My Attempt To Train My Back Yard Birds
Each of us, from time to time, looks out into our back yards and sees something we’re not crazy about. Whether it’s a squirrel figuring out a way to get to one of our feeders or a large flock of grackles that have taken another one over. Myself, I tend to be a rather active or even proactive birder. If I see something developing, I’ll take steps to either stop it from getting worse or to curtail it completely. I’ve recently had a challenge arise that I’d like to share with you.
I’ve recently had just one squirrel-proof hopper feeder up on my main feeder. I also have an upside-down thistle feeder and a squirrel proof peanut feeder. All sounds just fine so far, right?
So, What’s The Problem, Jeff?
The problem is that the hopper feeder is so overrun with house finches that I don’t see how anything else gets to eat. Before you say it, I’ve tried in the past to just add more feeders to spread out the flock but that just backfires. What ends up happening is I’ll end up with THREE feeders being overrun by them. So, I knew another tactic was needed. Plus, I was already seeing signs some of the house finches may be in the first stages of their eye disease. So, I had taken down the hopper feeder to help them scatter.
I should mention here that some experts with way more ornithological experience than me recommend cleaning them but leaving them up to keep the infestation local. This has NEVER worked for me! All I get is a repeating infection cycle that lasts WAY longer than the 10-14 days they say it will take for it to clear up. My belief is you can’t possibly clean them enough to stay ahead of this so I just clean them and take them down. I do NOT believe this is an irresponsible act either.
Enter The Squirrel Buster Legacy!
The great folks at Brome Bird Care recently informed me I had won a Squirrel Buster Standard feeder for being picked at random from their Brome Bird News newsletter drawing! When it arrived last week, I was excited to put it out there and hoped some of the other birds, cardinals in particular, would learn to use it and this would help limit the house finch incursion. It’s been out there for over a week and I have the following to report: FAILURE!
Yes and No
Well, not a complete failure. Yes, some of the cardinals ARE learning to use the feeder. No, it is NOT keeping the house finches from learning to use this new feeder and cleaning it out too! I will give it a few more days and then I’ll pull that one as well.
But We DO Have Water
It’s well into the nineties here for the last couple of weeks so I believe I am serving them much better by making sure both of my bird baths are full of clean and fresh water. I’ll continue to take that out at lunch and dinner time during this weather.
I’ll let you know what happened with my new feeder.
Tell Me Your Stories
Have you had any luck retraining birds to use a different feeder to keep one species from taking over your back yard? Any other tactics we could learn from? Let me know about it by leaving a comment below. Also, if you enjoyed this post, please share it using the buttons below!