Tag Archives: bird seed

Cold nights

Proper frost.  Not the first.  We got a squash-killing frost Sep 30.

Chicken water

The outdoor sunflowers are finished.  They didn’t tip over like the GH sunnies, growing strong stems from living outside.  I spread them out on top of the wood stove (hmm, it’s cold and I could stand to start a fire but now I can’t), because if I spread them out on the floor again, then…Dum dum dadum. Here come(s) the mice!(bride).I experimented with ripping the backs off the heads, since there’s kind of a hollow stem and air pocket.  My theory is that less organic matter to get soft and mouldy means faster drying seeds. My entire take of homegrown sunflower seeds this year will be approximately one day’s wild bird ration.  I feed the birds 7 bags of black oil seeds in the winter.  That’s a fair chunk of Saskatchewan sunflower field.  I want to get good at growing them – lots of them, but so far am bad at it.  I love the fractal quality of the seed heads.  Magical.

OMG, peanuts!  They look like real little peanuts.  I couldn’t wait to open them.  Inside they’re jammed in like peas, the pod is soft and wet, and they taste not much like a peanut.  They taste like a raw bean.  Fun preliminary success with the experiment of the year.  I think they’ll be much happier in the greenhouse next year.

I think this cold spell might have put paid to the fruit flies too (calloo, callay!).

Volunteer Sunflowers

In the vicinity of the bird feeder, there are a couple of sunflowers sprouting!

I wondered.

Out of all the pounds of black oil birdseed, a couple seeds escaped consumption, and found fertile ground.

I wonder if they have a chance to make it to maturity?  I´ve had a hard time growing sunnies on purpose, because they are very tasty when young!  To many consumers.

This one has been sampled:

Quiet after the storm

We got snow.  It’s over my knees everywhere that it isn’t drifted even higher.

The blizzard is over, but it will take us a while to dig out.  Now 5300 in the province are out of power.I’m sore from slogging around on snowshoes yesterday, and HW is sleepless from ice beating on the windows all night.

The animals are all fine, grosbeaks and goldfinches back.  There’s a dozy bunny resting in the snow 20 ft from the house with eyes half closed.  Been there more than two hours now.  Took a break to wash himself like a cat, including licking front paws (so cute!).  Now the rabbits can reach all the hardwood bark that was too high before.

And the squirrel is back above ground.

img_5421img_5437 img_5430

The nuthatch isn't very good at using the feeder
The nuthatch isn’t very good at using the feeder
img_5434
You’re doing it wrong.
img_5428
Haven’t seen a blue jay in ages
img_5442
The rabbit stayed all day in the same place- six hours, unperturbed by our comings and goings.

img_5443

The squirrel proof bird feeder

We got a “squirrel-proof” bird feeder for Christmas. The central core is a hopper and seed tray that is held stationary by the hanging rod, but the outer box, consisting of the clear roof and perching rails, is free to swivel around (and around and around), should a squirrel try to hang on it.

We were expecting a good show.

For several days, it saw no action at all.  Then one rainy day, this little guy was out there.  Apparently just hangin’ out in a dry place.img_4922Or was he resting between attempted assaults?

img_4918  Over the top….img_4920

Slide down to a scrambly grip on the perch – whoaa!img_4921

This is as close as he got to conquering it- straddling both perches, which keeps the outer canister balanced and makes the seeds accessible.  But I’m guessing at this point, he doesn’t have any free hands to reach the seeds.

He gave up quite soon.

Squirrel Wars

The squirrel is winning.

First there were skirmishes.   I tried a string to the bird feeder to yank on and eject the thieving squirrel.  The squirrel chewed its way into the bird seed bucket.

20160420_124256

I would jam a steel bucket upside down on top of this compromised bucket in order to keep them out. I mean jam it on, squeeze it down, not just rest it on.

20160421_095526

images.oheadpressSomehow, I don’t know how, but the squirrel would lift or pry that steel bucket off of the prize.  I like to imagine a little squirrel overhead press, lifting the bucket off with Olympian effort.

I’d be in the house and hear -CLANG!- and know that the squirrel conquered the bucket again.  Then I’d give him some minutes to enjoy it after all that work before I went out and put the bucket back on top.

Then one day:

20160401_073616

HW came inside with the bucket, and a squirrel still inside- worried and holding still.

These pictures are shot through the hole in the lid.

20160401_074454
But I’m so cute!
But I'm so cute!
Aren’t I cute?

…………….

Then for a little while I didn’t notice the squirrel so much.  I’d slowed down on feeding the birds, since it was warm. I figured he’d moved on along with the birds to the usual burgeoning springtime wildcrafted buffet.

I hadn’t refilled the seed bucket in the wood”shed”.  Little did I know, HW had.

So one day, I find this:

20160420_124143
In case you can’t tell, that’s about an inch of empty husks.

So that’s where the squirrel’s been.  Feasting and cavorting like a kid in a ball pit.

Oh yeah, squirrel?

I put a bucket full of dirt on top of the seed bucket.  That’ll fix ’em.

A few hours later….

20160420_163257

That’s what I get for using a plastic bucket.

I gave the remaining seed to the birds and gave up for this year.

Squirrel skirmishes

My ersatz bird feeders ain’t pretty, but they get the job done.

20160421_095337

20160421_095430However, they do NOT pose an inconvenience at all to the (fat, glossy) squirrel who frequents the buffet.

I haven’t gotten around to building a proper squirrel proof feeder. Attempts last year with shields totally didn’t work, although they inspired some squirrel acrobatics and probably gave him some brain exercise, thus creating a smarter squirrel.

Squirrel have impressive intelligence.  The squirrel obstacle course videos never get old.

Our best method is to whisper “Squirrel!” to the dog if he’s inside,  who instantly leaps to high alert, and presses his nose against the crack of the door.   (Think Up!, the movie.  Yes, there is a shortened circuit in the brain of dogs – thy name is Squirrel!)   Open it and he bursts out, galloping at the bird feeder.  The squirrel leaps out of the feeder, and if he’s unlucky enough to not grab a tree to run up, a wild ground chase ensues.  That will keep him away for a few minutes.  There have been close enough calls that this is still exciting for the dog.

2016-01-17 07.45.49

My recent attempt to deter the squirrel is funnier than it is effective.

I’ve got a long string strung from the feeder to inside the window.

20160421_095359When I see the squirrel making himself at home in the milk jug, I give the string a sharp yank.  The squirrel goes catapulting out of the jug, twisting in the air and landing willy nilly, after which he spends some time running up and down the trees and shaking his tail in umbrage.  Then he goes back in the feeder.  He’s already used to it, now it’s just a surprise rollercoaster ride.

My next version will be cantilevering a stick so that it whacks the feeder when I pull the string.  That should be good for a few more days of tail twitching outrage.

I don’t really begrudge the squirrel, either.  He’s not taking all that much product, and he does not bring all his friends.   That’s not in his best interests.   I just mind that he gets in the feeder and then the birds can’t.

Also, he safecracked the bird seed bucket. 

20160420_124301Straight to the motherlode.  Ruined a functional lid, the little %@##&!   This must have taken him all night, and if now if I don’t put something heavy and steel on it, and turn my back for even a second….

20160420_124240