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JBMasterAngler

Bird Feeding Newcomer

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Finally started setting out some bird feeders in my yard. It’s the beginning of something I’ve always wanted to do, attract all sorts of birds/animals to my yard :) so far I just have a few old feeders I got from the thrift store, and using a northern bird mix seed. I plan to add more feeders, and more types of food. And in the spring hope to add bird houses, including a wood duck house. It’s been fun watching the birds so far. I’ve gotten visits from juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals, red bellied and pileated woodpeckers. And this morning I saw several, of what I believed to be white throated sparrows. Hopefully my list keeps on growing!

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I like to put up thistle feeders to attract Gold Finches.  I also like suet but the problem is the bears like it as well but soon they will be sleeping. I find that most all birds that come to my feeders will always eat black oil sunflower seeds so that is all I use in them. When L&M has the seeds on sale I can pick them up for $12.99 for 40 pounds.

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nice to here you are joining the bird feeders of America ;).  My 3 main feeders are filed with the black sunflowers year round. I stay away from the millet mixtures cuz it attracts too many house sparrows here in town. Another issue that might come up is some birds prefer the blacks so much they will dig thru the other stuff to get to them so lottsa millet hits the ground. The white throats have been going thru here for about a week now but they just feed on the ground and are welcome and you will normally see a bunch at a time. Love them. :) I also keep a small feeder with mealworms in it. I bought some cheap suet about a month ago and the birds peck on it but not like the nutty butter so I took 3 of the 4 boxes back. Nutty butter really has been good here. I keep 3 suet feeders going. Springtime is really fun when the different birds migrate thru. You should be able to see house finches over there and goldies year round. Not sure why but I don't have much luck with the thistle. If I put some out the bids just hit the black oils.  Even the red polls and pine siskens hit the oils first. If I get a ton of red polls coming thru I will hang a thistle bag out but that has only happened twice in 2 years. have fun and share some pics if you can. 

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I was planning on waiting until it gets colder to start putting suet out. One of my feeders is easy pickings for squirrels...what can I put in there that isn’t appealing to them, but will still attract an assortment of birds?

 

Luckily I don’t have any house sparrows, starlings, or pigeons out here. My folks live in St. Paul, and my mom is getting frustrated, because no matter what she puts out, the sparrows pick through it. I’ve only occasionally seen house and gold finches around here. My list is growing, as there were mourning doves, grackle, and an unidentifiable sparrow (I’m thinking either chipping or field).

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Some find that mixing powdered hot peppers, like cayenne, with the sunflower seeds discourages the squirrels, and the birds apparently don't even notice it.   Others find that a pellet gun helps or a live trap.   I have a feeder that is a cylinder of hardware cloth, fairly fine mesh, and the squirrels don't pay much attention to it.   

Another thing to try is to put out corn or something for the squirrels and hope they leave the birdfeeders alone.  

The last alternative is the various squirrel proof feeders... You could research which ones work, since squirrels are pretty clever.  

That's all I got about defeating squirrels.  Glad I don't have bears.  

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I have a feeder similar to this and it works great to keep the squirrels out.

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i dont mind feeding the squirrels..............they become wild game feed food after small game season opens!!!!! :grin:

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I have my feeders mounted on a 3/4 inch pipe with a pipe flange on the top and a 3 foot piece of 2x4.  One end has a platform that I made with 1x2 and I sandwiched some 1/2 inch hardware cloth and some screening.  The birds love to swoop down onto that and I get numerous species on it.

I have a small thistle feeder hanging on the platform feeder.  The one I have is only about 8 inches tall.   I found that there is too much rot on the taller ones.

I took a branch that is about 1-1/2 thick and drilled some 1 inch holes in it.  I fill those with suet and hang the whole thing from the 2x4.  I get at least 2 and sometimes 3 different woodpeckers there every day.

The best thing I did was to take a piece of 6 inch stove pipe and put a plug in one end.  I drilled a hole and I hung that setup about 6 inches below the pipe flange.  The squirrels run up the pipe, sit inside the stove pipe for a bit and then come back out confused.

The store bought bird feeder on the other end of the 2x4 is the one shown above.  I only fill it part way as I find the bird seed rots if you put too much in it.  BY the way if you use seed with as much millet in it as that picture you're not going to get much variety in the species that come to your feeders.  I use a product called Joe's Mix from the Wild Bird Store - check it out and see what all is in it and try that for some variety.

Finally I bent some 1/2 inch hardware clothe into a box shape and tacked it to the very end of the 2x4.  I put suet in it and it gets taken up pretty fast.

Fleet Farm had bags of unsalted peanuts in the shell and I mix some of those in with the regular bird seed.  Amazing how fast they go away and a lot of fun watching some birds try to carry 2 at a time.

 

Edited by Tom7227

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There is a video somewhere that I want to try...they fixed a slinky to the top of the pipe the house is mounted on... squirrel climbs up but when he hits the bottom of the slinky it bounces him back to the bottom.

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Now that it’s cold, I bought a couple blocks of suet, so far the birds haven’t touched it. Nutty butter was mentioned earlier, is that the go to brand? Right now I have it with the bird seed, but might put it somewhere more woodpecker friendly.

 

Also going to buy a pole with multiple hooks on it later this week. Are squirrels able to climb those thin metal poles? If so, I was leaning towards the slinky type squirrel guards, any reviews on those? Also going to switch to a seed with no sunflowers in it for one of my feeders (it’s too easy for squirrels to access), any particular type of seed I should get?

 

So far this bird feeding stuff has been an enjoyable occupation of my time! :D

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Birdwatchers Best Brand, Nutty Butter works great here. I get it at Mills.  The Wildlife Sciences Woodpecker suet hardly gets touched. I bought 4 boxes and took 3 back. I have plant hangers for my feeders and just zap the squirrels when they get to be more than a couple hanging around. 177 pellet. They are expert climbers.  I keep 4 suet blocks out. Years ago when I used mixes the squirrels and bluejays would scatter stuff to get to the oils. messy buggers. lol 

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5 hours ago, JBMasterAngler said:

Now that it’s cold, I bought a couple blocks of suet, so far the birds haven’t touched it. Nutty butter was mentioned earlier, is that the go to brand? Right now I have it with the bird seed, but might put it somewhere more woodpecker friendly.

 

Also going to buy a pole with multiple hooks on it later this week. Are squirrels able to climb those thin metal poles? If so, I was leaning towards the slinky type squirrel guards, any reviews on those? Also going to switch to a seed with no sunflowers in it for one of my feeders (it’s too easy for squirrels to access), any particular type of seed I should get?

 

So far this bird feeding stuff has been an enjoyable occupation of my time! :D

If your just setting up a new feeding station, it will take some time for the birds to find it and switch from where ever they are feeding now. If you got the good stuff they like! ;)

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You can go to just about any butcher shop and buy a lot of beef suet for not much money.  The birds don't know the difference between it and fancy stuff with the seeds in it.  As I wrote before I have had a lot of luck with a 1.5 to 2 inch branch with some 1 inch holes drilled in it.  Hung it from the feeder and the woodpeckers have been all over it.  Just press suet into the holes and stand back.

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The sunflowers are popular with all the birds, especially blue jays. I’m getting more of those showing up every day. Seems like the juncos and sparrows prefer to feed on the ground, so the mess that the squirrels make is favorable for them. One positive thing about watching the squirrels, they are quite resourceful when it comes to the feeders. They’re hanging upside down, doing 180 degree twists, dangling around on the tips of their toes, etc.

 

I bought the kaytee brand suet. A fruit/berry mix (which is what I have out for them), and a peanut mix. Finally found some signs of something pecking at it, but I suspect it may have been a squirrel :(

Edited by JBMasterAngler

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My mom gave me one of her flower pot poles so I can hang some of my feeders on. Instant success! Chickadees came out in full force within minutes. I bought some nyjer seed to put in my “squirrel feeder”, and the chickadees and a yet to be identified sparrow love it! Saw a blue jay pecking at the suet. This has been the most exciting afternoon I’ve had so far! At one point I had countless chickadees and juncos, blue jays, cardinals, mourning dove, and 2 unknown sparrows all at the same time! And no squirrels!                             

5AADE808-C511-4F83-89C8-AC39710597F8.jpeg

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By the way, I wire my suet feeders shut.   Seems there are things in the night capable of opening them and eating the whole thing....

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