Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For the Birds


We have had so many birds in our yard this year, from large, white-tail hawks now in their 3rd mating season, to tiny ruby throated hummingbirds, who drink endlessly from the flowers and the hummingbird feeders.

Being in the Rocky Mountains, we have lots of migrating birds, and also birds that enjoy life on both sides of the Continental Divide. For example, the image above of the Blue Jays at one of the bird baths show both the Mountain Blue Jay and the Common (Eastern) Blue Jay. There are Chickadees and Mountain Chickadees, Nuthatches and Mountain Nuthatches, Eastern Blue Birds and Western Blue Birds, and many types of Finches. Juncos join in the group by eating the left-overs from the ground.


All the birds but the hummers are fed the same food - Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Although you can't tell from the picture, the bird feeder hangs 20 feet in the air, suspended by a pulley and wire system going from a 40' Ponderosa Pine to the second floor of the house. The squirrels cannot get to this feeder no matter how they try. Every once in a while a baby squirrel will try to be brave and tight walk across the wire, only to fall 20' to the ground and run away.

The birds come to our yard from all over to eat, where they mostly enjoy seed heads from the Coneflowers, nectar from the many Agastache, Salvia, Penstemon, Red-Birds-in-a-Tree, Yarrows and other waterwise, western perennials. No pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers are used in the yard so the birds can eat safely.




The more than 8 types of woodpeckers find food in the Ponderosa Pines and the Gambel Oak trees. During the winter they eat from several suet feeders hung around the house on the hanging basket hooks.

Some of the birds that show up in our yard are not so welcome. We have many Magpies which steal dog food, make messes, and are very loud. The crows, ravens, and black birds could also leave without me missing them. I could easily do without having them around, but they are part of nature too, so I guess they should be allowed to stay.

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