I live in the burbs. With that said, there are some inherent challenges to birding on a home postage stamp of land. Fortunately over the years, I have found little ways around the hurdles of suburb-living and birding. I like to think that I have reached a happy compromise.
At the moment, we are providing feed for a variety of birds and have a running water source behind the back fence where a green-belt has a small water easement tracing the center line. Additionally, the adjacent and contiguous properties have large mature trees along the periphery that are seldom trimmed and provide a lot of cover to the area.
With all that in mind, I have a number of small flowering shrubs along the property that are trimmed in a fashion to allow many covered perches safe from predators and in view of numerous feeders and water sources. At the moment we are running a few different kinds of feeders for different varieties of bird.
- Tube Feeder with weight slide to prevent squirrels and heavier birds from monopolizing access. We generally feed a generic sunflower, millet and native blend.
- Suet cage feeder (soon to be replaced by a caged variety) to provide no-melt varieties with nuts, fruit and assorted bugs.
- Finch feeding station with under perch feeding, filled with Nyjer
- Hummingbird feeder with homemade nectar without coloring or additives
Thus far the assorted feeders have led to a lot of unique sightings. Up to this point we have had both male and female House Sparrow and House Finches, Northern Cardinals, Bewicks Wrens, Doves, Ladder-Backed Woodpeckers, European Starlings, Thushes, Blue Jays, Grackles, Mockingbirds, Hummingbirds and have heard some random bird songs I am yet to identify that do not belong to the birds in the aforementioned list.
With that said, I am trying to work the feeders into an orientation that will slowly eliminate the Blue Jays, Grackles and Starlings as they often intimidate the smaller songbirds and monopolize/waste the feed. I do have to say though that when there are four or five Blue Jays fluttering around it is a pretty sight.
Anyhow, birding in the burbs does present some issues, but I feel like we have an idyllic environment to add some more species tot he mix with changes to our feeders. I’m hoping to see some Chickadees, Titmice, Warblers and Wrens as changes are made. We will see…