23 February 2015

Looking after birds, and a bit about the squirrel.

picture borrowed from the Internet
I am over the moon and flushed with success.

For years I bought bird food that contained thistle seeds (Niger) in a futile attempt to lure goldfinches to the feeders. However, since feeding birds with sunflower seeds the goldfinches have visited daily. It started with one bird, then two, then three, then five. To my mind, that’s great, ‘cause I love that little bird.

Wondering now if the number will increase. 

The feed once bought suddenly changed to include a particular seed that the birds didn’t like. Don’t laugh, this is true! Every day I would discover that all but that particular seed had been eaten and every day I would have to clear the ‘rubbish’ seed off the feeding table. Well, I don’t like work that much so I changed their daily ration to sunflower seeds and peanuts. Honestly, by the way they flock in you’d think I was giving them champagne and caviar.

I read a birding article on the iPad and learned that goldfinches have changed their habits and are now eating more sunflower seed than thistle. I couldn’t have bettered the changeover time. Now I read that greenfinches migrate to Spain in winter ... so where did mine come from.

We still see the bullfinch family (Mom, Dad and kids) and the nuthatch, and chaffinches, and a couple of greenfinches. The latter is a surprise because I heard the greenfinch was almost extinct. Apparently there was a spreading disease that killed off greenfinches in large numbers. I reckon I’m on a mission to save all birds, don’t you?

Every morning I put out bread, peanuts, and suet for the birds that can’t get to the feeders. Joe does his bit for wild life by cutting the crusts off sandwiches and throwing out apple peel. He did it because he swore he heard the squirrel say ‘what’s for afters’. And that’s in addition to the manky pears I throw out during winter months. 

Whilst on the subject of squirrels, here's a picture I took of the damage they can do. Not content with breaking every bird feeder he could lay his paws and teeth on he had a go at one of our mini trees. It's right by the patio yet I never saw him at it. It will be interesting to see if he manages to get through the whole thing. 


  1. I miss seeing all the birds at this house. Until all the construction stops and the trees fill in a bit, I am guessing there won't be many birds about.

    Gill in Canada

  2. oh my....ha, i throw out my afters...for the rabbit, deer or the squirrels, whoever will take it....

  3. Naughty squirrel! Interesting about the birds. Thanks for answering my question. For some reason I thought you were still in the Birmingham area. I don't know why now :)

  4. " Honestly, by the way they flock in you’d think I was giving them champagne and caviar."

    Oh Valerie, that made me laugh!

    And I bet the birds adore you and Joe for being so kind and conscientious about selecting the right food for them.

    And I also bet your backyard is so much fun to watch and enjoy!

    Happy Monday, dear lady.

    X to you and Joe

  5. Brian... I am green with envy. 'Rabbit, deer or the squirrels' ... I can do without the squirrel but, hey, what I'd give for a deer to appear in my garden. The nearest four-legged creatures we get are cats, squirrels, and foxes.

  6. Ron, the birds are my delight and I| think Joe is getting to like them too... grins. Yes, it is a delight to watch them and you should hear my excitement when a new bird arrives haha.

  7. Loved this post! I don't have any thistle put out either. Most birds love the Black Oil Sunflower. Your menu is a hoot!

  8. P.S. And squirrels are not my friends.

  9. Sounds like you know how to cater to their tastes! You really spoil them!

  10. Hi Valerie. Lovely post. I am very into feeding the birds at the moment.My rarest visitor is a Greater spotted woodpecker. Strangely the thing that gets left most on my birdtable is sunflower hearts.

  11. Oh, squirrels are horrors but I do find them entertaining. Sunflowers are nicer than thistles, don't you think ? although I wonder if any of those seeds in mixes are treated so they don't grow?

  12. Hi John. How strange that your birds don't eat the sunflower seeds.

    We had a Great Spotted Woodpecker a few times but he's not a regular.. shame!

  13. Wow .. I might try sunflower kernels. Mind you, I don't have a thistle feeder at the moment (it broke) but when I did, that was one that did empty rapidly. Our goldfinches love thistle. They'd sit there for ten minutes at a time stuffing themselves. I love them, too, they're so pretty!

    Laughed at the pear .. I threw one out for the birds just this morning!

  14. Oh! I know how excited you would have been to see so many colourful birds flocking at your feeder because I recently put a bird feeder on my balcony and am so happy to see just the little sparrows enjoying them..

    also I wish I would have been a bird to regularly visit your wildlife restaurant..

  15. Ohhh, squirrels.. you may remember we had them IN the house.

    I'm so happy you delight so in feeding and watching the birds. Ron has a bird book and binoculars, not much time lately though. Someday soon, maybe when he retires he can learn more!

  16. Yes. Mary, I remember you telling us about the squirrels in the house. Ron will get a lot of pleasure looking at bird life once he has the time.

  17. Ranita, I hope you get much joy from watching the birds.

  18. Jay, my thistle feeder was a poor one, it broke in no time... the squirrel helped in the process.


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