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  #21  
Old 12.01.2014, 18:25
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

Thanks Odile ..... I love bird stories and photos.

Something puzzling me this year. I bought a bucket of those ball things Landi sells for birds - but find the birds not enjoying them - just nibble now and again, like they don`t like the taste?
Last year they gobbled up the Landi balls! Thats why I invested in this huge bucket this year!

On the other hand, I melted down a bucket of fresh sheep fat (from farmer) and mixed it with sunflower seeds - formed into balls - and the birds eat THAT - ignoring the "commercial" food.
Just wondered if anyone else has experienced this (inferior?) product this year?
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  #22  
Old 12.01.2014, 18:37
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

@Odile, hope you took notes on picture posting so that you don't need to nag next time!!!

@smoky, does the bucket of bird balls got an out-of-date sell-by-date on, or perhaps smell slightly rancid?
I noticed last winter that the birds wouldn't touch the balls I had left over from the year before, but pounced on the fresh ones.

Lovely pictures Odile by the way, I really must get a better camera!
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  #23  
Old 12.01.2014, 19:14
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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@smoky, does the bucket of bird balls got an out-of-date sell-by-date on, or perhaps smell slightly rancid?
I noticed last winter that the birds wouldn't touch the balls I had left over from the year before, but pounced on the fresh ones.
Just checked. Called "Vita-Balance" - expiry date 30/08/2015. I noticed, however, that the balls seem to be more compressed and hard-ish.

Also there seems to be not so many wild birds this year.
Or is that because there has been so little snow, they`re finding their food in the wild?
Usually, most of the year, the garden is full of all sorts of wild birds, little ones peck the balls, bigger ones on the grass below picking up the leftovers. This year hardly any.....

Last edited by 3Wishes; 12.01.2014 at 21:30. Reason: fixed quote
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  #24  
Old 12.01.2014, 21:12
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

Thanks for starting this thread Odile. We used to have another great bird photographer on EF. I was missing his stuff... So bring it on, folks.

We have a couple of female pheasants who have adopted our garden as home. I'll try to get a shot of them - but it'll be far short of that fine sparrowhawk.

PS Is pet's corner the right place? I would have put it in "Daily life" myself, but I'm not a mod .
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Old 13.01.2014, 09:45
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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Something puzzling me this year. I bought a bucket of those ball things Landi sells for birds - but find the birds not enjoying them - just nibble now and again, like they don`t like the taste?
Last year they gobbled up the Landi balls! Thats why I invested in this huge bucket this year!
I've noticed the same thing this year, and am guessing it's the weather.

The birds were plenty hungry earlier in the season, likely due to the unexpected cold. I hung about 20 suetballs and probably the same number of peanut cones* (also from Landi) weekly on my tree and they were usually devoured within days.

However, since the warm spell the birds are not eating the suet balls or peanuts, only the birdseed - and even that they are not gobbling up as fast. I see roughly the same number of birds, so I'm guessing that they are finding enough food elsewhere.

Another concern with this unseasonably warm weather: the hedgehogs have woken up, and are looking for food again. I put some hedgehog food out, but they so far haven't touched it. Hope they fatten up enough to get back to sleep - I'll need them hale and hearty and back on slug duty next spring.




*The suetball and peanut cone 'ornaments' make up my outdoor christmas tree.
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  #26  
Old 13.01.2014, 13:11
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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I've noticed the same thing this year, and am guessing it's the weather.

The birds were plenty hungry earlier in the season, likely due to the unexpected cold. I hung about 20 suetballs and probably the same number of peanut cones* (also from Landi) weekly on my tree and they were usually devoured within days.

However, since the warm spell the birds are not eating the suet balls or peanuts, only the birdseed - and even that they are not gobbling up as fast. I see roughly the same number of birds, so I'm guessing that they are finding enough food elsewhere.

Another concern with this unseasonably warm weather: the hedgehogs have woken up, and are looking for food again. I put some hedgehog food out, but they so far haven't touched it. Hope they fatten up enough to get back to sleep - I'll need them hale and hearty and back on slug duty next spring.




*The suetball and peanut cone 'ornaments' make up my outdoor christmas tree.
Now THAT`s a good idea!

Thank you Meloncollie, for your reply. I feel relieved to hear your news about the birds.

I was also wondering about the Hedgehogs and the warm weather

On weekend I put out chopped sheep liver on the hawks table - and he/she hasn`t even bothered with it! So they must be feasting in the wild. Usually it gets swooped up pronto.
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  #27  
Old 12.02.2015, 10:45
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

Bringing this back up, as I need help from the bird enthusiasts...

I need to re-design the bird feeding station, as Heffalump has decided the bird feeder is a 'Selbstbedienungsladen' - he is obsessed, with the resulting gastrointestinal upset. (The ground is still frozen so I can't put a stable fence around the area - that will be a priority spring project.)

I don't want to stop feeding the birds, especially in this cold, as they are used to finding food here and I am the only one in the neighborhood who regularly puts out bird seed.

The problem is that the birds kick much of the seed out of the feeder, the ground quickly becomes littered with it. Some of the birds - the doves, for instance - prefer to eat the seed from the ground. The problem is that Heffalump also hoovers up whatever is kicked out.

I'm working on his behavior, but given his obsession this is going to take a looong time. Meanwhile, making the feeding area less accessible, or reducing the amount of seed kicked out, is a necessary short term fix.

I have mostly Blau-, Kohl-, and various other Meisen, some sparrow-like small birds, a woodpecker or two, a few magpie, and a half a dozen doves as regulars, plus a variety of passers-by.

So... perhaps I'm feeding the wrong seed, which is why the birds are kicking it out. I'm feeding a Hanf and Sunflower mix, and the Coop, Landi and Erich Schweizer 'general' mixes. Would you recommend something else?

Failing that, would a bird feeder with a larger bottom tray be recommended? I'd always thought that a tray shouldn't extend much beyond the silo part, as the collected seed would get wet and then mouldy. But I need something to catch the seed kicked out, if I'm to prevent Heffalump from scoffing it.

So - how would you design a canine-proof bird feeding area?

Any ideas gratefully received.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.02.2015 at 11:05.
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  #28  
Old 12.02.2015, 11:27
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

We caught this visitor on our balcony the other day...

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  #29  
Old 12.02.2015, 12:10
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

ahhhh what a lovely kes (one of my favourite films ever) love the reddish colour.

Meloncollie, we have the same problem. We don't let Gatsby out on to the patio now, because of this. She is very greedy! And stopped buying the 'fat oats and nuts mix' from Coop. I buy huge bags of sunflower, or sunflower and hemp seeds from France. Yes, birds make a mess- but really I ignore it and will the patio a good scrub in Spring when I stop feeding them- Birds are more important than the mess. Most bird seed mixes on the market contain lots of uncracked wheat and maize, which is totally unsuitable for them. OK for pigeon and chickens- but not small song birds- so just don't buy them.

Not sure if there is a solution which will allow continuing to help the birds- so a mess it is. We had a little mouse at dusk last night feeding on dropped seeds- as long as they don't come in the house- live and let live.
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  #30  
Old 12.02.2015, 12:13
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

DantesDame- sorry I missed your wonderful pictures last year. The sparrow hawk is amazing. Will always remember when I fist saw a cardinal, in Sedona (AZ) - what a wonderful bird.

What is the bird of prey on the fence? In the US or here?
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  #31  
Old 12.02.2015, 13:26
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

Cant you just put a much bigger tray a bit under the one you have. Like, 20-30cm under. Low enough for the rejected seeds to go in there and high enough for the dog not to reach. Never had a bird feeder myself so i dont know if it will work but its an idea
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  #32  
Old 12.02.2015, 14:59
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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Cant you just put a much bigger tray a bit under the one you have. Like, 20-30cm under. Low enough for the rejected seeds to go in there and high enough for the dog not to reach. Never had a bird feeder myself so i dont know if it will work but its an idea

That is a practical idea.


My father-in-law did that and has no spilled birdseed. He also put a very wide roof over the top feeder to prevent seed getting wet - it extends to over the bottom tray. The extra bonus is the extra wide roof prevents cats from leaping onto the trays - but birds find their way easily.


It amuses me (at my place) how the little birds peck the seed and toss their heads around throwing it all over the place! (I intend updating my feeder to above style for next year). They then take a seed and seem to smash it on a branch before eating.


In the "heap" of branches/leaves/covered plastic lives a squirrel who comes out when its warmish (?) to feed on the seeds. I thought we had a Hedgehog there, but saw the squirrel one evening late - leaping for joy around the area - and footprints going back inside the heap. I didn`t know squirrels sleep in heaps on the ground?
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  #33  
Old 12.02.2015, 17:45
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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Cant you just put a much bigger tray a bit under the one you have. Like, 20-30cm under. Low enough for the rejected seeds to go in there and high enough for the dog not to reach. Never had a bird feeder myself so i dont know if it will work but its an idea
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My father-in-law did that and has no spilled birdseed. He also put a very wide roof over the top feeder to prevent seed getting wet - it extends to over the bottom tray. The extra bonus is the extra wide roof prevents cats from leaping onto the trays - but birds find their way easily.

Good idea - I'll give it a try.

One of my fondest memories of my FIL was his passion for 'his' birds, and how each year he put his tinkering skills into building new and increasingly Rube Goldberg-esq contraptions designed to keep squirrels out of the feeders. (The squirrels just watched, laughed and, flipping him the Sciuridae equivalent of the finger, carried on raiding...)

Why do I think I'll soon be turning into my FIL?
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  #34  
Old 13.02.2015, 11:30
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)



Our bird feeder had a 4 legged visitor. Even though it is hanging at more than 2.50cm.
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  #35  
Old 13.02.2015, 11:48
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

What are the raptors we frequently see near the roads over here? Are they Red Kites?
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Old 13.02.2015, 12:18
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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Our bird feeder had a 4 legged visitor. Even though it is hanging at more than 2.50cm.
Even an old, infirm cat could manage that!
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  #37  
Old 13.02.2015, 14:51
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

Since there are many bird lovers on this thread, especially admirers of the birds of prey, it seems a good place to post this here.

A notice from Tier Im Recht - apparently there have been incidents of poisoning of peregrin falcons here in Switzerland. TIR and SVS/BirdLife Schweiz are asking the public to be aware and to report suspicious behavior witnessed to the police, as well as to report any dead falcons found. A link to the press release is given at the end of the article.

http://www.tierimrecht.org/de/news/2...nderfalken.php


ETA:

Wanderfalken are peregrins, oder?
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  #38  
Old 13.02.2015, 15:07
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Re: Bird table and sparrow hawk (épervier)

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What are the raptors we frequently see near the roads over here? Are they Red Kites?

The ones on the posts all along the Mway are buzzards, not kites.

Red kites are not normally found in the plains in Summer- as they come up to the Jura, etc, to hunt- but there are nowadays lare colonies that over-winter by Lake Léman- and choose not to migrate to Africa. A fairly recent phenomenon. By the Lake you usually find black kites (as the name says, not russet colour underneath, no white band in the middle of the wing and tail less forked) as they feed on carrion fish.

If you look at a buzzard, as compared to kite, they have wider wings without an elbow (which kites have) and the tail is fanned not forked. Common buzzards are 'variable' and can have vast differences in colour.
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