The Neighbird Bird Log
I just got my birding instructions with a tiny packet of birdseed from The Poetry Project Neighbird project.
O boy! I'm awash. You don't have an old bird feeder you're not using do you?
I'm going to look online at various. Realize I should have thought about this sooner, but busy with finishing the ms.
There is a late Oct. deadline for this bird journal project!
Busy today and tomorrow so will fly into high gear on Sunday. I'm going to have to be creative to pull this together. Yikes!
I'll be needing that margarita!!
Further thoughts later:
Squirrels and cats in the alley with access to backyard. Backyard narrow between fence and roofs and they can jump. Is front yard better? Small and foot traffic and still squirrels.
Busy today and tomorrow so will fly into high gear on Sunday. I am going to have to be creative to pull this together.
Had some time: got a hanging wire basket I wasn’t using out of the garage. Cut some packing material from a delivery into big flat squares and laid tdhat on the bottom of the basket. Then placed the coconut fiber round basket liner over that. Then retrieved a terra cotta plant bottom from one of the plants, washed it out, dried, then filed it with the bird seed and placed that securely on top of everything in the basket. Hung it at the far corner end of the garage in the sunshine and a bit away from the house. Waiting.
Woke up to hearing some birds in the surrounding trees, but none have noticed my feeder. I’ll have to get some advice on how to attract them. Think I have to come up with a different feeder too.
The squirrels have discovered a way into my makeshift bird feeder alas. The birds, however, have either not noticed it or are simply shunning it. Back to the drawing board.
No birds anywhere.
At dinner, in Covid 19 outside dand distance, Joanne and Denie tell me about a store nearby, Wild Birds Unlimited. They have everything including advice they say. But I’m thinking I should be building this bird feeder myself, right?
I wake up to faint bird songs, but none near my house.
What to do? I’ve no idea how to build a bird feeder and it will have to be on a pole to thwart the squirrels.
I drink hot chocolate and stare at my empty yard and sky.
I go to the hardware store. I ask the advice of a kind looking employee. It turns out his mother feeds birds and both his sisters! He fills his mom’s bird feeder for her. He tells me all the different kinds of birds they attract. One sister has flocks of hummingbirds. He compares the different birdseeds with me. I have no hope of hummingbirds.
I exit the store with:
A simple bird feeder that is squirrel proof
A bag of general wild birdseed
The longest pole they have in stock
I decide do temporarily sink the pole in the near end of the garden, since it’s done for the year. Some big marigold plants are still flowering and there is a fluffy bush nearby for birds to hide in.
The instructions say to put the pole 10 feet from any building, fence, or climbable object, but this is impossible in my narrow yard.
I fill the feeder which is tricky to do for one person as it’s spring loaded to lock out the squirrels.
Hang it up.
I drink hot chocolate and watch the feeder from the kitchen window.
Suddenly there is a twitching in the bush. Birds!
I grab my binoculars and crouch down by the window.
A little bunch of some kind of sparrows and what I think, via my Peterson’s, as Mountain Chickadees. They flit and dash awfully fast. Nervous.
The little group returns, but not early like I would have thought. Around 10 a.m. I think the sparrows are sparrows, but can’t match them up with any in the bird book.
Pretty sure about the Chickadees tho.
Chickadees and sparrows keep coming in bits. No big swarms, but now and again.
The one sparrow I got a close look at was brownish above and grey below and I’m sure it had a white ring around its neck, but nothing in Peterson’s matches up. These sparrows are a challenge to identify. I’ve thought about raising the feeder, but can’t figure out how to work that. Meanwhile the birds don’t seem to mind the height it is.
The chickadees seem bolder than the sparrows. All seem rather jumpy. They land on the feeder, take a few bites, then flit away suddenly and fast. I’m noticing how incredibly fast birds are. How do they propel themselves off the feeder perches at such sudden velocities?
I suppose flight is their only defense. What’s a bird to do!
So far no cats.
The squirrels drop in from time to time, but haven’t jumped up or pulled the feeder down…yet. They munch on what falls on the ground under the feeder that the birds shake out.
Still not getting flocks, but the sparrows and Chickadees keep coming in twos and threes all morning.
What do birds do in the afternoon? Siestas? They sing all forenoon, but from 1 to 4 they fall silent here. Maybe they fly over to the Platt River just a few blocks away for the baths?
I put up the feeder at the far end of the yard next to the huge bouffant bush I’ve never been able to idendtify. Sunk the pole at the near end of the L shaped garden where bulging still growing marigolds tumble profusely below the feeder. This allows a little thicket like seclusion and the birds use the bombastic big bush to dart to feeder and back. We haven’t had a deep freeze so chard, spinach-chard, and Kale continue to thrive in the garden. Colorado sun heaps over the feeder with marigolds bursting yellows reds oranges golds and thick lacy greenery.
Now wondering if birds have a crop like chickens do.
For those non-farmers a chicken’s crop is a small pouch like organ at the end of their esophagus. It is the first digestive organ to receive food.
Looked up bird digestive system in Google. Appears to be pretty much the same.
I’ve ordered a suet feeder and suet. Not sure where I’ll hang it. It is squirrel proof too. Am quite getting into having the birds drop in.
Moved the bird feeder with my neighbor’s help to a more permanent spot just a few feet from where it was, but not directly in the garden now. We drilled a half-inch hole in the center 4 X 4 garden post in the bend of the L and sunk the pole for the feeder in it. Works quite nicely and now seeds knocked from the feeder won’t fall in the garden.
Suet arrived, now waiting for the suet feeder. I’m thinking the suet might bring some different birds than my usual Chickadees and Sparrows, tho they are fun!
Weather getting colder. When I go for my sunrise walk there are no birds in my yard, but when I return the sun has warmed the air and my handyman, who is repairing an inside wall, says many birds came while I was gone. I’m relieved
Today is 39 degrees, overcast, and a slight drizzle misting down. I decide to walk later when it’s supposed to warm up to 46. Having my hot chocolate looking out into the grey day, damp trees, and suddenly there are flocks of sparrows coming to the feeder. I find myself delighted to see them! Some chickadees join. I’ve noticed that the sparrows come in a flock and the chickadees in 2’s and 3’s. The feeder hangs out over the grass now and several birds fan out into the lawn pecking.
Musing where I’ll hang the suet feeder. Maybe off another garden 4 X 4 closer to the bush at this end of the L. Since tomorrow is the deadline for this bird log, I’ll keep recording the bird feeder activities in my off and on daily journal. Curious to see if winter and suet brings some different species. I’ve always enjoyed watching birds through my binoculars on hikes and noticing them in places I’ve lived, but this is the first time I’ve ever invited them in to visit.
a poem for birds or Aves you’ve got your feathers and I’ve got mine chickadee sparrow red wing blackbird barn swallow purple finch mourning dove junco steller jay rufous towhee gnatcatcher brown thrasher starling American goldfinch flicker cormorant mallard yellow-headed black bird grace of decoration musically inclined