Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birdwatching at the Log Cabin

One of the best things about having a log cabin in northern Michigan is all the different types of birds we get to see. We have seen Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, Black Capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches and so much more. Setting up bird feeders all over our property and seeing all the different feathered visitors have given us as well as our log cabin guests much enjoyment. I think it's great for the kids in teaching them about nature and wildlife. My 9 year old stepson can now identify every bird that visits our feeders.

If you do decide to feed the birds, I would recommend the following items:

  • Buy a Field Guide for Birds so you can identify all your visitors. Amazon has a good selection here.
  • Pick up a decent set of Binoculars. These are especially handy for those hikes in the woods and will also help you with bird identification.
  • Bird Feeders - I have a varied selection - suet cages, tube feeder, platform feeder (not all birds will feed from a tube feeder) and thistle bag. I would highly recommend getting some baffles or squirrel proof feeders so your birds have a shot at the food!
  • Good selection of Bird Seed. The quality seed will attract a better variety of bird - I stay away from the cracked corn and other cheap birdseed fillers. I get the Black Oil Sunflower seed - (many bird's favorite), suet cakes (woodpecker's favorite) and thistle for my finches.
  • A heated birdbath - this was one of the best investments I ever made. This is such a popular place in the winter for birds who need water - it expends too much energy for them to eat the snow - plus they still like to take a bath in the winter. (In the summer, just unplug it and you can still use it.) It will also attract birds that won't necessarily come to your feeders. I had a Coopers Hawk drinking out of it last winter - of course no other birds joined him while he was there!
  • Bird Houses - we got to experience baby Black-capped Chickadees being raised and learning how to fly this past summer - it was so precious! Not all birds will use a bird house and the birds that do use it have specific requirements sometimes and the opening has to be a certain size, etc. Consult w/ your bird supply store or online.
  • Window decals or sun catchers to prevent bird strikes. Over a million birds die per year because of hitting a window. I had 4 chickadees bang their head on my cabin windows last week so I put up the sun catcher I have pictured below.


I bought this sun catcher at a local gift shop and affixed it to my window with a suction cup holder.


wendy said...

AWWW - you know those Chick-a dees are my favorites!

But you brought back sad memories!
When I was a young girl, I used to spend weekends at my grandparents house. They were bird people as well!
They had a large picture window in the livingroom. Everytime a bird flew into it (several times a year) I would go flying from the house, running to the poor bird in tears, wanting to save it. I would pick it up in my little hands and my grandmother would sadly tell me there was no hope for that one. Some did live and flew away. After all this time, I wonder why we didn't put something on that window!

Shellmo said...

Wendy - I'm so sad to hear about your birds when you were a little girl!

Cindy said...

You know, the first bird I really learned to identify by its call was the chickadee. I was child and we lived in the woods in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. So your photo and post bring back that wonderful memory. The gift you are giving your children will last a lifetime. I know that firsthand.


Shellmo said...

Cindy - so glad I brought back a great memory! I hope my stepson feels the same one day! :-)

Denise said...

We love to birdwatch at the cabin, too. I have lots of different types of birdfeeders around. Your photo's are absolutely lovely!

Sandy said...

ohhh I love that suncatcher.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great ideas, Shelley. I hope to get a heated birdbath for the winter. The Chickadee picture is beautiful. They are such neat little birds. We just got home from a trip to Buffalo---and something (NOT BIRDS) got into all of the bird seed I had left for the birds. At least they still had their hanging feeders. I'll give them some extra 'treats' tomorrow!!! Hopefully, they'll be glad that Mama is HOME.