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Sunday, February 24, 2008


The male cardinal discovered the woodpecker treat. It is no wonder, since it is all nuts! Skip sent me an email with a couple of captures from the web cam. He caught a downy and the cardinal. I saw a nuthatch with the cardinal when I looked. The sky was overcast and it had snowed, so the pics didn't get real good.

People say their home made suet disappears as soon as they put it out. So how come all the action is on the woodpecker treat??

Roy, from King Bird Feeders sent me a thank you card for the Hopper Feeder purchase. I thought that was a nice touch! The price was right and I got fast shipping. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again.

Speaking of buying, I am looking for storage bins for my seed. Some people have recommended using a steel garbage can, but I want to use two, so I'd like to find something a bit smaller. Duncraft has a Bird Seed Vault, but they want $45.00 each. I'll keep looking.
Posted by Dave at 12:36 AM
Edited on: Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:39 AM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Lens

Today I installed the new lens, a 6 to 50 MM. The previous lens was a fixed 5 MM. While I was installing it, the male downy showed up. He didn't stay long before he flew off. I finished screwing with the lens and sat down at the computer to see if he would come back. He did, but again he didn't stay long, only a few seconds. He showed up a third time, again briefly. I am beginning to understand why I have a hard time catching him, if this is typical behavior The other day, when I saw the female, she stayed for a few minutes. I captured the male today, you can see him here. I also uploaded an image to Picasa web.

I am beginning to see a pattern, the female feeds on the suet, and the male on the woodpecker treat. I could have zoomed in farther than what I did today, but I wanted to keep both the suet and woodpecker treat in the picture. I was expecting to see the female show up, but I didn't see her.

Posted by Dave at 5:27 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hopper Feeder

I got the new feeder today, from www.kingbirdfeeders.com. There was enough light to do a quick install. I don't know if the birds will like it better than the last feeder I tried, but I do! I had to screw the top off the last feeder in order to fill it, while the lid flips open on this one. You can view the live video here, or the latest image here. The web cam caught me installing the new feeder, you can view the pic here.

Apparently woodpeckers like to have their tails supported while feeding, and since I have been on a downy kick lately, I checked into tail props. I saw a number of ideas, including add ons for the suet cage, but I decided to buy one with the suet cage integrated into the tail prop. I know I will never see a pileated woodpecker here, but I decided on this model. I like the longer prop because it might help stabilize the feeder- or it might act like a sail! :)

Posted by Dave at 6:10 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have been checking the web cam from time to time, hoping to spot the downys again. I really thought that I would spot them early in the day, but it was about 3:45 PM when I spotted one today. About an hour later, I was at home and spotted one, again. I looked out the window and saw that this one was a female. I couldn't tell about the one earlier. I posted the first one on my Picasaweb site, and the second one here. The first sighting today was on the woodpecker treat. The second, I am pleased to say, was on my homemade suet. If I could spot them more often, I would buy a zoom lens for the camera. They are not very big birds and do not show up well.

I do not think the finch like my new feeder as much as I do. I might try a platform feeder, see if that suits them better.

Posted by Dave at 6:53 PM
Edited on: Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:28 PM

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I really do not understand birds! Yesterday, when I got home from work, I did not see any birds at any of the feeders. I kept an eye on them, but none showed up. They usually do, after I walk near the feeders. It did sort of seem like there is still something feeding on the store bought suet, but the homemade suet appeared untouched. Today I looked at the Suet Cam, and be darned if there wasn't a downy on the woodpecker treat! Before I had a chance to react, it flew over to the store bought suet. I quick hit the Capture button, but I was installing an update to the PDF reader, and my system was slow as molasses. I did not get the capture. But, since it appears to still be feeding, I WILL get a pic sometime!

I saw both male and female cardinals, as well as a nuthatch and flocks of sparrows. It sure was good to see all the activity after seeing none yesterday

Posted by Dave at 11:56 AM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Waste Free

I thought that I could buy the Waste Free feed locally, but when I punched the location in to Map Quest, it put the travel time at 4 1/2 hours. I think not! I found two places to buy from, and I am not sure which is cheaper. The one site tells you the shipping before you order, the other does not. I ordered from the site that does not. I also ordered a Opus Top Flight Triple Tube Bird Feeder at the same time, so that doesn't allow me to compare the shipping. If you wish to check for yourself, the sites are here and here. I ordered from the first one.

The Opus Top Flight Triple Tube Bird Feeder seems OK. It was listed as squirrel proof, but when you use it with the enclosed pole, it is not. The feed ports have lids that can flip down for nyjer seed, so I filled one tube with that. I stocked one tube with the new Waste Free, the final tube with the mix I received for Christmas. That last has cracked corn, which none of the other mixes has. After I finished filling it, I watched a couple of birds eying it up. It didn't take too long for them to brave the new gadget.

I moved the nyjer feeder into view of the new web cam. I hate to admit it, but I think my downys have moved on. I do have one other thing to try for the downys, homemade suet. A recipe was posted on rec.birds by SteveB today. Here it is:

Martha Sargent's Famous Suet Recipe

1 cup - crunchy peanut butter

2 cups - quick cook oats

2 cups - yellow cornmeal

1 cup - lard

1 cup - white flour

1/3 cup - sugar (no longer recommended)

Melt lard and peanut butter in saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir

in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into freezer containers (aluminum

pie pan, etc.) that measures no more than 2 inches deep. This allows the

cakes to fit into standard suet baskets. Place in freezer; when frozen,

break into suitably-sized pieces.

I bought eight of those square covered plastic storage things at the dollar

store that are the exact size as my suet holder. I put a piece of saran

wrap in them and spoon in the same amount to each, helping the Saran wrap to

drop in there and make a squarish cake. Making it in one big blob and

cutting it is not the best way. Use Saran wrap or you will break them

trying to get them out of the container. I added a bunch of old chopped

pecans this time.

They LOVE it, and eat it much more readily than store bought suet. The lard

and peanut butter are the only things that cost much, and it costs less to

make it than buying suet..

edit- They now say that you should leave out the sugar.

Posted by Dave at 6:41 PM
Edited on: Saturday, March 29, 2008 11:33 AM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cat Stop

The other day I witnessed a cat pounce on the birds feeding on the ground, under the feeder. I knew the neighbor feeds cats, but I hadn't noticed any problems before. I checked a bird forum for advice. They had a number of suggestions- trap the offending cats, build a fence around the feeder or get a dog. The fence idea will be a last resort, the others I don't think I'll try. The other idea was to place a Cat Stop at the feeder. The reviews were mixed, so I don't know how well this will work. I thought some of the poor reviews might have been due to the cat getting desensitized from hearing it too much. I do know a pair of cats were sleeping nearby, and were unfazed by the unit while I was installing it. I could tell it was being triggered, too.

In rec.birds someone recommended a waste free birdseed. With all the shells laying under my feeders, I think I'll give it a try. It is more expensive, but you are not paying for the shells. I ordered some here.

Since installing the new web cam, I haven't seen any downys. I believe there was only one pair, so I might just have missed seeing them. Please leave a comment here, if you see one!

Posted by Dave at 12:20 PM
Edited on: Sunday, February 03, 2008 12:21 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Friday, February 01, 2008

Downy Cam

I have the new TRENDnet camera installed inside the house. I was going to wait until I could mount it outside before putting it on line but I am so fed up with the logitech web cams, that I pulled the plug on them. As my dad would have said, 'I wouldn't give a plug nickel for the lot of them'. Use the same log on as before. User- nhpa, nhpa1, or nhpa2 For the pass- birder. Note, when you first log on you see a static picture, click on ActiveX or Java to get a live image. Firefox users will want to use Java, Internet Explorer 6 and 7 can use either. And let's hope we can spot some downys! View the new can here.

Posted by Dave at 5:46 PM
Edited on: Friday, February 01, 2008 5:58 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding