Funny Feeder

We always wait until after the holidays to start feeding the birds. By then everyone is settled down to stay awhile and the birds have eaten what they could find in the natural landscape. Last year we had such a bad spring with yo-yoing temperatures and killing frosts there wasn't much food for wildlife. Then come summertime, we had weeks of drought which did further destruction; there is nothing out there for them. Therefore, we really wanted to help them out... We help them; they entertain us.

Younger Son has moved to town and was determined to figure out a way to rig up a feeder just outside the kitchen window near the table where we eat. A tall wooden post was still standing where we used to have a squirrel feeder. When The Most Important Tree fell several years ago, it broke the feeder. I found one to purchase that we liked, and he attached it to the top of the post.

Now the problem was: How can the finch feeders be hung near the window when there is no tree near enough. His solution has been delightful! And, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words! There is no way I can describe this contraption in words so that you can picture how it looks and acts.

I have to stand on the chair to put sunflower seeds in the tray on top.

The cross-piece is an old oak tomato stake that was too warped to be any good.

He lashed it on with baling twine.

The Goldfinches found the thistle seed feeders quickly.

It has been so amusing to watch, because the cross piece moves like a teeter-totter. When say, four or five finches get on one feeder, but there are only one or two on the other, the heavier side goes way down and the other up. As they fly in and away it teeters back and forth, up and down. Also, the wind blows the freely hanging feeders, so they swing and sway. Not a problem for the diners; they are accustomed to branches and tall plants swinging and swaying. They just seem right at home and very happy. But all that swinging and swaying and teeter-tottering is surely entertaining to us!

Clinging to the left side of the post is a Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoying the suet. The suet also attracted Downey Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers,
White Breasted Nuthatches, Red Breasted Nuthatches, a Starling, Carolina Wren, and a Mockingbird.

Other visitors enjoying the seeds include:
Carolina Chick-a-dees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Goldfinches, House Finches, House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Slate-colored Juncos, and a gray squirrel or two.

Above: Just left of the post and perched on the cross-bar is a little Red-breasted Nuthatch.
(You may have to click on the photo to enlarge it to be able to see the Nuthatch.)

The suet feeder will be removed when the birds start nesting. They would feed the rich food to the babies causing them to have diarrhea and maybe die.

Younger son comes over once or twice a week and checks the feeders for me. It is a major help and much appreciated.

I wish you could see his feeder mobile in action: arms going up and down, feeders swinging and swaying back and forth, and birds twittering and flying all over it and in and out! I'm very happy with his solution, it is delightful!

The little birds are always on the look-out, and nervously streak off once in a while. Here is the reason why.

Above: (see center of photo) A Cooper's Hawk in tree looking toward the feeder, its traffic and activity. One day I saw a little Red-breasted Nuthatch walking backwards on the cross-piece until he was backed against the post and under the tray feeder. I thought, "Why is he walking backwards?!" I looked about, the other little birds had vanished, and sure enough there was a hawk in a tree. It finally flew away and everything got back to normal. Happy little birds!

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