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Old 01-01-2014, 11:49 AM
Location: Middle America
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^^ My fiance says that they like flax seeds as well as sunflower seeds.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:51 PM
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
Interesting question about farmers deterring wildlife. I have grown sunflowers as ornamentals and the birds have mostly left them alone. At the end of the season I cut off the heads and scrape the seeds out. Then, they eat them.
We have lived in the country all of our 66 years. For the last 38 years we have lived where we are now on five acres. We are surrounded by wildlife - mainly deer, turkey, raccoons, skunks, possums, fox and squirrels. We had a large garden when we first moved to this location. But over the years the wildlife got worse. At first we could cope with the damage. However, after about fifteen years; we called it quits. Now, if we grow anything, it has to be in a protected cage.

Wildlife learns with time. If the deer have a path and you set a large cardboard box in the path; they will first stay clear. As time goes on; they will get closer and closer. I have watched deer graze down range at busy shooting ranges - the bullets were flying not too far over their heads.

If you ever raised a pig; one pig can be a finicky eater. If you have two pigs; they will eat everything. They cannot stand the idea that one is eating food and they are not. Greed makes them except a variety of food. It might just be evolution - since the pig that did not eat it's share could possibly die?

You have been very lucky with your sunflowers. Our squirrels would not permit that in my neighborhood. My feeling is that wildlife has to take a toll on the large farms that produce this seed.
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:16 PM
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(wildlife damage to farmers)

Years back I talked to the last farmer to grow sunflowers in our area.

He said being the only one made his farm a magnet for black birds and the damage was severe .
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:18 PM
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
Cardinals tend to be rather shy, and they like thickets nearby. They frequently come to my feeders, males and females, at dawn or dusk before or after other birds. When they come during the middle of the day, it's more likely when there are few other birds at the feeders,
That is pretty much what we observe here with the cardinals. They are often here earlier than the others and later. I look for them out there when it's hard to see (not enough light), both morning and evening. Although, around here, they haven't been THAT shy anymore. They stick around with the others rather often at least in winter.

Feeders for cardinals, helps to have a flat tray of some kind (we have a square hanging tray feeder that they like) as well as feeding on the ground. They might use a tube feeder if it has perches other than one sticking straight out. In other words, they won't eat sideways like that. We have a big tube with U-shaped perches and they do eat from that sometimes. But we don't leave that out in the summer because it draws a lot more grackles and starlings. There's also a very full white pine just 10 feet or so from the feeder where lots of birds like to perch when coming to feed. We see the cardinals sitting up in there often, especially in the winter when you don't have the territorial stuff going on. I lost a maple nearby a few years ago but we still have several others pretty near. Cardinals will eat sunflower and safflower and perhaps other stuff.

So yeah, we feed year-round. Been doing that for 2-3 years now at least. It doesn't affect the larger patterns with birds at all. No juncos have decided to stay through the summer, and the grackles and starlings seem to go away in the winter.

Been feeding a mixture that's black oil sunflower, safflower and sunflower chips. Everyone loves that. I believe we lay off that some in the summer. And we replace the large tube with a smaller one that's contained within a cage. Funny thing, the cardinals will cling to the bottom of this and eat through the bars sometimes (the cage holes are too small for them to go through).

We had a bumper crop of cardinals this year, saw multiple groups of fledglings brought to the feeder, with often the male feeding them. There are at least 4 pairs hanging around nearby through the winter as I've seen 4 male plus 4 female all at once out there. This is a suburban area with moderately dense housing so we don't get insanely large numbers. I've counted numbers in the teens for goldfinches or mourning doves a couple times, that's about it. Of course, we don't have 8 or 10 feeders out either. There are usually 3 or 4 of varying types though.

One thing I noticed with the goldfinches is that originally we didn't get them until we put out some thistle seed. Now, though, they eat mostly from the regular large tube even though our thistle feeder is filled with a mixture of that and tiny sunflower chips. I guess they like sunflower chips and perhaps we didn't have those in the regular feeder back when we didn't get goldfinches. The calls of the goldfinches are just constant outside it seems.

So, rodents, yeah, I think it happens. I have seen I think mice or maybe voles or something out there occasionally. Haven't had a problem in the house recently but have gotten mice in here before, even with a cat! The most commonly viewed one much of the year though is the chipmunk. These guys have been moderately annoying in a couple of ways, digging gravel out of one of my french drains, digging holes here and there, etc. Squirrels are not a huge problem. We have one main feeder pole that has an effective squirrel baffle. They can't jump to the feeders and they can't get up the pole. They do feed off the ground some, sure, but that's all. Not a problem. I have more recently gotten a motion-activated trail camera and discovered that we are frequently getting deer in the middle of the night. That I didn't expect. I thought deer were crepuscular! Might consider not putting sunflower in that flat tray feeder because I'm guessing the deer can reach in there. (Not sure if I have direct photo evidence, but I might.) Raccoons, I haven't seen evidence really. Possum, occasionally, but they're pretty live and let live and that doesn't bother me. Cats only well after dark it seems, so they're probably feral. No evidence that cats are coming to get the birds during the day, oddly.

For the last several months it's just been for the enjoyment of us humans, but now we have two new cats again and after adjusting to the house a bit in a room where they couldn't actually see the feeder, they are now getting a taste of the excellent view out there. They stay inside, but there's a nice 6ft sliding glass door to look out through.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:09 AM
Location: SE Michigan
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Now that we have a foot and a half of snow and severely cold weather, I've been filling the feeders daily and getting an astonishing variety of birds. I'm guessing a couple of hundred birds, at times.

My feeders are below a large, wide fir tree; I put them there to protect the feeding birds from hawks. Yesterday a sparrow hawk swooped under the branches and took a junco, though. He took his time dispatching of it and removing the feathers, then took off to the oak tree to enjoy lunch. Poor little junco, but that hawk needs to eat too.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:06 PM
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I live in New England and feed year-round.
Fewer customers in this weather, but they are still there..
and I often remove the feeders when a storm is coming,
don't want them to get frozen over.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:34 PM
Location: Jamestown, NY
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This frigid weather has brought out all the birds en masse to my feeders, from morning through dusk even in the middle of the day. I can't keep the favored feeders full. I also have a heated birdbath which draws crowds. Even the crows come calling to that which drives the cats crazy!
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:16 PM
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cardinals sure seem to be on a feeding frenzy.

I counted 14 at one time
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:02 PM
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Was surprised at the number in the morning, given the temps below zero. Several cardinals plus a couple of the most puffed-out blue jays I've ever seen, and a couple juncos I'm sure and maybe mourning doves. A good number of the usual variety have been here this afternoon (came home early) in the sun, and even now with the sun gone too low. The cold is not deterring them much, perhaps is even drawing them in.
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:13 PM
Location: SE Michigan
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Yes I was surprised to see mourning doves! I thought they always migrated south but I had a pair yesterday.

I think the cold is bringing them to our feeders. This evening I cooked up some sweet potatoes that were going bad and I'll put those out with some sliced apples tomorrow to see what gets eaten. I found this neat site with all sorts of ideas on feeding birds beyond the seed mixes you have to buy.

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding :: Bill's Top 10 :: Bird Watcher's Digest.com
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