Monday, December 29, 2008

Backyard photos

Finally a day where I can just chill and feel all right. Between my flu and the holidays I had no time for anything. Today was basically a sit around day and I cherished every moment of it. I had all of my backyard bird friends and some foes as well. The starlings and house sparrows have seemed to have taken over my backyard. The other birds still come around, but the pest birds are here on a continuous basis. This started when I was very sick and I just didn't have the energy to shoo them away. Now I have to deal with them and I don't know how. I have a secret fantasy of a large hawk swooping in on my yard and grabbing himself a banquet of house sparrow and starling. Wishful thinking I suppose, but I don't have the heart to trap and can't think of any other way to deterring these little buggers besides quitting feeding which I will not do in the winter.

The picture above is of starlings and a crow. I have grown to really like the crow. He sits in that tree and watches for hawks and other predators while all of the other birds are eating. If he hears something he gives his alarm call and the birds flutter away. I have even resorted to buying them dog food because they seem to like it so much.

Here is Squiggy busy at work this afternoon. He has been in hiding with all of the snow we have had recently, and with all of the melting going on, he is digging out his loot. HA!

Here he is with a peanut in his mouth. I am hoping he is not burying it in the brush pile because this is where my tomato plants go in the summer.
Off to read my book now. I could get used to this not working stuff!!


Rich said...


I am so very glad to see you back to being healthy and enjoying some time off. Enjoy the time off. I am too.

Back to the grind in a week.

Great pictures.

Deborah Godin said...

First we'll get all the birds to wear numbers, for easy indentification. Then we'll get to work on getting them to distribute themselves better. No bunching up just the brown ones i one place. There'll be a basic color requirement at all feeders - send that memo to all the cardinals, grosbeaks and woodpeckers.

Shellmo said...

I'm glad you are feeling a lot better! I found out firsthand how the flu can kick butt! Another thing the hubby does to help control the starlings (now hopefully someone who reads this doesn't think I'm evil) - but we have a low powered bebe gun - and my hubby will ping them with it. It doesn't kill them - but it taught them very quickly not to come back. Okay, now I'm going to wait for PETA to come arrest me. LOL!

Rambling Woods said...

Starlings and house sparrows are tough. I always have house sparrows around. They like to eat junk and that is how they have survived. They can't open seeds like black oil sunflower seeds and prefer to eat corn and other little seeds that come in mixed seed bags. The starling startle easy and I can chase them off. They can clean out feeders really fast...Let me so some research and get back to you...

NW Nature Nut said...

Ugh, starlings. When we had the big snow storm, there were a ton of them here. Now they seem to have moved on. There doesn't seem to be any way to keep house sparrows away, and I just try to make it harder for the Starlings. They only seem to eat cracked seeds and suet. Good luck, try to enjoy the "good birds" and ignore the others!

Alan said...

Hi Kallen,

I'm very familiar with your starling & house sparrow troubles. I monitor bluebird & martin houses so I have to constantly stay on top of my game when it comes to controlling these non-native species. As far as the feeders go, I use mostly safflower seed. The starlings & house sparrows don't like it while other songbirds do.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Glad to see you back and hopefully feeling spunky again!!!! Luckily, I haven't seen any starlings around here (YET)... We don't have many squirrels either; however, we were gone all day today--and when we came home there was evidence that either squirrels or chipmonks had feasted on some of the bird food... FUN!!!!

dAwN said...

Hi Kallen,
glad u are feeling better and blogging again!
Alan is right about the Safflower seed...the birds you dont want like the blackbirds and grackles dont care for it while other birds do...
check out this link

Jayne said...

Kallen, I was having a discussion with Diane just yesterday about seed. Does your seed have milo and millet in it? Sometimes, that can attract the starlings and house sparrows. Be sure to offer seed that has none, and if you need to, just offer up some safflower for a while (they generally don't like it) and maybe they'll move on. Glad you are feeling stronger. :c)

Kallen305 said...

Hi all. Guess what.... The house sparrows in my yard LOVE saflower seed. In fact, they prefer it to the other offerings. They also love suet. Weird little buggers they are.

I feed my birds safflower, sunflower chips, black oil sunflower seeds and all of the other things these birds supposedly dislike, but they sill eat at my station.

One thing I have noticed though is they are not as big of pigs as they were this past summer.

It's just such a shame that these pest birds have taken over the bird community. Neither species is pretty and the house sparrow has such a boring song to boot. HA!

troutbirder said...

Hey Kallen! Glad to read you are feeling better. Living in a rural environment we dont seem to have many sparrows here. My spouse hates the crows because of their loud vocalizations early in the morning. Not many starlings either. There must be a valid reason for their existence. Now what is it?????


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