Why I Feed the Birds

Dead of winter, just got six inches or so of snow, yet hear them sing good morning to me:

65 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up this weekend.

  2. 2

    We feed the birds using our third story small eight by four deck off our bedroom. The double door is top to bottom glass, so we can sit inside and watch the birds. Yesterday one of the local pileated woodpeckers, several of which frequently come for the hanging suet, was hanging off the suet, helping himself, and occasionally taking time to peck at the half dozen starlings standing on the railing, trying to scare him off. The woodpecker is huge, and beautiful. And not impressed with the local neighborhood bullies. (Funny, the editor’s spell check flags spelling of pileated, so I checked, and it is correct.)

  3. 3
    satby says:

    It must be lovely to sit on the deck with coffee on a nice spring morning listening to the birds.

  4. 4
    zhena gogolia says:

    Hmm, your yard doesn’t look as if it has 6 inches in it.

  5. 5
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    It is a shame to befoul a positive open thread with this, but it is the available open thread.

    Anime fans: I learned the craziest shit last night. You know Attack on Titan? The titans are Jews. They’re a specific ethnic group who used to rule the world with their ability to turn into monsters and eat people. I saw a picture from the comic. Hook noses, star arm bands, the whole stereotype, including blood libel with the cannibalism. Now they’re trying to wipe out the last ethnically pure resistance enclave. The creator is a Japanese right-wing ultra-nationalist, and the whole comic/show has been a set-up to justify fascism, Japan’s role in WWII, and the Holocaust.

    I am suddenly relieved I stopped watching it because of the relentless nihilism.

  6. 6
    Citizen_X says:

    Are those compressor birds that are singing?

    (All I can hear is some kind of machine hum.)

  7. 7
    Steeplejack says:

    Possibly rhetorical question: What happened to the “Late Night Horrorshow” post? It disappeared sometime in the last two hours. Now it comes up “Nothing found.”

  8. 8
    FerdfromtheNort says:

    @Citizen_X: I believe that is the Great Northern Cold Diesel bird.

  9. 9
    Steeplejack says:

    It started snowing as I was driving home from dinner last night, and by 10:00 it was coming down enough to coat the cars and grass. Most of it is gone now; it’s just wet and cold (33°) outside. Maybe some more snow or freezing rain later today. A nice day to stay inside.

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: It is.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steeplejack: I just checked on my laptop (Windows running Chrome, then Explorer/Edge) and also on my iPhone (running Chrome, then Safari), and I can see that post and comments. It’s a puzzlement!

  12. 12
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I sit on my porch all hours to do the same, but early morning around dawn is my favorite time.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Still not coming up with Firefox.

  14. 14
    satby says:

    @Steeplejack: yeah, I can’t get to it and Ozark also couldn’t when I asked if anyone else had problems opening it.

  15. 15
    satby says:

    @satby: not coming up in Chrome on my phone either (I use my Kindle with Silk browser mostly).

  16. 16
    Citizen_X says:

    @satby: I can’t get to it either.

  17. 17
    eclare says:

    @Steeplejack: Weird, I just pulled the post up on my Android, and it morphed into nothingness before my eyes.

  18. 18
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t see it either. Chrome / Windows.

  19. 19
    Steeplejack says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I saw it on my phone early this morning—it had about 25 comments up to 6:18—but when I fired up my computer (Win10, Firefox) it came up “Nothing found.” Then when I went back to my phone (Android, Chrome) and refreshed the page I got nothing there, too. Weird.

    ETA: Not so weird for a post to not show up. But it is weird for an active one to spontaneously disappear after being up for several hours.

  20. 20
    satby says:

    @Steeplejack: portends of impending database doom? I hope not.

  21. 21
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Steeplejack: Yeah it comes up ‘Nothing found’ when you click its title on the main page. I’m on my phone running Chrome. Same with Firefox.

  22. 22
    TriassicSands says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Hmm, your yard doesn’t look as if it has 6 inches in it.

    That’s what I thought. Fake news. Sigh.

    It may be my failing hearing but all I could hear was something that sounded like a letter sorter or some other piece of industrial equipment. Very disappointing.

  23. 23
    Baud says:


    Bits in the wind.
    All we are is bits in the wind.

  24. 24
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Baud: I close my eyes. Only for a moment and the thread is gone.

  25. 25
    Ian G. says:

    I feed the birds from November through April. I live in a pretty built-up area so don’t get a lot of species diversity, but it’s still fun to get Cardinals and White-Throated Sparrows, at least.

    I’ve also had a Sharp-Shinned Hawk show up multiple times and have watched it eat s bird it caught at my feeder twice this winter. I’m fine with it, hawks have to eat just as much as sparrows do.

  26. 26
    dmsilev says:

    I have a hummingbird feeder on my balcony. Normally, the birds are aggressively antisocial, spending more time chasing each other away from the feeder than actually using it. Over the last few days, however, there’s been a grouping of some sort (possibly a male with a few females? They have adult coloring, so it’s not a group of juveniles) and I’l see four or so of them all sharing the feeder. Only for a few minutes at a time, however, and then the arguments start again.

  27. 27
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I stayed home and am teleworking. I thought that the weather would be awful in D.C but I’m not seeing any snow on the ground. Oh well. Better safe than sorry since there was a winter weather advisory in effect since last night.

  28. 28
    Ian G. says:


    Hummingbirds are the meanest little bastards imaginable. Getting two males to feed at the same time is impossible, it always ends up a fight with high-pitches twittering.

  29. 29
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    More news about that Global Warming Chinese hoax.

    In the north of my state they’ve had a tropical low sit stationary for the past two weeks. The result was about four and a half feet of rain.

    Aside from the obvious water and property damage, it’s estimated this has drowned around 300,000 cattle.

    It’s just as well global warming is a hoax or we might need to get worried.

  30. 30
    ScottS says:

    FYI to the Powers That Be, this thread from last night can’t be opened…

  31. 31
    satby says:

    Those of you not hearing the birds are missing a treat. They’re chirping, and water is also dripping (snow melting maybe?). Pretty 😊, but a higher pitch than whatever is rhythmically thumping low in the background.

  32. 32
    Lawrence says:

    Tuppence a day

  33. 33
    Ian G. says:

    I should mention how cool winter is for birdwatching down at Jones Beach, which is like a 15 minute drive from my house. All sorts of arctic species show up there in the winter, while the beach basically becomes a wilderness area, in contrast to how crowded it is in the summer. I’ve seen multiple snowy owls, as well as all kinds of arctic ducks (long-tailed ducks are my favorite) and seabirds.

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ian G.: Both male and female Hummingbirds can be very shareful. The trick is getting the numbers up. I will regularly have 25-50 of them at my 3 large sideyard feeders, and they never fight. The simple reason is that chasing off 1 leaves the feeders open for a dozen more. My 2 smaller front porch feeders on the other hand can be a source of bickering from time to time.

  35. 35
    satby says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: that picture is just tragic.

  36. 36
    Yarrow says:

    @satby: I can’t get to it either.

    @Betty Cracker: Are you logged in? Log out, access it as a non-frontpager like the rest of us peons and see if it comes up for you then.

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yarrow: I did try that earlier and could see the post. Just tried it again, and again, I can see it. But when I click, it comes up not found. It’s a mystery.

  38. 38
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty Cracker: It is really odd. It’s still visible from the front page but we can’t get to it.

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    Does anyone know what happened to the late night horror show thread from last night? It shows up in my RSS feed and in the next thread wing on the grammy thread, but it doesn’t seem to exist.

    edit: I see that I am not the first person to ask about this. Never mind.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Yarrow says:

    I found out fairly recently that my neighbor feeds the fucking squirrels. They are such pests. Ugh.

  42. 42
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow: feeds them to his cat, right?

  43. 43
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Nope. Puts out peanuts things like that. I think my jaw was on the ground when I found out. We are inundated with squirrels. They are everywhere and there are plenty of trees that provide food for them. It’s ridiculous to feed them.

  44. 44
    mapaghimagsik says:

    At murdercorp, the peregrine falcons have laid two eggs I don’t think we pay anything for the cameras and such to watch the eggs hatch and the chicks fledge, but it would be interesting if anything around that had to go in front of the bankruptsy judge.

    Its funny to read on the outside about all the turmoil that’s happening and change occuring. At my level, nothing has changed, including the arrogance and greed. At a large meeting where one of the selected norms was ‘act with genuine humility’, we proceeded to list all of the reasons we were proud to either work where we did or be proud of the work we supposedly did or the work we were going to do, or something.

    At the same time, there was some pretty thoughtful discussion around how information in company records can be demonstrably false, ranging from human error in not knowing the process to literal corner cutting to keep management from yelling so much, to out and out greed. Its not that we can’t develop systems that address all of those, and have done so in the past, its a matter of we can’t seem to be bothered, and that until some underfunded, understaffed governance process says its a bad idea, they move forward with it anyway. When something goes wrong, there’s wide-eyed shock that we didn’t know, or why didn’t they tell us sooner! Sure they said there were life-safety implications, but we didn’t know what to do with that information! We have a schedule to meet!

    The culture is toxic, and I’m reminded of Thoreau’s quote: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” I think ‘company’ can replace ‘government’ here. But I’m probably not as just as ‘just man’ Thoreau writes about.

  45. 45
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yarrow: Ha! I used to feed squirrels at my old place. Well, mostly I just let them ransack my bird feeders, but sometimes I’d put peanuts on the windowsill specifically for the squirrels. Just making friends with the local fauna!

    We have so few squirrels at my new place that I don’t bother. I think it’s because there are tons of hawks and owls around here.

  46. 46
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: That’s fucked up

  47. 47
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty Cracker: Maybe if the peanuts were on the windowsill to get the squirrels to sit there and entertain the inside cats I’d understand better. No, the peanuts are out in the yard in a spot that’s not all that easy to see from the back deck. I was gobsmacked.

    We’ve got hawks too. In fact there’s one that’s hanging out in the leafless tree behind my neighbor’s house these days. I can see it from one of my windows. I’m sure it’s thrilled that my neighbor is luring the squirrels to a spot practically underneath it and getting them to sit there for awhile.

  48. 48
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yarrow: Maybe that’s part of your neighbor’s secret anti-squirrel plan!

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    I like this video a lot. The predawn (?) light. Those hardworking birds.

  50. 50
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty Cracker: Ha! I doubt it. My neighbor is the biggest animal softie in the world. Feeds the feral cats, makes sure they have a warm place to go in cold weather, volunteers at the animal sanctuary and so forth. We’ve rescued animals in the neighborhood together. No, the squirrel feeding is out of a misguided idea that the squirrels need extra food. That being said, I’m not going to say anything. Hawks have to eat too!

  51. 51
    Yutsano says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I did the same thing, although I’m not cleared for telework. I’m probably just gun shy right now, but the last couple times I have moved my car in this mess I have gotten stuck in my apartment driveway. And a lot more is coming. Gonna just wait this out for today.

  52. 52
    dimmsdale says:

    life in the big city: feeding birds has been in my family’s DNA since forever; but that was the burbs and this is the city. I did feed for a while when I discovered those suction-cup-to-the-window plexiglass feeders; my flock consisted of house finches, sparrows, every now and then a cardinal or blue jay, some mourning doves, and ….ugh! PIGEONS. I had to stop feeding finally, because of the pigeons, and because the finches (prima donnas that they are) had a habit of hewing out all the millet onto the ground in search of sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, bird seed on the sidewalk under my window equals rats, and that was the end of that. I miss the constant finch chatter, the shriek of the jays, the coo of the mourning doves. Ah well.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    Haroldo says:


    Tuppence a day


  55. 55
    thebewilderness says:

    In addition to the winter birds there is a family of Anna’s hummingbirds that has stayed through the winter the past few years. Tiny fierce dinosaurs pecking the window to inform the server that the breakfast is frozen quite solid. Now all queued up on a branch in the plum tree waiting their turn.

  56. 56
    tobie says:

    @Ian G.: That’s been my experience with humming birds, too, but maybe I’m doing something wrong. @OzarkHillbilly: Good for you for negotiating peace amongst your birds. Last year, I had two feeders in close proximity to each other and eventually had to take one down, since one humming bird, which I named “Deep Throat” because of his coloring, was chasing all the others away and at some point I thought he was going to have a nervous breakdown.

  57. 57
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    My mother loved birds; I regularly gave her feeders, houses, seeds, etc., all of which I inherited when she passed. They are now a mainstay outside my kitchen window. I had been using Heat n’ Sizzle feed to stop the squirrels (tip of the hat to a commentator here for the recommendation) until the cold snap a week and a half ago, when at least 15 starlings descended on my feeders and stripped them clean in about 1 hour. Thanks to the Cornell University Ornithology website, I’ve been starling free after switching to unhulled sunflowers seeds. Get fewer birds, but at least no starlings. The website recommends using anti-starling feed for about two weeks, at which time, being bird-brained, they will forget about my feeders.

  58. 58
    Scotian says:


    Anime fans: I learned the craziest shit last night. You know Attack on Titan? The titans are Jews. They’re a specific ethnic group who used to rule the world with their ability to turn into monsters and eat people. I saw a picture from the comic. Hook noses, star arm bands, the whole stereotype, including blood libel with the cannibalism. Now they’re trying to wipe out the last ethnically pure resistance enclave. The creator is a Japanese right-wing ultra-nationalist, and the whole comic/show has been a set-up to justify fascism, Japan’s role in WWII, and the Holocaust.

    I am suddenly relieved I stopped watching it because of the relentless nihilism.



    Would appreciate a little more in the line of sourcing for this comment please. That is a fairly significant claim/argument you are making, and being an anime fan of decades the fact this is the first time I hearing this (well aside from some extremists on both sides of that everpresent intolerance divide) after years of that series being made, does leave me kinda wondering about the sourcing for obvious reasons. Not disputing, just wanting to know sourcing before I can even know how to take it, let alone challenge it. I’ll check back tonight when I finally get home, as I have a full afternoon out first after I post this.

    P.S. Not a fan of the series myself, so this isn’t an offended fan matter, I’m honestly wondering is this your interpretation, one you ran across, and if the latter, how well did they make the case and I would like to see for myself. As for the writer being a nationalist Japanese, no problem believing that, but to advance the argument you did in toto, well, like I said, I really do not know how to take it without understanding more about the basis of the claim and the sourcing behind it. In particular it is that second to last last sentence which is giving me trouble more than the rest TBH. Sorry…

  59. 59
    MomSense says:

    I feed the birds, too. Last week I saw two asshole squirrels working together to carry a new block of suet out of my feeder. They were crossing the damn street with the thing.

  60. 60
    chopper says:

    that willow is too close to that snow.

    well, somebody had to say it.

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    Not to go all morbid or anything but with the planter boxes barren and snowy the scene looks like a graveyard in progress. In a good way.

  62. 62
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: That’s where Cole used to bury the commenters who bitched about his decorating style, but that seems to have slowed significantly in his new abode. Also buried are those who bitched too regularly about his photography skills, but that bitching, too has slowed with his newer phone.

    Clearly we are letting Cole down.

  63. 63
    NotMax says:


    Aha! Just knew there was a simple explanation I was seeing past.


  64. 64
    sukabi says:

    @zhena gogolia: male measurements.😜

    @John, and not a bird was seen. Nice chirping though😉

  65. 65
    Betsy says:

    In your video I hear a couple of song sparrows, a Carolina wren, and maybe a chickadee.

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