Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's for the Birds

I know that I tend to take my trash to treasure endeavors a bit too far, sometimes.  But some ideas are too cute to pass up and I just enjoy trying my hand at doing things my own way.  It is fun to see what you can do with nothing!

I have been wanting a bird feeder for some time.  I love the early spring mating rituals, and the cardinals swooping over my house chasing each other and singing "birdie, birdie, birdie" and "pikachu" (ok, I am sure that is not what they say, but my kids love pokemon and that is what is sounds like to me! )

So I bought a large bad of black oil sunflower seeds, and promised that I would plant as many sunflowers as I can this year, for their dining pleasure! I also bought a recycled bird feeder, that was about $6.  As soon as I set out food, we got a cold snap and freeze, and it seemed like the whole world was covered with a sheet of ice. See Previous Post

But the birds soon found the feeder, and happily began munching away. I have seen cardinals, and black capped chickadees feeding from it, and doves on the ground below it, happy for a free meal in this time of little natural food supplies.
I wasn't satisfied that my backyard friends had enough to eat so I began to construct more feeders from my recycling, to ensure they had a hearty meal anywhere in the yard.  I made 2 water bottle feeders, and one from a Welch's frozen grape juice can (which the lid does not fit securely back on!), and some unsharpened pencils for perches.  I hung these from dacron kite sting (50# test strength), in the garden, play area, and in a mess of tangled wild rose climbing up an old maple tree.  I tried to chose places they tend to frequently perch so that the food would be easily found, and hopefully they will have good natural cover to hide from predators, as well.

I read about bird feeding a long time ago, and I think I had it in my head that it was more important to provide natural food sources throughout the hardest parts of the year, and that feeding would just make the birds lazy, in finding natural food, and that they may become territorial or even aggressive about the feeders during nesting and mating.  There were all sorts of reasons why I didn't want to feed, most of them were the expense of seed and feeders and the lack of knowledge of their habits.  But I have changed my mind, that natural foods are the only way, because I believe that it is not always possible to provide enough of their needs very quickly.  It takes many years to establish any permanent planting, and in the meanwhile, the birds do suffer some.  I plan to incorporate both ideas, and feed in the times they need it most, and selfishly, I do it for the pleasure of seeing them interact in their natural habitat, not only for their well-being! =)
 I will post a few pictures of the water bottle feeders, and why I have decided that there isn't much point in buying a feeder, so long as the birds know it is full of food, they will eat from a toilet bowl, or shoe!  It makes no difference to them, the beauty of the container that holds their nourishment.

My newest birdie project will be wine bottle hummingbird feeders, and I am awaiting the shipment of the nozzles to build them.  I plan to have lots of fun decorating them and hanging them from my windows so I can watch them as the gracefully hover weightlessly for the nectar.  I will try to post pictures of that project as well.

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