Pests and Diseases forum: About insect eating birds

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Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 8, 2017 9:08 AM CST
I bought one of those hanging bird feeders with peanut butter and insects in the cake. I put it in the middle of my veggie garden 3 weeks ago. The idea is to keep the birds from flying away to better pastures this winter. The birds haven't found it, so I moved it closer to the trees where the birds like to be. They still haven't found it. Sooo, is it just too early, and they are munching live insects? Or, do I need to move it into the trees? I want them in my garden!
Confused
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 8, 2017 9:59 PM CST
I have a number of bird feeders and usually grumble about the $$ I spend to fill those feeders. Lately, tho, the birds seem to be MIA. It's been at least 2 or 3 weeks, maybe more, since I've seen a bird at any of the feeders. And now I need to dump the dang stuff because it's rained and my understanding is that bird seed can get moldy which obviously would not be good for the birds.

I'm assuming that the birds are out eating berries and seeds and insects. I know that the jays and the cardinals aren't migrating. I don't know where the boogers went off to.

Sounds like you have suet cakes that are either square & go into a little wire type basket or you have the round cylinder style ones. What do you hang those on?

If there are a lot of squirrels around I wouldn't move a feeder closer to the trees unless you like squirrels. Something to watch out for is that birds are messy eaters. Thus you wouldn't want a feeder right over your garden area because you might find some unwanted seeds sprouting in your garden.

Bottom line is that it doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong. The birds are probably just off somewhere doing their thing. That's all I can figure.
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 10, 2017 7:48 AM CST
It is a cake in a rack. I have it wired up between my horse panels. The squirrels can't reach it. I don't think it has any seeds. Well, except peanuts. Wish the birds would eat all my weed seeds!
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 10, 2017 11:51 AM CST
Boy howdy do I ever wish the birds would eat my weed seeds!

Being a city girl (now) I can't actually picture the horse panels, etc. Will take your word for it. :D

I have been told that sometimes it takes the birds awhile before they find a new feeder. Also, since I live walking distance to a Wild Birds store, I often go there to pester ask them questions. This summer (or maybe spring) I wasn't seeing any birds at my feeders. They said that no one was seeing many birds and that their store was having a really slow time. If I remember I'll stop by there today.

I can assure you that once the birds are ready, you will realize that the phrase 'eat like a bird' is completely misused.
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 10, 2017 1:43 PM CST
This is my horse panal trellis with bird feeder:





Thumb of 2017-10-10/texaskitty111/3f9e31

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 11, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Thanks for the picture. Always worth a thousand words.

I actually remembered to stop at the Wildbirds Unltd store yesterday. They agreed that the birds are MIA right now and they also agreed that this time of year the birds are polishing off the berries, insects and seeds. We both wished that they'd come eat our weed seeds.

As the weather starts cooling off, which it seems to be doing, the birds will start returning to the feeders. When that happens, hold on to your pocketbook!

I did empty the 3 feeders to be safe. The one with suet definitely had mold.

Here's a heads up for you. In a 'normal' year, the goldfinches start coming around in November, generally close to Thanksgiving. They love thistle.

I'll have to look at a map but I'm thinking that Murchinson isn't that far from the general DFW area. You might see birds that don't come around here.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Oct 11, 2017 10:52 AM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 24, 2017 12:56 PM CST
tx_flower_child said:Boy howdy do I ever wish the birds would eat my weed seeds!


Are you sure they don't?
They certainly eat all the seeds that I leave standing....

Here's a cardinal eating chenopodium:
Thumb of 2017-10-24/stone/264918

And a goldfinch eating seeds from the woods sunflowers:
Thumb of 2017-10-24/stone/4ed913

[Last edited by stone - Oct 24, 2017 1:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Oct 24, 2017 2:53 PM CST
We gave up on feeders a couple years ago. Now we just broadcast seed on the ground by hand. The birds and squirrels share it. We have doves, sparrows, robins, woodpeckers, cardinals, grackles, you name it. I'm sure they are eating garden bugs too. They spend a lot of time perched in and on the 10 cattle panel trellises we have in the garden.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 24, 2017 3:03 PM CST
One of the reasons to get the peanut cakes with bugs and hang in a basket is so you don't attract squirrels or scatter seeds.
So far, my birds don't like them. Maybe this winter when they have nothing else......
Crossing Fingers!
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Oct 24, 2017 5:33 PM CST
We've always had squirrels. They dumped the seed feeder, shredded the plug feeders and devoured the suet in them, and pretty much cleaned out the suet cage feeders. So those are all gone now. Now we buy seed in 50 lb bags and all the foragers are happy.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 24, 2017 7:02 PM CST
Ah oh, did someone not tell me the truth? Squirrels really can get the food? I have my suet cage strung in the middle of a 12' wire. So far, they haven't noticed it, because I'm sure they can jump that far.
Angry
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 24, 2017 11:15 PM CST
Make no assumptions about squirrels other than they don't like hot pepper. Squirrels have been clocked at running 20 mph. Rumor has it that they can jump 8' but I wouldn't put it past them to take a flying leap greater than that.

@stone asked:
Are you sure they don't?
They certainly eat all the seeds that I leave standing….

I'm sure they eat some when they're around. But right now they are just MIA. Except 2 weeks ago I did see a woodpecker in a neighbor's very dead tree. Usually I have lots of jays, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, finches, sparrows and doves. Hope they come back soon. I miss 'em.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 25, 2017 7:18 AM CST
tx_flower_child said:
I'm sure they eat some when they're around. But right now they are just MIA. Except 2 weeks ago I did see a woodpecker in a neighbor's very dead tree. Usually I have lots of jays, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, finches, sparrows and doves. Hope they come back soon. I miss 'em.


what is your yard like?
The surrounding area?

I'm in the middle of a thicket... And... I dont mow.
Always lots and lots of birds.

If no birds, maybe do something to make the yard attractive to them...

Suburbia is the worst thing ever to happen to our feathered friends...
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Oct 25, 2017 9:51 AM CST
In MY yard, the birds are in the trees which cover 22 actes. My garden is in a clear space away from the trees. Hard to lure them over.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 25, 2017 3:58 PM CST
Ok, they're in the shade garden, it's not as bad as it sounded.

This summer, I saw birds taking a lot of interest in my climbing beans.... Possibly catching the bean leaf rollers?

During the recent dry spell, I saw them at my water features.

I have shade trees in the vegetable garden, so... Some of the worst areas for growing vegetables gets planted in flowers.... And those are attracting birds...
Looked like they were eating seed from the cosmos...

I also have elderberries and mulberry trees in the vegetable garden....

Autumn is usually a good time for them to scratch up the duff in the thicket, and... Along come January and February, they come back to scratch up the garden.... Eating chickweed and scratching up carrot seedlings...

Sadly covering the carrot patch with bird netting catches snakes... Reckon ima use window screens this spring.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 25, 2017 10:04 PM CST
@stone - Since you asked, I'm a city dweller (no commentary please because we probably agree) and have a basic small city lot. An older neighborhood, not suburbia. A magnolia covers my entire front yard, thus there's a little bit of this and a little bit of that's growing around it as well as a lot of mulch. I also have 2 large red oaks, at least as old as my house (70 years), if not older.

In the far back corner of my backyard are 5 Chinese Pistache trees. I don't know if they were mistakenly planted on purpose by a previous owner, or if they were planted by some passing birds. The trees are beautiful when their leaves turn, I'll give them that, but otherwise they make an incredible mess. Right now they are loaded with berries.

I do have a small perennial bed that I was able to carve out one year right after the oak leaves had dropped. Conditions were just right and the bed has done well even if the plants lean a bit in the summer trying to get more sun. I grow salvias/sages, milkweeds, mistflowers, and a few other native plants. Also have some scattered around in containers. Have 2 very large Flame Acanthus. Abelias. Frostweed. Agarita. A large Turks Cap and several smaller ones. A rosemary bush (shrub?) that measures 6' x 8'. Chile Pequine which I grew for the birds but the birds don't seem to touch them. When I lived in Austin I used to love those little hot peppers and would have to get some before the birds got them all. Oh, well, Different birds. And as in the front, a lot of this, that and the other. Use a lot of mulch, some of it is cedar and some native hardwood. My alley is paved but still is like a thicket. Neighbors have trees (and lawns).

I'm about a mile, maybe 2, from a small lake to the west. All kinds of critters reside there. Coyotes, raccoons, possums, various and sundry birds (know there's a Coopers Hawk or two). There's also a lot of underground creeks. A few small parks nearby. And a small lake (more of a pond, I guess) to the east but don't think it has quite as much wildlife.

So does that answer your question re my environment? The dang birds are just MIA. A few months ago they were in my trees, at the feeders, scratching around in the mulch. Very entertaining. So hoping they'll fly home to my little yard pretty darn quick.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 27, 2017 12:25 AM CST
Well wouldn't you just know it. I looked out back today and saw 2 robins pecking around an area with 'weeds' and mulch. Maybe the birds are starting to return after all.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 27, 2017 7:00 AM CST
tx_flower_child said:Maybe the birds are starting to return after all.


Glad to hear it...

Your description of the yard... Certainly sounds bird friendly...

I didn't see goldfinches yesterday, but they have been eating zinnia and rudbeckia seed.... As recently as last week...

I just don't know how I feel about those noisy little turds.... Seems like their whole reason for being in my garden is to prevent my collecting seed from the flowers...
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 27, 2017 1:52 PM CST
The goldfinches haven't migrated here yet. They usually arrive in November, I'm thinking close to Thanksgiving. (Now I'm thinking that I should look up their migratory path.) Last year they didn't arrive as usual. Seems like they showed up in January. Too bad I haven't kept a journal of sorts.

So anyway, the goldfinches start to leave in May. By then their coats are really bright.

The common finches definitely differ. Haven't noted when they come and go but what I do see is that their diet differs. Weed seeds etc aside, the golds only eat nyger from the feeders. The common finches are more indiscriminate and flit around to various feeders.

The sad thing is that when I put up my main feeding get-up, it's more toward the back of the yard. My vision isn't all that great so I find myself having to use a cheap pair of binoculars to watch the birds. I do have a couple feeders closer but rearranging all of them would be a real booger.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 27, 2017 4:10 PM CST
Goldfinches arrive here at poppy seed time...
Usually a few days before the pods are ready.

Thumb of 2017-10-27/stone/b2eb0b

Usually leave after eating ALL the poppy seed, and come back for sunflower seed.

Very late for them to still be around... But....those zinnias must be tasty.

I avoid bird feeders, it just makes the birds easy prey for the cats.
Letting them eat the normal foods... Seems safer and healthier.

They pass all their colds and stuff around at those bird feeders, you know....

Just checked the map.... Apparently year round residents here...

I'm not sure that I even notice any other finches at my house.
See them in town sometimes....



[Last edited by stone - Oct 27, 2017 4:32 PM (+)]
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