Backyard Birding

In the hopes of practicing our identification skills, we purchased a bird feeder. So far we've seen a few sparrows, chickadees, flickers, downys, nuthatches and a house finch. Mostly we've seen squirrels and magpies who are quite persistent when it comes to feeders.

The feeders

Attempt 1

  • Materials: Wire mesh
  • Timeline: 2 days
  • Cost: $10

Attempt 2

  • Materials: Metal and plastic
  • Timeline: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $13.99

Attempt 3

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Timeline: still alive
  • Cost: $11.99


Our visitors

  • House finch

  • Northern flicker

  • Red-breasted nuthatch

  • House sparrow

  • Black-capped chickadee

  • Blue jay

  • American robin

  • Dark-eyed junco

  • Bohemian waxwing

  • Merlin

  • Ruby-crowned kinglet

  • House sparrow (female)

  • European starling (bad/evasive)

  • White-breasted nuthatch

  • Downy Woodpecker

The lessons

Don't underestimate the locals

If you think a squirrel can't reach something, you're wrong. If it's attached to a tree, a squirrel will figure out how to get to it. If you think to yourself "this can't possibly support a magpie's weight" you're wrong. Or, you're right, but it's all part of that magpie's plan.

Fewer pieces are better

Your feeder will be forcibly removed on a number of occassions. The time you spend trying to recover all of the pieces scattered via impact is exponentially increased by the number of pieces used in the construction of your feeder.

Uglier may mean tougher

Our most successful feeder (Attempt #3) is definitely the ugliest: 3 pieces of heavy duty plastic indestructibly fused together. It keeps getting knocked down, and we keep putting it back up.

Closing thoughts

Birds are the best! Having birds in your backyard is even better. Our experience has shown that bird feeders will attract more birds than nothing at all so our recommendation is to get a feeder. Be prepared to go up against the neighbourhood squirrels and magpies to protect your feed.

Virtual birding
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