Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Feeder Frenzy

Activity at the feeder station has been pretty busy lately. Unfortunately it's been mostly the mundane (and some invasive) birds who have been hanging out - House Sparrows, Starlings, Grackles, and Mourning Doves. I haven't seen any Cardinals, House Finches, or Downy Woodpeckers in almost two weeks. But as I said, business has been brisk. The Sparrows have been flocking to the tall feeder as well as to the tray feeder, and I even caught a Grackle (usually a ground feeder) up there this morning.

The ground under the feeders gets what falls off, and there are birds who usually feed there, mostly Mourning Doves and Grackles. The Winter ground feeders - Dark-eyed Juncos - have moved off for the season.

Still, I'm hoping the more colorful birds will be coming back. I'm looking into what seeds will discourage House Sparrows and Starlings!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. What fantastic photos! Thanks.
    But please don't chase away the sparrows.

    1. Lo, House Sparrows are invasive pests who squeeze native songbird species out of nesting and feeding areas. Some idiot in NYC back in the 1800s brought them and Starlings over from England to populate a section of Central Park to create a British fairytale exhibition, and they just took off from there. In my not so humble opinion, both House Sparrows and Starlings should be shot on sight!

      Now if I could lure some Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows to the feeders I'd be overjoyed!

  2. the cardinals are at my house....but I'll trade you for some house sparrows and finches! Haven't seen any yet! I do have song sparrows, though...and chickadees.

    1. Betsy, see my reply to Lo above. House Sparrows are a blight on the native small songbird population! I wish they could find a virus that would sterilize just House Sparrows (and one that would do the same for Starlings). Humph! Where's a good genetic engineer when you need one?

  3. Even the most prosaic looking bird can look beautiful when photographed close up and sharp. You certainly make this flock look beautiful.

  4. alan is right on.... you have the ability to make every bird beautiful, even the humble house sparrow

  5. Striking colors, as always! Remarkable shots, Roy.

  6. i've been spying some of the blue-heads and wondering if they were grackles...thanks for clearing it up!

  7. Hey Roy,
    Great bird photos! You are so right, "both House Sparrows and Starlings should be shot on sight!" At the moment, we have a very dominating male house sparrow (HOSP) that we are in the process of capturing. Long story...sigh. We've tried a ground trap and caught one of his females. He was too clever for it. Now we're trying a house decoy with a trap door that replaces the BB house he's claimed. Now the waiting game until he takes the bait. One house sparrow down...10 million more to go.

    On your thoughts: There's not too much they won't eat. And I've daydreamed of the HOSP virus as well. (grin) I wish more people understood a HOSP is a vicious killer that's upsetting the balance of nature here in America.

    There are only a few ways to get rid of them.
    1. Stop feeding them so they go away. Of course, then none of the native birds come either.
    2. Capture and dispose of them as humanely as possible.
    3. shoot them on sight (your idea)

    However, we have lovely tree sparrows and chipping sparrows that are much smaller and easy to identify. We have their fledglings show up at our feeders every summer.

    Nice to meet you.