Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 07:44 AM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 714
Birding

Still working, but we try to find some peace and relaxation from time to time while we're still on the treadmill.

Anyone else interested in birding, putting up nest boxes, backyard bird feeding? [Between that, my Harley and some hiking, I'm actually developing a few minor hobbies again.] Here in TN, there is a large variety of beautiful and interesting birds. Even have an Eastern Bluebird currently incubating eggs in our first nest box. Neat.

I'm a rank amateur, just beginning to learn a bit. Seems like a fairly inexpensive hobby, with the exception of the bird seed. Sheesh ... they're eating better than we are. The cheap Home Depot / Lowe's seed looks lousy, but the Birds Unlimited Choice seed is nearly $18 per 20# bag. Any efficient alternatives out there?

For those interested in this avocation, how do you pursue? Equipment suggestions, trips, books, web sites ... ?

Thanks.
__________________

__________________
Craig is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 07:56 AM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 569
Re: Birding

I have several feeders, my Garden stops at several hundred acres of Abandoned Orchard, no spraying, so we get lots.

I buy fairly expensive Feeders, I prefer to look at them as Land Scaping , unique designs, and we get a whole range from Herons to Orioles to Chickadees etc

It is the number 1 Recreation in America.
__________________

__________________
Maximillion is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 08:00 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Re: Birding

Walmart sunflower seeds...
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 08:09 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,465
Re: Birding

We bird extensively, and one of the motivators for RE was to have a lot more time to go birding.

WATER, WATER, WATER - the most important thing to attract birds to your backyard. *I recommend some kind of dripping water or small fountain feature. *The water needs to be SHALLOW - very shallow! - in places - birds can't use deep water for bathing. *Really - an inch depth is plenty, with a graduated incline into the water.

Wild Birds Unlimited usually has the better seed. *We avoid using millet as it attracts house sparrows. *We use feeders with cages to keep out the larger birds like grackles. *Some birds like specialty seed (and special feeders) such as thistle for goldfinches, fruit or nectar for orioles (what the orchard probably attracts). *It's fun having a variety of feeders. *Squirrels are brilliant and persistent - it takes careful work and trial-and-error to figure out how to keep them off the feeders.

I suggest you find a "birding festival" in your state and go participate. *You'll go on several birdwatching trips and get to know the birds in your local area.

You probably have a local Audubon chapter - that's a good way to learn bird identification and feeders, etc.

Many states have some kind of bird notification web site were people post local sightings of interest. *This can let you know where good bird watching spots are.

We went on several bird watching trips across the country, using a tour company that specializes in bird tours such as www.ventbird.com. *$$$ but an enormous amount of fun. *All inclusive so all you have to do is show up and follow the bird expert/tour guide. *We saw an amazing number of birds that way and really developed our skills. *Now we do this kind of thing on our own, but it was a great way to get started.

Audrey
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 08:55 AM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Birding

I buy bird seed in bulk-50 pound bags. Black sunflower seeds (a definate favorite of most birds) and thistle for the finches. A friend of mine, a former lawyer, owns a Wild Birds Unlimited in our area so I tend to buy my seed from there.

Keep the feeders clean; don't let the seed get moldy in the feeder or you may poison the birds.

Squirrels are our problem so I use of variety of so called squirrel proof feeders. One that has worked pretty well for me is a very long tube, with perches on the bottom that give way if large birds or squirrels grab onto them.

My sister is very big on birding so I have gone out with here a few times and have learned a lot. I suggest finding someone to tag along with on birding adventures. One thing I found helpful was to have at least two bird identification guides. If you are unsure of your identification, a second guide can help.

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:07 AM   #6
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Birding

I'm into the backyard birds too. And squirrels and racoons are the biggest problems. I have to bring some feeders in at night or they will be empty by morning.

I've got Wild Turkey, Pheasants, Orioles, hummingbirds, Pileated Woodpeckers, many finches, among the many more common species. I also use black sunflower and safflower seed, thistle seed. I buy these at Home Depot and the birds love them.

Bird feeding brings in chimpmunks - we've got a batch of baby chipmunks now, and it's fun to watch them romp.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:15 AM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 569
Re: Birding

http://www.jackminer.com/

The Orchard abutts the sweage treatment plant, Lagoons no longer needed have become ponds for all kinds of Water Fowl.

I get specific feeders that sort by the bird size, cage type structure around feed ports, the alternative is feeding Grackles and Doves.
__________________
Maximillion is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:18 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: No. California
Posts: 1,600
Re: Birding

I have a number of birdfeeders and a birdbath which fills with my irrigations system regularly. *

I buy 50 lb sacks of shelled sunflower seeds (doesn't sprout) for some of the feeders, have thistle seeds for others, humming bird feeders, suet cakes in the winter and the cheap mixed seed for outside my back fence (it sprouts which is why it's outside the back fence).

I have a decorative birdhouse that has a family of tree starlings in it this year. *I'm waiting for babies to emerge. *I sprinkle the shelled sunflower seed in a section of my garden so I can watch the quail and mourning doves while they eat. *

I have a seasonal creek behind my house that has become a small lake in the summer, so have birds year around now. * Occasinal falcons, hawks, regularly great egrets, ducks and geese...occasional wild turkey. *Different woodpeckers and orioles also. *

I have a few birdbooks to identify and one of them has a section to check the box when you've ID'd a bird. *

So, I really don't need to leave my own yard to birdwatch. *Besides, I'm prety busy keeping the Blue Jays from atacking my Tree starling nest. *They *are predatory birds at best.

No squirrel problems here luckily..
__________________
KB is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:18 AM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Re: Birding

We have beautiful cardinals, mynahs, mejiros, kolea, and other "local" (not necessarily indigenous) birds.

If we put out birdseed then we're overwhelmed by Java sparrows & zebra doves, with the rats shortly behind. *They also drive away all the other birds, poop all around the area near the feeder, and make an incredible amount of noise squabbling over territory.

So we no longer feed the birds. *Doesn't anyone else have this problem with feeding the critters?
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:20 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Hardscrabble Texas
Posts: 372
Re: Birding

We've been amateur bird watchers for years. We have feeders, bath, and nest boxes. The resident birds here in north central Texas aren't too exotic, athough there are many varieties. Several types of doves, wrens, jays, mockingbirds, cardinals, some finches, and of course sparrows and blackbirds.
We look forward to those passing through......cedar waxwings in late spring, purple finches in late summer.
All plants growing in my yard produce some sort of bird food whether it be berries, seeds or fruit.
On a somewhat related subject we are members of The Nature Conservancy. I can't say enough about the work this organization does.
http://www.nature.org/
__________________
.....#.....
Poundkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:32 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 388
Re: Birding

Squirrels and raccoons are a pain. I have lost three peanut feeders and two suet holders to the varmits. Still, the Goldfinch feeder is always covered with birds and the other feeders we have bring in woodpeckers, Cardinals, Brown Thrushes, Flickers, Nuthatches, and many others. Nothing like coffee, bird watching and public radio to start a weekend.

setab
__________________
I told you I'd taunt you a second time.
setab is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 09:52 AM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Birding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
We have beautiful cardinals, mynahs, mejiros, kolea, and other "local" (not necessarily indigenous) birds.

If we put out birdseed then we're overwhelmed by Java sparrows & zebra doves, with the rats shortly behind. *They also drive away all the other birds, poop all around the area near the feeder, and make an incredible amount of noise squabbling over territory.

So we no longer feed the birds. *Doesn't anyone else have this problem with feeding the critters?
OK, now I know I am not moving to Hawaii.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 10:11 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Outtahere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,677
Re: Birding

Watching the birds is one of our favorite past times. We have several different sized birdhouses around the property and end up with those full as well as natural nesting. We have a thistle feeder, sunflower feeder, humming bird feeder as well as suet feeders. We keep a platform feeder over a garden arch trellis for crows and other birds that we leave table scraps on. Water is available year round with a bird bath heater and my deck is full of birds waiting to get a drink on a cold winter day.

We buy seed at the local garden/feed store, sometimes at Sam's if the price is right. My husband feeds the Jays peanuts which we also purchase in bulk at Sam's.

We don't have a big problem with squirrels because we throw out the peanuts and that keeps them away from the feeders. Chipmunks are everywhere, my yard has more holes than a golf course but they are cute, I don't mind them and can feed a couple of them by hand.

Oranges cut in half will bring in Orioles and Mockingbirds, even chipmunks will nibble on them. Sometimes my back deck and yard is busier than Logan International with all the birds coming and going.

So far this year we've had all the usual suspects, Orioles, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Titmice, Chickadees, Yellow finches, Purple finches, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Crows, Morning Doves ( or as we call them Dubs), Cardinals, House Wrens, Rose breasted Grosbeaks, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Gray Slated Jonquils, Robins, Woodpeckers, Flickers (they like the grubs in my lawn ), Red Wing Blackbirds, Ladderback Woodpecker and an occasional hawk from the woods across the street.

My dad is very competative about who get's the birds coming to their feeders. This year it's been a Hummingbird battle, I had several males and females while he'd only had females. That wasn't setting right so he changed his formular to be closer to mine, he now has males too.

The only thing we've found is to keep all feed in metal containers and keep the sunflower feeders away from the house to discourage mice and rats. I don't have rats but mice are always a problem and with a field stone cellar it's virtually impossible to rid myself of them. I won't trap or poison them because I don't want to harm the chipmunks which I know frequent my cellar also.

Over all it's very relaxing and we all enjoy the wild life in the yard. No problems with racoons that I know of, once in a while we'll get a skunk or woodchuck but with the dog they don't stick around too long.
__________________

Dogs aren't our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. - Roger Caras
Outtahere is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 10:39 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Re: Birding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Doesn't anyone else have this problem with feeding the critters?
We just can't do it here - it creates too many problems. We live on a lake, near an 80,000 acre natural wildlife area and a huge bird observatory plus we're under a huge flyway so we get a lot of birds naturally. 300 + species according to the bird sighting report they include in my monthly community magazine. Artificial feeding can turn your yard into bird central. I have ducks nesting in all of my bushes and if we feed them (which the Princess once did) we can't back out of the driveway without spending five minutes shooing them out of the way. We once fed and then stopped, when you have to answer the door for a duck who knocked with his bill looking for a handout it is time to admit that you have become an enabler for someone else's addiction.

And don't even think about walking barefoot down to the sidewalk to get the morning paper - ech!

People who don't live on the lake come here to feed them - one woman came e-v-e-r-y night, and her SUV was filled with 50 Lbs. sacks of feed. Wherever she sat the grass would die off in huge patches from all the bird traffic - and residue. Those folks didn't have to live with the aftermath but most would stop when we explained the problems they caused. The bird lady had to be threatened with arrest for tresspassing before she went away.

About once a month I have to go outside and rescue some passer-by who is being attacked by the local gang of geese gone bad. The only way to do it without hurting them (or getting pecked to death) is to shoot at them with a BB gun (the BBs just bounce off).

That's just the birds - I won't go into the alligators, snakes and coyotes. Or the street being blocked by deer.

I love being surrounded by all this wildlife and hope it never goes away. But there is so much of it here that we don't help them by feeding them, we just create problems.

Feed them? No, they're doing just fine on their own.

__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 11:14 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 152
Re: Birding

Quote:
Originally Posted by setab
Squirrels and raccoons are a pain.* I have lost three peanut feeders and two suet holders to the varmits.* Still, the Goldfinch feeder is always covered with birds and the other feeders we have bring in woodpeckers, Cardinals, Brown Thrushes, Flickers, Nuthatches, and many others.* Nothing like coffee, bird watching and public radio to start a weekend.

setab
I like to do that EVERY day.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0196B.JPG (12.6 KB, 129 views)
Attached Files
File Type: jpg_thumb IMG_0196B.JPG_thumb (18.6 KB, 0 views)
__________________
Non sequitur is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 11:37 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SteveR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,803
Re: Birding

When I lived in IL, DW would feed everything. We had all kinds of feeders for many different kinds of birds.

We dedicated a large feeder to the squirels to keep them busy and out of the other feeders. As long as we kept it full of black oil sunflower seeds they were more than happy to camp out in the feeder and shell them for hours. The downside was it also attracted racoons. She solved this by feeding the racoons dog food and dog bones. At one time we had 15 of them in the yard at one time. They would follow here from one plate or bowl to the next as she filled them with dog food. We have to ween them off this about a month before we moved so they would start finding other sources.

We especially enjoyed seen the babies in the spring. The moma racoons would lead them to the food and water dishes. It was so cute to see them play in the large dog water pan we used to keep full of water for them. They would plop down in it and eat the dog crackers. We never had any real problems with them other than the noise when they got territorial from time to time.

We don't feed anything now. The Magpies are a real pain and run off the other birds so we can't really feed the other ones without a huge amout of conflict and noise. Maybe after we retire. Who knows?

At the cabin we feed hummingbirds. We also havd a salt block for the deer and moose. It is cool to see a moose in your own yard. Those suckers are huge. The babies are very fully looking...all legs.
__________________
Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
SteveR is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 11:42 AM   #17
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 35
Re: Birding

Started feeding birds a few years ago and quickly learned that good birdfeeders are worth the money. Here in the Midwest I get a nice variety...cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, bluebirds, orioles, blue jays....I put the feeders about 50-60 feet away from the deck and pool under a good sized maple tree and it works well. The squirrels can be pesky but with the right feeders they don't get that much. Perfect Sunday morning is sitting by the pool, hot coffee, Sunday paper, birds singing their morning songs....Maybe it's time to look at doing that every day??
__________________
spark0506 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 12:06 PM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 569
Re: Birding

Any creative ways to stop birds from flying into the windows?

We lose a couple a year, our whole back wall is mainly Glass.
__________________
Maximillion is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 12:09 PM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 569
Re: Birding

Leonidas, do you have a link to that sanctuary?

Others would be appreciated.
__________________
Maximillion is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Birding
Old 06-05-2006, 12:11 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,642
Re: Birding

Sadly, a bird feeder on Capitol Hill is like a red carpet for rats. My neighbor put one up recently -- disaster.
__________________

__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:01 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.