Photo Essay

Trade: Food for a picture

backyard birds

Give them food and they will pose for a picture.

Who would have ever guessed that birds and squirrels would be so accommodating as to pose for a picture or two if you offer them some food.

At first, I hung one long cylindrical bird feeder and waited. It took about a week for the first finches to arrive. Then about a month later I hung a second larger feeder that would hold sunflower seeds and peanuts. Finally, I hung two more feeders which are wire mesh cages that will also hold sunflower seeds and peanuts. Then I discovered the squirrel was visiting my bird feeders and eating my seeds at an alarming rate. The next time I visited the bird feeder store I learned of a wonderful product called "hot meat" which is a shelled sunflower seed coated in a very spicy powder that birds cannot taste, but squirrels hate. Now I mix ten pounds of shelled sunflower seeds with ten pounds of "hot meat" and five pounds of peanuts into a wonderful mixture for my bird feeders. The squirrels no longer eat all my seed, but they do eat what the birds toss onto the ground, and I get lots of visitors who are only too happy to pose for a picture or two.

In the last several months, I have been able to identify the following birds as semi regular visitors to my yard and feeders. The American goldfinch, purple finch, house finch, red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, carolina wren, house wren, house sparrow, northern cardinal, and the squirrel.

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