Feeder Update #6: Orioles Wanted
One of my “target birds” is the Baltimore Oriole, who has a special diet and only visits Kansas during a fairly narrow period in the spring and summer. Orioles eat mostly fruit and will ignore the seeds at your feeder, but they are both excellent singers and quite beautiful to look at with their distinctive orange and black coloration. To that end, I’ve added an oriole-specific feeder to the little buffet. It has a cup for grape jelly, which orioles go nuts for, and a pair of “spikes” for placing orange halves. One added benefit to an orange feeder is that hummingbirds and tanagers may also partake.
Besides that, I’ve also added a standard suet feeder directly beneath the upside-down feeder I’ve had for a while. I only noticed a little nipping on the bottom of the upside down suet, so I looked up suggestions on how to get the birds interested. Perhaps they simply haven’t noticed there’s delicious suet hiding for them! One suggestion was to temporarily place a suet cage beneath the upside down feeder to give the birds the hint. We’ll see how that goes.
As far as feeder types go, the only thing I feel like I’m missing is a peanut feeder. They’re basically just wire cages with holes just slightly too big for loose peanuts to fall out of. The birds will pick at them until they’re small enough. Tends to attract larger birds like Blue Jays or woodpeckers. It’s not a priority right now, though. I haven’t anywhere to hang it!
Behind my backyard is a large cotton field, which occasionally draws in quail or other birds who prefer living in plains. It makes for a nice backdrop for my pictures, but apparently a Cooper’s Hawk has decided to move into the area. They like to fly over the fields, looking for mice and other small animals to munch on. Anyway, Mr. Cooper decided to perch right in a tree in my yard and scare away all my songbirds. I don’t mind him visiting though. Hawks are cool! And I was kind of hoping he might deal with the squirrel who’s started munching on my seeds, but no luck there.
I got a few pictures of the hawk before he left, but none are particularly great. I snagged the best one and added it to this post.
The last bit of good news I have is that this the first time I’ve been able to get some good snaps of one of the Downy Woodpeckers who live in the area. In this case, it’s the male. You can tell it is the male because of that little red tuft of feathers on his head. In the females, this is absent.
The last big update to my feeders is that I no longer have thistle (nyjer) in my thistle feeders. I previously had a mix of ground sunflower and thistle, but I noticed that the mix would get darker and darker with time. And the finches were paying more attention to the sunflower seeds in other feeders anyway. So I decided to do them a favor and go with ground sunflower exclusively. So far, the finches seem to enjoy it and so does our woodpecker friend.
I have my Audubon app sent to send me an alert whenever another user spots a bird from a list of birds I’m hoping will visit. I got an alert that someone spotted a Tufted Titmouse about five miles away. I’m hoping very much that one will stop by!
Notably absent from last week’s photos was my all-time favorite, the Black-capped Chickadee. Well, fear not, as the busy little dees have returned! I suspect it’s a mated pair, as I never see more than two. It might be a little early, but they may have a nest somewhere close by. In the fall, I’m going to install a few next boxes and hopefully start getting some nesters next spring. For this year, I’m focusing purely on feeding.
In less happy news, the grackles have been visiting in larger numbers. And I caught a squirrel in my smaller tray feeder. Though this is a bit of my own fault, since it’s in a very easily accessible spot and I started using a feed that’s very heavy in peanut bits. Squirrels love peanut bits and this feed is exceptionally strong smelling. It smells like peanut butter. It’s called Chickadee Munch (now you know why I bought it) and it’s from Song of America. I’ve loved every seed I’ve bought from that brand, but sadly they don’t sell it online. I can only get it from a local retailer. Here is a link to their website. Strangely, the Chickadee Munch isn’t listed.
The weather around in Wichita has been warmer, but quite windy and a little rainy. It’s not dreary like it was two weeks ago, but hardly the best birding weather. Unfortunately, I’ve had to postpone my visit to the Great Plains Nature Center once again. I’ll try again next week, but once again, the weather isn’t promising. Still, I’ve found other things to write about.
I’m wanting this website to be a resource for other budding birders as well as an entertaining read for those who share my love for the modern dinosaur. Ah, yes, you did know that, right? Birds are dinosaurs! That’s a topic for another time though. In addition to just a fun read, I also want to show you all the cool bird spots around Wichita and the American Great Plains in general. To come will be articles giving advice on back yard birding, starting with my number one feeder and number one seed recommendation. Following that, who knows?
This feeder update got a little long-winded, didn’t it? Please, enjoy the photos and tell me about your birding below!