A few weeks ago I spotted a Wild Birds Unlimited on my end of town. I finally had a chance to stop in and browse yesterday. When I told the helpful gentleman that I had never been in before he playfully wanted to know why not, that they had been there three years. I told him that I'm just now getting birds, and he knowingly asked if I was in one of those new subdivisions that had once been a corn field and had no trees. How did he know? Well, that's pretty common here around the Indy area.
Anyway, I loved the store and could have spent a fortune, if I was prone to do that sort of thing, but I'm not. I just bought a thistle sock, bird seed and since I am always a sucker for books I bought this:
I loved it! I read the whole book last night and it was very interesting and informative. I didn't have a book on Midwestern birds and this one was my favorite of the birding books they had in the store. It had great pictures of each species with important facts and the feeding habits of each one. It also has a section with simple woodshop designs for bird feeders. I had been wanting something like this for my son.
One of the things I discovered while reading the book was how harmful house sparrows can be to other songbirds. They aggressively seek out nest boxes that are occupied by wrens, bluebirds, chickadees and tree swallows. They attack the adult and baby birds in the nest by fracturing their skulls with their sharp bills.
I have mostly sparrows coming to my feeders so I've been buying the cheapest bird seed which has not been a good thing to do. They like cracked corn and millet which is in the cheaper seed mixes. They don't particularly like black oil sunflower seeds or thistle. I bought the cheaper food because they were scratching out the sunflower seeds and there was so much waste. So, now I have to make a decision, stop feeding altogether until they move on, or just buy the expensive seeds and hope they move on. I love seeing the other birds that are finally coming to my feeders, so I think I'll fill the other feeders with the better food and use up the cheaper seeds feeding them less and less until it's gone.
Besides, they are providing great entertainment for Libby and Lilly. Every day, all day long, the cat is perched in front of the sliding glass doors watching the birds. I've read that indoor cats will live longer if they have some entertainment, otherwise they get depressed and bored and have shorter life spans. It is so cute to see these two beside each other in front of the doors. Today Lilly got just a little too excited when a dove came right up to the door within inches of her nose, she jumped up barking and nearly trampled poor Libby.
Here is a purple finch, (correction- house finch, thanks Lisa)at the feeder in front of the family room window.
So far, since we had the snow fall this past week, I've seen:
House Finches - male and female
Dark-eyed juncos- male and female
Downy Woodpecker- female
Cardinal- male and female
Speaking of the Cooper's hawks, I saw two of them today giving chase through my yard and then swooping down in several of the neighboring yards. I wasn't fast enough with the camera to catch it. I don't think they caught anything.