Monday, February 29, 2016

Taking Down the Seed Feeders

We finally gave up and took in all the seed feeders that we have hanging over our deck.  Now we have suet feeders and the water but no seeds of any kind.  Fortunately, most of our backyard birds can eat the suet.  I grabbed the camera to take a few shots.  Unfortunately, after only a few pictures a Cooper's Hawk decided to look for a meal.  That always ends the bird watching and photographing for a while.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is well suited for picking out the suet

 The White-breasted Nuthatch, also a member of the woodpecker family has no problem either.

 Some of the birds we are missing and will miss until we hang the seeds once more are the Northern Cardinals and the American Goldfinches.  Neither of them have the right bills and not the right feet to cling and eat from our suet feeders.  The Eastern Towhees cannot eat from the suet feeders either but they don't come to the seed feeders very often anyway.  And we will still have the Pileated Woodpeckers, the Wrens, the Tufted Titmice, the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, the Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees.

So what, you may ask, prompted us to remove all the seed feeders?  Two words.  Pine Siskins.  We have suffered an irruption of Pine Siskins for several weeks now.  They have given no indication they are planning to leave.  They are noisy and scatter far more seeds than they actually eat.  They push the other birds aside and take over the feeders, pushing and shoving each other as well.  In short, they are not fun to watch and they keep us from enjoying our resident birds.

 Fewer in number, they still drop by for water.

We will leave the feeders down for at least a week until we can assume the dreaded Siskins have moved to better feeding grounds.  The cardinals and the goldfinches will return since they live here.  And all will be much more peaceful, at least in the bird world outside.

I wish all of you could be enjoying the same weather we have enjoyed for the past three days.  You can tell from the first two photographs taken in the trees that the sky is truly Carolina Blue today.  Gives me hope that Spring is indeed just around the corner.  Yes, we are headed for more bad weather but there will be less of it and it will not last as long.  I can manage that.


The Bug said...

Our sparrows are seed flingers too, but since they do live here we put up with them :)

Anonymous said...

I remember having to take down the seed feeders when the Evening Grosbeaks invaded us for a while, a couple of years ago. Then, we had to move the feeder into the fenced backyard when the bear found it out front and knocked it to the ground to get ALL the seed. Then, we finally gave up feeding the birds when the bear climbed the fence and came into our yard and destroyed the feeder completely. Now we just feed the hummingbirds, but I'll probably discontinue that when we get the flowers just right for year-round nectar.

Tara said...

When I had seed feeders the thing that got me was all seed plants that sprung up in the yard from the seats that were scattered . Now we just feed the hummingbirds . We love to sit on the front porch and watch them come to the feeders. No bears for us to worry about but we do have giant rats Occasionally. They go for the doggie kibble in the garage. Maybe we need a bobcat for rodent control .

I'm not ready for it to be spring yet . We typically don't get a whole heck of a lot of water in the spring time and we desperately need some . We haven't exactly been slammed by winter and so I'm not ready for it to be over just yet .

Ms. A said...

It's a shame when one group has to ruin it for the others. For us, it's doves and pigeons that like to hog the feeders.

Lowcarb team member said...

It is a shame when this happens but I'm sure things will get back on a more even and quieter keel (in the bird world) in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, on a slight change of topic. Here in the UK even our main TV Channels have special programmes on about 'Super Tuesday' and your election ...

All the best Jan

Arkansas Patti said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have a suet cake in the freezer that I should put out instead of keeping it till next year.
Didn't know that about nuthatches. They are a favorite of mine.

Nance said...

They all look like sparrows to me, and keep my cats entertained at the stick-on window feeder near their perch. When the siskins start flinging seed to the squirrels below, Piper or Marlowe stands up and swats at them through the window. Calms things right down. ;-)

I do love the pretty, swooping nuthatches. It's funny; the cats have a great deal of respect for the more unusual birds. And when a gorgeous bluejay appears out front at the porch feeder, they are entranced.

Once, a huge redtailed hawk swooped down on to the porch rail, wings fully outstretched, while Piper was lying on the back of the couch and looking out the window. It scared the hell out of him. Took several days until that cat ventured back to his usual spot for gazing.

troutbirder said...

and I bemoan the fact that these visitors from the North are rarely seen here...:)

KB said...

We used to have pine siskins here all year around but they disappeared. The local rumor was that they fell to a fungal infectious disease. In any case, when we had hordes, we put up a niger feeder (the mesh kind that lets the birds perch all over it). That occupied the siskins while the sunflower feeder was available to other birds. Perhaps you have too many siskins for this kind of solution to work.

I am so disheartened after last night. I caucused, which was fine (except for the very young voters who proclaimed that unless the Dems nominate Bernie, they will not come out for the general election - their attitude made me angry - it was almost like blackmailing anyone who supported Hillary). But the GOP side has me wondering if the nation has gone insane.

Ginnie said...

This is very interesting to me. I had three beautiful Cardinals and their mates who were faithful seed eaters but now I hardly see them since some aggressive little birds have taken over. I hope they are not siskins. I need to look closer.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Bug - I agree. If the birds live there they can come to the feeders. Oh dear, I'm beginning to sound as if I don't welcome immigrants, aren't I? I'm speaking only of birds.

Robin - We have to bring in all the birdfeeders at dusk. Otherwise we would have bears climbing up to get at the snacks.

Tara - Hope you get some good rains and then welcome spring.

Ms. A - We never put out feeders that the doves can access. Part of me says if you are going to feed birds you should welcome them all. The real me says only woodpeckers and songbirds.

Jan - I fear that other countries are laughing at us while we lament the childish back and forth between some of the candidates.

Patti - Yes, you should put it out before the hot weather comes.

Nance - Lucy likes to watch the birds. We had a Sharp Shinned miss her prey and hit the house, falling onto the deck. Lucy was totally amazed at the size of that bird and watched until she recovered and flew away.

Troutbirder - Believe it or not we also have birding friends who would love to have the Siskins. They typically stay for only a week or so, but every now and then they will nest here. We definitely did not want that.

KB - There are too many of them to distract. They are all over the place at every feeder. I also do not understand the young folks who insist it's Bernie or no one. I'm hoping that Sanders will be soundly defeated and then encourage those foolish young ones to vote for Hillary.

Ginnie - I see our cardinals in the trees wondering why we took down the food they love. I'm confident they will return when we can hang the feeders again.

Vicki Lane said...

That's hilarious! When my late mother-in-law lived with us, she had an in- window bird feeder by her bed and enjoyed watching the birds. Over time, the siskins began to run off all the others. She would grab the air horn she had at her bedside fore
emergencies and growling, "Damn suskins!' blast the little boogers away.