January 4, 2019
| Gwen Coleman’s Feeder Set-up |
For the third season in a row, Cornell Lab and our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited are rewarding registered FeederWatchers with BirdSpotter prizes. After entering bird counts (aka data) into the FeederWatch website, participants have the opportunity to share a story, memory, or tip. Our second Data Entry contest prompt was:
What has helped you to become a better FeederWatcher? Do you have advice for people looking to get better at attracting, identifying, or counting birds?
Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Gwen Coleman! Gwen says that using a special anti-squirrel set-up and keeping separate feeder areas according to what different species eat has helped her in watching and counting the birds. Gwen writes:
I have a big flat area where I throw a lot of peanuts in shells and crackers and corn, which is where all the Blue Jays, crows, and many of the squirrels wait for me every morning. Once the big corvids are distracted, I […] put down all the ground seed for the doves, juncos, and other, smaller ground feeders. I have an absolutely squirrel-proof contraption that keeps the squirrels off all my hanging feeders; it is a series of 1-liter soda bottles strung end to end, about 25 of them, between a tree and the house. Then, I hang the feeders on the wire running through the bottles, so all the birds who eat at the feeders can eat free of squirrel harassment. Any squirrel who tries to climb out over the bottles is immediately spun off. They gave up trying years ago. I have two platform feeders where everybody gets to try their luck at the morning’s allotment of shelled peanuts. Needless to say, I spend a small fortune on bird seed and peanuts, but we don’t drink or go out much, so this is our entertainment budget. It’s worth it to us.
You can create separate “feeder groups” in your count site too. Take a look at our Common Feeder Birds tool to sort out which birds come to each type of feeder, and those that eat each kind of food. For more tips, including additional squirrel deterrent strategies, check out our Feeding Birds page.
Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their stories! Participants can still submit their story to our latest prompt. Enter to win on the Count Summary page that appears after you submit your next FeederWatch count online at FeederWatch.org. Interested in becoming a FeederWatcher? Join the fun and you could win great prizes!