Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stumped for a Feeder

Despite their ravenous appetites and often demanding nature, birds really aren't that picky. I've noticed this in the past few months as one of my least chic feeders has become my most popular - a simple section of old stump.

I'd been eyeing it for weeks this spring when someone in our neighborhood removed a tree and left several generous sections of thick trunk by the curb, and eventually my husband succumbed to my pleadings and brought home a chunk for me. We did nothing to it other than use a spade drill bit to drill a few dozen half inch deep depressions in the surface - initially that drilling was to check the hardness of the wood in order to hollow out a bowl, but before I got to that hollowing we moved the stump into position near my large backyard hopper feeder and I began using it. To my surprise, those small holes work very well to keep seed from blowing away, and the birds have no trouble removing the tasty bits of hulled sunflower.

Whenever I refill the hopper, I spread a half cup or more of seed directly onto the stump, but it never stays there for long. I've seen quite a few birds make use of this nondescript feeder: house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves, California quail, western scrub-jays, and even one brave black-capped chickadee that briefly clung to the side just as it would have to a live tree. Not only is it a popular feeding spot, but it becomes a queue for the hopper feeder as well.

Discovered first on a whim and quite by accident found to be a great choice, this is now one of my favorite feeders. I've even asked my landscaper to keep an eye open for other trunk sections if he's called to remove trees, and to save them for me. It's an easy way to recycle the wood, and the birds love it! Inexpensive, convenient, and naturally attractive, what's not to love?

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