Calling All Cardinals!

Since I opened the backyard buffet I have been trying to attract Cardinals. Sure, there are tons of cute titmice and chickadees, but that red bird caught my eye the very first time I visited the property. I knew they were in the woods and had even used my iPhone birding app to call them forth in vain attempts to capture them with my camera. I learned early on that they didn’t care for a typical pegged feeder, they need to either feed on the ground or on a larger flat surface.

This summer I discovered the pottery of Julie Windler at the Norberta Philbrook Gallery – I wrote a post about it here. I loved the glazes and they were perfect for chickadees. I keep one filled with suet and one filled with seed on the buffet.

Julie mentioned hoping to see a shot of a cardinal at one of my feeders and I gave her a few parameters of what I thought they would need to feed. I have been seeing them on the patio or feeding in a pie plate I put out on a table. Julie said she could make me something that would work. It’s very simple, it’s a small plate with three holes to suspend it from with drain holes so that the seed stays dry after a rain. It was a little small so I was skeptical. Right off the bat the titmice loved it.

Today I filled it with songbird food – a mix of seed, fruit and nuts – it actually looks pretty tasty. I settled in with my camera hoping to get a shot or two of something feeding at the new addition. I heard the distinctive sound of larger wings flapping while I was focused on a titmouse feeding nearby. Without moving I looked up and found my first customer at the new station. I actually saw 4 cards at once, but focused on just this pair.

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Mmmmmmm tasty!

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This new feeder really classes up the joint.

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Let me take a look around.

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I think the coast is clear.

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Let me double check.

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No one over that way.

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I’m going in!

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Get your feet off our food, you moron! I can’t take you anywhere!

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Busted.

The Misters and the Missuses

It was a glorious sunny 70+ degree day – perfect for Sunday Brunch at the Bird Feeder Buffet. this weeks special – suet served up to shy woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers are cautious and flighty. But, like most of my guests at the buffet, their appetite urges them onward in spite of their concerns. Interestingly, it seems that the females of the species are the trail blazers in this regard. If you want to know more about these feeders check out my post on feeding woodpeckers here.

The red-bellied woodpecker is a pretty good size bird, a little less than twice the size of a cardinal. It has the saddest call, but the sweetest expression. As new ones stop by the buffet, they always send a scout in first…

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She decides that I’m no threat and digs in.

These feeders are perfect for woodpeckers. Very few birds have the ability to scale tree trunks, so with the exception of the nuthatches they have these feeders all to themselves.

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She’s followed a few minutes later by her mister. He’s been here before, but is skittish and shy, so shy that he tries to sneak around the log instead of just scaling it like his mate. A lot more work for him, but it allows him a better field of vision.

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On the other end of the buffer the downies are feeding. This female is a regular visitor and has almost no fear of me. I shot this from a rocker 6 feet from her.

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Her mate was spotted at the buffet for the very first time yesterday at Sunday Brunch.

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He very carefully checked things out…

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And decided to go for the suet feeder instead.

We do our best to make our guests comfortable at the buffet, but sometimes a fella has to be prepared to eat and run.