Any time I toss out scraps of bread, stale cookies, or things like that, within minutes, a small flock of seagulls begins to circle our back yard, slowly spiraling down until one or two decide to land on the feeding platform and start grabbing at the day’s buffet.
After a couple weeks of squirrels and then birds hopping around on these two platforms, looking around for food (and with the squirrels actually making eye contact through the window, as if to say “You open yet?”), I finally put some seed out on Saturday and the uneaten crusts of a couple of peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches yesterday.
I'm running around trying to get a huge list of things done today, so for now, here's a peek at the goldfinches again - they landed just outside our kitchen door yesterday. Bill noticed them first and I grabbed my camera and crept to the door in slo-mo so as not to frighten them away.
Earlier this month I bought some suet and made some suet cakes for the birds.
Suet is beef fat, and can be purchased at the grocery store over in the (anyone?) beef section.
It's incredibly cheap, too.
So, what do you do with the suet?
My parents have always just put the suet out in some sort of suet feeder - some kind of metal cage - and let the birds have at it. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you're going to do that, the weather outside should be very very cold, otherwise the suet - or raw fat - could become rancid. Ick.
So why give the birds suet if it might become stinky and gross?
Because fat = calories = warmth for the tiny, feathered creatures out there, and in the winter, when food is scarce and temperatures are low, every little bit helps.
The other day Bill and I were outside looking at the gardens and cursing whatever creature had the nerve to chomp two baby tomato plants. Well, Bill was doing the cursing. I was sipping my coffee like a civilized person and listening to all the different birds chirping in the surrounding trees.
And then I saw a flash of red go by me and into the overgrown hedge that leans into our yard from our neighbor's yard. I heard movement in there - a busy fluttery sound - and as I stared at the branches, I figured out what was going on.
What follows is a possibly unbearable series of pictures of seagulls. I just get a kick out of them flocking in my yard and, better yet, landing on the little feeding platforms to gobble up stale bread and broken cookies.
Photos of gulls on the platforms are after the jump.
If I don't put peanuts and birdseed out on time, he's sitting out on one of the platforms, staring at me through the kitchen window. Waiting. He doesn't tap his foot, but he seems like he might at any moment.
When I first came down to the kitchen this morning, there was this one, lone junco sitting on the platform you see in the picture above. Only there was snow on the platform, a couple inches deep, and nary a seed to be found.
Earlier this week I was talking to my Mom on the phone, and somehow we got on the subject of birds, and which ones had been showing up in our yards lately. Now, the back of my parents' yard is up against protected land, which is wooded, and so they get LOTS of birds on their feeders. They also have a LOT of feeders, offering every kind of seed imaginable. They get lots of woodpeckers and gorgeous goldfinches, besides all the sparrows and finches and blue jays and starlings and so forth. Mom asked if I'd had any cardinals, and I hadn't, yet. Neither had she, which is odd, considering the location and the menu available.
And then, later that day, I looked out my kitchen window and saw him: