Date: 12/30/20 12:31 pm
From: Eric Arnold <eba...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Need suggestions for new bird-feeding people
A friend of mine, on Dexter Ave. near Grandview, which is the first street
between Dexter and Jackson west of the point where Huron splits into
Jackson & Dexter aves, and where houses are fairly close together and
mostly at least two-storey so that the corridors between them are rather
narrow, put up a feeder pole between her house and the house to the east a
couple of years ago. Very few birds were observed at it the first year.
This year, they began to appear more frequently, and now there is a fair
amount of activity, and the feeders have begun to be emptied more rapidly,
but not yet as rapidly as I typically experience with a similar feeder
setup but in a more open space. At my feeder, there are periods of
activity with anything from a bird or two off and on to as many as two
dozen or more sometimes, with lots of house sparrows & finches, frequent
visits from a good variety of woodpeckers (downy, hairy, red-bellied,
flicker, and red-headed), white- and red-breasted nuthatches, chickadees,
tufted titmice & Carolina & house wrens making up the typical songbird
crowd, and starlings, red-winged blackbirds and an assortment of others
showing from time to time on a seasonal basis.

It is not too infrequent that a downy or other woodpecker will freeze in
one place for a number of minutes, sometimes up to ten or more, while
presumably waiting out a threat, and other birds rarely show up then until
the woodpecker becomes active again. I don't usually see the threat, but
sometimes when I'm outside I'll see a hawk or other raptor
circling overhead. Having a good perching bush or tree or two that they
can fly to on short notice seems to help.

But it's typical that there will be periods of considerable activity
separated by moderately long periods with no or few birds present, and
some, especially the chickadees, are in and out very quickly, but returning
again quite frequently for a while until they have had their fill.

Once the clientele has been established, other birds seem to notice and
gradually they appear sooner in the spring and leave later in the fall if
they are birds that nest in our area, and for birds that nest farther
north, they may show up in late fall and leave fairly early in the spring.
But it takes a while for them to get in the habit of checking my feeders,
and if I am absent for a couple of weeks in a busy season and the feeders
are empty for a while, it will usually take a bit of time for them to come
back with the frequency they came before I left.

Birds are, after all, pretty mobile compared to terrestrial creatures, and
quite certainly will visit a number of different sites where they have
found food regularly in the past. Patience should help, but if the
offering sits too long without activity, especially if it isn't well
protected from rain and becomes moldy, discarding it and cleaning the
feeders before refilling with fresh seed can renew their interest when they
happen to check on it again, and when a few birds start coming back
regularly, then others notice and it probably won't take as long for good
numbers of visitors will be seen again, depending of course on the season
and the things that affect bird flocks on a larger scale.

All of which is well worth the effort, cost, and patience if you enjoy that
sort of thing!

Eric Arnold
Northside of Ann Arbor, just a bit east of the southern end of Argo Pond.


On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 2:26 PM 'George Hammond' via Birders <
<birders...> wrote:

> Just more patience maybe? I’m pretty sure many many more people are
> feeding birds now, so feeder birds may be spread out more, and searching
> less. Or maybe there’s a resident cat or hawk nearby?
>
> > On Dec 30, 2020, at 11:21 AM, Ellen Weatherbee <eew...> wrote:
> >
> > They live near the U-M stadium and have had a feeder up for a week,
> with no avian visitors. They have out suet (with embedded insects—new to
> me), Bill’s bird blend (oiled sunflower 🌻 seeds, 🥜 peanuts, and corn).
> The main feeder is positioned near a robust shrub, so birds can perch,
> hide, and stage from it.
> >
> > I have have had very successful bird feeding for multiple years—and feed
> only plain suet and black oilers (and whole peanuts occasionally for the
> blue jays). But I am in wooded areas with lakes very close by, and
> surrounded by shrubs.
> >
> > What else would anyone suggest? Maybe water and a bird bath or ??? And I
> told them that it can take quite awhile to have a viable bird feeder
> population. Thanks for any help!
> > Ellen Weatherbee 🍄 (Pinckney: Patterson Lake and mid-Michigan: Chippewa
> Lake)
> >
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