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Feeding & Observing Wild Birds

Last summer I visited my brother who happens to enjoy feeding Humming Birds. Gee, I thought that looks like fun think I will too.

Then Autumn arrived and I had another bright idea, I'll feed the Cardinals and those yellow and black Finches. Pretty soon I have a whole flock of different kinds of birds outside to observe and enjoy, wow never thought it would be this interesting or enjoyable.

You wouldn't think those little birds would have such a HUGE appetite.

Not sure how long we will be able to feed the birds but I must say it has been interesting.

If your looking for something to do that doesn't require a lot of time or energy maybe you would enjoy feeding the birds.

I got those tall Shepard hooks to hang the feeders from and it is funny to watch the squirrels pole dance trying to get to the feeders.

Don't worry the squirrels get the feed the birds waste and believe me there is a lot of it on the ground.

Hope you are all well and not climbing the walls this winter.

Think Spring!!!

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Humming birds have gone the way of the Honeybee in

S.W. Minnesota, DEAD! All Small mammals and birds are just about extinct here, enviroment becoming pretty sterile. If you hate the insects this is were to live, fom june to august no isects can be found. The Monarh Butterfly can only be seen during their migration, most are ready to die, because they can't cross the vast green desert of GMO's. Any wild plant growing in this area is now putting out toxic nectar. Because neonicotinoids are systemic in the groundwater, the pesticide is easily spread to other plants.

The river water here is even good enough to kill head lice, LOL!

But not to worry the pesticide companies are working hard to make sure their posions are everywhere. They pretty much have it in all our food.

Whatever your stance on GMO's, the fact is these crops will destroy the worlds enviroment eventually!

Surviving the killing fields of Minnesota

Todays brainwashing: GMO's are safe

I planted flowers hummingbirds love - Bee Balm (Monarda),

and every day in the summer the hummingbirds would fly to them.

Each year around March or April I plant another batch of beautiful scarlet red bee balm, and now I have about six 3x3 dense patches of this exciting flower. It grows to about 4 ft high and every few inches another leaf appears and with every new leaf after 3 ft you wonder when the bud will show itself. I tried counting the flowers last year and it was well over 250; this year will be over 300.

The Hummingbirds come around two or three times each day. When I saw what I thought was a midget hummingbird species I was so astounded that as soon as it left I ran to the computer to look it up, found a website dedicated to them - Hummingbird Moths - and on the home page it states: "We know why you came" - ha.
They now come around as often and stay longer than the hummingbirds, and are not intimidated by them either.

This is a really fond memory, can't wait 'til Spring. Anyway, if you like Hummingbirds, you can plant Monarda/Bee Balm, and they grow like crazy. It's all in the root, rhizomes, and this plant can be invasive, but is so beautiful you don't mind. Oh, and the leaves have a citrusy, lemony fragrance, very nice. Every year I cut it back, share it with neighbors and plant in another area to watch Hummingbirds in action.

Thanks for the post, turned me on.

A subject near and dear to my heart

This is what I do for a living: I sell birdfeed and feeders (as well as some other things). Until three years ago, I'd never fed a bird. But then my wife bought me a feeder, and now we are continually amazed at the flocks we have attracted. Today it was chickadees, finches, morning doves, redheaded woodpecker, downy woodpecker, and some kind of bird with a red head and red tailfeathers. Got to look that one up.
The squirrels were out today, too, but at least they didn't dominate the feeders like usual.
My business needs some snow. When the birds can't see the ground, they can't forage, and then they have to eat more at feeders. Snow=good business.

Michael Nystrom's picture


Because I didn't see it the first time around.

Great Enjoyment

We put out a suet holder and bird feeder this winter. It is very rewarding and relaxing to see our daily groups of Pacific Northwest small back yard birds come around every morning and have something to eat. Helps them through the winter as well. Have the feeder on the patio table and they are quite used to us watching them now. The starlings come in every once in awhile though, make a mess of everything.

Any advice...

... On feeding colorful birds on 11th floor of New Westmister (BC) apt balcony, a page back? ;-)


Paul B.

Squirrels :)

I started to read your post about feeding the birds and thought, "I should post something quick in reply about the squirrels I regularly feed," then I saw that you also mentioned squirrels lol. :)

A few clips I filmed, at a local city park approximately a minute walk from my house. There are probably a few dozen squirrels there, plus a lot of crows and other smaller birds I have no idea the names of.

My face is partially covered with a peace sign for semi-anonymity; earlier today. :)

winter 2013 - today 2014


I feed the squirrels primarily almonds, but also occasionally walnuts and hazelnuts. They sometimes get dried dates, also sometimes bread if I bring any for the crows.

Almonds are best because they're high in calcium, important for healthy bones to help prevent breaks and fractures common with squirrels' run/jump/climb lifestyle.

A local grocer has great price bulk, so a few dollars buys a LOT. Happy squirrels.

are entertaining

I used to live in a high rise in a concrete jungle and thought well no birds up here. To my happy surprise a hummingbird came to investigate a geranium on the balcony. So I planted flower that hummers like and put a feeder up, and the some seed for sparrows that show up. Better than TV.


Photos add another dimension to your bird-watching pleasures...

Although it can get pricey if you go for the big lenses, I have captured a lot of good images with a standard "kit lens."

Here is one of my favorites.

If you click on this image it will take you to my page where you can read a detailed description of the moment.

Wow, wow, wow

I really enjoyed looking at the pictures especially on a snowy, cold cold day. Makes me think Spring, boy I hope it warms up some and melt the snow.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Sending you a warm "thank you", quiltingsando.

Here's another one that follows a Spring theme. I really enjoy the "story" told by the paint around the nest. You can see that the nest was left undisturbed during the last repainting out of respect for the return of the swallows.


I feel warmer already, those baby birds sure look hungry.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Baby birds are the cutest ever

I've been known to leave a Christmas tree up until Valentine's Day. One year I left the wreath up even longer, hanging in the diamond-paned window of our kitchen door. (A white eyelet curtain hung on the inside.) I guess Spring was already approaching one afternoon when I noticed flitting shadows on the curtain. It was an adorable "couple" of wrens. http://www.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/A4691F4F-...
They were so industrious creating a nice soft nest in the curve of that wreath, from feathers and just all sorts of bits. And then came the eggs. Although wren's eggs, they were robin's-egg blue, like this
...although if I recall correctly, they were speckled - though as to that point, it's possible I'm confusing it with those speckled malted milk ball eggs that were often found in my children's baskets on Easter morning...
or the speckled egg in "The Golden Egg Book," that classic story about the lonely bunny and the chick.
Anyway, those eggs were so pretty and so tiny and so fragile, just precious.
But then what noise once they hatched!!! Those baby birds were always hungry, always peeping. They were so-o-o-o adorable, these little tiny bodies and these big heads with huge bright beaks always open and pointed upwards like they were blowing orange trumpets. Being very quiet, we'd peek through the curtain and watch them being fed.

The whole process was a joy to follow. It's really one of my favorite memories. Well, except for one thing. It had not escaped our notice that there was one less baby wren than there had been eggs. I looked all over for that egg because I have a tiny nest I once found, kept in a little glass box. I was going to have the perfect egg for it! But didn't find it until, one day outside in the grass barefoot... I stepped on it. :( Oh, well!

I love the pictures that are posted here - of the squirrels, too. I have lots of pictures of those baby wrens, but alas not taken with a digital camera.

Thanks quiltingsando for this great post!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Hummingbirds are highly

Hummingbirds are highly intelligent and entertaining. They are also complete dicks toward each other and incredibly selfish. One will find the feeder first and claim it is his but then a few more will gang up on him and while one distracts the first, the other will take some- its really funny to watch. I have actually been woken up to them fighting outside my window before.

I watched a hummingbird get nailed and eaten by a preying mantis once, it was probably the most horrific thing I have ever seen but that is the way of nature and something we must respect.

We all share this eternally evolving present moment- The past and future only exist as inconsequential mental fabrications.

I was sitting quietly

on my front porch once and a humming bird was busy at a flower, then it saw me and looked like he was going to attack me. Yikes! I yelled at him to leave me alone and I took off for the door. Hee,hee Boy what a wimp I am.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

deacon's picture


Should have stood still.I have had them land on me before.

Let it ever not be said,that I never did not do nothing for you.

I am going through an Ornithology class currently.

Now I am an amateur birder. Since I started watching, I've seen dozens of interesting birds that I never thought even existed. Cedar Waxwings, Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue birds, House finches, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, all sorts of sparrows, woodpeckers, you name it. I would recommend The Stokes Field Guide To The Birds of North America.


it comes with a disc of over 600 calls and songs. The pictures are all photographed, not drawn. And it mostly shows both female and male because they are mostly different. Males are of course, more fancy.

On my parents ranch land they have many feeders set up. The other week I saw a flock of about twenty red-winged blackbirds, and to watch them fly away was just amazing. Anyway, I'm glad there are freedom loving birders out there like me! :-)

-Matthew Good

people make fun of birding and dorky birders

But I feel sad for people that don't bird. They are missing out on a whole new world that is right around them. Especially when spring warblers come through. It's like these living, super-colored bright little jewels coming through, and people don't even notice.

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut

You know,

it's funny you say that. I just started birding in January and I heard about the Warblers that come in Spring. So Im going to Houston in March to see them. My physics teacher was a birder and we all thought he was a dork. All I can say is call me a dork. My dream now is to see a Bird-of-Paradise.

-Matthew Good

Bird-of-Paradise--wise...(+ a Q)

Costa Rica is a great country to visit anyway (did I already mention that they have not had an army for, like, a century? ;) ), and you can interact with lots of wild life there (how about handling and feeding lil porcupines, almost the most favorite libertatian kind of an animal? Personal experience, and they are lots of fun, and lots to learn from in negotiating de-escalation of aggression!) -- or about having to let an ant-eater to, well, eat ants of the tree, but! "Wrap its tail tight around your wrist and hold tight, do not want to let him actually run up the tree!"? This was in a retreat for injured animals, and it was as crazy and as much fun as I would imagine, we could only wish we were about 2-4 times younger! :))

My buddy told me that he have seen The Paradise Bird up-close and personal up in the high fields of Costa Rica...

Getting on-topic, yes, I loved feeding and observing hummingbirds in our summer (rental, for now) house in northern WA (On Point Roberts, but that is entirely different set of stories, both about animals and humans, and we are thinking about basing our escape and/or retreat there -- anyone here is from the Point? ;) ) -- but I have a sincere question...

Does it make any sense to hang a bird-feeder off an edge of a balcony *on 11th floor of a high-rise* a bit further North, in Canadian BC (New West condo)? I watch seagulls, and crows, of course (lots of respect to them!), but I am not sure if any brighter birds would flock that high...

Any advice?

Paul B.

Wow, that does look

like a nice book. It would be nice to listen to the disc of calls. I have been paying more attention when I hear a bird call but I don't know one from another. I think this may be a nice hobby in my old age.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Some birds

have quite a range of different songs depending on where they are, and the species of bird. Songs are mostly learned. Don't forget a good pair of binoculars, maybe two. There is nothing like looking at a bird like it is two feet away from you. You can see all of the wonderful details.

-Matthew Good

Listen and look.

I hear a red-wing blackbird. where is it?

I got my grandson a bird feeder Christmas before last.

It's exciting to identify birds in the field we can't see.

Free includes debt-free!

What a great gift idea

thanks for sharing it with us.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."