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Re: birds/feeding routine

Bonnie - my birdies seem to do very well when only fed in the winter.  I start filling my feeder around Thanksgiving and March 1st start cutting them back gradually until April 1st when there are lots of bugs and things blooming for them to enjoy.  You'd have to alter your timetable to suit your area.  Start when your first frost hits (or when it's supposed to, we don't always get a heavy frost) and start cutting back on your last frost date.  I use a mixture of regular wild bird seed, black oil sunflower and thistle seed, about 1 part each.  My cardinals and mourning doves are fat as little toads, they're TOO cute.
My feeder is up high and too close to the house for cats to get it, also hawks won't come this close to a dwelling.  Every once in a while I catch a stray cat prowling the back of the yard staring at my birdies.  The water hose sends them flying off at light speed.  And they rarely come back, you know how they hate water and it doesn't hurt them just to get wet.  I don't deadhead any of my purple coneflowers or rudbeckias late in the season so they have "natural" food sources too and all my berrying shrubs get picked clean, usually before I get to enjoy the show, but that's why I planted them (viburnums, mahonias, beautyberry).  This all seems to work beautifully, I have more birds year round every year.  I must have 15 or 20 mourning doves now and used to just have a pair.  They like to get in all my beds, make depressions in the mulch and sun themselves.  So this works, at least here.  Hope that helps!  Happy 2003!

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Bonnie M. Holmes" <holmesbm@usit.net>
Reply-To: gardenchat@hort.net
Date:  Wed, 01 Jan 2003 08:26:02 -0500

>Also saw the WSJ article.  I don't fill my feeders during the warmer 
>weather when insects are out...feed during the winter, after some 
>frosts.  I am wondering if that will help with the problem...the birds have 
>to rely on nature during 3/4 of the year...I have tried to include some 
>native plants that provide food for birds and butterflies.  The article 
>also pointed out that predators (cats and hawks, for example) use the 
>feeders as a stakeout for birds.  Also, that since many feeders are near 
>buildings, birds often fly into buildings, killing or incapacitating 
>themselves.  So far, I have not seen the cats very successful...don't know 
>about the hawks...my feeders are under some canopies so the smaller birds 
>have more cover.  Any thoughts?
>Bonnie 6+ ETN
>At 01:35 PM 12/29/02 -0500, you wrote:
>>Maybe it's an urban legend, but I understood that birds don't feed seeds to
>>their babes: they can't process it for that purpose.  They need insects and
>>worms.    But then, I haven't read the WSJ article.   My theory had been
>>that the birds would eat at the feeder for themselves and go on to gather
>>insects to feed their young.
>>on 12/29/2002 10:39 AM, Donna at justme@prairieinet.net wrote:
>> > Cathy,
>> > I go thru a lot of seed... don't think cooking it would work here.
>> >
>> > Did not see the article in WSJ. Hightlights? Seems the birds around here
>> > find enough to eat during the summer months and just munch at the bird
>> > feeders. Come winter they seem to depend on them.
>> >
>> > Donna
>> >
>> >> On the subject of bird feeders, did anyone read the article on that
>> >> subject on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? The thrust being
>> >> that some believe they are doing birds more harm than good.
>> >> Cathy
>> >
>> > -
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Pam Evans
Kemp TX/zone 8A

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