Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is It Possible For Birds To Be Snobbish?

Through out the last couple of months I’ve seen people posting so many pictures of birds. Marnie of Lilacs and Roses has so many wonderful photos, she inspired me to place more feeders with a larger variety of foods. I’ve never used suet cakes before, but I see people using lots of them and I know finches are supposed to like thistle seeds, so off to the local pet store Jamie and I head. The first thing I pick up is a new feeder to fill with thistle seed. I think to myself, oh this is a nice one; I could just use the sock that came with the seed… No this one is much more attractive so I’ll get it. I’ve seen birds sitting on the window ledge before, eating little critters that have gotten trapped in the screen, so I’m thinking if I hang it here surely they will come and we can see them thru the kitchen window.


Shopping around for Suet cakes I made certain to get a nice variety. Blueberry, Peanut butter and some other fruity one were my selections. At first, I hung one from the Jasmine arbor and placed the other two outside the computer room window. Since we spend a lot of time in that room, I thought that would be a good place to put them. Well, a week went by and not a sign of a single peck on the Suet. I figured since I’ve never fed birds in the front yard before they must not like the location. Jamie moved them around to the back yard and placed them by the bird bath. Could you have a more perfect spot? Wash up before dinner and a little water to chase the food down. He even got a nice little shepherd’s hook to hang them on… over two weeks later and still not a single peck on the cakes.


The only feeder that seems to be getting any action is the one on the back side of the garden. It’s filled with wild bird seed and all we ever have there are a dove or two and tons of those little town wrens. I even put one of the suet cages up by these feeders, still no takers. Do you see how much lower the seed is on the left hand side compared to the right? Now look in the neighbor’s yard at the large shrub.


All those little wrens that are eating the seed make a mad dash across the fence line to that one feeder then back to the bush again. The entire process takes about five seconds. If I didn’t know better I would think they are looking down their little beaks at our food. If they are going to eat our food the least they could do is hang around a little while in our yard, that‘s just rude. Our garden was once full of all kinds of birds, I wonder where they all went. After the first week and no birds, I took a little walk thru the neighborhood. I was checking the power lines and looking in bare trees for birds, the entire trip I was only able to spot one mocking bird. It’s as if they are all gone. Anyone have any suggestions?



Gail said...

I don't know, but they were slow to visit my new feeder and never visit the thistle I put out! It's good fresh thistle from a reputable seller.

They will eventually show up...maybe calling one of the stores that specializes in birds will know. gail

Darla said...

I haven't a clue. I would suggest to just leave the feeders alone, the birds will come, maybe spring they will figure it out.

Jamie and Randy said...

Hey Gail,
I know bird aren't capable of snobbery or rudeness, but isn't it odd that they would ignore new feeders? You would think in the winter they would eat it up. I'm a little disappointed so far, but not terribly concerned.

I think a large reason for the absence of all the birds is the lack of trees. Thousands of old growth trees were lost during the storm and I’m sure several hundred of them were in my neighborhood. In fact, so many trees were lost in the city that the mayor is planting 1000 trees next month. They will be going through the neighborhood and planting a tree in the yard of every resident that had a home damaged by the storm, with the homeowner’s permission of course.

Anonymous said...

I normally just put out the wildseed in the winter months because the doves & wrens are the only birds I've spotted at this time of the year. But if you leave them be, they'll find the new feeders.

Phillip said...

Sometimes it just takes them a while to discover a new feeder. I hope you get some goldfinches on the sock feeder. They are my favorite.

Jamie and Randy said...

That's what I'll do from this point further. Maybe by spring we will have a bigger variety of birds.

I’m hoping for the same thing too. I’ve only seen goldfinches in the yard one time in fourteen years.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Sometimes they are slow to visit new feeders.

My experience with the wire-mesh thistle feeders hasn't been good either. I can have eight finches fighting over one thistle sock but none will go near the wire-mesh feeder. I don't think they are so much snobbish as finicky;) I've also had them refuse certain brands of suet dough. Some of my prettiest feeders are hanging in the garage cause the birds just won't use them;) Silly birds obviously know nothing about garden decor.
Good luck.

Annie in Austin said...

MayDreams Carol has complained about the lack of action at her feeders, too, Randy & Jamie. I think you're right about the birds wanting nearby trees and thickety shrubs to perch in while they scope out the feeders and to fly back to if they get nervous. Good luck getting the stamp of approval from the Avian Approval Association!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jamie and Randy said...

I saved that seed sock, so I'll put it out and see if I have any takers. If I do I'll certainly let you know. :-)

I hope I get the stamp of approval! I really would like to see some interesting birds in the garden.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

I've got a copper thistle feeder for the goldfinches that they avoid like the plague. I didn't even put it up this year because I knew they wouldn't touch it. They much prefer the socks. I hope the birds will make their way back to your yard ... are there any wandering cats or birds of prey lurking about, I wonder?

Jamie and Randy said...

Unfortunately there are both, a feral cat and a hawk. I haven't seen the hawk in several weeks now. I just told Jamie I'm tempted to set a trap for the cat. It's not that I don't like cats, this one is shifty looking. If she was as person I wouldn't trust her.--Randy

Meems said...

It is true that it takes a while for birds to get comfortable with new feeders. If left in place, if there are birds around they will find them. One thing they need for sure is nearby cover. It is important for them to feel safe. So my only suggestion would be to locate the feeders near some thick brush or trees.

Hey, thanks for coming over to my blog and leaving such a nice comment.

Jamie and Randy said...

I may just be a little out of luck for a while. There are very few trees or shrubs about right now. I will just have to be patient. And let me tell you something, I LOVED seeing those pictures of your garden. It is SOOOOOOOO what we want ours to look like. I bet walking around your garden is a magical experience!--Randy

jodi said...

It's been too long since I've visited you guys, and I'm glad things are going well. It DOES often take time for birds to accept a new feeder; others who know more about birds would know why that is, but we have some tried and true feeders that are faithfully visited, whereas new ones often are looked at suspiciously by our feathered friends.

Jamie and Randy said...

It's good to hear from you again! We must be on the same wave length because I just paid you a visit yesterday for the first time in a while. How have you been? I see you have a new post up, I'll be paying you a visit later this evening. I got up way too early and I need a nap!--Randy

Chandramouli S said...

Awww... I can relate to you, as I myself try to feed the parrots that visit our terraces (well, not mine :() every morning with rice and chilli, but they ignore mine and go straight to my neighbor's terrace. I'm in fact planning to build a nest for them to attract them. Let's see what happens.
BTW, how about buying a pair of two or three species and building suitable nests for them in your garden? If I had a space around my home, I'd definitely do that.
But I read that it takes time for birds to see visit your feed. Seems they need to first identify that your feeder is safe for them with few visits. Good luck! I hope they find your feeders relishing soon.

Jan said...

Our birds have never been attracted to thistle seed even though goldfinch are supposed to love it. We use black oil sunflower seed and always have birds there. I agree with others that sometimes it takes a while for birds to find the feeders, and trees close by help. Sometimes you just have to be patient for a while.

Always Growing

Jamie and Randy said...

Don't worry, I'm not giving up easily.

I was just going to buy some sunflower seeds and a new feeder Saturday night, but decided not to spend the money just yet. I have to stick to a budget right now.:-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The birds aren't being snobbish they are being cautious. If you have a friend that had a live christmas tree and they don't know where to dump it you could sit it along your fence by the feeders. You would be amazed how the birds would come to your feeders.

You could plant some evergreens near your feeders or move your feeders nearer to some evergreens that are in your garden already.

Birds need cover for protection. When the Cooper's Hawk or cats come to dine on them they have to have a place to escape to.

I know that feeling of being ignored. We have had feeders here for YEARS. Our mature pine trees blew down in storms last winter and it has changed the amount (less) and variety (fewer) of birds that come to our feeders. A major disappointmentto us I can tell you.

You are quite right when you wrote that when the storms took down the mature trees in your area it changes the landscape. You are living in one of those areas that seem like a desert to a bird.

Just keep on planting and they will come. It just goes to show that they don't need just food they need a welcoming,protective enviornment.

Jamie and Randy said...

I think you are absolutely right! Some finches did find us yesterday and they are back with friends this morning!--Randy