According to my new calendar we just finished The Month When Ants Walk the Earth and Hawks Dance in the Sky.
But I already posted about those things. What is left to talk about? How about ….
Misadventures in Bird Feeding
I have a well established bird feeder that hangs just outside the window of what we call ‘The Computer Lab.’ Its position is less than ideal for photographing birds. The window has a dark screen and the glass is so old I swear it kind of looks warped in places. Does that mean the sun here gets so hot it melts glass?!?! Call me naive but I nearly believe that might be true. ;)
Since I take my Wildlife Wednesday responsibilities seriously I decided to set up a more photography friendly feeder. I placed it in the front yard in the mulberry tree where birds already congregate. And since it is technically winter, I decided to fill this feeder with a suet mixture. I waited. And waited some more.
The first week passed. Not one bird visited. Shrug. Okay …
The second week passed and I began to mumble … How long does it take birds to ‘find’ a feeder?
Week Three. Loud grumbles. What is WRONG with these
stupid (I mean lovely) birds? Don’t they know I have a deadline?
Week Four. FINALLY. Bird sign.
Perhaps you are thinking the shy woodpecker found it and decided to use it to fuel his nest building efforts? Was it the house finch all pretty in pink? The Pine Siskin? The little Yellow-rumped Warblers I keep seeing all over the neighbourhood?
The Famous Green Parrots ? ! ?
No. It was swarmed by a gang of English House Sparrows.
You probably hate sparrows. But they did such a great imitation of popcorn — hopping and popping all over the place — I just had to smile.
Why did the ‘real’ birds shun my feeder? Maybe it was the recipe. I can imagine that a mix of hot chili peppers, oatmeal and sunflower seeds MIGHT be unappetizing.
Perhaps it was the partially hydrogenated fat. Squicked by the idea of touching animal fat I bought some vegetable shortening and mixed in some peanut butter. It is not inconceivable that the birds were in turn squicked by a fat that can’t melt.
And Then Nature Provided …
Winter can mean hard times for herbivores. But one creature’s famine can mean another’s feast.
This vulture looks more gawky than goth but it managed to find at least one wholesome meal of fat and protein during the cold spell ….
And chic alors! Just look at this dashing — and well fed — shrike …
So I learned two lessons this month.
- Meat eaters are far from helpless during a cold spell
- My suet ‘recipe’ could use an adjustment or two
Once again, thank you Tina from My Gardener Says for hosting the Wildlife Wednesday event each month. The House Sparrows salute you.