Friday, February 26, 2010

Birding in the New 'Hood

I like to feed the birds... and I always get geekily excited when I have a new type of bird at my feeders. At my last two houses, I lamented that I never got any American Robins. Robins! Such a common bird, and yet... never saw one.

Last week I saw two red breasted Robins in my backyard -- I was quite pleased.

Typically I have a few different types of bird seed out:

Safflower -- my favorite, because although it does sprout when it drops to the ground, squirrels don't like it. It brings me various types of sparrows, and some finches. (Of course, sparrows will eat anything!)

Black oil sunflower seed -- loved by Northern Cardinals.

Whole, shelled peanuts -- attracts most notably the Hairy Woodpecker, and if I am lucky, the Ladderback. (I haven't seen any Ladderbacks at this house yet.)

Peanuts in the shell -- It's great fun to watch Blue Jays wrestle the peanuts out and carry them to a nearby branch to dine. People say Blue Jays are mean... but they are so beautiful.

If I am really being industrious with feeding, I have one or more of these out: suet blocks, thistle, wedges of fruit, or dollops of jelly.

And a bird bath. It's not uncommon to see 8-10 sparrows all sitting around the rim together, taking turns. So funny! They are like a bunch of old ladies having tea.

Until just recently at this house, I was only feeding safflower; I was unwilling to enourage squirrels. But eventually I relented because (a) let's be honest, I am over run with squirrels anyway; and (b) I missed a larger variety of birds at my feeders.

Today I can add a male Northern Cardinal to my guests! I have seen them around, but never in my yard.

Mostly I get Sparrows, Finches, Chickadees (so skittish!) and then fairly regularly the Hairy Woodpecker. I am also getting another small light brown bird; I haven't figured out yet if they are Dark Eyed Juncos or some type of wren.

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