I’m officially an old man. I have a fairly new hobby; I started it last fall. I set up bird feeders in my yard and now I enjoy watching the birds that visit my feeders. I used to have a neighbor that fed birds. I always appreciated seeing them as I went out my back door. About a year ago, he moved and couldn’t take the bird feeders with him, so he gave them to me. I didn’t start right away because I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy it.
I generally have out thistle seed, dried mealworms, suet, fruit (usually oranges), peanuts, and two feeders of general birdseed and I get a pretty wide variety of birds. Here are the birds I notice frequently:
Finches love the thistle seed and eat some of the general birdseed, too. They are lovely little birds. The goldfinch is the most spectacular, but I also get house finches and purple finches (which don’t have any purple that I can see).
I get a few kinds of sparrows, but mostly the house sparrow. It’s a European import and it’s everywhere. You don’t even need feeders to see these birds.
European starlings are another import that are everywhere. They eat everything they can fit in their beaks. It’s kind of crazy.
The common grackle is one of my favorites. There’s something about the iridescent head. It’s just neat.
Mourning doves –
I spent most of my life thinking they were morning doves rather than mourning doves. I don’t find the sound they make to be particularly sad. The funny thing about these doves is they spend all their time on the ground under the feeders. Birds are messy. They must eat all the dropped food.
I get three kinds of woodpecker: downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and red-bellied woodpeckers (which don’t have red bellies). I don’t know why, but I get excited whenever I see a woodpecker. They are cool birds. They love the suet and the mealworms.
Cardinals seem to like the general birdseed. They add a nice splash of color to the feeder festivities.
Blue jays –
A lot of people don’t like blue jays because they are loud and aggressive. I find that’s just around their nests. At the feeders, they keep to themselves. And they’re definitely pretty birds.
I’m saving my favorite for last. The Baltimore oriole is the flashiest bird that visits my yard. They love the fruit I put out and occasionally take some of the suet if it’s a berry mix. I seem to see them most at the end of the day.
Those are the most common ones I see. There are some others, like crows, that show up occasionally. Now for some general bird feeding thoughts:
Sparrows and starlings are jerks. All the hate directed at blue jays and squirrels should go to them. They don’t just eat ravenously (see what I did there?), they chase off the other birds. I wish they made bird food that didn’t attract these two.
Squirrels really aren’t a big problem for me. They come around, but mostly leave the birds alone.
The feeders do attract neighborhood cats.
So, there you have it. Feeding the birds may seem a little dorky, but I recommend it. I can spend all day looking out my front window. They really put on a show.