Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's that time of year...gardening gets traded in for birding

Things have really quieted down in the garden since the frosts we've had these past several weeks. My glorious annuals I posted a couple of weeks ago are now residents of the compost bin. The only things left in the veggie garden are the peas, lettuces, and the herbs. All of the house plants are in and I noticed my orchids are getting ready to throw up their flower stalks for this year. Hooray! We did get the pond netted this fall and the water lettuce has done a good job of acting as a net soon as the neighbor's oak finishes dropping it's leaves, we'll clean out the pond for the season. I was lucky enough to find some pansies on mega sale at Lowes and they are now in the front window box and a small pot on Deckzilla. So, as many gardeners do, my attention turns to winged garden inhabitants.

I attempted to really get into Project Feeder Watch last winter...but Eric's back surgery and then the recovery really cramped my bird watching style. I don't know how that happened but it did. So, this year, I'm making a real effort to do this. Project Feeder Watch is hosted by my alma mater, Cornell and their Department of Ornithology. They do use the counts people give them for research which is pretty cool. Here's the link for the program - Project Feeder Watch. I think it's too late to sign up for this year, but you can check it out and consider it for next year.

I moved "Bird Central" to Deckzilla this year and right off of the slider. I can really see who's out there and Sam can be much more effective at Squirrel Patrol when it is much closer. Lars who is obsessed with birds feels like he has a big flat screen TV set on what could be his favorite channel. I was wondering if the birds would be freaked out being so close to the house. They proved me wrong and I have plenty of visitors. I do have to get some black s
unflower seeds for the hopper feeder since I have some cheapo seed in there and it's been in there for a while. The tube feeder has safflower seed in it and I have some nyger socks for the finches. I do have to fill the suet cages and get them set up with a baffle because my squirrels like suet. There's not much they don't like...nyger seed and that's about it. They even like safflower seed which is supposed to be squirrel proof....whatever.

Sam is in his glory with the squirrels (his arch enemies) are so close to the door because he has a new job...chasing them away. He can take care of them mostly by just barking at them and banging on the door with his paws. Sometimes we'll open up the slider and he trots off after them hightailing it off the deck. Lars won't bark at them or the birds...he just watches. But here are the counts for these two count days this week. You're supposed to log the highest number of a species of bird seen at the feeders at one time.
  • Chickadees - 4
  • Titmouse - 4
  • House Sparrow - 2
  • Juncos - 2
  • Cardinals - 2
  • Blue Jays - 2
  • Downy Woodpecker - 1
  • Goldfinches - 4
  • Carolina Wren - 2
  • House Finch - 1
  • Mourning Dove - 1
  • Nuthatch - 1
I don't think that's too shabby for so early in the season...I'll be interested to see if they increase or decrease as the winter settles in or when I change out the seed.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Cris, I use Niger or 'Thistle' and I get an incredible variety of birds here in Warren, living next door to the Audobon Center (Bristol) helps alot. But the variety of small birds I get love the thistle.