The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Friday, February 17, 2017

Configuring the Bird Feeders, Baths, and Swings

 Male goldfinches change their livery in spring.
They love Nyjer, sunflower seeds, and conflower seeds.

One reader asked about the configuration of our bird feeders, so I am going to offer some ideas that work well, especially for Creation gardeners. I have made many adjustments to get the best viewing.

Some considerations are:

  1. Maximum viewing from the most used room.
  2. The problem of feeding in a woodland paradise.
  3. Ease in filling the feeder.
  4. Dealing with squirrels who may dominate, empty, and destroy feeders.
Most people spend most of their time in one room, so the feeder should be placed close to the window (but not too close) in that room. The Michigander has an array of feeders in front of windows where his cat can watch all day.

Feeders that bump into the window are annoying.

When we look outside, the hanging bird-feeder is above the TV set, so the view is not blocked at any time. They are quite used to us now, and we can see six Cardinals feeding at the same time. They are the shyest bird, but no longer threatened by our movements.

 Norma Boeckler's Cardinals -
who does not love them?


When we lived in Bella Vista, the squirrels and raccoons were aggressive and destructive. I set up inexpensive feeders around the perimeter, and that made our house look like a metro airport at rush hour. The main bird-feeder - squirrel-proof - became the toy of the squirrels. I moved it to Springdale and filled it with Finch food - thistle - and that worked well here. In a woodland paradise squirrels will go after thistle (Nyjer) too.

The hanging feeder was a little out of my reach here, so I put one level of concrete blocks against the house for a little height. I will do the same at the kitchen window.

 Many plants are natural feeders -
Butterfly Bush and Bee Balm attract Hummingbirds.


I use children's pools for bird-baths, keeping three of them filled and clean. They dirty the water and I dump that on the Butterfly Bushes, which birds use as their lounge when waiting for the feeder.

The bird-swing starts with two chains hanging from the eaves. A six-foot ever-thread rod goes through the links, and birds have a fun, moving platform near the feeder. Squirrels do not use it, probably because it is too wobbly for them. However, I never question their greed, athletic ability, and determination.

Sunflower seeds are a favorite among birds and squirrels. Thistle is favored by Finches and disliked by squirrels. If I had a major squirrel problem, I would use Nyjer alone. Norma Boeckler said that worked for her.

I grow as many berry plants as possible for the birds (and squirrels). Berries are a good choice in the wild area of the yard. They spread through their roots, create a tangle loved by birds, and produce food according to their variety. We have early fruit from Wild Strawberries and late fruit from Beautyberries.

Gardeners should not despise weeds, because many plants have useful qualities. In the South, Pokeweed produces flowers that beneficial bugs love - and offer berries that over 60 species of birds eat.  Pokeweed grows in the shade, the sun, the cracks in the sidewalk.

 Beautyberry is toxic for humans but attractive to birds
late in the season.


Nesting Material
Wire baskets can be prepared and stocked with dryer lint and pieces of twine and thread. 

One day I cut some twine into lengths and left them hanging over a branch. They were gone the next day.

Birds need to bathe most of all, so a constant supply of shallow baths, with clean water, will attract birds and make the yard a destination, a habit, a spa.

 Birds love Poke berries and Wild Strawberries so much -
they plant them every place they rest.

 If this were not a weed, Poke would be treasured
for harboring beneficial insects and feeding birds.
Humans do eat Poke salad when properly prepared.