For the Birds, 2023

Last year’s bird buffet was a resounding success. I set up the buffet in January, and by March, titmice, cardinals, house finches, and chickadees were regular visitors. Lacking a proper bird feeder, I opted to stick with safflower seeds because squirrels won’t eat them. However, safflower seeds are tiny with shells, and some birds cannot eat them because of their beaks.

By last May, after learning more about birds, I decided to add food suitable for a wider variety of species. Unfortunately, health issues halted my bird-related activities for spring and most of the summer. Now, I hope to make things more interesting with two bird feeders and two types of food.

The safflower seeds will stay, and a new kind of food with an assortment of nut pieces, corn, and sunflower seeds will be added. Bluebirds, which I haven’t seen in years, have already dropped by to lunch on the nut pieces. I’ve decided not to worry about squirrels. So, I bought a proper bird feeder that will be in the front near a large gardenia bush. I chose this site because a family of house finches lives 15 feet away, and cardinals hang out in the gardenia. Doves also nest close by.

I may try to buy off the squirrels with nuts near their main tree. For some reason, the mulberry tree out back has a bucket hanging about 12 feet off the ground. It has been there for the entire time we have lived here. I forget it’s there until I’m in the middle of cutting the grass, and then I’m in no mood to drag the ladder and move it. Now, it seems like a good place for a bribe.

I wonder how these feeding efforts will affect the bird population around the house. The garden had an immediate effect on birds and insects. Since the garden debuted in 2014, there have been many more robins, house finches, and doves every year. The house finches have moved in permanently with three nests in our eaves. Those have been joined by two robin nests and one made by doves. One year woodpeckers were in the pecan tree next door, and the hawks also showed up then. I don’t have a specific goal in mind beyond providing food. But I must admit watching house finches and robins wait their turn to use the bird bath is far more entertaining than I would have imagined. Also, having a bluebird family around for the summer would be nice.

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