I confess. My wife and I are both guilty of committing bribery for personal gain. Each year we expend several hundred dollars in order to obtain uncounted hours of personal entertainment. Perhaps we do peripherally share some of the benefits with our neighbours. However the vast majority of the gain is strictly for our own pleasure. Gosh no, it’s not adult entertainment! This is a family story for goodness sake.
While the motive for our admitted bribery is purely selfish, we like to believe we are giving a few of our fellow earthly inhabitants an easier life in what can be a cruel world.
So what’s all this mystery about? Nothing spectacular whatsoever. Purely the mundane activity of feeding birds and critters in the backyard. We are both retired and take great pleasure in the hours we can spend sitting in our sun porch in the summer and family room in the winter watching their antics. In order to entice them into the yard we bribe them with a source of fresh water and several feeders containing a limited variety of food.
We found having several feeders with different foods helps to attract a wider variety of birds and reduces the squabbles over who is higher in the pecking order.
Our backyard. The feeders from left to right:
- a hanging hopper feeder with medium size sunflower chips
- a small hopper on the fence for whole peanuts
- a hanging log with holes drilled in it which are filled with peanut butter
- a large hopper feeder mounted on the fence with black oil sunflower seeds
- a tray on the ground for striped sunflower seeds and peanut bits and pieces
- a small hopper with medium sunflower chips on the fence
- a heated water bowl on a pedestal which is the base for a bird bath in the summer
- a feeder with a hole in the bottom for whole peanuts
- two metal cages for suet cakes
- another small hopper with medium sunflower chips mounted on the fence
- a nyjer seed feeder hanging on the corner of the shed
- a hanging tray for whole peanuts and peanut bits and pieces
Sure there are lots of other feeders and foods we could use but these work for our guests!
We are also fortunate to have a nice patch of deciduous forest behind our yard which provides plenty of cover close to the feeders. A downside is that we don’t get too many birds that like coniferous habitat, ’cause our mugo pine and the neighbour’s white spruce just don’t cut it for them!
However, we still have a fair variety of creatures come to visit. We managed to capture some portraits of a sampling of the winter population over the two weeks of the Christmas holidays.
And that, folks, is a two week glimpse of the bird world from our window!
Bribery sure does have its benefits. Cost of bird food – cheaper than pet food and no vet fees! Effort to keep up the feeders – minimal! Hours and hours of breakfast/lunch/dinner theatre – priceless!
- by Christina and Jamie McQuarrie, EALT Volunteers