Eating us out of house and home

Downside of the ice storm:

  • No power for 3 1/2 days
  • Broken branches and downed trees everywhere
  • A driveway that is now a skating rink
  • Grasses and branches all hidden under ice and snow

Upside of the ice storm:

  • Because all of the grasses and branches are hidden under ice and snow, the only food available is in the bird feeder (okay, this is probably a downside from the birds’ perspective)
  • Lots of fallen branches give me lots of material to make artificial bushes around the bird feeder so that the birds can scout out the situation or line up to wait their turn

Since putting up the bird feeder at the beginning of November, I have had no customers. Then, on a cold snowy January morning as I was sitting at the dining room table, I glanced out the window and I saw it. A little black dot in the bird feeder.

Was it?

Could it be?

It was!

Finally, a bird had discovered the feeder.

His friends soon followed, and now we have a steady line up of chickadees every morning.

Chickadee in a bird feeder

I love sitting in the dining room, eating my breakfast and watching the birds. This is exactly the scenario I envisioned when I built the feeder.

At first, only the chickadees were brave enough to come to the feeder. When I was outside photographing them, I heard a jay and eventually I was able to spot him high in the trees across the driveway. After a week of building up his confidence, he finally made his way to the feeder. It was neat to watch him cautiously select a seed and then take it up into the tree for his mate who is still too shy to join the buffet line herself.

Although it’s a large feeder and the chickadees are very little, everybody goes one at a time. Occasionally a greedy guy will try to sit in the feeder and steal more than one seed. A waiting bird always flies up and moves the glutton along.

Even going one seed at a time, the birds are quickly emptying the feeder. This thrills me immensely. So much in fact that Matt is worried that I am going to blow all of our money on bird seed and we will lose the farm and end up destitute. However, having gone half the winter with no birds, the 50lb sack of seed that I bought back in the fall is holding out very well. In fact, I couldn’t fit it all in the Knodd I got from Ikea, so the sack still has some seed in it. The Knodd is really convenient though any time I have to scoop out more seed to refill the feeder.

Sack of bird seed

As I’ve been working on this post, I’ve had Feed The Birds from Marry Poppins in my head. It’s by no means my favourite song from the movie, but for some reason it’s all I can think about.

Our birds seed is a mite more expensive than tuppence a bag, but I still don’t think it’s likely that we’re going to end up destitute selling bird seed on the street corner any time soon. So come one, come all. Just try and eat us out of house and home. (Just don’t tell Matt).

Do you have a bird feeder? Who are your regular customers? What do you feed your birds? What’s your favourite song from Mary Poppins? Has anyone seen the new movie yet?

10 thoughts on “Eating us out of house and home

  1. What hoot! You would be out on the street much faster if you fed them niger seed, the caviar of bird food.
    We don’t have a bird feeder but we do have several service berry bushes, aka saskatoons, right behind our cottage. The waxwings love them. They come by the dozen and are gorgeous. I was thinking of them last night before bed, I want to get them on video.
    I have never seen Mary Poppins. We got the Sound of Music collectors set after Christmas because David remembers being left at the theatre to watch it with his older sister and younger brother while his parents went Christmas shopping.

    • I’ve never heard of “the caviar of bird food.” 🙂 We don’t have waxwings around here. At least I don’t think I’ve seen them. I’ll have to look up a video of waxwings and perhaps you’ll have to look up Mary Poppins. It’s a very different story than Sound of Music, but the same type of iconic songs and heartwarming family story.

  2. Yes, isn’t it lovely to have a feeder in view in the mornings! We’ve always used sunflower hearts, also much more expensive, but you don’t end up with the pile of shells killing whatever plant life is growing under the feeder. Artificial bushes sound like a good idea, as birds are very shy of a feeder that’s too out-in-the-open. They like good cover to “escape” into very near the feeder. Also, we’ve found that chickadees seem to prefer to take a seed to a branch and hold it with their feet while they peck at it.

    Our (preferred) regular customers have been cardinals, chickadees, titmouses, blue jays, nuthatches, house finches, and goldfinches. The dark side is the mobbing of the feeder by a large flock of very gluttonous house sparrows!

  3. I’m glad you’ve finally got some takers! Once they are comfortable, hopefully they’ll keep on coming.
    We have a seed birdfeeder, and also a branch with holes drilled into it which we fill with bark butter. We get flickers, juncos, bushtits, chickadees, finches, robins, starlings, sparrows and crows. We also had an owl in our yard a couple of times. Didn’t see him, but heard him all night long, right outside the window!

  4. I find that the birds line up more for our feeders when it is really cold or snowing outside. When it’s warmer, they seem to fend for themselves more. Our cat runs from window to window watching the various bird feeders. My husband calls each run between windows “changing the channel”.

    • Bird feeder as television for a cat. That’s funny. I admit I was wondering if the bird feeder would be too much temptation for our Ralph, our barn cat. With the cold weather, she’s camped out pretty much permanently in the barn, so the birds are safe for now.

  5. Yikes, that ice storm sounded nasty.

    My parents have always had bird feeders in Wisconsin, and I’m not much of a bird person so I don’t even know what kind of birds they get! I also didn’t know chickadees line up and take turns while eating. So cute!

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