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The Backyard Birder, Issue October 2010
October 13, 2010

Are Your Bird Feeders Overtaken by Starlings?

I do my best to discourage starlings and sparrows to my feeders.

Being more aggressive birds, they will take over bird houses and natural nesting cavities used by woodpeckers and migratory songbirds in the spring. The more starlings that survive the winter to breed in spring, the more native cavity nesters will be barred from their nests, including woodpeckers that excavated many of the cavities!

Avoid feeding birds millet. Starlings and house sparrows like millet. Black oil sunflower seeds encourages native birds.
Hang suet, rather than post it. This keeps starlings from eating it, but still makes it available to local birds.

Our instructions for making an upside down suet feeder.

Where Do Birds Go?

The feathered army has begun its retreat to winter quarters. By late September the greater part of the migratory birds have left us.

Where do our Birds Go For The Winter?

The greatest majority head to Mexico.

Flying for their lives our songbirds and others search the Gulf Coast for a rest stop before departure for the tropics. As they arrive on the Gulf Coast, what will greet them this year?

It remains to be seen how the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect them.
After a rest, and if weather permits, they lift off after dark for the 600-mile non-stop flight to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Other popular winter destinations for our migratory birds include Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, Paraguay, Panama, Venezuela, and Uruguay.

About half will make it back in the Spring. By providing food and water along with planting trees and shrubs that birds love, you can help them successfully make the return journey.

Reader's Recipe of The Month

Thank you Judith Jones from Somerset England for this month's recipe!

Judith’s Autumn Dough Ball Treats
Plain flour
dried fruit-raisins- prunes -apricots or similar
windfall apples chopped into small pieces
grated suet
vegetable oil

Put plain flour in a bowl. Add small amounts of any of the dried fruit, apples and grated suet. Mix to a stiff mixture with the vegetable oil and mold into small balls (put some flour on your hands for this).

Place on your bird feeder and see them gobble this treat. I make small amounts and keep spare balls in a tray kept from plant seedlings.

Gems from the Forums

Bird Gone Back To School:

What Kind of Bird Is This?

Discovering The Joy of Birding:

Until next month, Happy Birding!


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