Monday, February 11, 2013

Bring Back the Birds

Winter has enveloped us in all its frosted beauty. But as this cold settled in and we retreated into our homes for refuge, so did many of the tiny creatures of the wild. Most notably - for me - was the decrease in the number of tiny birds that filled my feeders and my day with their joyful presence. I have missed them.

But now that the days are warming a bit, a few of the birds have returned! They sit in the trees, shrubs, and on my arbors, waiting for the feeders to be filled and for me to disappear. I've had quite a few return this year. I've seen several of my favorite woodpeckers return to my suet feeders; the wrens, chickadees, finches, mourning doves, pigeons, and starlings are all at various food 'spots' in my garden. Along with their ubiety, I'm graced with their songs as well. There is no greater feeling (especially as spring slowly returns) than opening up the window and hearing the glorious songs of the different birds and feeling the cold breeze simply whisper around you. I love it!

So, I decided to try something new this year to entice more birds into my garden. I have the standard feeders: four of five basic seed feeders, two suet, two thistle socks, and a thistle feeder, but I wanted to try to do something a little more out of the ordinary. After reading the book Birds in your Backyard published by Birds & Blooms I decided to try one of the many different feeders they recommend. Here is my version of the Suet Log Feeder:

I started by trekking though the field near my house for an old and unique log. Once I found one that I considered to be somewhat interesting and visually appealing, I brought it back to the house to prep it for its future as a bird feeder!

I began by drilling holes (with the largest drill-bit I had and drilling it wide to create larger holes) all over this log. I simply placed them randomly on the entire surface of the log. After I had a sufficient - in my opinion - amount of holes, I drilled one last time at the top of the log, making sure it went completely through, used for hanging.

I found an old piece of chain in my garage and decided this would be the perfect way to hang this. I simply treaded it through the 'hanging' hole I created, opened one end of the chain and clasped it around the other end, securing it by pinching them together with pliers.

Now that the structure was complete, I needed to create the suet to fill these meager spaces. This is a very simple task. All you need is lard (or peanut butter, but I found lard to be more economical) and basic bird seed. I placed a moderate amount of lard into a container then slowly poured a little seed into it. I mixed it thoroughly, and if the seed ratio wasn't what I wanted, I added more and mixed again. I did this until I felt like I had a good seed-to-lard ratio.
When my suet was complete, I stuffed it (for lack of a better term :-) into each drilled hole. When all were filled, I hung it out back on a shepherds hook near our big trees. Now I wait!
This feeder is mainly to attract the crevice-feeding type of bird, i.e.. woodpeckers and the like. Since I have been blessed with two different varieties of woodpecker in my time at this house, I hope this feeder will either attract more of them or different types. Whatever it may bring, I can't wait!
I encourage you to get out there and try something new for your garden this year. If you would like to attract more birds to your garden, the book I referenced here is a good resource! It has so much good advice and well planned and tested tips for attracting these beautiful creatures! Definitely worth checking out for the bird admirer/enthusiast/lover in your family!!
No matter what you chose to do or try, just get out there and enjoy it all!! 



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