Edited: Since I posted this in June, all feeders in this neck of the woods have been taken down because of the trichomoniasis parasite that has been spreading. I have no idea how long it will be until we'll be able to put them up again (one year? two?). We're still seeing finches and other songbirds around the house; we just don't get views quite as close.
We've added some bird feeders to our life over the past few months. We hadn't had any since moving from our previous house, and I had no idea how much they would improve our experience here! Of course, chickens are my first feathered loves, but woodpeckers, chickadees, purple finches (they're clearly red - why are they called purple?) and goldfinches are so delightful! We also have a pair of "funny birds" (as of yet unidentified - some kind of thrush?) who sing the prettiest songs and appear to find us really interesting when they crane their little necks to look into the dining room, cocking their heads from side to side. We also have ducks visit the pond regularly, geese and herons fly over, there is a pair of bald eagles at the lake, and occasionally turkey vultures or hawks glide over (prompting the rooster to round up the hens and whisk them off to safety).
The feeder setup that we have is small and manageable, but does attract the birds without making much mess. It probably also helps that the chickens sometimes wander up to the house and clean up any stray seeds lingering underneath.
We have a clear plastic feeder on the dining room window, which I fill with black oil sunflower seeds. This one is great because somehow the suction cups don't lose suction, and we can get a really close look at the birds. We have a hanging wire suet block feeder a bit further from the house, which we often see woodpeckers at, and another small feeder holding black oil sunflower seeds. The most recent addition is a pretty glass hummingbird feeder - and the hummingbirds have found it! I caught a quick blurry picture one evening when they were here, bathed in golden sunset light.
The chickens love sunflower seeds as an occasional treat, and we can buy the seeds in bulk at the feed store. I like the simplicity of buying one thing and sharing it amongst all of the birds, and I also love that if a seed falls and makes it to the blooming stage, it's so very, very cheery. (Remember this post from a couple of years ago?)
Standing at the window and watching a tiny little hummingbird relaxing onto the perch and having a drink totally triggers that feeling that all is well. (I wrote a bit more about this awhile back.)
Practical notes on hummingbird feeders: if you're not able to clean it well and refill it often, plant some hummingbird-friendly flowers instead! Bacteria quickly multiply in dirty feeders and can make the hummingbirds ill. Also, I think it's better to feed them clear solution made at home than solution with artificial colouring. Homemade solution is simple; I just dissolve 1/2 cup sugar into 2 cups warm water, and it fills my feeder perfectly. The hummingbirds will still come to your feeder even if the main part is clear; it's the red flowery looking bits that they feed from that attract their attention. Enjoy!
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