Flocks of Birds At Your Feeders

Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle
Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle

Late winter to very early spring can be a stressful time of year for the backyard bird watcher. You put out the regular foods in the regular bird feeders for your regular birds . . . and a noisy aggressive mob of Common Grackles, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds and European Starlings show up. They take over the feeders, push the other birds out and eat a huge amount of seed. What can you do about it? Here are some options:

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Attracting White-Throated Sparrows, Dark Eyed Juncos & Other Sparrows

Dark-Eyed Junco Eating Nyjer Seed in the Snow
Dark-Eyed Junco Eating Nyjer Seed in the Snow

When I was a kid, we called Dark-Eyed Juncos “snow birds.” Until I started bird watching later in life, I thought that was their actual name. To us, seeing a snow bird was a sign. It meant that it was going to snow, leading to snowmen, snow forts, saucering down the side hill and a day off of school. I suspect this childhood joy may still be a little part of the reason that I still love these little birds today. Even today, when I know that birds don’t cause the weather, I still feel joy when I see the first of the juncos and their winter pals, the White-Throated Sparrows arrive in mid-fall.

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Fifty-Six Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings at A Bird Bath
Cedar Waxwings at Front Bird Bath

Usually I’m not too thrilled when huge flocks of birds descend on the yard, displacing our “regulars” from the feeders and birdbaths. But I must admit that when fifty-six (at least!) Cedar Waxwings visited this past weekend, I was happily excited. Unlike the big flocks of Common Grackles, European Starlings and Brown-Headed Cowbirds, this crowd was not aggressive towards the other birds and didn’t displace them. They didn’t want anything from the feeders after all. They didn’t mess with the other birds and the other birds didn’t mess with them. They were just there to drink.

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