Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Hungry Birds of Summer

It's here, the heat, that is, with a high of 106 predicted for Friday. The critters really appreciate the plant saucers full of water that we've put in a few places in the yard,

the various plants that provide food and shade, and of course the birds love the feeders. We've had visits from both male and female orioles, possibly the pair that raised a brood last summer (see and for pictures) and I've been looking into oriole feeders online. Pricey, and I think I can modify a wooden bird feeder kit I bought some time ago (on a closeout for a couple of bucks) to suit the purpose. In the meantime, I found oranges four pounds for a dollar at a local market and have hung them up for the birds' dining pleasure and our viewing pleasure. Orioles love oranges, but I haven't seen them on these. However, we've learned that Gila woodpeckers
 and house finches also love oranges.
 All I did was cut the oranges in half and use a long plastic yarn needle to pierce from north to south and east to west, threading two long pieces of twine through, one in each direction. Gather the 4 ends together at the top and tie an overhand knot, then hang it from something, a hook under overhang outside a window (below) or from a rib of a patio umbrella (the ones above, with the birds).
Or just wedge a half in between some branches where it won't be easily knocked out (below); this is in a mesquite tree, about 4 feet above the ground. A few days ago I saw a Gila woodpecker feeding its chick from this one. The youngster hung to the trunk with its mouth open waiting to be fed bits of orange - I must have sat watching them for a good five minutes. And it really was a very good five minutes, but of course I didn't have the camera handy.
Maybe next time.