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Just Outside My Door 04/12/12

April 18, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - CORRESPONDENT (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The past week with the sunshine and temperatures a little warmer, I enjoyed hanging some of my laundry outside. It always smells wonderful. I also put out some porch furniture and moved the bird feeders from the back porch to the yard so I could reach to fill them without a ladder. Some folk have been chiding me saying I was going to break some bones if I didn't quit climbing on a ladder to accomplish that task. I told them I haven't broken anything yet when I've fallen, but that didn't pacify them. They should be happy now. I'm thankful we bought the sunflower seeds last fall when they were on sale and still have some left.

Although I know birds can find plenty of food in spring and summer, we like to feed them all year long. During spring migration a greater variety of species visit backyard feeders. Flocks of such northern birds as pine siskins, redpolls and evening grosbeaks that have spent the winter in the south move north, stop to refuel at feeding stations along the way.

Still other birds get restless and more aggressive. Dark-eyed juncos and tree sparrows stage mini-flights for dominance of the feeding trays. Male cardinals begin passing sunflowers seeds to their mates as spring courting gets underway.

The male goldfinches get blotchy looking as they change plumages from winter's dull olive green to spring's bright yellow.

Spring is a good time to keep feeders filled with the bird's favorite foods. In addition to sunflower seed, finches like the Niger or thistle feed, but when I've gotten it they still seem to favor the black oil sunflower seed. I'm thinking it would save money if one planted some of those seeds thereby growing it instead of buying it. I have a lot of those seeds already growing just off our back porch where the birds scattered the seed when they were feasting on it. They need to be separated and moved to a larger area. Hopefully I can do that.

Many birds such as woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches like suet, which gives them needed energy and it should be beef suet. Some people hesitate to use suet during warm weather because they think it will melt or attract flies. If it is genuine beef, which is the fat surrounding the kidney, it will do neither.

Orioles and black birds like oranges and grape jelly. For some reason they can't resist those sweet tastes. I've often found they like the jelly best of all so I get several jars of it at Aldays where it's cheaper.

Other foods that some birds like are raisins, berries and chunks of other citrus fruits. I also put out bread for our blue jays and Mr. Crow. The neighboring cats like the latter too, but if I see them I yell and quickly run away.

The hummingbirds haven't arrived yet, but their feeder is on the back porch along with a nest house for them. Our son and daughter-in-law, Kim and Gayle, gave it to me. It's very cute and tiny. Their eggs are the size of a Tic Tac. Directions on hanging it stated there was no guarantee the house would be used the first year. If they do, the hatchlings return the next year. I'm hoping we will see their house and be able to enjoy it.

It takes more than the right kind of food to be lure birds to ones back yard. Things like where to put the feeders and what kind of feeders one has is important. Also the kinds and types of trees and shrubs located in the area. Ones with berries of some kind help to lure the birds to the feeders.

Many other facts about backyard birding can always be found at libraries or by purchasing one or more books on the topic. I have a variety of such books and one authored by Donald and Lillian Stokes entitled " Stokes Backyard Bird Book" is very good. It's "The Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying and Understanding The Birds In Your Backyard." Other good books are by authors such as Audubon, Bill Thompson the III, Ken Kaufman, Roger Torey Peterson and many others.

 
 
 

 

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