Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tufted Titmouse:

We put up a bird feeder last winter. It had a cage designed to keep squirrels out and let only the smallest birds in. Weeks passed without a bird at our feeder. I complained to a neighbor. She said, “Don't worry, they'll find it.”

Gradually they did. I have an iPad app to identify the birds with, and learning this new skill has been difficult. We are feeding “finch food”, but I think we have yet to see a single finch. Black-Capped Chickadees came, sparrows and Downy Woodpeckers.

We are still feeding, and I added a “suet cage” that is another difficult challenge for squirrels. It appears that the presence of suet is a like a mighty billboard. A bluejay once poised above the feeder, looked around and flew away. Starlings have come by and chased the small birds off while they tried in vain to reach the finch food. And I think we are now getting visits from at least four kinds of sparrows.

The strangest visitor has a white cheek and looks positively ghostly. I may have misidentified it because of my life-long fascination with its name, but it seems to be ... yes … the Tufted Titmouse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you can, hang the feeder so you do not need to use a squirrel cage. We have a roughtly T shaped hanger, about 8 feet high with a tubular squirrel catcher on the post about 5 feet off the ground. It all stands in a a 30lb sun umbrella stand from Ikea. As long as it is at least 10' feet from any thing a squirrel could jump from, it's "birds only". And so we can have an open "house" for the blue jays and cardinals who are too big for the tube feeder's tray. The chickadees, red nuthatches, white nuthatches, downy woodpeckers etc etc all use the tube feeder. The juncos fight with the squirrels to feed on the spillover.

And once they know you are there, they will only desert you when *you forget to refill the feeder*!