Watching the Birds Rise

White-Throated Sparrow
Early Morning White-Throated Sparrow

There is something very special about watching a new day begin. From quiet darkness, to the first early chirps, to the first few winged visitors, building to the busy activity of dozens, the local birds are a big part of the start of each new day. If you pay attention, you are likely to see patterns in the bird activity in your yard. Every yard is different and every day is different, but this is the pattern I see on a typical winter morning in my yard.

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Today’s Summer Backyard Birds

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

Birds are always around, one of the things that makes bird watching such an approachable activity. If you don’t have time to watch for awhile, there will be birds to watch when time opens up again. When you do have time for it, it can be a very peaceful and healing activity.

I haven’t done much birding or bird watching in the past month or so. My brother died unexpectedly last month and as often happens when life throws you such things, my daily focus and activities narrowed for awhile. I’ve missed the birds. So today I made a point to go and sit out on my back step and see who might come for a visit.

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Birds Choice Hanging Open Platform Feeder Review

White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal in Feeder
White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal Eating Sunflower Hearts in Birds Choice Hanging Platform Feeder (Dome Purchased Separately)

In the past year, as my bird-watching passion has grown, I’ve purchased quite a few bird feeders. You don’t have to have a zillion feeders of course, but I have found that having a variety of feeders can increase both the variety and the number of birds that come to visit and that’s what makes it fun! Some of the feeders have been clear winners from the start. Others have needed some tweaking to make them work for the birds in my yard. If you have considered purchasing a hanging platform bird feeder, read on!

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A Cooper’s Hawk Visit

Cooper's Hawk Sitting in a Tree After a Failed Hunting Attempt
Cooper’s Hawk Sitting in a Tree After a Failed Hunting Attempt

I’ve got a lot of bird feeders up in the yard which attract a lot of birds. These birds attract hawks of various kinds. In the past year, we’ve seen Red-Shouldered Hawks, Red-Tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks and Sharp-Shined Hawks in the yard. Lately though, what we see most are Cooper’s Hawks.

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Backyard Boys Platform Feeder Review

Backyard Boys Ground Platform Feeder
Backyard Boys Ground Platform Feeder

This unassuming ground platform feeder is very popular in my yard. It’s simply a screened tray on legs. If you are a woodworker yourself, you could make one, but this particular one’s frame and legs are made from recycled materials rather than wood, so it will last out in the elements far longer than one made of wood. It’s simple to fill, simple to clean and popular with many ground feeding birds. There are some down-sides to this type of feeder, but you can get around them. The trick is finding the right spot for it in your yard.

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When Birds Don’t Come to Your Feeders

Bird Feeder With No Birds
Bird Feeder With No Customers

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:

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Where to Buy Birdseed?

Fifty-Pound Bags of Birdseed
Fifty-Pound Bags of Birdseed: Nyjer, Black-Oil Sunflower, Safflower & Sunflower Hearts

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.

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