I posted a shot of this last week, but I might as well make my bird feeder/bird watching era official. Two feeders, no waiting:
That setup has been up for over a week now without the squirrels or any other creatures ravaging it. I'm 99% sure that if they could have, they would have by now. Oh, and just as crucial as that baffle in the picture above are the numbers 9,7, and 5. According to the people at the store I bought that at, squrrels can jump 9' horizontally from above, 7' horizontally along the same plane, and up to 5' vertically from the ground. If I set the feeder up with those numbers in mind, the squirrels wouldn't get it. It seems they are right.
I'm getting into this because I am trying to enlist my neighborhood birds, particularly the cardinals, into an insect eating air force to help protect my garden. It's too soon to say how effective that has been, but sitting on my patio and watching the birds the past week, I've noticed them perching in the garden and on the fence around it as they move to and from the feeder. That's gotta be a good thing, right?
I've also learned a few things.
Identifying birds is not as simple as I thought. I'm using the step-by-step tool at whatbird.com and it seems pretty good. The difficulty comes in remembering patterns and shapes from the time I note them through binoculars to the time I sit at the computer. I was going to use my camera in this effort, but the zoom is just not good enough. If I get any closer the birds spook. Patience and taking notes will have to do until I get a camera with better zoom capabilities.
The least skittish birds so far are the black-capped chickadees. They are the first back to the feeder when I come out back and will even perch just a few feet away from me at times. The male cardinals seem to be the most skittish. I've yet to see one come to the feeder when I'm outside, though I have watched them feeding from the kitchen. The female cardinals are a bit skittish too, but not as much as the males.
I've seen some mourning doves come around to peck the ground for seed that the other birds have kicked off the feeder. The squirrels do that also of course, and I've seen bunnies too. I read on a couple of forums that people hate the doves and try to drive them away, but I don't see what the problem is. I would rather the squirrels and the mourning doves clean up that dropped seed than have it attract mice or voles or other pests. Am I missing something?
One site had an "expert" that was adamant that you should never buy bird seed mix that has milo in it. The only birds that like milo are blackbirds. Anybody know if that's true? So far I've seen no blackbirds at the feeder, but I also haven't bought any mix with milo in it. Just wondering.
I'm sure I'll be thrilling you with more tales from the bird feeder in the weeks and months ahead. Hahahaha...just warning you!