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Feeders Experience and Questions (East Tenessee) (1 Viewer)

Seekeroftruth

New member
The bird that frequents my feeders and bath is a mocking bird. This is strange as I read that they do not normally stop at feeders. Even though I set out fruit, I've only seen it eat it twice. It is eating crushed peanuts. It has readily eaten tomato before.

The second most common birds that visit, are two mourning doves. I finally got them to use the platform feeder sitting on the ground. Before hand, I had been throwing white millet on the ground.

We've gotten bluebirds a few times, including a mother feeding her baby. They were also not eating the fruit (apples), but were eating crushed peanuts. I know they don't normally do this. Between the mocking bird and the bluebirds, I'm surprised.

I have been trying to attract robins with the fruit, but no luck. The mocking bird attacked a robin that got too close. Maybe they don't think it is worth while. The mocking bird shows up all throughout the day.

Ive seen what looked like a tufted titmouse, two times. It is the only bird that has used my hanging platform feeder. All the others will only use the ground platform feeder. I don't know why it never came back. It was full of black oil sunflower, diced apples, crushed peanuts, safflour and possibly other things. Sometimes I put soaked raisins or suet. Either way, it never came back. I can't understand why.

I've seen house finches a couple times... they come in sets of 2 or 3. They are an invasive species here. I was not surprised to see them at my feeder and I had seen some on a few occasions nearby my home.

A set of house wrens came on day. Another single came later in the day. Both times eating. They never came back after that.

I've seen a blue jay land nearby the feeder a couple times but flys away quickly once it sees me. It seemed very skittish. This is strange as I heard they are common feeder birds.

I have seen a cardinal flying twards my feeder but when it saw me, I made a quick turn and left, never to return. I expected to see some cardinals use my feeder. They don't even though they are one of the most common birds I've seen in my neighborhood, after american robins and mocking birds.

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As I stated before, the birds I'm getting, besides the titmouse which has never came back, they all use a platform feeder directly on the ground. It is as if they don't recognize the hanging one as a feeder at all even though it is only one or two yards away. My ground feeder is attracting bugs and would love to get them using the hanging one. I put the ground feeder on a chair and moved it closer to the hanging one. I hope they will still use it and I hope they will find the hanging one. The hanging one seems a lot safer than eating on the ground like that. Do you think this will work?

How can I attract more kinds of birds? If birds see a feeder they have seen before, will they recognize that? Maybe if I got a hopper feeder and moved it nearby the hanging platform?
 

dwminnich

Well-known member
How long have you had your feeder up? Sometimes it can take a month or more for birds to find and regularly use a new feeder.

I’m in Western North Carolina and have all the birds you mentioned as either residents or regular visitors. All of them except the Northern Mockingbird and the American Robin will regularly use a tree feeder hung on a pole. The location of the feeder can make a difference; if the birds feel too exposed they’re less likely to use the feeder. Even though we have robins in the yard regularly, I've never seen one on a feeder. Mockingbirds will occasionally grab a mealworm from the tray feeder.

It sounds like your Mockingbird may be defending a territory that includes your feeder. If you see it chasing other birds away, you might try a different location for the feeder.

As far as feeds go, your best bang for the buck is probably black oil sunflower seed. We have many different things out, but that gets more traffic than most. If I were to add one or two types on top of that, they would probably be mealworms (in our case freeze-dried ones sprinkled on the tray with the sunflower seeds) and suet cakes (in a feeder with a long tail prop, to attract woodpeckers).

What is your location like? The kinds of birds you can attract to your yard is largely determined by the type of habitat that you’re in. Over time you can improve your habitat by choosing to plant things that will provide food sources and shelter for the birds. There are lots of good resources about using native plants for birds, but one helpful one is on the Audubon society website.

Beyond feeding, probably the single most effective thing you can do to draw birds to your yard is provide a source of clean water for drinking and bathing. Ideally, this would be moving water of some sort; this could be as simple as a dripper container suspended above a birdbath, or as complex as a recirculating water feature. I added a little recirculating birdbath a year ago, and in the time since I have seen 14 species of warblers on the water. Of those, only the pine warblers come to our feeders. Other species, as well, will show up on the water but never come to the feeders.

Good luck!

--dave
 
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Seekeroftruth

New member
I started getting some birds on my hanging feeder. It started out with the crow that noticed my suet feeder. When he started eating the suet, he noticed the food in the tray feeder. That's why the mockingbird, bluebirds and house wren began eating out of it. Now the only thing I put in the ground feeder is white millet. The tray feeder has peanuts, both crushed and whole, black oil sunflower seeds, safflour, and swet... sometimes live mealworms although I'm going to try to switch to dried.

Shortly after, I got Carolina chickadees, and a red bellied wood pecker at my hanging feeder.

Hardly ever do I ever see a tufted titmouse use it although it was the first one who ever did. Occasionally a finch or song sparrow will eat the white millet on the ground feeder. And of course the doves, which normally use the ground feeder but i've seen them using the hanging feeder, presumably for the safflour. I see a cardinal use it every once in a while but it's very skittish. A blue jay comes near, but also seems skittish and is not landing on the feeders.

Since the suet feeder, is what led to the birds finding the tray feeder in the first place, I went ahead and put a tube millet feeder up nearby. Maybe some birds in the neighborhood know what that is? It's been several days and no birds have eaten at it, although some birds have landed on it's hanging chain.

I do have a bird bath with a fountain, however I am thinking about getting a larger one, more adequate for crows. I've heard they usually come in flocks but I usually only get one at a time. Also maybe put out some cooked eggs, vegetables and different fruit? I do have trees nearby, but maybe need some perches more nearby?

I'm assuming the mocking bird lives about 25 feet away in a tree/ bush. I wish I had more places to put it, however my yard is really small and moving it out would put it too hard to see due to the hill and window I am looking to see them. I do have a front area to put a feeder, however I would never be able to see out there due to how the house it set up. I also have a platform bird house out front. I'm trying to attract the doves to it, since they are always eating sand under our front steps. It IS possible to move one a little further our at my back yard, although not much. I wonder if the location would be better for attracting other birds. It would need to be one that can stand being in the rain and would have to be a pole feeder. I've actually thought about doing this with a hopper feeder, which im assuming some birds may recognize. Do you think hopper feeders might attract birds better than platform, tube, or suet, due to their commonness? Do you think that attracting birds with color is effective?

The front of my house is on a steep hill. I have a small porch with an over hang where the hanging platform feeder is located. The bird bath is nearby along with the tray feeder on the ground. I have a large tree covered in vines that a family of squirrel live in to the left of my porch. To the middle/ right I have another large tree. These large trees are about 15 ft from my house. Against the side of my house a tree/ shrubby bush, about 25 ft away. My neighborhood is a mix of scattered mature trees, smaller brushy trees and open lawns. There is a forest edge nearby. There are also some streams in the next neighborhood over. I live in condos which might give a cliff appearance to birds do due their length and height. There are several of these condo complexes in my neighborhood. There is an area in the front of my home which is full of conifers however I dont know how far back it goes. Then we have a forest area on the other side of the conifers which are mixed conifer and deciduous trees.

I have also seen chimney swifts in the neighborhood over, Once a grackle in my yard, Once a least flycatcher in a tree in my yard, and In the other neighborhood over have seen towhees and cedar waxings. I saw a warbler in the park nearby.
 
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