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Backyard birding

Any other backyard bird people here? Since I’ve been out on medical leave, one of my favorite things to do has been feeding and watching the wild birds in our yard. It’s good for those days of being stuck on the couch recuperating – gives me something to watch. 

For bird fans: 

– what kind of food do you feed? I do a mix of suet blocks and compressed seed and pellets, and a small general mix seed feeder. I’m wondering if I should mix it up a bit to attract different kinds? 

– what kind of birds visit your yard? I’ve seen robins, red wing blackbirds, starlings and a bird with a black body and dark emerald green head and a few chickadees.

– do you feed any other creatures? I’ve started putting out corn cobs for the deer. Since I did this, they started leaving my feeders alone! 

I’ll try to drag out the dslr and telephoto lens and capture some pictures of my feathered friends. 

Best Em

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Comments 23

  • Shea

    Oooh,  post pics if you do!

    We recently put up a bird feeder but they never go on it! I see them on the neighbors house, and on the fence– mockingbirds mostly. I have a general bird seed blend I got at Walmart– it has sunflower seeds and millet and lots of stuff that looks good, but maybe they dont like it?– I am thinking of changing it. There are lots of bluebirds and cardinals near here that I would like to attract. I think it is fun to bird watch.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lovely! We have some very bossy bluejays, a lot of noisy mockingbirds and tiny little brown birds that I'm thinking are some sort of house sparrow?

    I catch a rare glimpse or two of bluebirds — love the jolt of happiness I get when I see that flash of blue. They seem very shy, but for the past few years, a family of bluebirds has moved into a birdhouse we have in our backyard.

    We also have deer — loads of them! And scampering squirrels … and possums … and a peahen that was our neighbors and now is apparently ours. She had a mom or a daughter, and that one disappeared. 

    One caution — if you do start feeding squirrels or other wildlife, I would avoid any sort of peanut or nut product. Squirrels can take peanuts into neighbors' yards and that might cause problems for families managing peanut allergies. Also, a friend of my sister's fosters baby squirrels, and he says that peanuts are like junk food for squirrels — they need a better diet than just peanuts. Here's a link to a .

  • LK

    Em,  Love watching birds and other wildlife!  One caution – deer can carry ticks that cause Lyme disease.  So if they are frequenting your yard they may dislodge ticks.  

    We have lots of deer that pass through our yard so I know you can't keep them out but you just may not want to encourage them so close to your house and in your yard where your children play.

    Also, raccoons and opossums also carry diseases and these animals are frequent nighttime visitors to feeders and corn.  

    Don't want to discourage your bird feeding, just don't want you all of a sudden find a wildlife menagerie in your backyard!

  • Breatheeasy

    Where we live deer is a big prob. I hate seeing deer and squirrels in the driveway at night or any other time of the day. I don’t know what visits the feeder at night so I took the feeder down two years ago. I sometimes put out nyer and safflower seed. I see everything in the backyard because we have woods in the back for miles. We have a lot of titmice, chickadees, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, finches, house sparrows, nuthatches and plenty of other big birds too. 

    I love hearing the chickadees sing! 

  • LK

    Birds in our area – Robins, cardinals, snow birds (dark-eyed juncos) , crows, turkey buzzards, barn swallows, red-tailed hawks, house sparrows, meadowlarks, bluebirds, blue jays, a flicker ( a woodpecker) and a brown thrasher.  Occasionally hear a hoot owl, a screech owl (really creepy call when it's dark outside!  )  , and once saw a barn owl and a Baltimore Oriole.  The barn swallows nest in our horse barn and it is so cool to watch how they swoop around the rafters and outside to catch insects.   

  • Deborah Bartlett
    Shea posted:

    Oooh,  post pics if you do!

    We recently put up a bird feeder but they never go on it! I see them on the neighbors house, and on the fence– mockingbirds mostly. I have a general bird seed blend I got at Walmart– it has sunflower seeds and millet and lots of stuff that looks good, but maybe they dont like it?– I am thinking of changing it. There are lots of bluebirds and cardinals near here that I would like to attract. I think it is fun to bird watch.

    Over here, mockingbird like to eat suet cakes. 

  • Deborah Bartlett
    LK posted:

    Em,  Love watching birds and other wildlife!  One caution – deer can carry ticks that cause Lyme disease.  So if they are frequenting your yard they may dislodge ticks.  

    We have lots of deer that pass through our yard so I know you can't keep them out but you just may not want to encourage them so close to your house and in your yard where your children play.

    Also, raccoons and opossums also carry diseases and these animals are frequent nighttime visitors to feeders and corn.  

    Don't want to discourage your bird feeding, just don't want you all of a sudden find a wildlife menagerie in your backyard!

    A good thing about the opossums is that they eat ticks!

  • Deborah Bartlett

    I am an avid birder. Have been my entire life. I have cardinals, several kinds of woodpeckers, flickers, blue jays, crows, sparrows, dark eyed juncos, chickadees, mockingbird, catbirds, tufted titmice, grackles, starlings, red winged blackbirds, mourning doves, mallard ducks, hummingbirds,goldfinches…and the bad guys ..all kinds of hawks. Have been attacked by hawks 3 times. 

  • Breatheeasy

    We had a lot of snakes coming in for the birds because the birds were building nests under my neighbors bird feeders. So we had to stop.

  • Emelina

    Debbie, whoa! You are our resident bird expert. I’ll have to look up the species you mentioned. 

    Lisa, yes! There is an owl that lives nearby. Sometimes I can hear him calling! It’s a little creepy but also awesome! 

    Thank you guys for the tips and suggestions and things to think about. I hadn’t thought about peanuts! Luckily I think all of the feed has been peanut free. I had a neighbor back home that would feed the squirrels peanuts and of course those guys always came to my deck to eat them. Unfortunately the deer already love our yard. They bed down in the snow near our house in the winter and usually there’s a huge herd of them that walks through the neighborhood at night. 

    Shea, I found this for you. Maybe it could be a fun project? Perhaps you could modify the ingredients to make them allergy friendly? The idea of stuffing a pinecone sounds like a hoot.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Thanks Melissa! This woodpecker flew into a window a few years ago. If you rub a bird's head, you can bring it back to, because a bird is stunned when it flies into a window. If you don't help, the bird could die. I stayed with that bird until he was able to cling onto a suet basket, then fly…about half an hour. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Awww … sweet birds! And sweet folks for feeding birds and making sure that the neighbors are not exposed to allergens, either!

    Yesterday during a walk with DH, I spotted two very shy bluebirds. Their cheerful blue with their red throats make me happy!

  • Shea

    I agree to no nuts/nut products (Tommy and I are both severely allergic) so I always check the seeds I buy. The people at the city park love feeding the squirrels nuts but the shelks and dust are everywhere there– I had to talk wuth a lady who threw them on the sidewalk by the playground by the handful. Not to mention the squirrels get too brave and cranky. Sane with ducjs– ducks get aggressive if fed toi regularly and bith look bad after being fed too much junk food.

    I dont want to attract fruit flies (although the frogs woukdnt mind if I did), bugs, or rodents of any type, so seed mixes are what I am sticking to for now. 

    My yard is all fenced in and pretty residential (non-country) so I dont have to worry about animals coming in too much. 

    I like the friendly shy bird popping in for a quick hello though!

  • Shea

    A bird finally ate from out bird feeder!!! Yay!!! I didnt get a picture. BUT my sister is going for her Masters in Ornithology in Memphis and she goes on trails and makes nest boxes for birds and studies then… she just sent me these cute photos:

  • Emelina

    Oh my! Thanks for sharing Shea! So cute! So tiny. Awesome! That one in the middle reminds me of grumpy bird. I wonder what kind of babies they are.

  • Shea

    The one in the egg is a carolina wren baby, she had told me, but im not sure on the others– if they are the same ones but as they age or different types– Ill have to ask her! And yes I can totally see the one as a cute little grumpy bird!

  • Breatheeasy
    Deborah Bartlett posted:

    Deborah I just realized the birds are sitting on your hand. That's cool that the birds are not scared of you.