Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Preparation to Sit

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
That's our birding tower in the photo above. And that's me taking a newly assembled feeder tree over to the side yard to augment our feeding station. Well-stocked bird feeders can be a huge asset on a Big Sit (oh, that does not sound very good, let me re-phrase). Well-stocked feeders can make your Big Sit more attractive (better?) to birds.

I give up!

The point I'm making is that I spend a lot of time scattering seed and placing feeders and water features with the specific intent of luring an additional species or two into view so we can count them on The Big Sit (which is this coming Sunday, October 11, 2009).

Last Saturday I got a wild hair and decided to devote the entire day to work around the farm. This was a welcome break from my normal work (at Bird Watcher's Digest) which, though fun, seems never ending. Think about it: You finish the November/December issue and it's time to start working on the January/February issue. I am in my 21st year of BWD issue cycles (and I still enjoy it!).

Back to my Big Sit preparation (H). I started by assembling the aforementioned feeder tree and adding some new feeders to it. These are the feeders that can be seen from the giant studio windows where Julie works.

Then I decided to add an additional feeding station cluster on the deck outside the big kitchen window, a vantage point from which all of us can watch the activity. I found a few new, unused feeders in the garage left from a bird store shopping frenzy last September, at Nature Niche in Berkeley Springs, WV. These went up on a set of feeder hooks I cobbled together from spare parts.

Sunflower seed, peanuts, and a songbird blend.

I still wasn't satisfied. Then I remembered the gray birch tree trunk that broke off a few weeks ago. It would make a perfect snag. So I set about preparing the trunk and digging a hole deep enough to support the snag's weight.

Once the snag was in place, carefully adjusted so no bird poop would drop directly into the bird bath, I went inside for a frosty cold refreshment, and to appreciate the results of my work. It's nice to do a job, see the progress and completion, and know that that's it! It's done!

The new feeders outside the kitchen window. The first brave feathered soul to visit them was a female American goldfinch. Since then we've had cardinals, titmice, Carolina chickadees, white-breasted nuthatch, and downy woodpecker as visitors. I suspect this station will be very popular as the season progresses. And I expect these new augmentations to net us at least one additional species for the Big Sit—maybe a pine siskin or a purple finch!

But I'd settle for any new, unexpected species, like this blue-crowned motmot! That would be sweet!


On October 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM rmharvey said...

Not many people would plant a dead tree - and post a picture of it. 8-)

On October 7, 2009 at 6:38 PM Dave said...

I think the Mot-mot will be a Not-not...

On October 7, 2009 at 6:41 PM Bosque Bill said...

I'm delighted to see your photos and admission of planting a dead tree. Two autumns ago one of my favorite dead trees outside my home office window was taken down in a wind. It was a bird favorite & held a couple feeders, too.

It was too large to handle, but with some judicious sawing I saved a manageable trunk with branches and "planted" it after coating the bottom in roofing tar to help keep it from rotting too soon.

It didn't have enough branches to let the birds have a comfortable staging area, so I mounted a few more with wood screws and wire.

It is not as good as the original, but still holds two feeders and the birds don't seem to mind. Though my non-birding friends do scratch their heads and look at me strangely.

On October 7, 2009 at 11:49 PM Connie said...

I too, am a dead tree planter. It feels good to not be alone. I must forward this post to my husband. He's slowly finding out that I know others (many others) with this addiction we call bird watching. (and feeding) I'm totally jealous of your beautiful dead birch tree. We get to use juniper and the like out here. I left a dead planted juniper at our last house. I pity the person going at it with a chainsaw. Concrete and steel posts are not good for them so I hear.

On October 8, 2009 at 10:03 PM NCmountainwoman said...

There's just no end to the jokes about a "Big Sit" is there? Enjoy.

On October 11, 2009 at 4:04 AM kanishk said...

Two autumns ago one of my favorite dead trees outside my home office window was taken down in a wind. It was a bird favorite & held a couple feeders, too. Work From Home