed are larger and don't fall through the wire mesh of our feeder as readily as the Forest Park peanuts.  We do use the Forest Park peanuts in the hanging feeder mixed with black oil sunflower seed.

We have a small hanging platform feeder on the east side of the house right outside the bay window.  When she's not being confined, our cat loves to lay in the bay window and watch the birds that come to the feeders there.

On the south side of the house on the deck, we have a heated bird bath.  In the winter, water is very important.  When it gets really cold, birds have a hard time finding water without ice on it.  A few days ago there were four bluebirds at our birdbath.  We also have a small feeder inside a cage by our family room window that drives the squirrels nuts because they can't get to it.  The cat lays in the window and watches the squirrels swing on the cage.  Our cage is like this, but the feeder inside is just a small feeder like this one.

In front of the garage on the east side we have a four foot high platform feeder which we fill with a mixture of seeds.  The squirrels, birds, deer and an occasional possum use this feeder.  On the south side of the garage we have a 36" tall thistle feeder.  This feeder sometimes gets filled twice a week when the goldfinch are in residence.  Goldfinch are funny - some years they are thick in the winter and other years we don't see any at all.  This year they seem to be everywhere.

We have a couple of winter visitors we don't usually have this year.  A pair of red breasted nuthatches have graced us with their presence.  They like black oil sunflower seed, suet and peanuts.  They're much smaller than their cousins the white breasted nuthatch.  We also have a Carolina Wren that's spending time with us.  Also a peanut eater, the wren is fun to watch.  And to top all that excitement, a Pileated Woodpecker flew past my craft room window one day last week.  I wish it would stop for the peanuts or suets; that would just make my winter.

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