Feeding the Birds: Great Topic & Favorite Hobby

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Feeding the Birds

By Trish
December 22, 2013

As we approach Christmas, we're turning the focus of our Ideas toward fun and chatty conversation. Today, let's talk about feeding the birds over the winter.

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Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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TBGDN
Dec 21, 2013 6:16 PM CST
This is near & dear to us. We follow the birds year around providing food and nectar. We both (My Best Half & Myself) take lots of pictures. She is a fanatic about humming birds, so all hummingbird pictures you see from me are HERS. Bur no matter this is agreat part of gardening and country life. Thanks for posting. This gives us a chance to post some pictures. Smiling These are baby Chipping Sparrows from summer. They are tiny birds even though the pictures look large from the zoom. I realize this concerns feeding over winter, but these are only summer visitors then migrate south for winter. Hope this isn't too far off topic.
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LINK: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Chipping_Sparrow/id
Lux Umbra Dei
[Last edited by TBGDN - Dec 21, 2013 6:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
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Marilyn
Dec 21, 2013 6:36 PM CST
Dean, my hubby and I have been feeding the birds year round since Dec. 2000. We have feeders and scatter mixed bird seed on the ground every day since. We love to see the wild rabbits eating the scattered bird seed since we started. Lovey dubby

We have 3 or 4 Squirrel Buster feeders and a suet feeder.

We love to see the fledgings and juvies in the Summer with or without their parents. Lovey dubby

In the Spring, we get one or two wild turkeys coming to eat the scattered bird seed. Lovey dubby

We get so much joy in the birds every day! Lovey dubby Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Thumbs up
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Master Level Native Plants and Wildflowers Peonies Hummingbirder Dog Lover Lilies
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TBGDN
Dec 21, 2013 6:54 PM CST
Marilyn, That is great that you look out for the small wildlife & birds. We haven't had wild turkeys yet, but we have had some hawks! I know they are a part of nature's plan, but I scare them off when possible. They are Cooper's Hawks, and they are pretty, but I'd rather see them somewhere else. Here's a picture and link: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/id
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Lux Umbra Dei
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Dec 21, 2013 8:05 PM CST
Leon, what a majestic creature! Beautiful picture!

Hubby and I feed birds year round here! Suet cakes, and seed, and in the spring, especially as "babies" are being born and raised we also put out mealworms. Gives them a little extra protein!
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Of course we also have an occasional raptor show up too!


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Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
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Marilyn
Dec 21, 2013 8:08 PM CST
We get hawks here too sometimes and I scare them off. I don't want them to get 'my' birds and rabbits.
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Dec 21, 2013 8:17 PM CST
I'm almost 66 years old and I've been feeding my backyard birds for 38 years. Unfortunately the raccoons and other night critters are fed well too if the feeders still contain seeds and I forget to bring them in at the end of the day. Smiling Even though there's plenty of natural food available (seeds, berries and insects) for the birds year round here in Florida I still can't help myself when it comes to feeding our feathered friends. I know they don't become dependent on the feeders because there are times during the year where they don't visit the feeders as often ... preferring the berries etc. that are naturally available in the landscape. I use inexpensive store bought feeders or whatever will hold seed. I even use empty hanging baskets with the saucer placed in the very top of the basket to hold seed. I put out a mixture of sunflower seeds, raisins, nuts, fruit and suet. I love all birds and I've taken many photo's over the years of our regular year-round residents but I think my favorite are these winter visitors that we don't get to see for very long down here in Florida. I always love when these winter visitors stop at the backyard feeders:

American Robin ....................................... Cedar Waxwings
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Eastern Phoebe ................................... Gray Catbird
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Although I haven't done it in a long while I have been known to decorate small shrubs and trees with edible treats for the birds by stringing unbuttered/unsalted popcorn and draping it across a shrub or tree, and adding thin slices of apples and oranges to the ends of the branches. I also take bagel halves, smear them with creamy or chunky peanut butter (not the type that contains honey) and then sprinkle them with raisins and birdseed and hang it on an "S" hook from a tree limb.
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We have a few different types of Hawks here year round and it's sad to see them take one of the songbirds (easy pickins when so many little birds visit backyard feeders) but it's all part of nature and they do have to eat too.
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We have Bald Eagles here year round and although they don't visit the backyard feeders they are still awesome and majestic birds!
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~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Dec 21, 2013 8:18 PM CST
I also feed dehydrated mealworms pretty much year round ... some birds don't touch them but the Carolina Wrens, Painted Buntings and a few others devour them!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 21, 2013 8:53 PM CST
We feed seed year round & syrup for the hummingbirds until they leave for points south. We don't feed mealworms for the insect eaters. There seems to be plenty for them to eat here without us feeding them mealworms & we want them to get the bugs. Granted, they get some of the good bugs but that's the way it goes & it's nature's way of keeping overpopulation from happening.
We also have 2 birdbaths & at times have trouble keeping them full. From 3 till 5 each day the birds --- ALL the birds go into what we've come to call the bathing frenzy. We've seen as many as 11 birds in 1 bath at one time with more lined up on the edges of the roofs waiting for space in 1 of the birdbaths.
We have hawks here too & love them as well as we do the little birds. They have their place in nature also. We don't like to see a little bird taken down but the hawks have to eat too.

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I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



[Last edited by flaflwrgrl - Dec 21, 2013 9:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
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Trish
Dec 21, 2013 9:06 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Great pictures, everyone! Thanks for sharing!!
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 21, 2013 9:27 PM CST
I feed the birds and squirrels year round.

I may have a bander coming to visit me the beginning of January to try to capture and band the Painted Buntings. There is new research going on here along the east coast of Florida to try to figure out what is causing the sharp decline in those birds here in the eastern USA. More information can be found at this website:
http://paintedbuntings.org/

I had a bander visit me in January of 2011 who captured and banded two female Ruby-throated hummingbirds for research to determine if we had resident hummers. (We don't.) The banding studies indicated that there were different hummingbirds in winter than in summer.

What frequents my seed feeders year round is bluejays, cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, lots of doves (white wing and mourning doves), and grackles. In Winter, I have Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, catbirds, and warblers. The warblers use the hummingbird feeders in Winter along with the Ruby-throated hummers. I plant a lot of nectar plants around my yard for the hummingbirds which is my number one favorite bird. The Painted Buntings are my second favorite.

And I also have the predator bird - Red-shoulder Hawk. They do score a lot of the doves. They even get the occasional squirrel and one time even got a bluejay. When I hear the bluejays pitching a fit outside, I know a hawk is nearby. I go out into the yard and try to scare it off, but that doesn't happen often enough (because I have to head to work in the early mornings).

I feed about a dozen squirrels every morning, too. And there are usually lots of butterflies flying around during that time. Action in the first few hours of the morning is quite busy! Always fun to watch!

At night, I get the Eastern Screech Owls. Unfortunately, the fruit rats are also attracted to my yard because of the seeds on the ground. It can be a delicate balance in my yard at times. Below are some photos taken this morning.

Male and possible female Painted Bunting:

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Warbler drinking nectar from hummer feeder:

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Juvenile Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird:

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Red-bellied Woodpecker:

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Dec 22, 2013 3:33 AM CST
These photo's are wonderful. Thank you so much!

We feed the birds everyday year around. We enjoy watching them come to the feeder.
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Master Level Native Plants and Wildflowers Peonies Hummingbirder Dog Lover Lilies
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TBGDN
Dec 22, 2013 7:06 AM CST
terrafirma said:Leon, what a majestic creature! Beautiful picture!

Hubby and I feed birds year round here! Suet cakes, and seed, and in the spring, especially as "babies" are being born and raised we also put out mealworms. Gives them a little extra protein!
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Of course we also have an occasional raptor show up too!


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Tara, The little bird in the next to last picture is a Chipping sparrow like the babies in the top of this thread. They migrate south once cold weather begins here. They are one of our favorites. Thanks for posting these beautiful pictures.

Lux Umbra Dei
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Dec 22, 2013 9:26 AM CST
I have 2 thistle seed feeders and get mostly goldfinches, lesser gold finches, and pine siskins. I spread assorted seed on the ground under the feeder and see juncos, chickadees , doves and quail. Nothing at my suet feeder yet.
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Dec 22, 2013 10:25 AM CST
This is a Great Topic & Favorite Hobby!!! Thanks Trish, for starting this thread!
And thank you all I tip my hat to you. for the Acorn tips, and the Thumbs up ! Green Grin!

Ann, I recognize all the birds in your post, except for pic#3. At first I thought Goldfinch, but they almost look to large, and more yellow, and less black than our visitors here.
What are they?
This is a male that visited us last year…I've yet to see any this year.
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and also a male and female...

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Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
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qwilter
Dec 22, 2013 10:58 AM CST
When we moved fm MD I left the feeders behind & made the new owner promise to keep feeding my birds.

I only have 2 feeders here & definately need more. I leave the Amarynth seed heads for the birds to munch on.

Like the idea of PB on the bagles. I always end up with some stale bread & perhaps will smather in PB & roll in seed to treats.

A friend had a nice size branch with ~2" drilled out holes that she stuffs with a homemade suet mixture. The feeder is always full of birds.

My cats have always been taught to leave the birds alone.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 22, 2013 12:14 PM CST
Tara, those are female summer tanagers.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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terrafirma
Dec 22, 2013 2:03 PM CST
Ann,I had no idea!!! I don't think I've ever seen one here! They are beautiful!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 22, 2013 5:47 PM CST
Tara, I never saw a male, just the females. Shrug! I've seen a lot of birds here that I've never seen in person before. Last spring we had Northern Parula & lots of Cedar Waxwings & Meadowlarks & Northern Flickers. The sheer diversity of birds here stuns me. I also saw some male & female Baltimore orioles.
We have a great deal of year round residents & then we get the bonus of the migratory birds. It's great!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 22, 2013 7:16 PM CST
I used to see male and female Painted Buntings from January through April at our other house which is only about a mile from where we live now but I haven't seen any in the two years we've been in this house. They would always come to the feeders for the meal worms.
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~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~

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