Our far-from-glamorous but homemade feeder (which has fruit-and-nut suet crammed in every one of its twelve nooks, and grooves cut into it for birds to perch as they fed) had its “soft opening” two days ago. Today was the grand opening (and to think that it only took a couple days of fairly heavy snow to attract them to the free food and drink that has been out for at least three days).
Although a Song Sparrow, a Spotted Towhee, and more than a few Dark-Eyed Oregon Juncos discovered the merits of suet, only the starlings, who put in a rare appearance today, discovered the bowl of well-washed wild bird seed. Or maybe said seed is not to the liking (or diet) of the smaller birds. Actually, we don’t know if these birds are engaging in on-the-spot AYCE behaviour, or ordering takeout to store up in their nooks for the winter. Whatever the case, the feeding frenzy just before noon today made sizeable dents in the supply of suet in the feeder.
At first, some of the birds didn’t quite get the concept of the grooves, and flew hummingbird style to retrieve their meals. Others got the idea right away, and a few of the more artistically inclined even hung upside as they pecked away at the suet.
There was quite a waiting line to use the feeder, and it was amusing to see how a few of the ones waiting impatiently would scold the one at the feeder to hurry up. At least a few Dark-Eyed Oregon Juncos decided to forgo the “one-at-a-time” principle, and fed at the same time–which made for an interesting photo opportunity.
All these tantalizing treats, not to mention the sounds of birdsong attracted Mr. Squirrel again. He quickly beetled away into the refuge of the Douglas Firs after having been caught hanging upside down the suet feeder and trying to scoop a pawful for himself. He shamelessly returned a few minutes later to try his luck again, hoping those pesky humans wouldn’t stick their noses in the backyard again.
Varied Thrushes showed up on the front and back lawns. The grey bushtits had already made off with all of the orange pyracantha berries at the front last week, so today’s feasters (which included a handful of robins) had to settle for the unpopular red cranberry-like cotoneaster berries (which are usually the meals of last resort for these birds).
It’s fun to see so many of our feathered friends partaking in the winter feast, and I suspect we will be replenishing the feeder shortly. All the same, I am glad we don’t have crows, ravens, pigeons, raccoons, and woodpeckers as wintertime visitors / feeders.