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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #1
Vixen89
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Default Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

So I bought a little bird post station and a feeder with some seeds. Plan to add a bath for them soon..how far away should the bird feeder be from my patio? I want to be able to watch them but at the same time make sure they don't fear me putting up the camera. LOL Also does it matter if the water is cold / hot in the bath? I mean if I leave the water out and change it everyday the Texas weather would make it extremely crazy hot in a matter of minutes. How often should I change the seeds too by the way? Weekly? Sorry for all the new questions, I never really done anything like this, this is my terrible attempt into trying to lure them to me too! xD

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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #2
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

Looks like the backyard buffet is getting business already. Good for you. You don't have to change out the feed. Word gets around and you'll be filling the feeders regularly.

It seems the more space you put around the feeding station, the harder it is to attract birds. The birds like to fly into a nearby tree or bush, check out the surroundings and if everything looks safe, they'll make the jump to the feeder. If it's out in the wide open, not much safefy for them.

If you plan to put a chair out and shoot the birds from close range, some will let you, others won't come near if you're out there. Black Capped Chickadees are oblivious to anyone. They'll land 3 feet from you and go about their business like you're not there. Cardinals won't. If I'm on the back deck, they fly in, see me and head off in the other direction. Not sure the American Goldfinches you have there would feed if you were close either.

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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #3
Vixen89
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

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Originally Posted by snyderman View Post
Looks like the backyard buffet is getting business already. Good for you. You don't have to change out the feed. Word gets around and you'll be filling the feeders regularly.

It seems the more space you put around the feeding station, the harder it is to attract birds. The birds like to fly into a nearby tree or bush, check out the surroundings and if everything looks safe, they'll make the jump to the feeder. If it's out in the wide open, not much safefy for them.

If you plan to put a chair out and shoot the birds from close range, some will let you, others won't come near if you're out there. Black Capped Chickadees are oblivious to anyone. They'll land 3 feet from you and go about their business like you're not there. Cardinals won't. If I'm on the back deck, they fly in, see me and head off in the other direction. Not sure the American Goldfinches you have there would feed if you were close either.

dave
That sounds great, and I didn't even think about them hopping to bushes and trees. I have a typical garden bush sitting behind the house I can move the feeder too or will all the open space be not good for the birds? *see attachment I've only seen crows, blue jays, and cardinals in my area when I can but other than that does it matter what kind of seeds I get? I was going to buy a bag that said midwest birds seeds, but just grabbed the colorful birds bag instead. o-o

also here is my failed attempt at getting a cardinal in action.
1/320 f/4 iso 800

birdie_cropped by Vixxie PWI, on Flickr


Picture 1 by Vixxie PWI, on Flickr
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

Is there any way you can rig a water drip into your birdbath? The sound of water is like a magnet to birds and the drip keeps the water cool and fresh. A safe, photogenic perch is important for the birds to land on, coming and going from the feeder setup. See this blog for some tips from a master at perch techniques: http://alanmurphyphotography.com/blog/

Don't neglect to consider the sun angle when placing your feeder, you want the sun behind your back. There are some recent threads on this subject in Birds and in Bird Talk, iirc.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #5
Vixen89
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

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Originally Posted by mikeivan View Post
Is there any way you can rig a water drip into your birdbath? The sound of water is like a magnet to birds and the drip keeps the water cool and fresh. A safe, photogenic perch is important for the birds to land on, coming and going from the feeder setup. See this blog for some tips from a master at perch techniques: http://alanmurphyphotography.com/blog/

Don't neglect to consider the sun angle when placing your feeder, you want the sun behind your back. There are some recent threads on this subject in Birds and in Bird Talk, iirc.
Wow thanks a lot for the blog, I think I'm going to rig some branches to the bird feeder station and some off the fence going to the feeder if I can..but here's my problem about the sun, the sun shines to the right of the patio right when you step into the backyard. I guess I will just have to sit on the opposite side and hide in my parents veggies..LOL


rokinon_raw-13 by Vixxie PWI, on Flickr
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #6
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

It depends on the species. Niger feeder for Goldfinches an Pine Siskens can be within 6 ft of a window that you would observe through, same with humming bird. Other seed feeders for finches, Nuthatches, Chickaddes and others weve had about 10 feet away. At least this has been my experience.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #7
Vixen89
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

10 ft. sounds good, I wanna be able to attract any, I also read not to put the bird bath/feeder by the bush, something bout evil kitties attacking them..and we have a lot of strays that go into my backyard too. I'm trying to come up with an idea to rig the water dripper..does it really have to be used from another source ? I was hoping I could find like a portable unit to suck water from a bottle and runs on batteries.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

My wife changes the 4 water dishes we put out almost every day. It is a commitment that pays off. Have the feeders and water such that the cats can't get to close undetected.

We put out black oiled sunflower seeds and suit.

In our back yard in Seattle we get or have seen the all the birds in this link:
http://www.christinevadai.com/backyard_birds.htm

Our back yard is secluded and is about 25 X 40 feet.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #9
Duane N
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

One thing I would recommend is to clean the feeders every so often (I clean mine about every 2 weeks or so) by using bleach and water (be easy on the bleach) then rinse well. This will keep the feeders disease free because a lot of birds visit a feeder and can transfer disease this way. Keep you water supply and bird bath clean as well...I clean mine daily. No worries about hot (abient temperatures) or cold water...they're used to water being hot or cold.

I have Cardinals, Titmice, Robins, Blue Jays, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Doves, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers etc. that could care less I'm out on the deck photographing them...they're used to me being out there and I feed them very well.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #10
Vixen89
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by windpig View Post
My wife changes the 4 water dishes we put out almost every day. It is a commitment that pays off. Have the feeders and water such that the cats can't get to close undetected.

We put out black oiled sunflower seeds and suit.

In our back yard in Seattle we get or have seen the all the birds in this link:
http://www.christinevadai.com/backyard_birds.htm

Our back yard is secluded and is about 25 X 40 feet.
That sounds good, I'll change the water daily after I get off from work, I figured the sun would just evaporate the water that's sitting out fast anyways. By the way, love the American Robins from the link, hope to see one someday in person! I really don't know how big our backyard is, I just know it can't be in a place my dad will yell at me for putting up the bird station..D:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane N View Post
One thing I would recommend is to clean the feeders every so often (I clean mine about every 2 weeks or so) by using bleach and water (be easy on the bleach) then rinse well. This will keep the feeders disease free because a lot of birds visit a feeder and can transfer disease this way. Keep you water supply and bird bath clean as well...I clean mine daily. No worries about hot (abient temperatures) or cold water...they're used to water being hot or cold.

I have Cardinals, Titmice, Robins, Blue Jays, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Doves, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers etc. that could care less I'm out on the deck photographing them...they're used to me being out there and I feed them very well.

Good luck and have fun.
Would using dishwashing soap be poisonous to the bird feeder/bath? I can use bleach, I just need to know how much and if I can also use a scrubbing sponge or something - I know bleach is way more dangerous to animals ..or at least that's what I heard. I think the birds will just have to get used to me and thanks for the cleaning tips too! I'll probably do a daily cleaning on the water, and clean the feeder everytime it goes empty (which I hope will be daily knowing the birds are coming).
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

Wash without soap and then a mild bleach solution to sanitize.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #12
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

youre gonna be producing some great photos soon.
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Old 22nd of June 2012 (Fri)   #13
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane N View Post
One thing I would recommend is to clean the feeders every so often (I clean mine about every 2 weeks or so) by using bleach and water (be easy on the bleach) then rinse well. This will keep the feeders disease free because a lot of birds visit a feeder and can transfer disease this way. Keep you water supply and bird bath clean as well...I clean mine daily. No worries about hot (abient temperatures) or cold water...they're used to water being hot or cold.

I have Cardinals, Titmice, Robins, Blue Jays, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Doves, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers etc. that could care less I'm out on the deck photographing them...they're used to me being out there and I feed them very well.

Good luck and have fun.
Glad you brought this up, I need to do it.
For the OP, I put out a few hanging feeders, they worked well and slowly moved them closer to the house. But having a perch mounted to the store bought hanging rig moved way to much for photos.

So I got a platform feeder and made a clamp on rig for easy changing of different types of perches over it. Now when they land, getting ready to jump down to the feeder, everything is rock solid and doesn't move around.

I was watching out the window this week and noticed a couple birds with short legs, thinking what in the world? then it hit me, honey had put enough black oil sunflower seed in there to drown them. LOL

But you should try some of the black oil sunflower seed. Our birds love it. At times there's eight or so in it at once. Then one will do a swoop and scare em off.

They seem to like feeding in the shade around here on hot days, I've tried sunny spots that didn't work as well.

As for how close they will come to a window? I put one of the hanging feeders with in inches of the window and they will get all over it too.

The platform feeder holds the seed well also. The hanging feeders go empty pretty fast.
But at the moment I have both, don't mind the seed on the ground, some birds like it there.

Ground feeding birds are using the platform also, I like that.
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Old 23rd of June 2012 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

the birds in my yard will empty a large feeder in about 12 hours. I have upwards of 40 birds (mostly house sparrow) that just eat all day.
I have shot a few photos of the birds on the feeder but I really dont like the quality there. so I just shoot them in the trees behind my house if it has been a few days since I was out someplace else to shoot pics.
Gotta get my fix somehow.

I think that even getting a pie pan full of food/seed and placing it on something about a foot or 2 below a NICE perch would work perfectly.
just sit about 15 ft back and be ready (the monopod works nicely for this and a tripod would be even better).

I still havent set my backyard up yet, but I will eventually.
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Old 23rd of June 2012 (Sat)   #15
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Default Re: Attempting to bird watch in my backyard - Any Advice?

I recently ran out of bird food and in the mean time put crushed corn and peanuts in my trough-like feeder I made. Its a blast to see the small birds take the giant peanuts. If you live in Texas you can also look into a solar powered bird bath as I'm sure you get plenty of sun.
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