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Squalid
Nov 4, 2008



Oh poo poo I was tired when I said that. I meant starlings . No donít mess with grackles or other natives

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Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


I've basically just tried to make my feeders uncomfortable for Grackles. They're still stopping by, but they only stay for a few bites of food and then fly off. Them having to struggle to get to the food is better than just letting them mow it all down. The amount of food that had normally been lasting a week was making it maybe 2 days.

Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






What's funny is that the Cornell feeder cam that inspired this thread is full of grackles basically all the time. It's full of them as I post this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x01AdCuLnk

They hang out in the woods behind my house but never come to my feeder for some reason.

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


I wouldn't mind them if they didn't scare off all my finches and sparrows. I wouldn't even mind spending a bit more on the food for them.

[Edit: Yeah, watching 2 minutes of that stream will show you how much of an rear end in a top hat they are. They constantly bully other birds off the feeders.]

Internet Explorer fucked around with this message at 15:35 on Jun 19, 2019

Iminnosynt
Oct 7, 2003


Grackles and starlings do eat the majority of my seed, but I've enjoyed watching some starlings with their fledglings this spring. The parent starlings will pick off the suet cake and then hop back on the branch to feed their fledglings. Makes me happy.

Even with the grackles and starlings, I still get cardinals, blue jays, finches, sparrows, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds, and woodpeckers. All the food they fling on the ground goes to the bunnies, ducks, and squirrels. I have a hopper feeder, a suet cage, and a birdbath, and I get my feed from Wild Birds Unlimited. My local store is great. Just walking into the store seems to relax me and the employees are super knowledgeable and friendly.

flakeloaf
Feb 26, 2003

Still better than android clock



They ravaged my feeders when they were stocked with corn and sunflower seeds, but they don't seem at all interested in the small songbird feed I'm using now.

I didn't even know we had yellow or white finches . Ballsy little buggers too, they'll perch on the peonies about a foot away from me and gorge themselves on ants.

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


I have a hopper feeder and a cylinder feeder, both from WBU. I also use WBU's no-mess food. I live in an apartment and this is on my balcony, so any food that drops is either up to the birds to eat or something I have to clean up. I don't have any trees for the birds to hang out in, which sucks. Just getting some flowers and veggies growing seems to make them feel a little more at home, though. I do also have 2 bird baths.

Agreed on the WBU store, though. Those folks are great.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


Peanuts are MVP if you want corvids. You can make friends with all the crows in your area if you put a handful of in the shell peanuts out in a bowl at the same time each day.

gaj70
Jan 26, 2013


Herstory Begins Now posted:

Peanuts are MVP if you want corvids. You can make friends with all the crows in your area if you put a handful of in the shell peanuts out in a bowl at the same time each day.

My town actually hires crow removal specialists. The roost by the hundreds in the downtown trees, with predictable effects on sidewalk QOL. At night, it's a scene straight out of a horror movie; 25-30 flushing out of each tree you walk past.

flakeloaf
Feb 26, 2003

Still better than android clock



Herstory Begins Now posted:

Peanuts are MVP if you want corvids. You can make friends with all the crows in your area if you put a handful of in the shell peanuts out in a bowl at the same time each day.

If crows kill squirrels, I'm definitely robbing a circus on my way home

BigBallChunkyTime
Nov 25, 2011

Kyle Schwarber: World Series hero, Beefy Lad, better than you.



Illegal Hen

Fitzy Fitz posted:

What's funny is that the Cornell feeder cam that inspired this thread is full of grackles basically all the time. It's full of them as I post this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x01AdCuLnk

They hang out in the woods behind my house but never come to my feeder for some reason.

They come in waves. Most of the bird breeds do.
My favorite is when the mourning doves come, because you know they're flying dumbasses. There's not a lot going on in there. Plus, I love the way they move their heads They're like having an extremely stupid dog. But I love them and delight when they come to my feeder.

As referenced by my pictures earlier in this thread, my feeder setup is right next to my driveway and about 20 feet from my front door. When doves are at the feeder and i go outside, they'll fly away to the safety of the telephone wires across the street and watch until I leave. Then, once I'm safely back in the house, they'll resume their eating/general dumbassery.

We have also spotted a bluejay in our communal backyard that we're trying to attract. My wife loves bluejays.

The nearest WBU to me is a 3 1/2 hour drive away.

BigBallChunkyTime fucked around with this message at 19:28 on Jun 19, 2019

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


Jays love two things: sunflower seeds and peanuts.

BigBallChunkyTime
Nov 25, 2011

Kyle Schwarber: World Series hero, Beefy Lad, better than you.



Illegal Hen

Herstory Begins Now posted:

Jays love two things: sunflower seeds and peanuts.

We have black oil sunflower seeds in our tray feeder. Haven't tried peanuts yet, though. How many would I need to put in there, and do they have to be shelled or unshelled?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Titmice are my favorite feeder birds, but they're super skittish and get bullied away by everything.

Jays are fun to watch and super colorful, but God help you when they start screaming.

nankeen
Mar 20, 2019

by Cyrano4747


you'd have to drive the grackles like three hundred miles away or they'd just come back, they're smarter than us

if there's a particular native species you'd like to attract, try looking up what they eat in the wild and see if you can find some of that. commercial birdseed is mostly exotic grains and it's formulated to be palatable to numerous species, but your local songbirds or finches might actually prefer pine or grass seeds when they can get them

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




Very generally, the only unprotected songbirds in the US are house sparrows, starlings and pigeons. State/locality law may be more restrictive however so do your homework.

shame on an IGA fucked around with this message at 10:19 on Jun 22, 2019

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



For the folks new to birds, thought I'd put together a little guide to the most common types of feeder birds - the links all go to a terrific bird ID website with advice about locations and identifications, and how to attract them to feeders. Links and examples are all for birds I get in my area, your species will vary depending on your location. This link is a helpful visual guide to many common yard birds.[/url]

Jays are my personal favorite feeder birds. They're big, colorful, and some of the smartest birds in your yard - they're closely related to crows and ravens. Very social birds, can be extremely noisy.

Doves and pigeons are large, slow birds that like to feed on the ground or on platform feeders. Almost always seen in groups, and many are legal game birds in season. They reproduce in huge numbers to make up for the fact that most of them are so very, very dumb.

Cardinals are a favorite of many a birdwatcher, but only adult males have that iconic red plumage. Females and juveniles are brown.

Woodpeckers have an immediately recognizable body type, and many eat both seeds and bugs. Warning: if you live in a wooden house, you may not want to attract woodpeckers to your yard...

Wrens are small, very active little brown birds that cram five pounds of lungs into a half-ounce bird. They love to nest around human structures, so in my experience they're easy to attract and keep around if you can put up with the noise. Seriously, every bird guide I've ever seen has included a note on the linked example species to the effect of "No bird this small should be able to be this loud."

Sparrows are tiny brown chirpy birds, easily distinguished from wrens by being a lot less squat and chunky.

Chickadees are immediately recognizable by their black and white heads and distinctive calls. None actually live where I do, but I'm familiar with them on vacations.

Grackles look black in the shade, but in the sun show iridescent colors in their feathers. Typically found in huge flocks, and many people (including myself and others in this thread) regard them as pests for their ability to eat you out of house and home if you're determined to feed them. One or two grackles are fine, but with all their friends they will cover your yard and bully out other birds.

Atticus_1354
Dec 9, 2006

Don't you go near that dog, you understand? Don't go near him, he's just as dangerous dead as alive.


Part of the reason your attracting so many trash birds is because feeders and commercial bird seed disproportionately favors invasive species. A diverse planting of native grasses and flowers is going to go so much further in attracting native songbirds. I do ecological restoration in Tx so I cant directly recommend to many species for your area except to pimp Maximilian sunflowers as an easy growing perennial sunflower that grows in most of the lower 48. For local advice I recommend you see if you have a Master Naturalist group in your area. They will be able to recommend native plants that will bring in specific species. Also adding species targeted nest boxes and monitoring them for invasives is a huge help to your local populations.

And here is a picture of a painted bunting to prove my point. You will rarely see one with a backyard bird feeder, but at work and at many of my clients places they see lots of them because of using native plants.



If anyone is in Tx and wants more specific recommendations I will be happy to help. Also look at the book Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country: A Guide to Land Stewardship

Atticus_1354 fucked around with this message at 13:28 on Jun 30, 2019

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




I had a pair of carolina wrens brood in my mailbox last month and it was awesome.

After I spent an entire afternoon in the front yard screaming and waving a pair of rakes around at a bluejay that was side-eyeing them too hard they fully accepted me as their own.

Nine of Eight
Apr 28, 2011


Dinosaur Gum



Meet my American Robin buddy. I donít know about the species as a whole but this guy is a colossal moron; heís been attacking my windows for a month (no permanent harm) and still hasnít clued in yet. (Ok, maybe he gave himself brain damage).

BigBallChunkyTime
Nov 25, 2011

Kyle Schwarber: World Series hero, Beefy Lad, better than you.



Illegal Hen

Nine of Eight posted:



Meet my American Robin buddy. I donít know about the species as a whole but this guy is a colossal moron; heís been attacking my windows for a month (no permanent harm) and still hasnít clued in yet. (Ok, maybe he gave himself brain damage).

He's thinking of loving up your window again in that pic.

Bi-la kaifa
Feb 4, 2011

Space maggots.



I switched from a wild bird mix to an all safflower feed. The house sparrows have moved on and now I just get the usual golden and purple finches, pine siskins, and all the other ones. I've got a family of California quail that stops by every so often. I hope the chicks remember to come by once they grow up.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


I've just been getting into the majesty of birds. Unfortunately, my apartment is in a complex, I'm on the second floor above a courtyard, and there's nowhere I can really put a bird bath, but I do have a hanging gazebo-style feeder. My next place will have a proper yard so I can go ham on my setup.

I haven't gotten many birds to try the feeder, but when I place wild seed varieties on my window ledge near the feeder, that attracts more of them. I live in New Haven, CT, which is a haven for birds, and so far I have befriended a small group of blue jays (mostly two who are regular feeders), a small group of dark-eyed juncos, house sparrows, white-throated sparrows, cardinals (although they haven't fed at all, I've only seen them hanging out on the ground or in the trees, they're apparently very shy)... I saw some mourning doves the other day, and lately I've been seeing a black-capped chickadee at the feeder - the chickadee and the blue jay and the house sparrow are the only birds using my feeder thus far but it's only been a month.

Something of note about blue jays, regarding one more bird I've seen that hasn't been listed yet. Blue jays are gorgeous and curious and fun to watch, but they can also bully smaller birds and get most of the food from you. However, when people are mentioning their shrieking (you'll know it when it happens), I recommend looking outside for a cool sighting, because the Jay shrieking like that is always followed by birds in the area high-tailing it out of there, since Jays play the role of territory sentry. When they start wailing, it means a predator is in the vicinity and everyone should head for cover. So, I heard a blue jay shrieking the other day, and I rushed to the window in time to see all the birds fly off, and I scoured the trees - and saw, in silence and stillness, a Cooper's hawk sitting and surveying the area. Really badass. The hawk eventually flew off. So, some advice, when you hear a blue jay screaming, look outside for potentially seeing a cool predator bird!

EDIT: I hope it's OK that I've bumped this thread up - it's bird season and I was looking for a bird feeding thread to partake in!

fawning deference fucked around with this message at 22:00 on Nov 6, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



However, blue jays are sometimes assholes and can do a very good impression of a hawk's call to scare other birds away from feeders or baths.

devicenull
May 30, 2007



Grimey Drawer

fawning deference posted:

I've just been getting into the majesty of birds. Unfortunately, my apartment is in a complex, I'm on the second floor above a courtyard, and there's nowhere I can really put a bird bath, but I do have a hanging gazebo-style feeder. My next place will have a proper yard so I can go ham on my setup.

I haven't gotten many birds to try the feeder, but when I place wild seed varieties on my window ledge near the feeder, that attracts more of them. I live in New Haven, CT, which is a haven for birds, and so far I have befriended a small group of blue jays (mostly two who are regular feeders), a small group of dark-eyed juncos, house sparrows, white-throated sparrows, cardinals (although they haven't fed at all, I've only seen them hanging out on the ground or in the trees, they're apparently very shy)... I saw some mourning doves the other day, and lately I've been seeing a black-capped chickadee at the feeder - the chickadee and the blue jay and the house sparrow are the only birds using my feeder thus far but it's only been a month.

Something of note about blue jays, regarding one more bird I've seen that hasn't been listed yet. Blue jays are gorgeous and curious and fun to watch, but they can also bully smaller birds and get most of the food from you. However, when people are mentioning their shrieking (you'll know it when it happens), I recommend looking outside for a cool sighting, because the Jay shrieking like that is always followed by birds in the area high-tailing it out of there, since Jays play the role of territory sentry. When they start wailing, it means a predator is in the vicinity and everyone should head for cover. So, I heard a blue jay shrieking the other day, and I rushed to the window in time to see all the birds fly off, and I scoured the trees - and saw, in silence and stillness, a Cooper's hawk sitting and surveying the area. Really badass. The hawk eventually flew off. So, some advice, when you hear a blue jay screaming, look outside for potentially seeing a cool predator bird!

EDIT: I hope it's OK that I've bumped this thread up - it's bird season and I was looking for a bird feeding thread to partake in!

The cardinals near me have grown pretty used to me now.. they'll often be at the feeder after I refill it as soon as I've turned my back. It took quite some time to get to that point though.

You'll eventually pick up on the alarm calls of the other birds, although they're not typically as loud as blue jays.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


I now have the problem of a family of house sparrows living in the bush near my feeder. They raid the feeder all day and deplete the food source quickly and it seems like they've claimed the territory. There are probably 15 of them. All of the solutions to this common problem I've read online involve things which would not only restrict the sparrows but lots of other birds too.

Does anyone have any advice for preventing mobs of sparrows from raiding my feeder all day or am I screwed?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



fawning deference posted:

I now have the problem of a family of house sparrows living in the bush near my feeder. They raid the feeder all day and deplete the food source quickly and it seems like they've claimed the territory. There are probably 15 of them. All of the solutions to this common problem I've read online involve things which would not only restrict the sparrows but lots of other birds too.

Does anyone have any advice for preventing mobs of sparrows from raiding my feeder all day or am I screwed?

.22 rifle and good aim.

House sparrows are pests.

flakeloaf
Feb 26, 2003

Still better than android clock



Cythereal posted:

House sparrows are pests.

They're one of the few passerines not protected by the MBTA, not that it wouldn't still be a good idea to check local laws first.

BigBallChunkyTime
Nov 25, 2011

Kyle Schwarber: World Series hero, Beefy Lad, better than you.



Illegal Hen

If I didn't have house sparrows I wouldn't have any birds at all right now.

devicenull
May 30, 2007



Grimey Drawer

fawning deference posted:

I now have the problem of a family of house sparrows living in the bush near my feeder. They raid the feeder all day and deplete the food source quickly and it seems like they've claimed the territory. There are probably 15 of them. All of the solutions to this common problem I've read online involve things which would not only restrict the sparrows but lots of other birds too.

Does anyone have any advice for preventing mobs of sparrows from raiding my feeder all day or am I screwed?

You sure you don't have a squirrel (or deer) problem instead? We have a flock of house sparrows that lives in our bushes, and they don't seem to drain the feeder any quicker then the other birds. I tend to have to refill it every ~3 days.

We used to wonder how the bird feeder was getting emptied daily, and it turned out the deer were coming in the night and slurping all the seed out.

It's entertaining watching the bird hierarchy - the bigger birds scare off the smaller ones whenever they're hungry.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


I have it right outside and constantly see sparrows raiding. All day. It's them.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


Well, spring has sprung and I live in New Haven, Connecticut, one of the best places on the planet for birding. I am going to start heading out more, but ultimately I am looking to move to a place with a nice backyard so I can set up a bird haven and do some observing/note-taking.

Figured I would revive this thread to see how everyone is doing - I've developed a real fascination with birds over the past year and have befriended a male/female couple of cardinals and mourning doves who come to my ledge for food every day. I don't have my feeder up and instead opted to ration out seed on my ledge so that sparrows are more moderate, and that has worked well to prevent them from all-day raiding.

Once I get a better situation, I'll have a lot of different elements up for feeding and protection (squirrel baffles, etc).

I have yet to see a new bird type since a new family of house finches (rosy red faces and necks) started visiting, but I am hopeful to be able to see more.

I am also hopeful to start birding at the various amazing spots around CT, particularly in Madison and Milford on the shores.

devicenull
May 30, 2007



Grimey Drawer

My suggestion would be just buy these: https://bromebirdcare.com/busterproducts/

Until we got one of their suet feeders, the squirrels would eat through an entire cake of suet a day.. that completely stopped afterwards. We also have their sunflower seed feeder, which is also completely effective at stopping squirrels (but not deer - make sure you mount it high enough)

Birb chat: we have a leucistic house sparrow that lives nearby now:





She's super hard to photograph, but the difference in color is stunning

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


Yeah, once I move and get my backyard I'll get a big-time setup going. I did see a red-winged blackbird on my hike today and it's stunning-looking, the contrast of it's shiny black coat with the bright orange and yellow on its upper wings.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


devicenull posted:

My suggestion would be just buy these: https://bromebirdcare.com/busterproducts/

Until we got one of their suet feeders, the squirrels would eat through an entire cake of suet a day.. that completely stopped afterwards. We also have their sunflower seed feeder, which is also completely effective at stopping squirrels (but not deer - make sure you mount it high enough)

Birb chat: we have a leucistic house sparrow that lives nearby now:





She's super hard to photograph, but the difference in color is stunning

That is definitely a crazy-looking sparrow.

BRAKE FOR MOOSE
Jun 6, 2001

It Could Save Your Life
HUNDREDS OF COLLISIONS



devicenull posted:

My suggestion would be just buy these: https://bromebirdcare.com/busterproducts/

Until we got one of their suet feeders, the squirrels would eat through an entire cake of suet a day.. that completely stopped afterwards. We also have their sunflower seed feeder, which is also completely effective at stopping squirrels (but not deer - make sure you mount it high enough)

We use hot pepper suet - the birds can't taste the pepper and the squirrels don't like it. Might be more expensive over the long run, though. We have a movable cage feeder for the seed which works very well.

fawning deference
Jul 4, 2018


Where is a good place to buy a varied and kickass bird feeder setup? Not Amazon.

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


Wild Birds Unlimited

BigBallChunkyTime
Nov 25, 2011

Kyle Schwarber: World Series hero, Beefy Lad, better than you.



Illegal Hen

Internet Explorer posted:

Wild Birds Unlimited

Seconding this. If you have one in your area I highly recommend going.

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Cage Kicker
Feb 20, 2009

End of the fiscal year, bitch.
MP's got time to order pens for year year, hooah?


SKILCRAFT KREW Reppin' Quality Blind Made





Lipstick Apathy

fawning deference posted:

Well, spring has sprung and I live in New Haven, Connecticut, one of the best places on the planet for birding. I am going to start heading out more, but ultimately I am looking to move to a place with a nice backyard so I can set up a bird haven and do some observing/note-taking.

Figured I would revive this thread to see how everyone is doing - I've developed a real fascination with birds over the past year and have befriended a male/female couple of cardinals and mourning doves who come to my ledge for food every day. I don't have my feeder up and instead opted to ration out seed on my ledge so that sparrows are more moderate, and that has worked well to prevent them from all-day raiding.

Once I get a better situation, I'll have a lot of different elements up for feeding and protection (squirrel baffles, etc).

I have yet to see a new bird type since a new family of house finches (rosy red faces and necks) started visiting, but I am hopeful to be able to see more.

I am also hopeful to start birding at the various amazing spots around CT, particularly in Madison and Milford on the shores.

I grew up in Orange! We were blessed with a huge yard with multiple feeders, I probably saw 15+ species a day. Great bird region! If you want to see some cool ones, I'd hit Sleeping Giant and look for interesting places to sit still in for a while, you'll see some really cool birbs. If you get up to the castle at the top you can watch vultures and hawks soar around, I know there are a few red tail hawks there that hang out by the Merritt Parkway during the day.

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