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Backyard Bird Feeding

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Hummingbirds and catnip? [Aug. 19th, 2007|12:26 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

kookaburra1701
[Current Location |Eugene, Oregon]
[music |Enya - Ask the Mountains]

Has anyone heard of this? I have impatiens, petunias, and honey suckle all growing in containers on my 2nd floor balcony to attract hummingbirds. So far, I have not seen any hummers feeding from them- but yesterday morning, a hummingbird drank from my CATNIP plant for 15 minutes! I didn't even think the catnip flowers had any nectar, or were big enough to be of use to a hummer. But she (it was a female rufous) completely ignored the other flowers and stayed with the catnip.

Is this weird? Is it just something none of the hummingbird gardening guides I've read failed to mention? Does the bird get a "rush" like mammals do from the catnip? If so, could it harm her? These are the questions that keep me up at night!

Also, I must confess that I misidentified the grosbeaks- they are black headed grosbeaks, not evening grosbeaks. Also, the house finches are getting downright disrespectful! Making a total racket at sunrise if I happened to forget to fill the feeder the night before.
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(no subject) [Aug. 15th, 2007|12:54 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

halo101
[mood |disappointeddisappointed]
[music |Snog--"King of Hate"]

I seem to be losing customers at my feeder! What's going on?

I switched from a seed mix to black oil sunflower seed, and, within a few weeks, I got a pair of cardinals and a bronzed grackle. They showed up one afternoon, but they haven't returned since. (I did see a few cardinals on the fence, but none at the feeder, as far as I know.) My jays have disappeared, too. Now all I seem to get are house finches, morning doves, and a few house sparrows. :(

Could this have anything to do with the weather? It's been in the nineties for awhile, but, this week, temperatures have been around or over one hundred degrees. I was so excited about the new birds...I hope they return soon. Is there anything I can do to entice them back?
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Drama! [Aug. 6th, 2007|09:25 pm]
Backyard Bird Feeding

kookaburra1701
[Current Location |Eugene, Oregon]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Les Poisson - Rene Auberjonis]

Well, more drama, drama, drama at the bird feeder! A flock of house finches has discovered my seed feeder, and were dashing in between the grosbeaks and the jays to get at the seeds. The grosbeaks and the jays continue to try and chase each other off, resulting in loud squacking feuds. I haven't seen my chickadee again. :(

Also, tonight after I came back from a black oil sunflower seed run, I filled my feeder and the hangstrap broke! So the birds are going to have to get their food from the stuff that spilled on the ground until tomorrow evening when I can go get another feeder. I want to get a nice big one again, so that my jays and grosbeaks can perch on it.

Has anyone else had this sort of epic battle go on for one of their feeders?
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Evening Grosbeak! [Aug. 5th, 2007|09:15 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

kookaburra1701
[Current Location |Eugene, Oregon]
[music |MST3K Theme]

Just when I despaired of ever seeing anything other than jays (the jays ran off the starlings, at least, and they're funny to watch) at my feeder, a large female grosbeak showed up! She's been showing up for a few days, but I wasn't able to get a good look at her (she's very, very shy- any movement in the kitchen and she's gone) and couldn't figure out which breed of grosbeak she was. Then this morning, a very large male evening grosbeak and I surprised each other as I went out on the balcony to get cat food. He nearly collided with me as I stepped out the door. He's beautiful! All bright yellow and black.

He and the female have been chasing each other through the trees around my apartment all morning. The thing is, I don't think the female is an evening grosbeak. She is a very speckled brown, and has heavy white eyebrows and a pink beak. All the photos of female evening grosbeaks I've seen do not have the eyebrows and they are a smooth gray color. Could she be a different species? Do they interbreed? And what food can I put out to get them to come around more? Right now I have a self-made mix of peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and dried berries in my feeder.

ETA: Right after I wrote this entry I went back to the window, and they're EVERYWHERE! There's about 20 females on the lawn below my balcony, and the male is going nuts trying to catch them all. The family of jays is getting very annoyed. Also, as I stood at the window watching the drama, a weeny little chickadee landed on my suet feeder! He stayed for awhile, and I was so close I could see every little feather!
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(no subject) [Jul. 23rd, 2007|12:29 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

halo101
[mood |okayokay]
[music |Candlemass--"Of Stars and Smoke"]

I wanted to thank everyone who suggested I switch to black oil sunflower seed. It's working! Okay, so I haven't seen any new birds yet (I only changed foods a few days ago, though), but I'm getting a lot less sparrows, more house finches, and the doves and jays haven't abandoned me.

My question this time is actually about hummingbirds. I thought about planting a hummingbird garden or maybe putting up a feeder, but I've never seen a hummingbird in my neighborhood. If I put out certain plants and/or a feeder, will they start showing up? Or are some neighborhoods just not hummingbird-friendly?

My aunt, who lives about half an hour away, gets hummers, so I'd like to think they could be persuaded to visit my house as well!
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(no subject) [Jul. 9th, 2007|04:10 pm]
Backyard Bird Feeding

halo101
[mood |hopefulhopeful]
[music |Lila Downs--"Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"]

I'm a little disappointed in the lack of variety at my feeder. The daily visitors are house sparrows and mourning doves, with a few blue jays and house finches. One day, I had a male painted bunting, but I never saw him after that.

Right now, I'm feeding a seed mix that I got from a pet store. There must be a lot of filler in it, because the birds always leave certain seeds on the tray, only eating them when the feeder is almost empty.

I was reading in one of my books that black oil sunflower seed and millet are essentials for attracting a wide variety of birds. Cracked corn was also mentioned if you want to attract starlings and/or blackbirds. The problem is, I'm having trouble finding a mix that consists of only those foods.

Any recommendations for a good mix? I plan on feeding sunflower seeds and millet for sure, so, if I have to, I'll buy a bag of each. Now, if I do that, should I mix them fifty-fifty in one feeder, or buy another feeder so that the millet and sunflower seed are separate? What about a suet feeder? I want to do whatever I can to get new visitors while satisfying the regulars.

Also, will the doves leave if I stop offering corn, or will they stay for the millet? My book says that doves eat millet, yet someone at a wild bird speciality company told me they're probably after the corn.
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One way to get rid of starlings... [Jun. 7th, 2007|07:19 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

kookaburra1701
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Baby Love Child - Pizzicato 5]

Well, I didn't need to put out meal worms to get a jay. A scrub jay has apparently decided that my suet and seed feeders are his, and this morning I watched him chase five starlings all over the back lawn before they decided to get a meal some place else. I didn't even think jays would eat fruit and nut suet mixes.
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Just started! [Jun. 3rd, 2007|12:50 am]
Backyard Bird Feeding

kookaburra1701
[Current Location |Eugene, Oregon]

Hello, I've just finished setting up my first bird station on my apartment balcony! I've been scouring the web to find tips on bringing in the birds, and I figured I should join a community on LJ!

1) Your age or age range: 22
2) Where you live (as general or specific as you wish): Eugene, OR
3) City, suburban, rural, or ??? It's weird, I suppose I technically live in the suburbs, but as I grew up in the country, it seems very urban to me. But also right across the street is a protected wetlands area. It's like a weird intersection of industrial, downtown, suburbs and rural.
4) Your general landscape (i.e. wooded, prairie, etc.): my apartment is on the second floor, and my balcony faces a small tract of lawn that is bordered by redwood trees and an electric station.
5) How many birdfeeders do you maintain in cold weather months? I haven't had birdfeeders in cold weather months yet. :)
6) Do you use a birdbath? Put up birdhouses? I have a "birdbath", but it's just a pie plate on a planter stand with rocks in the bottom. I'm trying to figure out how to rig a dripper system (I have no hose outlet on my balcony) to attract birds to it.
7) How long have you been feeding the birds? 1 month ago, I put up a suet feeder. I just bought a seed feeder and humming bird feeder this week.
8) Do you feed year-round? I plan to.
9) Do you keep a list of the birds you attract? No, but I am an artist, and I plan on doing plenty of bird studies. :)
10) What are your favorite website(s) and/or book(s) on the subject of birdfeeding? My favorite book so far is Audobon's "Bird's of America" because of the beautiful pictures. My father had the book, and I can remember spending long hours looking through it as a child. (We also had several large limited edition Roger Tory Peterson prints. I have a feeling these influenced my interest in wild birds.)

I've never really pursued birding before, so I can barely identify any birds other than the ubiquitous starlings and mallards. But I'm looking foward to expanding my repertoire!

Some questions: Once the birds find my seed and suet feeders, I would like to put out live mealworms. Will this bring in jays, even though I'm on the second floor? I would also like to put out fruit. What sort of birds will this attract? (If I thought my landlord wouldn't freak out over it, I'd put out meat and see if I could get some raptors to come in)
Also: I haven't had any hummingbirds show up yet- but I think I've seen some bats at night swooping by the feeder! I'm not complaining, I love bats! Do you think they're attracted to bugs that are attracted to the sugarwater, or the sugar water itself?
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Swainson's Thrush... [May. 13th, 2007|06:26 pm]
Backyard Bird Feeding

crystal_tree
Had a Swainson's Thrush outside my window this morning. The last time I had one in my backyard was on this same exact date, but back in 1984 in the Chicago suburbs.

This brings my yard list to 31 species, which isn't bad considering I'm in an apartment and have been here less than two years.

Lots of goldfinches and purple finches at the sunflower feeder. I'll leave that one and one suet basket up all summer, but the other feeders are down now.

The same wrens (I assume) who used my birdhouse last summer have moved back in.
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Hummingbirds, anyone? [May. 13th, 2007|06:20 pm]
Backyard Bird Feeding

crystal_tree
I found a great hummingbird feeder at a garage sale yesterday for $1.00. Based on the coupon on the box, it's about 20 years old. The quality seems to be so much better than some of the ones I've seen in the stores lately. The bottle part is glass rather than plastic, and the plastic flower parts are very sturdy. I filled it and hung it today and am keeping my fingers crossed. The only time I've ever been able to attract hummers was when I lived up in northern Wisconsin. I know other people here in town who have them all summer, though, so I'm determined to join them. I've had a feeder up the past two summers, though, and nothing. :(

Maybe the third time's the charm?

Anybody else?
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