Backyard Birding

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Lobster11, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I'm not a serious birder, but we have a couple of feeders in the back yard -- one for seeds and one for suet -- and a hummingbird feeder on each of our second-story decks. Over the last few months, while spending most of my time at home in lockdown, I've been enjoying watching the birds more than ever. Anyone else into this?
  2. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    Yes I do, the same as you not that seriously but I have a sparse tree line about 10 metres from my front window. I have a feeder there so I get the binoculars out and have a good gander if it's busy. I like hearing them as much as seeing them, an owl was just outside the window on an overhanging branch a couple of nights ago hooting his business. You could hear another replying but it must have been a mile away. Blackbirds are always welcome songstrels. I know when the cat is on its way through the garden because the magpies start complaining. They are not shy birds, there have been face-offs before now.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    We put out a hummingbird feeder a few weeks ago in response to being home all the time.
    We get a couple coming by, but the resident robins start chasing them off as soon as they arrive. One robin will land on the feeder and chirp till his buddies show up and clear the area.
    What surprised me the most about hummingbirds is how loud they are. I can hear the hum of their wings when they are getting close.
    Our property butts up to a wetlands preserve, so there's quite a few birds flying around in the woods and field right next to us. I find it very relaxing listening to them. It's great to nap to.

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  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The squirrels have always found them more appealing. I had a feeder with a squirrel cone under it. I once saw a squirrel hang upside down from a pine tree branch, flexing on it, then flipped 180° in the air, landing perfectly on the feeder. We also had a squirrel steal a lemon off our lemon tree.
  5. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    We have several feeders and our house is on a ranch so we draw a mix of birds for the insects in the pasture, plus those that eat at the feeders.

    Our usual pasture birds include hawks & caracara being mobbed by mockingbirds, plus cattle birds, starlings and killdeer.

    We used to have a 20 acre pond but sold it and the new owners drained it, so we no longer waterbirds.

    Our bedroom feeders are sunflower seed and seed/millet mix. We have 3 Cardinal pairs, blue Jay's, crested titmouse, Carolina wrens and house finches.
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  6. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    We’ve got some cardinals making regular appearances. But it’s one robin thats causing me issues - it sits on the wire right above my patio table and drops its bombs on my favourite chair!
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  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Oh yeah. My wife and I are serious enough about it to take occasional road trips out of town with it being a main focus. But we don't have to go far, this immediate area is a huge flyway zone.

    We get hummingbirds here year round, with migrants showing up around April through September, and the resident Anna's hummingbirds hanging in fine through occasional snow and hard freezes. Some of the babies like to follow me around when I'm on gardening duty:


    Right now we have baby quail in the front yard every day, and a busy swallow nestbox just outside the kitchen window. Plenty of pretty tame ones of many other varieties too, especially the psycho Scrub jays:

  8. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    We've got lots of birds at my place. And yes, I've been paying more attention to them during covid19. We have several Robin's that nest here, they're a bit annoying and territorial. After we raked the yard, there were so many finches in the yard eating, there must have been 40 of them. I've seen a few pileated woodpeckers lately. And the usual cardinals, bluejays, and doves. However, I've attracted several crows. I've been eliminating a squirrel problem and feeding the crows at the same time. I had a bad squirrel infestation in my house over the last couple of years. There was a vulture in the backyard having lunch a few days ago. That thing was huge!
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  9. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I was fishing in Wisconsin in September a few years ago and the folks I stayed with were attracting orioles with special feeders (think an adobe plate suspended horizontally in the air) with grape jelly on it. Yeah... grape jelly. I didn't grow up around orioles, so that was a new one for me.

    The stuff worked as we saw several when I was up there.

    Go figure. :smug:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
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  10. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    I forgot to mention that we have red head and red breast woodpeckers at our feeder every day.

    I also forgot to mention we live in Texas and the attendance changes in the fall and spring.

    Finally, you can to some degree control who is at your feeder by what foods you put out and what style feeders you use. If you put out an assortment of foods on a flat tray you may attract pigeons and crows. Check out the diet of the birds you want to attract and avoid and adjust feed type and feeder shape to match.

    Fyi, if you have house finches at your feeder, you may have a bunch of them one day.
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  11. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Outdoor cats persuaded our squirrels to stay away from the house.
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  12. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Robin's like lawn insects and worms. They dont like seeds or thistle, but will take fruit or mealworms at the feeder.
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  13. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Locating feeders by thick shrubbery or trees may get you more timid species.

    Blue Jay's are dash in, grab and fly off waters. Cardinals, woodpeckers, finches etc will stay and gorge if shelter us near by.

    Walmart sells a cat proof pole feeder, but one of our cats catches them in mid air, so we feed the cats well and locate the feeders very high.
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  14. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    When I lived back east, I went through a serious birding phase. Haven't really gotten too much back into it since I've been here, but have noticed some new birds taking up residence in our yard that I've never seen before. We have Western Screech Owls and California Towhees, along with the usual yard birds.

    One of the birds we have here that are rare elsewhere are yellow-billed magpies. I see them throughout our neighborhood on a daily basis, but they are very local to this part of California.
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  15. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Anybody successful at coaxing mockingbirds to feeders?
  16. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    One common visitor to bird feeders you won't see are flying squirrels since they are nocturnal.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003

    My allergies persuaded my wife's cats to live elsewhere when we got married.
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  18. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    My cats have never been inside the house. My first cat started riding the farm of mice and field rats the first night. The downside is our owl moved on.
  19. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I've had feeders off-and-on over many years, but each time I was eventually defeated by the tree rats and gave up. This time around I finally have a good squirrel baffle on the pole that's high enough off the ground to be effective, and a location where they can't jump on the feeder from tree branches.
  20. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I thought this thread was about flipping the bird to your neighbours. That is all.

    My parents are into birdfeeding, their garden is full of titmice, thrushes, wild pidgeons, and of course the occasional predatory bird. They have a few feeding houses on posts. Also a few squirrels and mice here and there, but it's a peaceful coexistence. The only real problem are the predators, and they do their best to keep them away.