I spent a couple of hours deep cleaning all of our feeders last night. We’re reconfiguring the mix of food we’re offering to attract the widest variety of birds this fall. The tube feeders now contain shelled peanuts, a nyjer blend, a “no mess” blend, and fine sunflower hearts (aka “bird crack”). The “no mess” blend contains sunflower chips, hulled white millet, and shelled peanuts. It’s a good one to have in your feeders when White-crowned Sparrows return in the fall. Finches don’t eat the millet, which they throw on the ground for the sparrows and Morning Doves, neither of which will normally sit on posts.
We also have a hopper feeder and tray feeder. We’ve switched over to “no mess” in the hopper, and we’re offering whole black oil sunflower along with suet balls in the tray. Both of these feeders are more attractive than tube feeders to birds that don’t comfortably perch on posts and prefer to feed on the ground or larger surfaces.
So far this fall we’ve seen lots and lots of Gold Finches and House Finches, good numbers of White-breasted Nuthatches, increasing numbers of White-crowned Sparrows, Oak Titmice, Black Phoebes, California Towhees, Robins, European Starling, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Bewick's Wren, Western Tanagers, Acorn Woodpeckers, and a single Western Meadowlark. And to top it off, a full grown Cooper’s Hawk landed in our front yard the other day. I was sitting at my computer working and it landed on the lawn right in front of me. Our neighbor mentioned that a mating pair nest in the neighborhood, but that was the first I’d seen. They’re quite stunning at close range, but we’re hoping they don’t harass our songbirds too much!