I seem to have a growing collection of bird feeders. Some women can’t stop buying shoes. I can’t stop buying bird feeders. Just when I think I’ve got the yard set up perfectly, some bird dynamic changes, I look for a solution and there I am buying another bird feeder!
The problem I was having was a real pain . . . or a non-problem depending on your point of view. While all birds have their good and bad qualities (as seen by humans), I have mixed feelings about Common Grackles. While I think their feathers can be very beautiful in the sunlight and they are quite clever, their manners at the bird feeders don’t endear themselves to me. They tend to arrive in groups and if they like what they find in a feeder, they’ll hang around all day, dominating the feeders quite aggressively, not letting other birds have a chance.
I only have grackle issues periodically, mostly in the spring when they are moving in really large groups. But this year, a small group of them settled into our neighborhood, decided they liked my feeders and didn’t move on. With a crowd of grackles on the feeders, I was hardly seeing the Carolina Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches and Tufted Titmouses that have been yard regulars for years. Even the finches and sparrows were getting scarce. What to do?
Sometimes I hear people say that they see no birds even though they’ve put seed out for them. I think when you are trying to attract birds to your yard, it helps to think like a bird. Here are a few thoughts:
Want American Goldfinches in your yard? You’ve got to treat them right! These beautiful little birds will eat sunflower seed like many other backyard birds, but their favorite food is Nyjer seed (also sometimes known as “Thistle” even though it really isn’t.) To serve up Nyjer to Goldfinches, you need the right feeders. The feeders I use are Aspects Quick-Clean Nyjer Feeders. I’ve got three and I like them very much.
Today is my day to buy seed for the birds. When I first got into feeding birds in a big way, I was buying a small bag of seed here and another small bag there. At the grocery store. The hardware store. Wherever seed could be found in my usual errand rounds. But when you feed birds regularly, sometimes you need to shop around, both for quality and for price. Figure out how much you actually use each month and see if buying in larger quantities from the right sources can save you money.