We didn’t plan to feed the wild birds when we moved here twenty-five years ago. It’s just winter birds have such a hard time finding enough to eat when it snows. So I tossed out some scratch feed by the barn.
Watching the birds was fun. Juncos, chickadees, sparrows and cardinals became regulars every morning.
There’s a window in the kitchen looking out at the back yard. This was the perfect place for a feeder so we put up a platform.
In the snow the tray was full of white stuff. In the rain the seeds went swimming. I built a roof.
Over the years our feeder has never been fancy. The birds don’t seem to care. The big tray holds sunflower seeds. The dog dish holds scratch feed. A water pan is there when it won’t freeze. Otherwise the creek and a spring fed pond are close by.
The local NPR station had a weekly bird commentary. Mike Doyan mentioned peanut butter. So we put out a lump on a half brick.
This year we are trying some suet. It took weeks to get them to try it. The birds like cheap peanut butter better. They prefer cheap generic peanut butter to natural stuff.
Over the years the population of birds has changed and increased. We feed year round. Winter birds are still the favorites.
Our winter birds now include mourning doves, cardinals, juncos, chickadees, sparrows, nuthatches, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and purple finches. They line up on the feeder and in the nearby trees in the morning waiting for breakfast to arrive.
And it does arrive. When snow is on the ground, the feeder is packed with birds coming and going. The sunflower seeds need replenishing in the afternoon.
We have a new, larger kitchen window now. Standing there watching the feeder can delay meals. It is wonderful entertainment for us and a life saver for the winter birds.
Find out more about our bird feeding adventures in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”