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I bought a new bird feeder the other day. Actually it was last summer. It just seems like the other day be¬cause it's taken me this long to get around to putting it together. We found it at a crafts fair at Currigan Hall in Denver. A nice woman from Oregon sold it to me.
It's a tubular clay feeder, twisted at the bottom, and fired to look like a piece of log. It came with pieces of manzanita twigs for perches, and I've had to do quite a bit of whittling and fitting and the recommended epoxy glue to put it together.
But now it's done, and it really does look like a log hanging up, and the little pine siskins and finches and occasional grosbeaks are enjoying the black sunflower seeds which is all I provide, since they don't like millet and I can't afford thistle.
People argue about what seed to feed almost as much as they argue about the correct proportions for hummingbird water. Now, if you're going to smirk about this, I suggest you do it in private, because we take this stuff very seriously. Last year the men's club had a speaker who did an entire hour on rosy finches. And we don't just go into K-Mart and pick up any old feeder; we think about it, a lot. We study the Duncraft catalogue. We look for bargains in seed (many people use the feed store in Hygiene). And we consider how to defeat squir¬rels and the big jays and attract woodpeckers, rosy finches and evening grosbeaks. Let's face it; bird feed¬ing is an art!
Martin Shockley, the old skinflint, feeds his birds millet and seems to get away with it. They apparently know that's all he's going to give them. My birds will go elsewhere if I feed them that junk. On the other hand, Martin provides his birds with suet, although sometimes other animals get into it and he cusses them something fierce. He also carries on a vendetta against cowbirds, which take over other birds nests and eat their hosts’ eggs. I used to have suet, but the Stellar Jays got most of it and sometimes at night it would just disappear; raccoons, I suppose.
Eula McCollister, like many others, has a shelf feeder which holds a wide variety of seeds and she has two big pine cones which she stuffs with peanut butter.
Walt Silkworth has a wide variety of hanging feeders, most of them made by RubberMaid, and he's also hoarding two pounds of thistle seeds which he says were so expen¬sive he's not been willing to part with them.
I realize I'm on very thin ice here, since everyone has a different method of feeding and a different idea about what to feed. There are some people who are against it al¬together and they're entitled to that opinion, too, but in just asking around they appear to be a very small minority. I suppose there are things you can say against it and many of my friends talk about taking down the humming bird feeders to force the little guys to move on, but I've left mine up until they've tanked up for the flight south and they seem to be a lot smarter than I am about when it's time to leave. And I like to pro¬vide seeds in the summer. When we sit out on the screened porch it's wonderful to hear their songs from the nearby trees.
At the moment I'm just happy to have a feeder that looks very much at home hanging under the eaves. Pretty soon I'll have to start thinking about cleaning the humming¬bird feeder.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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