Monday, January 29, 2007



Well, I feed ‘em!
Of course, the pigs I feed aren’t pink with curly tails that go oink. No, I am not even going to talk about any of the 4 legged pigs that I feed, most of which go “meow,”

I am talking about the pigs that fly- those feathered bipeds that frequent the feeding stations in my yard. Of course, when I hurry out to the yard with the camera in hand, they quickly disappear so all I am left with are pictures of empty bird feeders. If we are having a bad snowy winter, I may have as many as 22 feeders going for the birds, some specialized (thistle seed only, sunflower seed only, peanuts, a covered ground feeder for doves and juncos, woodpecker feeders) some general mixed seed feeders and 2 feeding stations for squirrels and a food station for possums and coons.

However, since I got so much mail about the bathroom window shelf feeder, I thought I would do a bit on what I have learned about feeding the pigs, I mean, birds. First a close up of the bathroom feeding shelf:

See the screw eye and wire? The shelf is a cheap wire thing probably from K Mart for adding a shelf to your wall or cabinets. It is screwed in place then wired so it does not drop down. Put it at a slight angle so it will drain better in the rain or snow. An old cookie sheet is on that shelf. Be sure to punch some drainage holes in the cookie sheet especially on the lower end or all your seed will go sour. That is all there is to it. Now I have added the big piece of wire fencing to protect the little birds from the occasional hawk and the board in the back to help keep the seed out of the storm window track when the window is open, which is most of the time.

Squirrel baffles not only protect your feeders from squirrels, they help keep the seed dry in moderate rain. But sometimes it seems like there is no way to hang a baffle with its tiny hole over a feeder with a wide wire. I use a big twist tie, put it on the wire and up thru the small hole.

Got a smaller feeder and don’t need a big baffle? This is a pie tin – just cut a hole in it and slide the wire handle thru. I have discovered I need to put clothes pins on the top to keep it from blowing too far away from the feeder. It keeps the seed dry.

The wire enclosed feeders are great for the little birds, but beauties like the cardinals have a tough time getting much to eat from these feeders. They have to be kept clean or the seed sours and grass grows in them in the summer. And, they are hard to keep clean.

There are a number of “squirrel proof” feeders out there, some cute, some very utilitarian looking. I like them because they store a lot of seed and are easy to clean and the squirrels and coons cannot chew them to pieces as they do the plastic and wooden feeders. The only wooden feeders I have that have not been damaged by the squirrels are the thistle feeders.

Even with the baffle on the pole feeder, the coons sometimes decide to stage a raid and I have had to repair this feeder many times. But, the cats love to sit in the bedroom window and watch, so I keep it full.

The tall cylinder (on the left) is my favorite! It has a battery pack and is guaranteed squirrel proof. If a squirrel or coon grabs onto the bottom round perch that the birds sit on, it starts to spin and the 4 legged jumps off. Since I feed the squirrels at a different place, I do not feel bad about keeping them off the bird feeders. I do have to replace the squirrel feeders every year or two because they (and the coons) will chew the wood even though there is seed available. Go figure.

This sunflower seed feeder is kept dry with a plastic base from a hanging flower pot.

This little thing is a solar warmed water dish. It does get ice in it when the temps go into the teens, but it thaws fast in a little bit of sunlight. I have seen birds use it, but not often.

Things to watch out for – plastic parts, the squirrels will chew them to pieces quickly. Vertical seams on plastic feeders – they leak and then you have rotten seed. Tape helps but does not hold up in bad weather.

Got ice in your driveway? Or a light covering of snow? Even hard packed (but not deep) snow? Scatter bird seed on your driveway and all those little pigs will peck away at the seed and help break up the ice. Maybe their little warm feet help, too, ya think? Whatever it is, it sure works for me.

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