A month or two ago, we finally hung out the bird feeder, purchased a year or two ago, on a tree in the backyard. We placed it near a suet feeder, which had been suspended in the same vicinity for several months but hadn't attracted much interest from avians. We hoped to attract a wide […]

A month or two ago, we finally hung out the bird feeder, purchased a year or two ago, on a tree in the backyard. We placed it near a suet feeder, which had been suspended in the same vicinity for several months but hadn't attracted much interest from avians.
We hoped to attract a wide range of species, and that was certainly the case once local birds discovered the newest bird feeder in the neighborhood. It's not much different than when a new restaurant opens in town, and everyone flocks there.
We occasionally see a red-headed woodpecker visiting the suet feeder, along with cardinals, both male and female. We have spotted many mourning doves and innumerable house finches. Robins settle for whatever falls on the ground. Various species of sparrows, likewise, dine at the feeder or forage for seed on the ground.
Ground feeding birds especially benefited after the grackles arrived. These birds spent most of their time knocking seed out of the feeder onto the ground. With the grackles at work, the volume of the bird seed mixture quickly dropped from full to zero. For a while, the grackles dominated both the feeder and our backyard. Subsequently, I bought a large bag of black oil sunflower seeds, which is much cheaper than a bird seed mixture.
Next came the squirrels. It took only a week or so before the squirrels discovered the backyard buffet. I didn't really have a problem with feeding the birds and the squirrels, until I came out one morning and discovered the bird feeder lying on the ground, broken into three pieces, with black oil sunflower seeds scattered everywhere.
It was time for a change in our bird feeding strategy.
So I purchased two bird feeders at Orscheln: one was a Pest Off Bird Feeder designed to allow only songbirds to feed; the other was a smaller version of the broken bird feeder, which we hung in a different spot, hopefully where the squirrels wouldn't be able to wreak havoc upon it.
So far, this strategy has been working. The squirrels haven't yet figured out how to feed from or destroy the Pest Off feeder and simply forage on the ground, like many other bird species. The squirrels can still be mischievous, of course. I recently saw a pair, one on guard near the black oil sunflower seeds scattered on the ground, and the other chasing off Eurasian collared doves.
Since putting in the feeders, we've added a bird bath in our quest to create a backyard haven for our winged visitors.
In my opinion, nature always provides a much better show than anything you'll find on television, video, or a personal electronic device.