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Creating A Bird Sanctuary In Your Yard
March 5, 2005 | sweetliberty

Posted on 03/05/2005 8:07:37 AM PST by sweetliberty

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As it turned out, the previous thread on this topic generated a lot of interest and several people recommended doing it as a regular thread, so here is the second installment.

How you go about creating a bird sanctuary in your yard, or outdoor space, will depend on a number of givens, some which can modified, and others over which you have no control. One of these is geographical location or climate zone. If you live in the Colorado Rockies, you are not going to attract Cardinals, no matter how many black oil sunflower seeds you put out, and if you're on a beach in Florida, it's a pretty safe bet that there will be no snow buntings visiting your yard, the cornucopia of insects notwithstanding. Of course, if global warming keeps encroaching on us, we may soon find Alaska overrun with Parrots and Flamingos, but, I digress.

Within any given area, there are a variety of habitats, so no matter what your specific location, it is possible to vastly increase the types and numbers of birds in your immediate environment by modifying your habitat to make it more bird friendly to a wider array of birds native to your region.

Another "given" is your available space. If you live in a cottage in the woods by a stream, you will obviously have a lot more options available to you than if you live in an urban apartment with nothing more than a small porch or balcony. Of course, I think the majority of us live somewhere between those extremes. The point is, even if you have nothing more than a porch, you can still make it bird friendly, thereby increasing your enjoyment of these highly entertaining creatures. If you don't even have so much as a porch, I would suggest moving!

The purpose of this thread is to share ideas for maximizing our outdoor spaces to make them appealing to birds and butterflies, to share our experiences and knowledge or expertise, photos and resources. The discussion is pretty free-flowing and may expand to include gardening, landscaping and related topics. The direction the thread takes will really be up to the FReepers who post on it. We can focus on a different topic every week or two, or just keep it open and casual, updating the thread periodically. The main thing is that we learn and have fun.

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Link to previous thread:
Attention Bird Gardening Enthusiasts


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Gardening; Hobbies; Outdoors; Pets/Animals; Reference
KEYWORDS: attractingbirds; backyardbirding; birdfeeders; birdgardening; birdhouses; birdlover; birdsanctuary; birdwatching; butterflygardens; gardening
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1 posted on 03/05/2005 8:07:38 AM PST by sweetliberty
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To: sweetliberty

I have a few seed feeders hanging near a muscadine bush, a couple of hummingbird feeders I put out in late spring, a couple of nest boxes. etc...

My next project is some bat boxes to hopefully attract some fruit bats, which eat mosquitos.


2 posted on 03/05/2005 8:13:32 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: sweetliberty

I'm thinking about talking to my neighbor about putting up a martin house in his field. I would put one up in my yard but I have too many trees and Ive read that purple martins don't like to be hemmed in by too many trees.


3 posted on 03/05/2005 8:23:27 AM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: kenth; Knitting A Conundrum; 7.62 x 51mm; bikepacker67; Dysart; texaslil; GodBlessUSA; MEG33; ...
BIRD PING!

If I pinged you to this thread, it is because you posted on the original, or you asked to be on the list. If anyone wants on or off the bird ping list, please let me know.

4 posted on 03/05/2005 8:27:02 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: Vigilantcitizen

I've never seen bats here, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I had honestly never thought of bat boxes until I started the original thread and it was being discussed. As bad as mosquitoes can get here in the summer, especially considering the diseases they can be carrying these days, and the fact that they seem to think I am a gourmet meal, it might not be a bad idea.


5 posted on 03/05/2005 8:30:19 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty
Good Morning! Thanks for your ping!

My computer had gone down again. Before I had an opportunity to back up pictures. In order to get it back going I had to reformat and clear off my hard drive. Drats! Now, I'm reloading what I did have on some disks and going to start taking more. I should have listened to you and saved them onto a website!
6 posted on 03/05/2005 8:31:27 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: cripplecreek

I have juniper hedges, wisteria that runs on the fence, three spruce trees and a walnut tree. Little birds like house finches and chickadees and sparrows love my yard.

I feed with thistle socks, sunflowers in tube feeders, seedcakes and suet blocks in wire feeders, mixed seed in tray feeders.

I used to hang these feeders on the front porch near a forsythia, but now I have moved the winter feeding station to a fence where the wisteria grows. The birds seem to like the shelter of that area better. I have had nuthatches and towhees come to visit, and one day, a falcon of some sort popped into the yard!

I will have to move the main feeding area as the wisteria begins to grow. I just won't be able to keep the tube feeders right where they are, cause the wisteria grows fast! I won't be able to get to the fence.

I have been playing around with what type of plants would make the birds happy, too...I usually get some hummingbirds in.

But I haven't put up any nesting boxes. That might be an interesting thing to do.


7 posted on 03/05/2005 8:32:55 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: cripplecreek
Hi Cripplecreek
That sounds wonderful. I wish I had a huge piece of land to do that. Last spring was the first time I saw Purple Martins. I had gone to a bird sanctuary where they have an open place for them and houses. A place to sit and watch. It was great fun observing them!
8 posted on 03/05/2005 8:34:05 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: cripplecreek

The Purple Martins are back in Texas already. I always clean the houses on the middle weekend of February. I saw the scouts on the 12 of Feb, and had to mess with them for one day. Last weekend, there were 28 Martins on the power lines. Here at work, I saw close to 100 Martins sitting on the power lines last week.

You are correct about the trees being close to the houses. They like and area where they can glide into the houses, with about 100 ft of no obstructions. I live on a golf course, so that is right up their alley.


9 posted on 03/05/2005 8:37:25 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 ("I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for," - Howard Dean 01/29/2005)
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To: sweetliberty
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
10 posted on 03/05/2005 8:41:52 AM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: Hot Tabasco; cripplecreek; LibFreeOrDie; BluH2o; Zacs Mom; pieces of time; EagleMamaMT; ...

Oops! I missed a whole section of the list. Ping to post #4.


11 posted on 03/05/2005 8:46:24 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: cripplecreek

Great shot of Chickadee! Who doesn't love a Chickadee:)


12 posted on 03/05/2005 8:46:36 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: cripplecreek

Great shot! Dang! I've got to get a better camera.


13 posted on 03/05/2005 8:47:07 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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Love is in the air. :)


14 posted on 03/05/2005 8:48:31 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: GodBlessUSA

Peckers in love !!!!


15 posted on 03/05/2005 8:49:38 AM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: sweetliberty
Those mischievous squirrels and other feeder bandits

They're the only ones that are fun to watch! Who cares about the stooopid birds? Seriously, if I'm leaving food out as bait, I'll feed whatever comes around. I don't like people who bait wildlife, and then shoot the kind they don't like.

I feed my rowdy band of squirrels a mix of black sunflower seeds and peanuts.

My red squirrels are the easiest to photograph, they let me get closer, the big grey ones run away.

16 posted on 03/05/2005 8:59:54 AM PST by HairOfTheDog (It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life!)
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To: GodBlessUSA
"I should have listened to you and saved them onto a website!"

Fotki is running a special right now....$25 a year for a premium account...unlimited storage and linking.

17 posted on 03/05/2005 9:04:20 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: GodBlessUSA
I guess the link would helpful.

Fotki special offer

18 posted on 03/05/2005 9:05:52 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: cripplecreek

You might want to go ahead with the martin house on your property.

I have one within 10 feet of some trees. There already are martins in it this year, and martins have nested in it every year since I put it up. Other neighbors in the area with martin houses close to trees are also enjoying success.

The Martins do like to be close to some water, like a pond or even a swimming pool. You often see them drinking "on the fly."


19 posted on 03/05/2005 9:07:57 AM PST by LOC1
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To: Knitting A Conundrum
"But I haven't put up any nesting boxes."

I haven't either. I would like to put up a couple, anyway, for starters. Just not sure what kind.

20 posted on 03/05/2005 9:08:17 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: LOC1

I live on a lake so I already see all kinds of swifts and swallows so martins will feel right at home.


21 posted on 03/05/2005 9:10:40 AM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: HairOfTheDog
I feed the little devils, too. I have a big pan of sunflower seeds and peanuts on the back porch and a couple of squirrel feeders out front. One I fill with sunflower seeds, peanuts or pecans or sometimes a dried corn mixture. The other one I either use ear corn or those specially formulated compressed corn thingies, but they don't seem to like that too much. Plus, I have Oak trees.

I don't mind the squirrels. I enjoy them when they're not eating twice their weight in high priced bird seed daily. It's finding a peaceful coexistence between the birds and the squirrels that has been a problem. I'm getting a handle on it. It has been an investment getting good quality squirrel-proof feeders and baffles and such, and it is a work in progress, but it is worth it. That way, I can enjoy all the critters. And then there's the Grackles. Argggh! One or two wouldn't be so bad, but they travel in flocks and they're looking for someplace to set up housekeeping. I don't want it to be my yard!

22 posted on 03/05/2005 9:19:20 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: GodBlessUSA

The Chickadees are the ones that will sit in the tree just above my head and fuss at me if they think I'm taking too long messing with the feeders.


23 posted on 03/05/2005 9:21:35 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty

ping for later


24 posted on 03/05/2005 9:23:41 AM PST by TruthConquers (Delenda est publius schola)
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To: GodBlessUSA
Awwww....how cute.

I'm seeing a lot of courting behavior around here, too. The Cardinals are getting testier with each other, and the Goldfinches are a hoot. They are SO territorial. I replaced the old finch feeders this morning, and they couldn't wait to stake their claims on the new ones. There were a couple of them trying to claim an entire feeder, even though there are 6 feeder ports on each. I am tempted to get one of the 20 port finch feeders and one of the upside down ones, just for fun.

25 posted on 03/05/2005 9:27:51 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty
I feed hulled sunflower seed chips year round and our yard looks like a major bird sanctuary!

I started using hulled sunflower seed when I lived in an apartment and fed with feeders on my balcony. I couldn't have the mess so many of the regular seed products leave behind so I decided to try the shelled sunflower seed. To my surprise, the hulled seeds attracted not only the usually sunflower eaters but a bunch of different smaller birds that normally would not be able to crack the seed shells.

Our winter guests here in the Dallas area seem to be the same every year - they arrive at about the same time and stay here all winter. Most are still here - they include: Oregon Juncos, Golden Crown Sparrows and the sweet little Winter Wren.

I have a lot of berry baring trees and shrubs so I also get large flocks of robins and cedar waxwings that stay for weeks on end.



My resident Carolina Wrens are just now starting their courting and their songs are simply glorious!

I am watching close to see if I can spot where they decide to set up house keeping this year - a few years ago they actually nested in the flora wreath on my front door!

26 posted on 03/05/2005 9:29:13 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: sweetliberty

Thanks for the ping. I have a problem. Our bird feeders are VERY popular with the local avian population. Unfortunately the seeds, etc are spilled all over the ground and attract rats.


27 posted on 03/05/2005 9:29:55 AM PST by groanup (http://www.fairtax.org)
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To: sweetliberty

I feed for the squirrels, out on open platforms, and I feed a lot of quantity, about a coffee can full a day.

I get the squirrels, a big flock of doves, some jays, and the assortment of small birds I don't know the name of.

What I'd like to know is how to keep the seed that falls on the ground from molding... when it's warm enough, it sprouts, which is fine, but right now I am just getting a lot of mold, and I'm sure that's not good for the birds that are picking through it in the ground.


28 posted on 03/05/2005 9:31:33 AM PST by HairOfTheDog (It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life!)
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To: Zacs Mom

I really want Cedar Waxwings. They are so pretty and unique.


29 posted on 03/05/2005 9:32:07 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: Zacs Mom
"a few years ago they actually nested in the flora wreath on my front door!"

How did you get in and out without disturbing them, or did you use a different door until the little ones were out of the nest?

30 posted on 03/05/2005 9:33:11 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty

lolol...........we roped off the front porch and put up a small sign that directed everyone to the back!


31 posted on 03/05/2005 9:34:54 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: cripplecreek

Last year, I watched him court her. Flickers are really special in how they flirt and show affection.


32 posted on 03/05/2005 9:37:39 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: sweetliberty

I love watching all their courting behavior too. Such fun! I love when the finches get testier too. They are hysterical. We call them the Bickersons.


33 posted on 03/05/2005 9:39:20 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: groanup

Yikes! That's a different sort of a problem. Have you tried using feeder trays to catch what falls on the ground?


34 posted on 03/05/2005 9:39:49 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: HairOfTheDog
LOL! I love those little acrobats!
35 posted on 03/05/2005 9:40:23 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: Zacs Mom
Beautiful shots! I'm dying to see a CedarWaxwing.

I adore Carolina Wrens!
36 posted on 03/05/2005 9:41:58 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: groanup
That is another reason I like the hulled sunflower seeds so much - what falls to the ground is immediately eaten by the mourning doves and other birds that prefer feeding from the ground.

Take heart though.....even if you have attracted rats, you might soon also attract their predators -

They're neat to watch, too!

37 posted on 03/05/2005 9:43:29 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: HairOfTheDog
"What I'd like to know is how to keep the seed that falls on the ground from molding..."

If they're not picking through it sufficiently to eliminate the excess (a lot of what ends up staying on the ground is the hulls), you might try hosing down the area every week or so.

38 posted on 03/05/2005 9:45:12 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty

Saw something really cool at work the other day.....

I was on top of a three story house. A hawk came flying by, about 100 yards away but right at the same height I was. He had a snake in his claws. He flew up to the top of an old pine tree and screched a couple of times. Then another hawk flew to the same tree, took the snake, and flew away.


39 posted on 03/05/2005 9:45:36 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: GodBlessUSA

When the Cedar waxwings arrive here they arrive in the hundreds!! It is wonderful to behold!!! They seem to flock with the robins - they always arrive here together in numbers that astound me! I look forward to their arrival every winter! They also love using the bird bathes which is also really cool to watch.


40 posted on 03/05/2005 9:46:27 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: HairOfTheDog

Hi HairOfTheDog
I have a feeding area for the squirrels too. Sometimes there's a squirrel convention out there. :)

Fortunately, I haven't seen any mold problems here. That's a bummer. I rake up daily or every other day. It's a pain and you may not have the time to get to it. Sometimes I wish I could use a vacuum. :)


41 posted on 03/05/2005 9:46:42 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: Zacs Mom
"we roped off the front porch and put up a small sign that directed everyone to the back!"

I don't blame you. I would have done the same thing.

42 posted on 03/05/2005 9:46:43 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty
I have been feeding one sparrow who has been coming by itself all winter. I put a small handful of bird seed under a patio chair. I do this for the bird's protection. There are crows that perch in nearby trees, and it's been reported that sparrow hawks are swooping down on the birds at feeders in this area.

The sparrow seems comfortable with feeding underneath a chair since it's a protective covering. It comes down every day to see if I've put anything out.

43 posted on 03/05/2005 9:46:52 AM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Zacs Mom

Awesome pics.

See post 39.


44 posted on 03/05/2005 9:47:22 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: sweetliberty

Yes, they do that here too. Isn't that a hoot! They are such friendly little birds. The Chickadees and the Titmice have their own feeder right next the deck where I sit. They get quite use to us.


45 posted on 03/05/2005 9:47:53 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: Zacs Mom; groanup
"even if you have attracted rats, you might soon also attract their predators"

Good point.

46 posted on 03/05/2005 9:48:50 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty

Thank You so much for the link. I'm going to do this today. I can make up the lost bird shots but my kids pictures can't be retaken :(.


47 posted on 03/05/2005 9:48:51 AM PST by GodBlessUSA (To all our Men and Woman in Uniform, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You!)
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To: Vigilantcitizen
"He had a snake in his claws. He flew up to the top of an old pine tree and screched a couple of times. Then another hawk flew to the same tree, took the snake, and flew away."

ROTFL! Bet the first one was PO'd! Were they trying to impress wimmin hawks, you reckon?

48 posted on 03/05/2005 9:50:13 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty
Have you tried using feeder trays to catch what falls on the ground?

No. Seems like the birds would just go to the feeder trays. We live in a very old neighborhood that has become quite popular. Every few years someone builds a few condos on some old growth woods near us (grrrr!) and the rats are flushed out.

49 posted on 03/05/2005 9:50:22 AM PST by groanup (http://www.fairtax.org)
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To: groanup
Thanks for the ping. I have a problem. Our bird feeders are VERY popular with the local avian population. Unfortunately the seeds, etc are spilled all over the ground and attract rats.

Around my feeders, the doves and cardinals leave nothing for the rats on the ground.

50 posted on 03/05/2005 9:50:36 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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