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MeInDallas

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MeInDallas    1

Hey everyone!

Glad to of found this forum! I'm new to birding, and learning new things everyday! Love doing this. Let me give you my scenario. I've attached pics to help out, and I hope maybe some of you can help me too!

So I began my journey last year in the winter. At first of course, I was like everyone else. Went to Wally World and got some cheap feeders. I opted for the tube kind that you can put just about everything in with the little perches and 6 feeding ports. I have two 67 year old Southern Magnolia trees in my front yard that I hung the feeders on. Took about 4 or 5 days until the birds started feeding from them and then things just exploded. I dont think anyone around me feeds the birds, and I know my neighbor just hated to see them swinging from my trees, but oh well, she got over it. Started with the cheapo feed everyone gets (wild bird feed) and moved up to black oil sunflowers, and safflower. Squirrels took notice as well as every bird in Dallas it seems. By now I've went thru several feeders, and ended up with metal ones that I found at Tractor Supply here close to me. Soon after spring broke here, the squirrels havent been an issue, because theres always plenty on the ground to feed from. The pigeons and doves have figured out how to either get up on the feeder itself, or they grab ahold, and flap around wildly, and seeds go tumbling down everywhere for their enjoyment, making a huge mess everywhere.

To make a long story short, I'm going thru what most do that want to feed birds, from what I've read on the internet. The pigeons and big birds are literally destroying my front yard and grass, fighting over seeds. The squirrels just sit back and laugh while they are fighting, because they are gobbling down all the seeds. So I did some reading, and I came across the bird seed cakes and cylinders that are popular. I went to WBU and got some seed cakes the size of suet cakes. Picked up one of the Stokes Squirrel Proof Suet Feeders like you see in the pic, and put the cakes in it. Birds wouldnt even go inside for a long time. Finally they did and looked around, then left. I thought well maybe they want their Safflowers and Sunflower seeds they were used to eating. So I got the recipe off the internet with the gelatin, and made some DIY ones like you see. They actually turned out really well I think. I even bought some sunflower hearts and made some seed cakes.

Birds will not touch them with a 10 foot pole. Yesterday I watched bird after bird go in and look, and some even pecked a bit, but they look untouched to me. They have all literally disappeared now. It's like a graveyard or morgue, and it used to be party city. I could sit by the front window, or on my enclosed porch, and watch them from sun up to sun down.

I went out a bit ago, and I put up the little silver hopper feeder, and by the time I got back in the house and turned and looked out the window, there were 3 little birds that I think are finches with red heads and chest, and brown bodies. There are tons of them here, but I love them. They were going at it. I have lots of birds, chickadees, red cardinals, stuff I dont even know the names yet.

Am I trying to do the impossible? Should I just wait them out and have the attitude this is what I've got, eat it or dont eat?

Any help from the Pros is really appreciated! Thank you everyone!!

silver.jpg

stokes.jpg

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I've had pretty good luck with this model:

https://www.chewy.com/homestead-super-stop-squirrel-green/dp/139820?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Homestead&utm_term=&gclid=COmZvc_wxdMCFQyqaQodLWAN2w&gclsrc=aw.ds

It's very difficult for squirrels and large birds to get into.  It can be mounted on a pole or on a tree, and works equally well either way.  The birds don't throw much out, so there isn't much on the ground.

There are also a number of bowl-shaped shields available.  These mount halfway up a pole, between the feeder and the ground.  They work best if there are no trees or other squirrel launch points within 8 or 10 feet.

I'm not nuts about specialty feeders, since they're usually designed to be refilled with high-priced specialty feeds.  I recommend spending $35 - $50 on a reasonably good 'squirrel-almost-proof' feeder and pole.  You'll make it up by being able to use inexpensive black oil sunflower.

As to the torn-up yard, yeah, that one's pretty much a hazard of the hobby.  You can put concrete paver blocks around the feeder, or a 4-foot circle of gravel with a ring around the border.

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MeInDallas    1

Thank you so much for your input!! I have since found the wonderful world of baffles, domes, and hoods! I got 2 of the clear domes by Aspects. They are just $20 online, and work so well! They actually fit really nice over the feeders I already have, so I didnt have to get any new ones. It's such a funny time watching the squirrels and big birds, try to get to the food. They usually give up after awhile. 

I also bought a bag of that cheap wild bird feed that you see in the stores, and decided to throw some behind my fence on a little hill that goes down into a big ditch, and that seems to keep the pigeons, doves, and squirrels at bay. Just gotta turn their attention to something they can actually get to.

Thanks again for your response! :) :D ;)

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On 6/1/2017 at 2:26 PM, MeInDallas said:

Thank you so much for your input!! I have since found the wonderful world of baffles, domes, and hoods! I got 2 of the clear domes by Aspects. They are just $20 online, and work so well! They actually fit really nice over the feeders I already have, so I didnt have to get any new ones. It's such a funny time watching the squirrels and big birds, try to get to the food. They usually give up after awhile. 

I also bought a bag of that cheap wild bird feed that you see in the stores, and decided to throw some behind my fence on a little hill that goes down into a big ditch, and that seems to keep the pigeons, doves, and squirrels at bay. Just gotta turn their attention to something they can actually get to.

Thanks again for your response! :) :D ;)

Oh, and give that suet feeder some time.  Put just one block in or even half until they discover it, then see if you get enough traffic to warrant filling both sides.

That's a good model for smaller birds.  If you want to draw larger suet eaters (woodpeckers, mockingbirds), you may want to eventually add a suet cage that doesn't have any protection.  If the squirrels get into it, try mounting it on a pole with a baffle, or use a suet cake that has hot pepper extract on it (or just slop some Texas Pete on the suet cake).  Birds aren't sensitive to capsaicin (the hot chemical in peppers), but the 'tree rats' sure are.  It won't hurt them, but they'll be really, REALLY unhappy for several minutes.

That's a great idea to bait the ground feeders with the cheap stuff.  I knew there had to be a use for that junk! :lol:

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MeInDallas    1

Just yesterday, I actually bought one of those no melt summer suets for woodpeckers and put in there. Just to see if there were any takers, or if I could spot a bird trying to get in. This morning I was sitting on the front porch, and a red bellied woodpecker came out of no where and grabbed the side. I thought oh no he's not going to be able to grab any. I guess he had done this before on another one like it, and turned upside down on the bottom and reached his beak thru to have a go at the block. Sure enough he hacked off a huge piece and flew away with it! I grabbed my step ladder and went to make a closer inspection, and I guess they made it to where they can grab some if the beak is long enough.

About 20 minutes ago, another two just like the one this morning showed up. I dont know if it was the same one that brought back a friend or two new ones, but they both were doing the same thing. Then one went up on the side and was able to get his head thru the hole and his beak reached the side of the block. I guess maybe the suet is close enough to the actual outside squirrel cage that the bigger ones can reach in.

If I see one that wants some that cant get thru I'll have to try the cheapo ones and see if they can get some that way. You have to learn a lot of patience doing this for sure!!

 :blink::wacko::lol:

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MeInDallas    1

This one I am seeing on a regular basis now. I dont know if it's the same one, but it seems to know right where the feeder is every morning and every evening about the same times. Loves the peanut butter suet and takes huge chunks. I had no idea there were birds around here like this. I've since added a 2nd feeder just like this one hoping to get the mockingbirds that are eating the berries right now around my yard. I got a raisin and berry suet for them about 2 feet from the ground in the feeder just like this. Not sure how it's going to work out though. It might be more trouble than its worth.

woody1a.jpg

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You have a female Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  Notice how the red starts at the base of the neck and goes up over the head?  On a male, the red goes all the way over to the base of the bill.  On this female, the red stops at the top of the head.  The red on the belly isn't a bright patch like on the head; it's more of a wash or glaze.

With suet, you'll likely attract at least woodpeckers, jays, mockingbirds, grackles, nuthatches, and titmice.  And those are just the species I'm certain are in Texas; you'll probably get others.  I don't think the birds care what flavor the suet is.  Mine eat it at about the same rate regardless.  You have that two-cake model; you may want to put a different flavor in each side and see if they have a preference.  The 'No-Melt' types cost more than the regular ones, but they're essential in the summer heat.  In the winter, you can use the cheaper ones; the birds may appreciate the extra fat.  When it gets cold, you may want to experiment again, with a regular on one side and a 'No Melt' on the other.

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