Birds & Trees: A Tree Falls in the Yard

A Large Pine Tree Falls Across the Back Yard

Each time I enter a home count in eBird, I include a note that the location is a “Suburban Wooded Back Yard.” The many mature trees in our yard are after all a part of the attraction for the birds that come here. Unfortunately over the past year or two, this description is starting to fray. Our lovely large trees keep falling in unusual numbers and each time this happens, it not only affects the yard’s human owners but also the birds and other creatures that live here. Over this past weekend another very large tree fell. This one in particular is going to have real repercussions for bird life in our back yard.

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Woodlink Squirrel-Proof Seed Tube Feeder & Erva Feeder Pole Extensions Reviews

American Goldfinches Eating Sunflower in Woodlink Feeder
American Goldfinches Eating Sunflower in Woodlink Feeder

My newest feeder is a Woodlink Squirrel-Proof Seed Tube Feeder in their Coppertop Tube Feeder Series. This one is bigger than the Nuttery Globe Seed Feeder, another cage-type feeder that I purchased a year ago. The Woodlink feeder measures 19” from the top of the extended hanging loop to the base (or 16.5” not including the loop.) It has six food ports instead of the four of the globe feeder. The tube that holds the seed is taller, although a little narrower. It holds a quart of seed. Because the feeder is fairly tall, I had to adjust my feeder pole using extensions.

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Common Grackles vs The Nuttery Globe Seed Feeder (Plus a Review)

The Nuttery Globe Seed Feeder
The Nuttery Globe Seed Feeder

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?

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