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Any birders? Share your photos!

Update: As of yesterday, I think I have a young hawk hanging in my yard. I didn’t notice any last summer, but yesterday morning I noticed a larger bird flying overhead when leaving my house and noted that it had worms or something hanging from it’s mouth. When I got home, said bird was going from tree to ground to tree a bunch of times. This morning she was picking on the ground. I’d say she’s about 6-8 inches tall when sitting (having a hard time telling from a distance, but she’s much larger than any regular backyard bird. Both tall and wide.), darker brown back with lighter brown and white speckles on her chest. Yellowish feet and yellow beak that goes to black at the tip. I was trying to figure out what kind of bird it was exactly yesterday, but I’m hard pressed to distinguish between some Massachusetts hawk and falcon pictures that look really similar on the local Audubon website. I wish I had a good camera to capture the details, as it is I’ve been using my binoculars to really get a good look because she has mostly stayed on the tree line or on branches that she kind of blends in with, and it’s a good distance from my house.

Though it looked to be going for things on the ground like bugs or worms, I assumed it may have been looking for small rodents or something as well. I was not expecting to read that these birds can also prey on birds themselves?!?! I’m now worried THIS may be why I’m not getting birds at my feeders.. Is this the case? If so, is there anything I can do about it? I’m thinking this bird is still to small to hunt other birds, but I have no real idea if this is the case. I have a solar powered little fountain to put in my bird bath coming in from Amazon today as I had read the noise can help attract birds and one of my feeders is close by so I thought that might help. Now I’m worried if it works that I may be leading them into danger.. :fencing::frown:

Any thought or tips?
 
I have seen a hawk get a pidgin mid air...feathers everywhere!!! And I think the hawks presence will keep the smaller birds away.
 
I have seen a hawk get a pidgin mid air...feathers everywhere!!! And I think the hawks presence will keep the smaller birds away.
That’s my concern :cry:.. Darn, I hope it moves along! Not sure if there is anything I can do to make my yard less hospitable to it? It’s bad enough I’ve had to be vigilant in trying to scare the deer away. I like them, but last year we had 3, and this year there are 8! 1) I don’t want them bringing ticks in, and 2) I don’t want them eating everything that’s starting to grow and it’s been too wet to spray anything on the plants to keep them away. Last year I had a lot of luck with a natural product being sprayed on my hostas (they hated it and stayed away), but with all of the rain there has been no chance to spray because it’ll never dry before being washed off.
 
I'm not sure what, if anything you can do to get it to move along. the one I saw was in my mother's back yard and was gone in a few days. Deer, on the other hand... I can't grow anything that isn't in a pot on my deck, and I have Irish spring soap, which they seem to hate the smell of, hanging off every pot! They also emptied a fairly large squirrel proof feeder in one night, that was apparently right at head height! Haven't had that problem since I placed it a little higher. Last year triplets were born in the empty lot next door. Super cute to watch, but those babies don't know what they don't like to eat so they try EVERYTHING, even the supposed deer resistant plants that the adults don't seem to touch.
 
So the good news is, I haven't seen the large bird of prey since I posted about here. The bad news is that the smaller birds haven't made an appearance either. I do have new higher quality seed with a ton more of the good stuff showing in it, so I plan to put that out tomorrow, along with my little solar powered fountain. I haven't bothered putting the fountain out yet because it needs full sun to run, and for the most part it has still been gray and rainy here except for a couple of days. Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and partly sunny, so fingers crossed!

On the hummingbird front things have improved a lot! I have 2 regulars visiting my patio feeder multiple times per day, I first spotted them last Friday evening. Here's hoping they stay for the summer!! Usually one is feeding and the other comes along and chases it off, and they take turns doing this. This morning for the first time I saw both feeding at the same time with no battling, perhaps they were tired as it was quite early! I haven't seen either at my deck feeder which is a small semi circle unit attached with suction cups to my kitchen window. I'm keeping it refreshed and hope they might find it and get comfortable enough to come up to it, we'll see. I know someone who has the same one and her birds are there often, it'd be cool if mine did that as well and I could get a much closer look. :smile: I have some planters on the deck than need to be filled, so hoping to do that this weekend and will be looking for hummingbird preferred flowers of course.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I think attracting birds is a balance of several things. First, it takes a while for them to find it, in my experience. And most prefer some cover (bushes and trees), so if it's too open, it may not be appealing. A raptor hanging out will scare them away but only temporarily, especially if the feeders are not totally in the open. I get occasional Cooper's Hawk in my yard, but based on feathers in the yard, the only birds they get are Eurasian Collared doves, which are an invasive species anyway, so good for them! Hawks gotta eat too.... And chickadees even have specific calls to warn of flying out perched raptors, and scale of how dangerous it is, and other small birds use them as lookouts. Smaller raptors like a pygmy owl are dangerous to little birds. A red railed hawk though wouldn't catch a chickadee, so those aren't very worrisome to them.

The little birds at my feeders have to deal with natural predators anywhere and are adapted to it. I think outdoor cats are a much larger issue. Thankfully my dogs keep neighborhood cats away from my feeders.
 
I’ve been trying anything I can to attract them still! Lol Seems like some small successes, but not as much as hoped! First I upgraded food, then I thought my little water fountain was going to do the trick because day two with it brought a bird to both the feeder near it and into the bath! Not after that though.. it was an 80 degree day however, so maybe when it warms up more they will be into my bath. So I decided to move that feeder, actually a little more out of the tree line, but with plenty of bushes nearby along with the bird bath. I’ve so far had a pair of gold finches, one chickadee, and a bunch of baby squirrels that were there one day but I’ve only seen one alone since. Funny thing is he likes the bird bath which I haven’t had happen previously! My male hummingbird is still around religiously, though I think he scared the two females away for good finally because I haven’t seen them in quite sometime. So, still a work in progress.. I’m kind of out of ideas for what else to try at this point though.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
....We've also started with bats - have a bat house on chimney, total of 18 last summer for nest/roost, all left early Sept. They're back. Have videos but no pics. Will try for screen shots this summer.
@MaineSkiLady, I'm very interested in that bat house and how you've attached it to your chimney. I want to install a bat house somewhere so that the bats will eat the mosquitoes in my yard. Those mosquitoes prevent me from using my favorite sitting area. But I worry about the bat droppings. Does the guano accumulate below your chimney, or on it? Do the bats eat your mosquitoes?
 
The good news is that I had a steady little stream of activity this Saturday at the feeder I moved a little out of the tree line, yay! We had yellow finches, brown finches, chickadees, and cardinals. I also saw at least two birds fully bathing in my bird bath a robin and a yellow finch, that really made my day, they are just so cute when they do it! The bad news is I have a little pack of squirrels being jerks and emptying my other feeder that has also been garnering bird attention. The other feeder near the bath has been unharmed, that ones has ports that close with weight and so they gave up there, but the other has nothing and they just dump it and go nuts. So I need to go invest in another squirrel proof model. Brats! Happy with the small successes we are finally having though!
 
Still going great! I now have a nice bunch of birds who visit my feeders everyday, and I’ve replaced the troublesome feeder with a squirrel deterring one that has worked quite well. Over most of the summer I only had 1-2 hummingbirds, but now I have 4-5 and they are constantly chasing each other around, I love it! There are 2 that are quite bold and they fly up and hover to stare at me a bit sometimes. I’m really enjoying my little water fountain still, the birds drink from the bath, but don’t wade in as much as I’d like. All in all I think it’s been a successful season of going from a rare bird sighting in my yard to a much better amount of activity happening! Hoping to capitalize on it going forward!

I’ll be sad when the hummingbirds migrate away for the winter, but what about other birds? Do those of you in New England keep seed out year round for whoever stays? Now that I have them, I want to keep them coming!
 
Squirrels and deer have become the biggest pain in my feeding efforts. I have always had squirrel proof feeders, and it was always fun to watch them try to eat. This summer I got up one morning only to find the feeder empty after being completely full the night before. It took a few days before I found the deer eating from it one morning, and yes, they can empty it in a single night. I have always put out safflower see to attract cardinals and because squirrels didn’t like it. Well, it seems this year my squirrels have developed a taste for safflower. Between these two gluttonous pests, i am spending a fortune on seed and I don’t think my birds are getting any! The good thing this year is I have had more hummers than ever, and they are so much fun to watch.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Have you tried Nyjer seed? Goldfinches and chickadees will eat it but I don't think squirrels do. Or adding hot pepper (or buying hot pepper bird seed)? Birds don't seem to be affected by it, but squirrels and such avoid it.
 
Have you tried Nyjer seed? Goldfinches and chickadees will eat it but I don't think squirrels do. Or adding hot pepper (or buying hot pepper bird seed)? Birds don't seem to be affected by it, but squirrels and such avoid it.
Agreed on Nyjer seed. That is my one non- squirrel deterring feeder and they leave it alone.

Also, when I was out buying the replacement for my regular seed feeder the salesperson suggested the hot pepper seed as well, but I haven’t had to escalate to that at this point since the feeder has stopped them.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Any thoughts on keeping bees out of the Hummingbird feeders? As careful as I am about not spilling the solution the bees still attack the feeder. There is a bee guard that does keep the bees out of the feeder but they stick their legs through it and go through all kinds of distortions to get to the solution.
 
Any thoughts on keeping bees out of the Hummingbird feeders? As careful as I am about not spilling the solution the bees still attack the feeder. There is a bee guard that does keep the bees out of the feeder but they stick their legs through it and go through all kinds of distortions to get to the solution.
Wow! Interesting because I have a ton of bees in my yard/flowers, but I’ve only had like 1 get in each of my 2 feeders this year.. I have the normal bee guards on mine, I also have this little pod that hangs above the feeder and is a miracle ant deterrent, I don’t get any of them at all now.. I wonder if it keeps the bees away too.
 
I do have Nyjer seed in a couple of feeders, and i love the gold finches, and the squirrels leave that alone. but the cardinals love the safflower...i will have to try the hot pepper. In the winter I get hot pepper suet, but i haven't seen hot pepper seed...I will start looking for it. Thanks for the tip.
 

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