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experiences in bird feeding: journal entry 8/2/2021 (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United States
Previously I was annoyed that the mockingbirds were chasing off all the other birds while scarfing down mealworms. So my response was to curtail mealworms for a few weeks. In part that worked because the cardinals that I had been trying to get photos of, did start showing up. The brown thrasher and Carolina wren that had been earlier regulars did not come back as regulars, although the brown thrasher put in some cameos.

I have a new set of at least four very small birds who also like the mealworms. After I got the photos I wanted of the cardinals, I started putting out some mealworms again. The response was these little guys. They pip and squeak like the cardinals do when eating, but are much more timid. They will perch on the rails on the chair the feeding tray is sitting on and even fly between the gaps in the seat (gotta be small to do that). They tend to pick something off the tray and run. There is one notable pair where one will feed the other. That has me thinking mating pair and that these are not fledglings but adults. Still not certain as I haven't gotten a good photo and ID yet (I'm almost completely red-green color blind so my manual/visual bird ID skills are not so good) of them. I had one that said it was a Carolina wren but I don't believe that.

I expanded my food offerings and got some black sunflower seeds, like a 25lb bag. Good news: cardinals and at least one other species (I have a bird that is neither cardinal nor mockingbird to my eye who also eats the hard seeds like the cardinal, still working on a solid ID) like those. Bad news: so do the squirrels. Had one return in less than 5 minutes after I ran him off. So I moved from feeding tray on chair to feeding bowl hanging in a basket. Squirrels haven't figured it out yet but neither have the birds. I went out twice more with the red cup I use to put food out and tapped it to the hanging bowl. To what degree the birds are paying attention to me as food provider and recognize the cup I'm not sure.. But trying to give them every chance. I'll have to repeat the exercise tomorrow.

Due to unwanted eaters, I've moved food time from: unlimited to 'while the sun shines'. I wait until dawn to put out any food and I try and put just one days worth out. The tiny carnivores have talked me into a few more mealworms a couple of days last week. This change in feeding setup necessarily changes any photography solution but I'm going to worry about that later.

I haven't noticed much discussion on bird behavior wrt feeding, so I'm not sure how this will be received. So far this is a journey for me and I am enjoying learning the particularities of my visitors.
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