Trouble with Feeder Frenzy



7 feeders have been a new adventure for us. With over 100 birds visiting, it can get a bit crazy at times, especially when 50 of those are House Sparrows, but we have found a way to live with them.


House Sparrows can overwhelm a feeding station and wipe out the food in no time, leaving nothing for the song birds. Early on in the season I realized that I could either fight a frustrating battle with the sparrows, or figure out a way to get along.img_3764-800x533

The following has seen great results:

  • We changed a deck feeder to safflower seed, which is not their favorite, removing all millet and nuts. Although they will still visit, as seen above, they tend to not stay long, nor do they storm it in one of their “blights” or “humiliations”. However, the doves, cardinals, chickadees, house finches and even the nut hatch seem to really prefer the safflower.


  • I put the yummy nut mix into a hanging platform feeder. For some odd reason, sparrows do not like to fly through things such as wires. The squirrel, on the other hand, loves it, but that is another story.


  • Lastly, we put a feeding station at least 30 feet away from the song bird stations and use the cheapest feed you can find (the $8 for 35# kind of feed from TSC.) This contains millet and other seeds they prefer and they will flock to it. During the snow, we provide a scoop 2x a day and that seems to keep them busy. I always know when they think they are out – that is when I see them coming to the feeders on the deck looking for handouts.


While the woods, which is further away, attracts the sparrows. The Juncos, Mourning Doves, and Song Sparrows, as well as the Cardinals, also like the feed that is kicked out onto the ground by the messy sparrows. (Sometimes there is an almost creepy sensation of the ground being alive because of all the movement.) I have counted 60+ birds down there at one time when a “raid” is going on. However, it appears that the seed is not being wasted.

A lovely side affect is that, like living Christmas tree ornaments, the tree above the cheap feeder tends to fill up with all the beautiful birds as they wait their turn at the various feeders.

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And while the lesson I am learning is to give the “pests” something to occupy them, ¬†I still have not figured out how to keep the squirrel out of my nut feeder. They are getting quite hilariously fat on it.

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The Lowly Pecan Tree

We have a pecan tree on the corner of our property (a corner lot not quite double the size of a normal lot in our sub-division.) Years ago it was a scrappy little tree, planted before we  arrived, and left with no pedigree. It was a forgotten object left to its own devices in the corner. When it went through its teen years, I even contemplated cutting it down. What was it? It looked really rough and like it would not amount to much.

Then a couple of years ago one of the dogs began bringing nuts to us. I had never seen such a funny looking nut and it took us a while to figure out where they were coming from. Fortunately one of us is from the South and pointed out that our scraggly little tree was a pecan tree (pronounced “pee kahn” here in the North and “pee can” in the South).

This year, the tree came into it’s own. It seems to have grown overnight and filled out into a robust adult, producing more nuts than the squirrels could keep up with. Suddenly this was the busiest corner on the lot (between the squirrels shaking down pecans and the dogs shaking down the squirrels.)

After the dry summer, the trees, including our gorgeous red maple, lost their leaves with little fanfare. However, for the first time in its life the lowly pecan tree took center stage in a splendid display. Or is it simply that this is the first time I noticed?