Turkey Time!

Well, the turkey characters are at it, again! Up they come each morning even  before sun up, looking quite fit and hale, and gobbling for breakfast.  At Winding Pathways we get a kick out of the web pages and sporting flyers that detail all the equipment one needs to bag a turkey and how early one has to get up to beat the turkeys out of bed.  Special camo clothes, calls, camo guns, shells. To the credit of the web sites, they do offer intriguing information on strutting, clutches of eggs, turkey senses, and habitat. A Kidzone site shares an interesting story of the “mix-up” of the name. and, of course, Audubon gives a great set of pictures and details about turkeys.  All fun reading.

From the comfort of our home, we sip our coffee and watch a crew of seven meander up from the ridge where they roosted and another eight that saunter over from the neighbor’s trees.  Then, it is the Sharks and the Jets (think West Side Story) as they squabble over the seed tossed out – not for them – but for the song birds. Or look at us with pathetic longing, trying to make us think they are starving.  Ha!

Meanwhile, the less dominant males slide in for a feast.

Same with mating. The dominant males strut and intimidate and the less aggressive males sidle up to a female that is ready and mate. Maybe we will eventually have less pushy turkeys.

Enjoy this gallery of winter and spring turkey antics.

POOP POSTS HELP SOLVE BIRD FEEDING PROBLEM

There’s a simple solution to two problems often encountered by people who feed birds in their backyards. Either few birds visit the feeder or the darn birds perch on deck chairs and poop on the furniture.

Birds shun a backyard feeder for many reasons, but the most common is lack of habitat. Birds mainly visit feeders with a wide array of trees, shrubs and grasses with water close by. Offer expensive gourmet bird feed in poor habitat and few birds will come. Those that do will usually be English sparrows and pigeons.

Birds prefer perching on natural branches while waiting their turn to hop on a feeder. If few branches are around they’ll often use outdoor furniture and make a mess.

The long term solution to both problems is to plant a diversity of trees, shrubs, tall grasses and wildflowers in the yard. These can take years to mature. A short term solution is to erect what Winding Pathways calls “Poop Posts.” Scrounge a few dead branches eight or ten feet long, dig a hole and “plant them” in the yard about a dozen feet from feeders and away from furniture. These fake trees give birds a place to perch and when they poop it becomes lawn fertilizer. Come spring simply remove the sticks.

Give yourself and your feathered friends a break and set a poop post in the ground before freeze-up.

BASIC BIRDFEEDNG IN A NUTSHELL

One late October afternoon we set up a few bird feeders in the back yard. Within minutes a procession of nuthatches and chickadees began feasting on sunflower seeds. It amazed us how quickly the birds were able to locate seeds. Gifted with amazing eyesight and intimate knowledge of their territory, birds watch every move humans make and seize any opportunity for free breakfast.

Setting up a backyard feeder brings colorful wildlife to brighten otherwise dreary winter days. Bird feeding is amazingly popular. Upwards of half of American households put out at least a few seeds. It is an outstanding activity to involve a child in.

Bird feeding can be amazingly simple and inexpensive or complex and costly. This blog covers just the very basics. Specific bird feeding tips and bird information will be posted often on the subscription part of the Winding Pathways Website.

Sometimes people wonder why few birds visit their feeders. Usually, it’s simply because their yard is devoid of diverse plants that support different bird species. An array of trees, shrubs and ground level plants provide birds with food and places to hide. Anyone wishing to attract a diversity of birds should landscape for them. That can be a multi-year project. In the short term putting some discarded Christmas trees or brush in monoculture yard will help attract them.

Offering several types of food in a variety of feeders also enhances success. One of the best feeders is a picnic table. Just scatter sunflower seeds on it. Cardinals, in particular, like to feed on a large flat surface and rarely visit silo type hanging feeders. We put out suet for woodpeckers, sunflower seed for a diversity of species, corn for squirrels, millet for doves, and corn for our squirrel friends. But, if we had to choose just one type of seed and feeder they would be black oil sunflower scattered on the picnic table!

To read more about birdfeeding, subscribe now!

Already a member? Log in.