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Would it offend if...

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Would it offend if...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 11/15/2011, 1:36 am

Since the gardens are more or less shut down for the northern half of us in North America...and probably a lot in Europe, I wondered if we could chat about something a little off-topic....that still carries interest through the winter?

As my name suggests, I'm into wild birds. It's a fun hobby and provides me with constant photograph opportunities, landscaping ideas, and also provides me the desire to learn more about living in harmony with nature....as it pertains to our SFGs, too.

Inviting birds of all kinds into our yards, or community gardens, helps with some bug prevention. If we do so with plantings and landscaping, it also adds interest and beauty to our personal spaces. To me, it's a win/win.

I am far from an expert ornithologist. I am only wondering if this topic would benefit YOU through the winter months when birds are still active and benefit from our help?

Things that cross my mind are feeder types, food types, winter ranges of wild birds, general happenings around the yard, landscaping ideas, etc.

Any interest, or is it too off-topic for SFG crazies like us?

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  middlemamma on 11/15/2011, 3:05 am

I love birds, but know zippo about them. It would be nice to know a little more.

We have a place here called Wolf Lodge Bay and every year in the month of December Bald Eagles come to feed on the dying Kokanee Salmon that have just spawned (or something like that). I go down there mid December sometime and take some pics, I am not photographer though, nothing like your pics. It makes me cry to be there and watch them, they are so majestic and beautiful, it overwhelms me emotionally.

http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/fo/coeur_d_alene/special_areas/Mineral_Ridge-_Wolf_Lodge_Bay/eagle_watch.html

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  llama momma on 11/15/2011, 5:19 am

I have bird feeders, 2 bluebird houses in my bluebird trail and 1 bat house. Use to own parrots and macaws years ago.
Lets talk birds!

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  Goosegirl on 11/15/2011, 7:03 am

A few years ago Hubby and I went to a bed&breakfast that had the breakfast table set up to view the deck, woods and lake beyond -with bird feeders set up on the deck and bird books available for any who were interested in finding out what was swooping the deck. I have never been a bird-watcher, but that was so much fun that snowy January weekend! LET'S TALK BIRDS! bounce

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/15/2011, 7:49 am

I have never been a bird watcher either. I do however put up bird houses with some bird food and bird bath. I have had interest in the past of trying to attract the right kinds of birds, you know, the nice colorful ones. In the past I have planted shrubs and bushes in hopes to attract hummingbirds.
My wife, a few years back even went as far as buying our family a couple of bird ID books so we could try and figure out what it was we where looking at.
Yeah, I think this topic sounds really interesting.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 11/15/2011, 9:56 am

nKedrOoStEr wrote:... I do however put up bird houses with some bird food and bird bath. I have had interest in the past of trying to attract the right kinds of birds, you know, the nice colorful ones. In the past I have planted shrubs and bushes in hopes to attract hummingbirds. ...

I think this is where most people stand in their knowledge and interest. I was lucky to have a grandmother that knew tons about birds. I just happened to be listening....for once.

I also think this is the perfect place to start some of the basics. You mention houses, water, food, shrubs or shelter as well as a food source for the hummers.

You've just covered the four basics for attracting birds, and maybe you didn't even know it. If anyone gets nothing more from this discussion, get this: Provide food, shelter, nesting places, and a water source, and you will attract as much diversity as your little patch of dirt will allow.....over time.

If you want to attract maxx diversity, provide multiples of these. And, if you really enjoy it, it can get out of hand. Like all animals, different foods attract different species. Some like nuts. Some like bugs. Some like other birds. Some like grass seed. You get the point. I will devote a separate topic for those and what they tend to attract. I break this part down, though, because you mention you want "the pretty birds." There are certain foods, and feeders, that help those guys gain an advantage and keep bigger birds, troublesome species, and squirrels at bay. You can never rid your property completely of nuisance species, but you can severely cut things down with a little knowledge.

One other thing I will mention before this individual response gets too long, is the Project Feederwatch that is going on right now. If you are at all interested in learning more about backyard birds, I would recommend visiting Allaboutbirds.org when you aren't thinking of your gardens. The internet has provided the means to really identify birds in your area quickly, and learn quite a bit about them, including their sounds. Also, in that website is an annual project to count birds and help the science team utilize information from around the continent and world.

I don't want to sound like I'm promoting anything. I'm not. I just figured I'd mention this project because it runs from November through April.....our gardens' downtimes. And, the knowledge you learn from watching the birds a bit more closely, and researching your questions, will help your gardening as you realize you are attracting all kinds of birds INTO your yard. Where there is bird traffic, other birds will follow. You will eventually see little songbirds like wrens hopping through your SFG for little morsels. In fact, once you learn their loud as heck call, you will get excited for your garden when you step out in the morning and hear one is nearby.

It all plays together.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  jkahn2eb on 11/15/2011, 10:32 am

Snapped this guy yesterday. Have had a bunch of colorful ones with bright red and bright green throats.



I'd like to attract anything that would eat crickets, moths and moth larvae. Got plenty of lizards living in my garden.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  mijejo on 11/15/2011, 11:01 am

It would not offend me. I love nature, and mostly love animals.

This year, my garden gave me three bird gifts. First, a chickadee family built a nest inside a four inch tube which was suspended near the garden gate. Once the eggs hatched, the babies chirped loudly when they heard me approach. I needed a flashlight to see down into the tube - but 5 naked, open-mouths greeted me. The parents darted around the nearby trees protesting their concerns. I soon learned to wait for both parents to feed, then I could peek a look without a scolding. Those chicks grew like crazy! One day, I found them in full plumage and nearly identical to their parents. Within hours, they were gone and only a sad and lonely nest remained.

I will save the other two bird gifts for another post. Thank you for letting me share.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  Kelejan on 11/15/2011, 3:09 pm

My late husband loved birdwatching and built nests for them.

Unfortunately my neighbours' daughter's cat came to live with them and from being an indoor cat became the most feared hunter around. So my dear husband stopped encouraging the birds because it only resulted in no more birds around.

I still have two nest boxes that attract the house martins year after year. I have made them safer from the cats who patiently wait for the fledglings to start flying. A water gun works wonders.

I am a director of our local bird rehab centre, "BEAKS", supporting a wonderful woman who for years has saved about 85% of the birds brought to her. My job is to get money from recycling pop and beer cans and bottles while all her efforts are given to the birds. Another thing I do is dry fruit and berries for winter feeding of all the bugs in the bug farm. Having or own bug farm saves thousands of dollar a year.

A web site is being prepared. If I may, I will post the address when it is ready to go on-line.

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pests

Post  plantoid on 11/15/2011, 5:25 pm

We have a range of UK birds visiting our feeders but we also have pests galore.

We get massive black crows, magpies , jays and lots of birds of prey such as the redkite who has a wing span of around 6 feet across & hawks , all trying to snatch the small birds as they feed .

We have had to move the feeders much closer to the next doors high hedge to see if it will give the smaller birds some escape routes.

We also have a problem with grey squirrels not only stealing the birds food but also taking sitting parents and young at the nest.



Birds we get in the gardens ( UK names & species ) are Wren , Robin , Blackbird , Thrush , Mizzle thrush , field sparrow , house sparrow , starling , bluetit , great blue tit ,coal tit , an occasional tawny owl.

Greater spotted wood pecker , lesser spotted wood pecker , green woodpecker , treecreeper, Nuthatch. seaguls , herring gulls and pigeons

A pair of turtle necked doves , chaffinches , gold finches , bullfinches and very occasionally a fieldfield fare and an even rarer visitor ...the odd waxwing

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  sherryeo on 11/15/2011, 7:17 pm

I've loved the posts in the past that dealt with beautiful pics of different species of birds. I would be happy to see more posts discussing birds. I honestly don't know too much about them, but wouldn't mind learning more - especially how to discourage the ones that peck at tomatoes and encourage the ones that only eat the bugs. (Any such thing as birds that only eat the bad bugs? Probably not.)

I look forward to this topic!


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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/15/2011, 8:21 pm

@jkahn2eb wrote:Snapped this guy yesterday. Have had a bunch of colorful ones with bright red and bright green throats.



I'd like to attract anything that would eat crickets, moths and moth larvae. Got plenty of lizards living in my garden.

I love seeing humming birds. They are amazing to watch. The way they dart around and move is just mind boggling to me.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  capatl on 11/15/2011, 9:35 pm

My grandmother was into bird watching. Always had the binoculars handy!

Now that I have a yard, almost a year in our first home Smile I would love to attract more birds. My first lesson learned is that sugar water for hummingbird feeders sours pretty quickly. The store bought red stuff needs refrigerating after opening, but better off making my own anyway. I had one quick glimpse of one h-bird, and he probably turned up his nose at the food, lol.

I have plans to move the feeder to the front yard...dogs have the run of the backyard.

Sounds like a great topic!


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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 11/15/2011, 9:58 pm

The trick to feeding hummers is pretty quick.

- Red dye is actually being studied closer, as it's thought to be harmful to them.

- 4 parts water, 1 part sugar makes very near the same ratio as wild nectar. And, sugar is cheap in stores. I personally make 1 cup water and put 1/2 cup sugar in it.

- Boil your water first if you make your own. It helps keep the sugar in solution.

- Our eastern US hummers migrate (Ruby-throated is all we see over here), but a lot of the western hummers are year-round. Eastern hummers don't have the ability to slow their heartrates down on cold nights like the western species can....I forget the term.

- Store ALL unused sugar water in the fridge to extend it's life.

- Watch clear sugar water for going cloudy.....that's your first sign of spoilage. The hotter the weather, the faster it spoils. In 90° days, you need to change daily.

- My favorite link in spring... http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html

- Start your feeder near very colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers (like Hollyhock, Rose of Sharon, or Lantana). As the hummers find the feeder, start to move it closer to your desired location (like near a window).

I'm sure there's more. But, that's a nice start to hummingbirds.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  capatl on 11/15/2011, 11:34 pm

Thanks BBG. My dogs have also taken over our bay window overlooking the front yard. So, I think I will hang their feeder in a tree further out in the yard, then later, maybe from just outside the bay window. I think the ruby throats have already headed south through Atlanta for the winter, but I will be ready when they come through this spring! Now to make some feeders for the natives!

You have given me motivation for a new project, thanks!

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  boffer on 11/16/2011, 1:04 am

This arrived in an email tonight. I haven't a clue what the birds are, but it's a great picture.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  llama momma on 11/16/2011, 3:46 am

BBG I have the the term you were looking for regarding the ability to slow down metabolism. It is called torpor - sometimes called temporary hibernation[1] is a (usually short-term) state of decreased physiological activity in an animal, usually characterized by a reduced body temperature and rate of metabolism. Animals that go through torpor include birds (even tiny hummingbirds, notably Cypselomorphae) and some mammals such as mice, and bats.[2] During the active part of their day, animals that undergo daily torpor maintain normal body temperature and activity levels, but their temperature drops during a portion of the day (usually night) to conserve energy. Torpor is often used to help animals survive during periods of colder temperatures, as it allows the organism to save the amount of energy that would normally be used to maintain a high body temperature. Pretty neat huh?


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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  pharmerphil on 11/16/2011, 5:15 am

@boffer wrote:This arrived in an email tonight. I haven't a clue what the birds are, but it's a great picture.
I'm calling it a Dove Boffer...my best guess...

BBG, Our birds are Our allies, we feed and water them year round..
They in turn patrol the garden for insects...
Of course they make small divots where they dust themselves...
and occasionally I'll see one fly off with a pea blossom...
But Nothing that will matter...in comparison to the amount of insects most of them eat all summer long

So, Our allies...also reward Us with entertainment all winter...
we have..Outside our living room window...17 feeders Shocked

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  llama momma on 11/16/2011, 5:55 am

Boffer, I looked through both of my bird books. No luck in identifying that heartwarming picture.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  llama momma on 11/16/2011, 6:22 am

Further investigation: this might be the bird-trio that Boffer posted?
The photo on this site looks pretty similar:
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/853/_/Rose-throated_Becard.aspx
Personal note: different sources of pictures of the very same bird can vary depending on age, sex, lighting, and time of year.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/16/2011, 7:52 am

I actually took down our bird feeders last year. We were just getting bombarded with so many little birds, I couldn't have it with our chickens. They where eating all the chicken food, and just creating a big mess. I wasn't really getting any birds that I wanted around so I am trying to locate a place away from all our chickens. They would fight constantly and all the little birds can potentially bring in disease and others things I really don't care to deal with as far as the chickens are concerned.

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  Lindacol on 11/16/2011, 2:43 pm

@boffer wrote:This arrived in an email tonight. I haven't a clue what the birds are, but it's a great picture.

beautiful picture. My daughter is the bird person here. I sent it to her & this is what she found:
Pink-necked Green Pigeon found in Southeast Asia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink-necked_Green_Pigeon

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  Lindacol on 11/16/2011, 2:51 pm

Here is where that picture came from:

http://pigeonchat.forumakers.com/t3651-male-pink-necked-green-pigeon

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  llama momma on 11/16/2011, 3:34 pm

Great, glad it was correctly identified ! Very Happy

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Re: Would it offend if...

Post  gwennifer on 11/16/2011, 3:40 pm

I've been guilty of this myself, but if this thread is really going to hang around all winter, it would be nice if the title reflected the topic. "Let's Talk Birds" as some of the first posters signed off with, would have been a great title. Please understand I mean no disrespect BBG! I like it here and I can't help but think it would help users make good use of their time if they could see beforehand whether they were interested in clicking on one of the latest topics.

Okay, off my soapbox and back to birding talk. Anyone have success attracting birds, but keeping the squirrels away?

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