I have often joked that I
should be able to claim the local birds as dependents on my tax return. I go through a forty pound bag of black oil
sunflower seeds every two weeks in the winter – and this doesn't include the
shelled seeds and suet bars I put out during the coldest weather.
|Hard to see through the snow, but there is a Pileated Woodpecker hanging off the right side of the feeder.|
For years I fought squirrels
that kept destroying my feeders. Now, it
may be that I have mellowed with age or have just gotten lazy, but over the
last three years I have scattered seeds on the ground in a quantity to allow
the squirrels to feed with the ground feeding birds. Now the squirrels leave my feeders
alone. Not only that, but the two
squirrels that are wintering over come out to meet me each day as I refill the
feeders. They are quite friendly and I
look forward to their greeting.
Reevaluating my reaction, I
have come to realize that like any wild animal the squirrels haven’t
intentionally carried on a conflict with me, but are reacting instinctively to
procure needed food. It is my need to
control the environment and all the creatures in it that has driven me to
squirrel hating frenzies in the past.
One of the denizens at my
feeders in the summer time is a falcon that every few weeks swoops in and kills
a dove that is ground feeding. I wish
this didn't happen, but again the falcon is acting instinctively, within its
nature. Who am I to decide who lives
and who dies?
|Zombie turkey attack|
Normally, in the past, the
only birds that wintered over were Chickadees, Nuthatches, Finches and Downy
and Hairy Woodpeckers; but over the last two years I am finding birds at the
winter feeder that are not suppose to be here this time of year. There are doves, blue jays, a cardinal and
|Pileated Woodpecker - not my photo: from Google|
This year I also have two
huge Pileated Woodpeckers that are regularly at the suet bars. I have had Pileateds during the summer, and
know that they often winter over in this area, but this is the first time I
have had them at my feeders during the winter.
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The Chickadees are my
favorite; they swoop down, take one seed, fly back to a tree to crack it and
eat it, and then swoop down for another.
However, all these birds (and the two squirrels) are depending on my
feeders to get them through the cold, snowy, windy, short days of winter.