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23_Jan_2013The weather has turned warm and after two weeks of bitterly cold temperatures in the teens and single digits, this is definitely a most welcome change. With warmer weather comes the urge to step outside and assess what is happening in the garden. The answer is nothing really as all the plants are still sound asleep but still it is nice to get outside and have a look around.

With our new home, I have worked hard to set up as many feeders as I can to accommodate my winged friends that visit the garden. I am a choosy host and really only want the small birds to dine. As such, my main feeder is one with a cage around it so only small birds may enter and dine. This comes complete with a squirrel baffle as squirrels are not welcome at all. I will create a future post regarding my battles with the resident squirrels. The caged feeder is dangling from my aspen tree and beyond this, I installed a shepherd’s hook to accommodate a thistle feeder and another feeder strictly serving safflower seed. The reason for this is again to discourage the larger, greedier birds (jays, etc.) as they do not typically enjoy safflower. Conversely, the finches, etc. do.

I am of the understanding that gold finches are permanent residents but I have not seen any on my nyjer feeder. Now and again, the house finches will partake but overall it has remained close to full all winter. I will leave it up for any bird that wants this expensive delicacy with the hope the gold finches will find it and regularly grace my garden with their presence.

With three feeders, I thought that would be enough but I wanted to see the woodpeckers. Some reading this may be asking why on earth I would want to attract these birds that can often damage your home. The answer is simply that I love them. When living in Arizona I would see them regularly and yes, they did damage the home but I have learned the secret to negating damage from these beautiful birds is simply to feed them. As a result, I have set up a suet log with a baffle on the advanced pole system from Wild Birds Unlimited. Installing was made a bit more difficult by trying to twist the main pole into the frozen ground but in the end, I was successful. I now hope birds will find it and enjoy the high protein suet I have set out for them.

Update 11 February 2013

After installing the suet log and advanced pole system, I was disheartened that the log hung there untouched day after day. I did have woodpeckers visit the garden but only to stick their long beak into the caged feeder and gobble down seed. Though this made the seed disappear much quicker, I did not mind for at least I had woodpeckers in the garden. So, what to do about the unused suet log?

The feeder I had dedicated to serving only safflower seed is by the far the most popular feeder for the finches. I then thought what would happen if I moved it to the other hook opposite the suet feeder. I did this two days ago. Despite my efforts, I noticed that yes, although the finches found and happily ate from the safflower seed feeder, they still ignored the suet.

I typically eat my lunch while staring out the kitchen window reveling in all the bird activity in the garden. As is the norm, the finches were happy dining on the safflower seed but then I noticed something. There was movement on the suet log! Yes, a small female finch was clinging to the log partaking in some suet. This made me very happy and I only hope other birds discover the log as well because warmer weather is certainly coming and I would hate for any of the suet to go to waste.

Would you like to share your experiences with feeding suet to our most cherished winged garden visitors? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.

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