My name is Patricia Youngquist, aka The Last Leaf Gardener. I am writer, urban gardener, birder and visual artist living in New York City. My garden can be seen in the photo one accompanying this entry. I am honored to have been contacted by Alex of Hometalk.com to post this entry re bird-feeders in urban gardens.
Although I have been gardening for a number of years, I am fairly new to birding, an interest which began this past summer as a result of my discovering a lone female cardinal (photo two) visiting my garden.
I have named the cardinal Cam, and even though an array of wild birds (including her beau, Mac (seen with her in photo three) visit it.
I confess that I'm partial to Cam. Hence, I've been on a mission to accommodate her "dining" needs with the "right" feeder! This post is about two feeders which I had thought would be the answer to my quest. The first of these feeders is one I've called a CB feeder after an extraordinarily helpful birder. It is pictured in photo four.
As you can see, the feeder has a canopy, and I had thought by lowering it, the smaller birds, such as my house finches, and cardinal couple, could eat in peace: without competing for food from my larger birds such as the occasional common grackles and ever present mourning doves!
And even though the smaller birds were the only sized ones who could ultimately avail themselves of the food from there, Cam and Mac stayed away from the CB feeder entirely; even though it was "designed" for them!
Moreover, the mourning doves learned to tip the feeder by sitting on top of it and then nosh on the seeds which fell from it! The main problem with this was the seeds fell on to the lush foliage of my kiwi vines which was quickly becoming full of holes from the birds eating seeds that landed on it!
And so, whilst I was researching for alternative places to hang the "CB" in my garden, I came across a slogan that truly spoke to me: "Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen)." Upon reading it, I laughed at my efforts re the taking care of the "things" I grow in my garden, as well as accommodating those who visit it!
As it turned out, the aforementioned slogan is from a place that sells — you guessed it — bird feeders! I contacted the place to tell them of my plight with Cam (as well as Mac), and was informed that perhaps the perches of my feeders had not been ones to my cardinals' liking; and they sold me an alternative feeder, a feeder that boasted perches which cardinals are comfortable with, and I now call that particular one a WBUSS feeder.
But since I had only viewed the WBUSS feeder via a virtual tour, I had no idea that it was "tower" shaped (just like my CB feeder), and now I was left with two feeders that I did not have a place for!
Be that as it may, I eventually came up with a brilliant idea of using the pole of a broom as a stake from which to hang either feeder, and inserted it into my kiwi vine's container. (Photo Five.)
The WBUSS feeder is an attractive addition to my garden, however, neither Cam, nor Mac, in spite of having access to a feeder with a perch to meet their needs, would nosh from it!
The finches seemed comfortable feeding from the WBUSS as seen in photos six through eight.
And the mourning doves opted for their standard behavior of staring-at-others-eating from a feeder they can't access, which you can see in the images nine and ten.
Even the bluejays checked out the WBUSS feeder too, as seen in pictures eleven through thirteen.
But Cam stayed clear: preferring to scrounge around on my garden's surface, and nibbling on crumbs that had fallen to the floor! (Seen in images fourteen through seventeen).
Or she merely ate from where "crumbs" have been dropped in to the containers of the "things" I grow! (Pictures eighteen and nineteen.) And while Cam continues to be satisfied eating this way, I've not seen Mac for a few days! I miss him!
In any event, what's a gardener/birder to do with only one "working pole" from which to hang two tower-style feeders to accommodate everyone!
Switch them around in rain is the answer! Now, it (my garden) is like an outdoor cafe; one feeder (the CB) has an awning for them in case of showers (pictures eighteen through twenty-one); the other is open-air in case the birds want to work on a suntan while they eat! (Images twenty-two and twenty-three.)
Of course when you switch out the feeders, it's a great time to clean the one not being used, but, no matter how hard you try to meet a bird's perching needs, like my little Cam, they may still prefer to eat the crcrumbs that fall to the floor, or better still have someone feed them as seen below! (Photo twenty-four.)
Rain OR Shine Bird Feeders: To Perch, or NOT, May Be the Question!
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Published June 27th, 2013 5:37 PM
2 of 98 comments
Cherie Wallace on Jul 03, 2013That's nice you wrote about her and kept a log on her.I told u about me cleaning the feeder and putting some new black sunflower seeds in it. I had several cardinals on the feeder today, many, many times throughout the day. And she was out there somewhere cuz I could here her. She chirps soooo loudly and hangs around quite a bit. I just love to hear her.....Yes I am also glad I have you to discuss the cardinals with. I have learned some things from you and to that I want to thank-you. till next time....
Rebecca Cooks on Jun 27, 2016Any idea for a bird feeder in my window. No trees around. Live on ground level apt. Tried feeder with suction cups and didn't stay. Placed some Elmer's glue and waited then put birdfeeder that came with the kit and it fell also. Tried to find the long shephards cane with a lip to hold one and can't find one tall enough. Winters get very cold in south Dakota birds need food and shelter....help