Feeding the Birds: Throughout the harshest months, yes!

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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: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Dec 21, 2013 7:01 PM CST
We feed steadily and reliably from the first snow until bug-break. Once the bugs are flying, creeping and crawling again, the birds are on their own. The last thing I want is for them to become too dependent on us, for food from our feeders. Plus, by that time, the raccoons and 'possums are out of hibernation and headed straight to our yard to cause trouble! Rolling my eyes.
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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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Trish
Dec 21, 2013 9:08 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

That's pretty much how we handle it, Chelle. Once spring hits, we don't feed anymore.

I'm also very careful and observant about the natural vegetation in the area (Beautyberry, ect) providing lots of food (or not) for the birds. Some years we need to help them out more than other years.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Dec 22, 2013 5:10 AM CST
I feed on the same schedual.I finally found a feeder the deer cant empty in a night and squirrils cant chow on. I tried suet in a cage but birds wouldnt touch it.
Trial and erroe. Its great to see 7 Mourning Doves cleaning up what the perching birds drop.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Dec 22, 2013 6:37 AM CST
chelle said:We feed steadily and reliably from the first snow until bug-break. Once the bugs are flying, creeping and crawling again, the birds are on their own. The last thing I want is for them to become too dependent on us, for food from our feeders. Plus, by that time, the raccoons and 'possums are out of hibernation and headed straight to our yard to cause trouble! Rolling my eyes.


Same here. Once spring arrives, they have lots of food in the woods behind us and in the yard.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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goldfinch4
Dec 23, 2013 10:53 AM CST
I fed birds for many years. Then about 5 years ago we started getting more and more "bully" birds like starlings, blackbirds, crows, cowbirds, and HUGE flocks of sparrows that chased away the other birds. Then deer started showing up and stood on their hind legs and knocked the birdfeeders down (even the feeders five feet from the picture window in the living room!). Possum, raccoons and squirrels were getting out of control. The squirrels were tremendously destructive. Thumbs down Thumbs down So I quit feeding anything. On the bright side, I have a lot less animal problems in my gardens during the rest of the year now too.
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Dec 23, 2013 11:10 AM CST
Ugh!

As far as deer go, I have no experience in their control. They don't come into our yard, or at least they haven't yet. Larger seeds that are attractive to bullies goes into caged feeders. It won't completely stop them, but it does slow them down. Sparrows, finch and doves get just the tiniest seeds in their feeder tray, and it doesn't attract the bullies. During our feeding season the huge hordes of migratory bullies are absent, so they can't cause a problem. The birds we're feeding are generally just our resident population. Smiling
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Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Dec 23, 2013 12:15 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Uggg, Chris- that's so discouraging! I don't blame you a bit for stopping!!
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Sandra Williams
Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
rositoes
Dec 28, 2013 8:44 AM CST
When I lived in the country I fed the birds, especially in winter. There were all sorts coming to the feeders-- goldfinches, titmice, chickadees, cardinals, sparrows, woodpeckers, doves and more. Now that I live in a city in an area where there are few trees, I'm more focused on planting things to attract the birds and butterflies. The only birds that come to my yard now are house sparrows, starlings, grackles and doves and I don't especially want to encourage them. When the weather occasionally becomes harsh, I put out some food.
Sandra
Name: Jeff
Perry Iowa (Zone 5a)
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PerryJeff
Dec 30, 2013 8:11 AM CST
Sorry to hear your problems Goldfinch4 That is no fun. I am lucky living in the country that from time to time I take cracked corn out and pour out on the ground couple feet wide by 5-6 foot long in a key location so I can thin them from a couple windows. It seems most of the pest birds really love the cracked corn so it works well that they are down on the ground.
I have dozens of Gold Finches plus Purple and Red finches. Then when the snow covers the ground the Cardinals will come in and a few wood peckers.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Dec 30, 2013 10:48 AM CST
I still have the joy of birdwatching when I visit my parents, who live close by. Smiling

Good idea with your cracked corn Jeff. Thumbs up
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