Mr. Mom

by Rob Ulp
(Brighton, NY)

Brighton, NY August 2016 Piliated

We have had a large male visit our suet feeders over the past 16 months or so. Often he visits several times daily. In July 2015 he showed up with a son we named Junior and we enjoyed the feeding and flight lessons until it was just Dad again in early August.

This year he surprised us with a son and daughter we call The Kids. Their activity around being fed by Dad and the transition to claiming the feeders themselves was fun to watch for us. The female was sometimes bullied by her brother when competing for suet from Dad, being chased around the large Basswood trunk near the feeders.

The young female accidentally discovered the birdbath but quickly drank and in time plopped right in. She soon developed the classic bathing antics. Her first attempt to fly off as a very wet bird did not go well due to the added weight. She quickly learned the shake, fluff and preen routine after subsequent baths and would spend some bit of time at this on the trunk of a nearby Hickory. The males would have none of this, not even to drink. Dad seems to be alone again this early August.

In two years Dad has showed up with only 3 young. We have never in 16 months seen an adult female. Hawks? How sad if true. At dusk this evening we discovered 2 nocturnal Southern Flying Squirrels busy at the feeders and while remarkably semi-tame and beautiful, I fear the end of suet feeders is upon us. The flavored blocks with seed that nearly all birds here enjoy will be wiped out by these bold little guys at night. We have never seen these before and easily approached to within 5 feet. Well, we shall see what this brings to us.

Comments for Mr. Mom

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Aug 14, 2016 NEW
by: Brook

WELL Mr Mom,

It sure sounds like you are enjoying these new families. Welcome!

Aug 13, 2016
Upside down suet feeders NEW
by: Margaret Mariam

I only use upside down suet feeders - which are much harder for large birds and squirrels to use because they have to hold on - upside down. Now squirrels in the Northeast will chew through the wires/plastic the feeders hang from. So I replace them with chain; learned after replacing many fallen/broken feeders. Also, the squirrels here will chew through the plastic tops of the feeders, if they get the opportunity. So I hang the feeders under plastic domes - as close to the roof of the plastic as possible. And of course, try to place the feeders where you can easily see the squirrels, to "discourage" them.

I welcome the squirrels to enjoy any food that spills on the ground, and even an occasional peanut (in the shell) if the blue jays haven't finished them all. And water is for everyone/every
"guest." But whenever I can protect my suet, I do.

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