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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show
Old 01-27-2015, 10:18 AM   #1
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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show

My folks in Santa Fe, NM put out bird seed and unsalted peanuts for the birds and it is quite the show to see how many birds show up and the interaction - quite entertaining - more so than the financial talking heads my dad will have on all day.

So, I decided to institute the same 'tradition' back home.

After the birds discovered the free food, I have several species show up in the morning that hop around pecking for the wild bird seed I scatter on the ground.

So far:
White crowned sparrows
Morning doves
California towhees
Spotted towhees
California quail
Western Scrub Jays

There are other species I can see in the trees or the open space preserve behind my house but only those above actually drop in to eat the bird seed.

The white crowned sparrows are usually the first to arrive pre-dawn pecking at the left overs from yesterday before I throw out the day's fresh seed.

Then the Morning doves show up - sometimes in large numbers of 12 or more.

I then tear up some old bread and throw the crumbs out - which is when the real show begins as the Scrub Jays pop up on the fence.

Some will immediately drop down to shovel as many bread pieces in their beak before flying away in an attempt to 'squirrel' them away someplace.

But - other jays will perch in the tree and watch the others and as soon as one flies away to hide their take, the other spy him out and steal the pieces!

Sometimes a jay will try to put more pieces in its beak than possible and it will attempt to pick up one piece while dropping the other.

Meanwhile the male doves will be unrelenting in chasing the female doves around in attempt to get a 'date' - poor gals....

Eventually everyone has had their fill and the birds flit away. But they occasionally come back to nibble at the left overs.

And the tv stays off!
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:33 AM   #2
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I've always enjoyed feeding the bird too.

These days I've taken to feeding them only in the morning. If there is seed left in the feed overnight, the raccoons move in and start disassembling/tearing apart the feeder. sigh

In the winter we get a pretty wide variety of birds:

cardinals, blue jays, doves, chickadees, titmice, juncos, finches, sparrows, starlings, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and the occasional robin, blue bird or crow. Oh and indirectly the coopers hawk that swings by cull the flock...

Some are seasonal - the juncos arrive just as winter is starting, in the spring the male red wing blackbirds are harbingers of spring.

I feed them the no-mess (hulled seeds) blends containing sunflower, safflower, millet, peanuts and some dried fruit. I like to mix in dried meal worms too. The jays LOVE the peanuts.

I can't put out suet, as the raccoons will do just about anything to get to that and rip it to shreds.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:45 PM   #3
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Since my backyard faces an open preserve space I see other birds (and other critters) such as red tailed hawks, white tailed kites, crows (ugh - don't like crows), mockingbirds (absolutely hate these noisy birds), curved bill thrashers, woodpeckers, black phoebes...


...but these don't seem interested in the seed, the crumbs or the other birds.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:10 PM   #4
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Lots of birds here. I use the same no-mess seed mix. I also have suet and a cage type feeder that holds peanuts in the shell. Interesting, the jays and most of the woodpeckers prefer to rap away on the shells to get the peanuts out as opposed to taking the shelled peanuts from the big feeder. I also recently hung out a pressed cake that has also sorts of fruit and worms in it but the birds haven't really taken to it yet.

My favourites are the woodpeckers - pileated, red-bellied and downy. We also have a hawk that hunts around the feeder. An impressive sight. Squirrels and chipmunks keep the ground clean and we have the occasional raccoon visitor.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:14 PM   #5
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We adore mockingbirds. Young ones make a lot of repetitive noise, but more mature ones have complicated songs. I call them "player-piano birds" because they will sing, rapid-fire, 2 "bars" each of 20 completely different songs before starting over from the top. Around a lengthy construction project where I worked, the mockingbirds were imitating power machinery!

I agree that crows are nasty.

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S mockingbirds (absolutely hate these noisy birds), .
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:32 PM   #6
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I do enjoy watching the birds. Spring/summer is especially entertaining as the flying squirrels come out. The are a trusting bunch, let me tell you...once they start snacking good, you can walk up and touch them. I don't know if they are oblivious or just *REALLY* like our seed!

Here's a picture, and I will see if I can upload a video.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:37 PM   #7
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We adore mockingbirds. Young ones make a lot of repetitive noise, but more mature ones have complicated songs. I call them "player-piano birds" because they will sing, rapid-fire, 2 "bars" each of 20 completely different songs before starting over from the top. Around a lengthy construction project where I worked, the mockingbirds were imitating power machinery!

I agree that crows are nasty.

A.
The reason I hold mockingbirds in disfavor are the males that 'sing' at 2am in the morning.

While living at home at college, I suffered many sleepless nights and torment to the incessant noise in the tree next to my bedroom by mockingbirds.

Where I live now, mockingbirds are slowly making intrusions into our neighborhood and when one attempts to set up his early morning broadcasts in the trees in my yard - I shoo it away so that my family can get sleep.

I know folks have different strokes, but a loud noisy bird at 2am next to my bedroom window will not curry any favor with me (and that is putting it nicely).
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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show
Old 01-27-2015, 03:45 PM   #8
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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show

I started photographing birds in my back yard last year. And I built a few bird houses. I'm starting bird feeders in the spring, along with the hummingbird feeder that we've had for years. We normally have 2-3 hummingbirds spend the summer at our place. Once I get everything in place this spring, I'm going to step up my bird photo operations - something like this with a remote shutter release.

Thanks for all of the bird feeder suggestions!

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Old 01-27-2015, 06:11 PM   #9
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I have one caged vertical feeder on my back porch walkway, and one square suet holder. I love watching the birdies show up at daybreak to munch out. Mostly small common birdies...sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches, small woodpeckers with red heads, grey birds with white breasts (name?, see photo), and eventually goldfinches when spring arrives.

If I see a bluejay or squirrel out there, I open the kitchen window and yell at them so the little birdies can come back.

I put the feeders out in late fall and keep them there until early May. I go through about 25 pounds of birdseed per year. The entertainment is worth it.
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:14 PM   #10
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Sounds wonderful. We have bird feeders out in the yard, might try something closer to the back deck and on our schedule. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:25 PM   #11
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Our bird feeder has morphed into a 'hawk and owl' feeder. We constantly find the remnants of sparrows and doves attracted by our feeder ripped to shreds in our yard. We even witnessed a hawk swoop onto the bird feeding area and pick up a disabled sparrow. Quite impressive. And looking at the owls in the big tree out back at dusk is cool also.

Our dog also found an entire rabbit head one of the hawks or owls dropped in the yard. One less neighborhood bunny!
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:26 PM   #12
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Once I get everything in place this spring, I'm going to step up my bird photo operations - something like this with a remote shutter release.
Awesome setup. You've got to share the photos you make.

Is that a fisheye on the camera? It's going to make for unique image.
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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show
Old 01-27-2015, 08:06 PM   #13
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Bird seed, bread crumbs and the morning show

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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
Awesome setup. You've got to share the photos you make.



Is that a fisheye on the camera? It's going to make for unique image.

I don't know if it's a fisheye. It's a photo of the lecturer's personal setup in the online course I'm taking.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cours...stSellers&pos=

I haven't got to the point where he describes all of the components. I will post photos in the spring when I get everything going. Right now I'm researching the right food sources for attracting an assortment of birds.


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Old 01-27-2015, 09:12 PM   #14
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I have taken bird feeding to the nutty professor level. Quicken says I spent $1467.82 on feeding the birds in 2014. I am still feeding hummingbirds at this time of year. I feed year round, so I also feed bears, foxes, skunks, owls, hawks, rodents, and my favorite rattlesnakes. My yard is one of only 2 places in the US, outside of Texas that have Lucifer hummingbirds throughout the summer.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
I have one caged vertical feeder on my back porch walkway, and one square suet holder. I love watching the birdies show up at daybreak to munch out. Mostly small common birdies...sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches, small woodpeckers with red heads, grey birds with white breasts (name?, see photo), and eventually goldfinches when spring arrives.

If I see a bluejay or squirrel out there, I open the kitchen window and yell at them so the little birdies can come back.

I put the feeders out in late fall and keep them there until early May. I go through about 25 pounds of birdseed per year. The entertainment is worth it.
Small woodpecker with red head is probably a Downy Woodpecker. Your little grey bird is a Junco. You usually only see them at feeders in the winter.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:40 AM   #16
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...I feed year round, so I also feed bears, foxes, skunks, owls, hawks, rodents, and my favorite rattlesnakes...
I used to feed year round too, but my local chipmunk population started to get out of hand, so I cut back.

Yesterday a flock of robins arrived. Maybe a couple of dozen. They are stripping the junipers of their berries. I also threw a couple of handfuls of meal worms around the area - they like them.

It was down to 4° this morning - those robins looks so big when they fluff up their feathers to keep warm.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:34 AM   #17
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Last evening in the deepening dusk, I heard a chirping sound coming from the back yard....turns out it was one of the red tailed hawks that live in the open space behind my house.


I snapped a couple of poor pics using my small digital camera from the kitchen window- a bit grainy cuz of the low light.





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Old 01-28-2015, 09:37 AM   #18
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Pretty bird. I believe that's either a Coopers or a Sharp shinned. Difficult to tell the difference sometimes.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:49 AM   #19
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Pretty bird. I believe that's either a Coopers or a Sharp shinned. Difficult to tell the difference sometimes.
Just spent some time per your observation - I'm with you - from the pics I posted I can't tell if its a Cooper or Sharp shinned.

Well, I have time now to dig deeper
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:49 AM   #20
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Pretty bird. I believe that's either a Coopers or a Sharp shinned. Difficult to tell the difference sometimes.
I would tend to agree.

I figured out we rescued a Coopers, resembles the photo. Got to hold it in our hands while it recovered, from hitting a wire fence. Photos are hard to distinguish all of the characteristics. The research was a lot of fun.

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