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The birds are back! November 6, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening, homesteading.
Tags: , , , , ,

And so are we, finally, here at Poor Richard’s Almanac. Hurricane Sandy has restored our power at last. What a relief! What a relief to have running hot and cold water, plumbing, showers, light, heat, cooking, refrigeration, internet access, television, you name it. But the most amazing thing has been the return of the feeder birds.

Sandy apparently blew in all our typical winter feeder birds: the juncos, titmice, chickadees, bluejays, cardinals, house finches, goldfinches, nuthatches, woodpeckers, mourning doves, and so on, along with the residual robins, Canada geese, snow geese, and other migrants. 

Given how cold it is, we’ve been setting out plenty of food for the travelers: black oil sunflower seeds in our tube feeder, mesh feeder, and cabin feeder; peanut-suet blocks in the squirrelproof suet feeder; striped sunflower seeds and mealworms in our tray feeder. It is simply astonishing to see the birds gathering ’round for the morning buffet.

But the other surprise was the birds’ enthusiasm for the English ivy. When we bought Hawk’s Haven, English ivy covered many of the mature trees on the property. It actually flowered and set seed, something few of us have ever seen, something that our feeder birds relished. But this year, we saw the birds take full advantage of the ivy, not just as a food source but as cover from predators. to see the small feeder birds dart into the ivy to take cover from hawks and other predators was simply amazing. Forget ripping out this invasive species! Let’s give it a chance to save our beloved native birds.

Are your feeder birds back?



1. William - November 6, 2012

Glad you survived Sandy. We suffered a ‘harsh’ 27 hours without electricity.

I would like to speak on the behalf of my son (working on a Hornaday award) and English ivy. It is very damaging to your trees and other plants. Like other invasive species such as Japanese Barberry, they eliminate native vegetation through out competing, and this in turn affects the animal life like the birds.

Don’t mean to be overbearing with the invasive species comments.

No worries, William, there’s a solid body of evidence against invasives of all types and stripes. Good luck for your son’s Hornaday!

2. narf77 - November 6, 2012

There are good and bad sides to everything…it’s our place to see the middle ground. If you want ivy…have ivy. Manage the problem and enjoy the benefits :). Glad to see you back along with the birds.

Thanks, Fran!

3. sensiblegardening - November 6, 2012

Glad to see things are returning to normal for all of you. It’s amazing the birds survive a storm like that so well.

I agree! There seem to be more feeder birds than ever. We’re just thrilled!

4. nikki - November 7, 2012

I lost your address, because of a computer problem about a year ago. I just found you again today. I’m so glad you are ok and that Sandy has not done any real harm, outside of loss of power, water, etc. As far as the invasive ivy, we have to deal with these issues all over the country. Invasive fish, insects, snakes and animals are every where now. With a warmer climate, armadillo’s are moving farther north than they have been able to live before. This is an invasive species in Missouri and soon will come even farther north, if the winters continue to stay mild. There will be a big change in agriculture if we can’t stop them, but they are moving despite it all. The fact is things are changing, but they always have. They are just changing faster in this moment. We have to learn how to live with the changes, just as the birds are learning to adapt. Some will not survive, some will thrive. I’m not saying invasive species are a good thing and let’s bring it on. Just that the birds will have to deal with this ivy every where else, not only in your backyard. So, to find a good thing about it, isn’t a bad thing, if you get my drift. Bless your hearts for feeding the birds, they are over looked by so many.

Hi Nikki, we’re so glad you’ve found us again! You’re so right about the invasives and the birds. As for armadillos, I think I read or heard that they’re now vectors of leprosy, so people should avoid them in general and not eat them (as Anthony Bourdain did on one episode of his show “No Reservations”).

5. William - November 7, 2012

There is no good side to invasive species. Native species competing die off and the animals and insects relying on the native species will reduce in number if not die off as well.

Again, nice to have you back on line.

This is such a good point, William, and one we haven’t made here, that invasive species don’t simply displace (or, in the case of plants like kudzu, kill) native plants, but they threaten populations of native birds, insects, and other wildlife by outcompeting their food sources.

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