What we were aiming for

I’m gonna violate the rules of basic suspense and just show you the end result here. The road that got us here I’ll post a little later – it’s more involved.

This is one of the Christmas gifts my darling girlfriend and I got this year. We’ve really enjoyed all the wildlife that’s showed up in our backyard so my parents got us a bird feeder. It’s an interesting contraption – the inside casing that holds the birdseed is spring-loaded so that any significant weight on the outer casing – like, say, an eastern gray squirrel – closes the feed openings.

As it’s turned out that hasn’t been much of an issue. The tree we’d originally thought to put it on isn’t strong enough to hold it so I got a shepherd’s crook to hang it from. Hopefully I’ll manage to get some video of the squirrels trying to get up it – they can’t quite hang on well enough with just one hand, so when they reach out to the feeder they start to slide down it, a la a firefighter on a pole. It’s quite amusing, but it’s a full-motion gag.

Here’s the only neognathe visitor we’ve gotten (that we’ve seen) so far, which our park ranger friend identifies as a house finch.

Native only in the western states, it was introduced in the east about 40 years ago (some records say a pet store owner set some free). They are common around urban areas and a frequent visitor to bird feeders. The eastern house finches have been suffering from a somewhat mysterious eye disease lately – and people with bird feeders should help prevent the spread of the disease by keeping feeders clean, keeping seed fresh and not allowing it to get moldy, and keeping the area around the bird feeders clean too.

If you can’t tell, we’re really getting into this. Sorry the picture isn’t better – I didn’t have an angle where I wasn’t shooting through window screen.

3 Comments so far

  1. Ramona (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

    Purple finches are great to see. In the spring and summer you’ll see goldfinch too with that feeder. With other feeders and feed, you can really expand the range of birds you see. My favorite is hanging suet for woodpeckers. That way you may be able to see some of these: http://houndstoothgourmet.com/are-you-sure-it-isnt-spring/

  2. Don (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

    Suet’s on our list of things to add, we just need to figure out where to place it. We’re selfish – we want the birds to feed where we can enjoy watching them, and our yard has a lot of wide-open space.

  3. Alicia (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

    Per her request, my siblings and I bought my mother the "Yankee Flipper" bird feeder. If you haven’t seen this squirrel deterrent in action, check out the video:

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