Julie Frost, SFF writer (agilebrit) wrote,
Julie Frost, SFF writer
agilebrit

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Bird stuff.

We've been having a really good time watching the birds at our feeders this winter, and now we're going over plans for expanding our operations. At this point, we're attracting:

Lesser goldfinches
American goldfinches
House finches
Purple finches (I have a super hard time telling house and purple finches apart)
Mourning doves (two subspecies, I think, it's weird, we have some that are little)
Ring-necked turtledoves
Rock doves
Chickadees
Oregon juncos
Slate-backed juncos (the juncos hang out on the ground and the willow tree, not the feeders)
House sparrows (of course)

And then there's a few that (apparently) hang around for the ambiance or something:
California quail
Mallards
Robins
Red-shafted flickers
Hairy woodpeckers
American kestrels
Magpies
Crows
Starlings
Hummingbirds

I think we can get more species in the actual window by making a few simple changes. We need a platform feeder that we can scatter different sorts of food (dog food, cracked corn) on for the bigger birds, and maybe fruit spears. We can anchor that in the basement window well. I've looked at suet feeders and tried one without much luck, but I think if I'm willing to buy better suet (or make it) that might change. A mealworm feeder might net us some bluebirds. I need to paint flowers on the hummingbird feeder so the poor little things know where the holes are; we've had some lookers but no partakers. And stuffing some pine cones with seeded peanut butter might get us nuthatches and other birds that like that sort of thing.

Apparently you can use a suet basket to hang nesting material as well. Lord knows we produce enough dryer lint and dog and cat hair in this household. A birdbath might not go amiss, although I still need to look into heater setups and see how that works (solar?). We have the start of a brushpile that we usually just mow down, but I think I've talked the Hubby into leaving it this year to see if we can get the quail to actually nest in it.

Planting berry bushes and fruit trees apparently also attracts them, and having bushes at different levels from the trees seems to be a good thing. Raspberries grow here easily and shouldn't be that hard to get going. If I start with the equipment I need now, such as more window hooks and a couple more feeders that we'd fill with peanuts and such, then we can hit the ground running in the spring.

I'm really looking forward to this--and have started a list.
Tags: birdwatching
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