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For the birds

September 10, 2017

I’ve always thought it was a bit wrong to have a bird feeder if you had cats. Not really fair.

05-13 hummingbird

Last year I did install a hummingbird feeder, because I figured there was no way Roxie or, particularly, Stella the hunter could catch a hummingbird. Seems I was right. And what fun it has been watching them use it.

Part way through our last long, cold, snowy winter, I decided I really needed to do something for the poor birds. So I installed a feeder in the only place it would be covered: on top of the generator.

I did see birds start to use it fairly quickly, but it wasn’t until the spring and during the summer that the suet started to disappear at a brisk pace. I have to say, one of the things I’ve most enjoyed this summer has been sitting at the table on the deck watching the birds go for the feeder. I shall miss watching them as a regular part of my day when autumn and winter close in and I am forced indoors. Pity there is no covered spot closer to the windows of the house.

There have been a lot of finches and other small birds and a lot of woodpeckers.

09-05 bird feeder

This woodpecker is not one of the smarter ones who’ve figured out it’s better to actually attach themselves to the holder. The second before I took this photo she was hanging upside down from the brace, pecking rather ineffectively at a moving food source.

I chose this particular type of suet because, in addition to attracting woodpeckers and finches, it was also supposed to attract Stellar’s Jays.

jay

For most of the summer this did not appear to be the case. Then, one afternoon last month, I spotted not one, but three in the garden, one of whom did indeed go after the feeder. I was ecstatic.

Unfortunately, the attraction didn’t seem to last. A week went by during which I only fleetingly spotted one, so I did some research. Apparently, above all else, these jays love peanuts – unshelled, unsalted peanuts. So I bought a bag. (Five dollars? Seriously?) And put twenty out below the feeder. It took a day or two, but then two disappeared. The next day another two were gone. The following day they were all gone. Hurrah! Except I hadn’t see any jays. You’d think if you went to the trouble of providing their favourite food they would have the decency to come for it when I could see them. Wouldn’t you? I mean, c’mon guys, that bag of peanuts cost me five bucks.

Of course, the other option is that the squirrels have discovered the peanuts. Obviously I need a CCTV camera aimed at the peanuts to figure out what’s going on. Obviously I’m not going to get one. Grr.

Speaking of doing things for birds…

09-02 roxie

This may look like an innocent photo of a cat finding a sunny spot for a nap. Looks can be deceptive. As I pointed out to Irmani when I clocked Stella in the same position a few weeks ago, in the hollow of that tree is a plastic bowl filled with water which I put out every long, hot summer for the birds. So, pretty sneaky place for a catnap. Not that the birds go near it when a cat is waiting for them, but I suppose hope springs eternal in the heart of a moggie.

I should probably build a proper bird feeder before the winter. I almost certainly will not.

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