On the Topic of Bird Feeding

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As I’ve mentioned before, my parents were into feeding birds and it is something that all of my siblings and I have continued.

I think it is interesting how quickly certain birds adapted to these odd sources of food handing from various posts and poles. One of the most popular things I feed is shelled peanuts which the woodpeckers and other birds just can’t get enough of. I guess it is a good substitute for the bugs they normally eat – lots of protein and fat. But not something they would ever get in nature in these parts.

We keep the feeders up all year even though there are plenty of other food options in the spring and summer. But then we get to see the adults bring the young ones by to teach them about this food source which keeps the cycle going. I don’t worry about making them dependent because I know they can find food outside of the feeders. Having the feeders just helps them get through the winter.

Most of the birds we see around the yard easily took to the feeders. There are some like doves that prefer to eat on the ground and, while they will occasionally land in a tray, they don’t feed from them.

A couple of years ago, we started to get flickers at the feeders which was a new thing. We have a finch feeder which was smaller holes and is supposed to be exclusive for the goldfinches but the flicker figured out that it could use its tongue to get into those holes and extract seed.

And the real subject of this post is one particular robin. Robins aren’t seed eaters and they generally don’t visit feeders. They can’t perch on them as well as the other birds. But we started buying these blocks that had both seeds and meal worms. The worms are kind of disgusting but they are popular with the birds.

Anyway, I was watching this robin who knew there was a food source nearby but couldn’t quite figure out how to access it. He would mostly sit in a nearby tree watching the other birds have at it. A couple of times, he managed to land on the feeder but was never steady enough to really eat.

Then, he discovered that once enough of the cylinder was gone, he could land on top of it. That made it sort of like eating on the ground since it was mostly a flat surface – just happened to be suspended in the air. I’ve read that they will sometimes come to feeders if you offer the right food and they have a way of getting to it but this is the first one who has managed to eat off these cylinders.

And we had other robins in the yard but they don’t seem to be interested because they just stay on the ground looking for bugs the old fashioned way. I don’t know if it means this robin is just more intelligent or persistent or something else but he’s been a regular visitor for several days now.

It will be interesting to see if any others figure this out or if he remains the only one.

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