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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plan #2 and New Bird Pics

I'm sure many are tired of the birds but it's winter !
And observing them is a rewarding winter passion of mine..
You may remember plan #1 (plastic sheet on the inside)is not effective.
Suet and bird seed was gone after we returned home.

Ok...Plan #2 NO they're not flying saucers !

What is it, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
We went to home depot and found this plastic lid for a pale or bucket.
Cost for lid was 1.98, screw,nut and washer cost 3.00.

Double baffle for squirrels and irritation/difficulty for starlings.

Almost all of the starlings kept falling off after getting a couple brief bites.

This one lasted about 15 seconds.
I realize they will learn after awhile but if I can at least slow them down...

So glad to see this female Downy Woodpecker.

Then here came her mate.
This guy has no problems hanging upside down which is what feeder is intended for.

This feeder may be the final solution especially for home made suet
which falls apart easily compared to the hard store-bought stuff.
Even the woodpecker was on this cage today.

Kept looking at this one...knew I'd seen him before this year but didn't hang around for long. Today he was chasing off the starlings !! I like him :)
Northern Mockingbird

Poor dove...frozen water.
At least it comes out easily to be replaced with warm tap water.
High temps of only about 20F are forecast for next couple of days. Brrrr.


  1. You just have to keep one step ahead of those starlings! :-) Great ideas. I have an inexpensive bird bath heater that I purchased at a local Farm Store. I plug it in with a long, grounded extension cord. It's basically heavy aluminum foil with coils inside. It's flat and I hold it down with a brick. It's not big, so it only heats the water that touches it. The rim of the birdbath is pure ice. Occasionally I go out to add water because the birds really do enjoy the drink! :-) Wonderful photos!!!

  2. Patsi, these photos are stunning, especially love your female Downy Woodpecker capture. Do hope your double baffle for squirrels works ... I have NEVER found a solution! I sincerely hope your feathered friends appreciate your love and devotion :)

  3. Garsh, I hope the flying saucers don't actually make it easier for the squirrels. Seems like they might... not sure why I think that though.

    I love your bird pix. I don't get tired of them at all, they're too fun! The first photo is especially funny! And a most excellent catch of a starling falling from the suet!

    I hope a few more Northern Mockingbirds come around for you!

    Do they make something to keep the bird bath water from freezing? Something, maybe, that keeps it toasty so they can all have a nice, relaxing soak in the dead of winter? Oh, well, I guess it wouldn't be safe getting out of their hot tub when it's so cold.

  4. The bucket lid is a great idea. I might copy it;) Starlings seem to come and go around here. Right now I only have a couple. Last year there were dozens. I know they can eat a suet cake in an hour leaving the woodpeckers with nothing.

  5. I love your photos, they're wonderful.
    I don't have a problem with the birds - but I did have a problem with the squirrels eating the birds food hanging from a free standing feeder.
    I cured it by cutting the bottom off a 2 litre lemonade bottle then putting it on the feeder pole (I stopped it slipping down by wrapping several layers of electricians tape around the pole below the neck of the bottle). The plastic bottle is too slippery for them to get a purchase on - and it's very amusing to see them go up the pole and inside the bottle. They sit there for a little while looking very confused!

  6. Shady,
    We almost purchased a bird bath with solor heater,but remembered how long the solor patio lights lasted and decided not to. Your bird bath heater sounds like the best solution,but I came up with a cheaper solution.I put my DH to work,so he's in charge of replacing the ice. :)
    The metal baffle works all the time when it comes to squirrels. The starlings are the problem.
    The squirrels should slide off the pastic lid.
    Haven't seen any yesterday or today. The suet cage with just the lid(no baffle)and store bought suet in it hasn't been touched,that's the cage I took a picture of the squirrel hanging from. The lid may just be a cheaper squirrel baffle and not a starling baffle.
    I'll let you may be right.
    Well so far I'm not happy with the bucket lid.
    Even though they can't just hang there and eat I still get about 10 starlings lined up on the ground to take turns pecking at it.
    I've seen that somewhere. It amazes me that they can climb right up a pole with no problem.
    I'd say you're a determined birder also !

  7. Cool! I want to try that! We have some bucket lids and annoying plump squirrels. Great pics!

  8. Sue,
    Never planned on using the lids as squirrel baffles but it should work or even a cheap large plastic bowl. Give it a try !

  9. Too funny. That lid is a pretty good idea. We have a similar problem every spring with Grackles.
    You might want to try hanging the feeder with a short bungee cord. The clinging birds like the wren and woodpeckers can hold on no matter what. The additional movement might prove to much effort for the starlings.

    AS always, keep up the great work.

  10. Hi there Patsi :-)

    LOL… someone else trying to take on the starlings ;-) I bought a feeder here in the UK that they can’t get in. Yes… they do try… and try the upside down technique with mine too but they do fall of pretty quickly :-D

    Loved the downy woodpecker shot. I can sympathise completely about bird posts at this time of year. I’m trying to keep the garden ones going too. Great stuff, all fun which ever way you do it – it is great we can see what goes on in your garden :-D

  11. Wonderful photos! And that's a terrific design with the lid. Frugal and effective--the very best of all combos!

  12. Das sind ja wunderschöne Fotos, und sie zeigen, wie sehr die Vögel unter dem Winter leiden müssen. Bei uns scheint die Sonne bei 8°, es sieht so aus, als mache der Winter erstmal eine Pause. Aber die Vögel werden auch bei mir bis April - Mai gefüttert.

    LG Charlotte.

  13. Tired of birds? Never! You know, it's interesting. In my yard, the only birds I ever see on my suet feeder (in a square metal case like you have, but just hanging from a pole) are downy and red-bellied woodpeckers and once in a while nuthatches. Even now when the seed feeders are all empty (doh! I'm going outside to fill them next!), the random assortment of birds is hopping ont he feeders, not the suet! Hmmmmm... (Admittedly, I don't get too many starlings.)

  14. Your photos are so clear and wonderful. I enjoyed viewing them:) I get the same birds and am trying to take decent photos, as well. I am taking a little break at the moment as I feel like I have the same birds to post over and over. I suppose if you love birds you can't get tired of the photos (at least I can't). I have an electric birdbath attached to my deck w/an extension cord running to an outlet on the house. The basin comes out in the summer for a lighter one, and the cord gets unplugged. I got it at the Wild Bird Center. They also have individual heaters you just place in the middle of any birdbath (someone else suggested this). I am considering this for some other birdbaths in my yard...but they would need a long extension cord so I'm not sure. I enjoyed your photos today:)

  15. Chad,
    Well,the cage that had my own suet in it was just finished off. So we're talking 3 days !!!
    They were lined-up on the ground taking turns.
    The cage with store bought wasn't even touched in 5 days ! This tells me that the one with JUST the pastic lid works against squirrels and the starlings didn't run out of the good stuff yet.
    I'm now thinking of plan #3. Not sure about the bungee cord...know what I'd like to do with it !!
    OK...what is the suet feeder you're talking about ?
    No colors to speak of in the garden, but you're right, I still could do a few past season ones.Or just what's green or budding in the yard.

  16. Susan,
    I'm getting baffle nutty trying to deter the starlings from the suet cages. :(
    Glad you're not tired of the birds.
    This year has been horrible with those birds but I'll keep trying.
    Last year the Nuthatches,Woodpeckers,Carolina Wrens,Yellow rumped Warbler,Titmouse and Carolina Chickadees enjoyed the suet. Now I rarely see most of them.

  17. Charlotte,
    Wir waren 8 Grad gestern Abend, aber meistens es fällt auf ungefähr 25 ab. Da die Summenvögel im April kommen, stoppen wir, die Wintervögel im März einzuziehen.

    We were 8 degrees last night but mostly it drops to about 25. Since the Humming birds come in April we stop feeding the winter birds in March.
    I try not to post the same birds. I won't do a bird post unless I can show a new bird(at least one I've never posted before).
    For some unknown reason we have no outside outlet. Keep telling myself to get an electrician over here.

  18. Beautiful Woodpecker capture! So far, I've been fortunate that the squirrels have stayed away from my feeder...hmmm, maybe the cats have something to do with that!

  19. Kim,
    Squirrels are no longer a problem. Just the other pests that come in dozens. If nothing else, this winter will be a learning experience !

  20. Excellent photos! I love the starlings hanging like a matched set! Gail

  21. Gail,
    I try with the bird photos...just wish my vision was better. Glad you love the starling pic...the real thing in dozens isn't so lovable.:(

  22. Hi again Patsi, the suet feeder is just fat with a mix of whatever inside. Suet is a type of fat here in the UK :-)


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