The Battle for Blueberries

It started as an idea to keep the birds out of the blueberries. Last year despite John’s ingenuity in making an elaborate cage around the blueberry bushes, the birds still picked us clean. We never figured out how the birds were able to break the barrier. John and Michaelanne surmised that one clever bird named Roscoe had devised a plan and then posted it on the BirbTube channel and reddit.com/birbsunite. There was no other explanation.

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The idea was to distract the birds with a bird feeder. We bought a single feeder to hang in between blueberry cage and one of the vegetable plots. I bought a 5 lb. bag of “Patiowise” birdseed–the premium, pre-shelled, no mess kind–I was going all out. I bought the feed on a Saturday afternoon and by Sunday morning a few birds started to visit. A cardinal was the first to come by and then a few sparrows, nothing out of the ordinary. By the end of the week it was getting a lot more action and we were seeing goldfinches and the occasional woodpecker.

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Red-Bellied Woodpecker

We thought, this is fun. let’s get a second feeder!  I went to the bird store and bought a suet feeder, which the helpful salesman recommended as a second feeder. He said it would attract woodpeckers and nuthatches.  So I got one that I could hang from a tree, but then it didn’t seem to get any action. It just hung there lonely. I tried moving it. Still nothing. But then I noticed a Blue Jay hanging around the spot where it had been, so I put it back there. But I wanted more birds.

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Blue Jay

Can you see where this is going?

So I went back to the bird store and bought another regular seed type feeder. For this feeder I bought a different type of feed called “Berrywise” which claimed would attract “diverse company to the dinner table!” I mean, who wouldn’t want that???

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Mixed Dinner Company

Before long we had birds coming out of the woodwork, literally. I think we emptied the forest behind our house. We started seeing birds we had never seen before–house finches, towhees, tufted titmice, and my favorite–the yellow shafted flicker.

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House Finches

 

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Hairy Woodpecker (I think)
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Juvenile Cardinals and Eastern Towhee
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Northern Yellow Shafted Flicker (Not exactly focused, but best shot I could get.)

I’ve had to scale back on the birdseed and find a less expensive blend. I found some online and also bought a 40 lb. bag of black oil sunflower seeds at Home Depot to mix in with it. I no longer care about it being messy. The chipmunks and squirrels help clean up the mess, as do the dogs. I checked with our vet and she said the seeds won’t hurt them and Jasper certainly could use the extra calories.

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As for the blueberries, we won the battle this year!

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