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Thread subject: Suet feeder question
Name Date Message
Shelley 12/20/09 05:49 pm Does anyone know if 2 different species of birds would feed at the same suet cage feeder at the same time?

I have had a lovely male downy woodpecker at my suet feeder quite consistently since yesterday. The minute he leaves, though, my regular red-breasted nuthatch is on it. This afternoon, there was maybe a couple of seconds between their visits. I wondered if they would ever *share* and be on it at the same time. Has anyone ever seen this?

The nuthatch was hilarious, hanging on from underneath, upside down! I don't have a good enough zoom on my little digital camera to really capture this
Melanie 12/20/09 09:19 pm Sure they will. I had a downy and chickadees at mine this afternoon but then again mine hangs so both sides are available. Now if I could just get the chickadees to calm down and feed from my hand. I think nuthatches spend a lot of their lives upside down.
Marie 12/21/09 12:33 am Yes sometimes they do share but if the bird happens to be a real big one, say a Flicker or Pileated then the little birds stay off till these guys are gone. I have seen Bush tits on mass cover a suet feeder both sides. Now that is a sight!

clyde 12/21/09 01:58 pm We got the chickadees to eat from our hands, and eventually they began fluttering around us whenever we went outside even when we had no seeds. One time they kept swooping down on someone working on our roof, and when he held out his hand a bird landed on it, much to his surprise.

We also got a chipmunk to climb into our hands for food.

Seems like everybody loves black-oil sunflower seeds. If we had a mixture in hand, the chickadees would invariably pick those out and ignore the rest, even the striped sunflower seeds. After that we stopped using mixtures and went to straight black-oil seeds. Our feeder started emptying out noticably faster.
Madeline 12/24/09 12:30 am Good for you Clyde. You must of spent a lot ot time with your hands out and the feeders empty to get the chickadees to feed from your hand. Of course I do the oppisite, and wonder why I can't get them to come to me. Duuuhhhh;-)
clyde 12/24/09 11:11 pm No, Madeline, we didn't starve the poor creatures into submission: the feeder was always kept full. We patiently spent a lot of time with hands out next to our very busy feeder (we live in a wooded setting). Sometimes they would land in our hand to feed instead of the feeder. When we gradually moved farther from the feeder they still kept coming to our upraised hands. Eventually they started following us around looking for food no matter where we were on our property. Pigeons and seagulls commonly exhibit this sort of behavior too, associating humans with food. We discovered in our yard that chickadees can become conditioned in the same way. In fact, we discontinued the practice because it became a nuisance. We made the same mistake with squirrels (we have a lot of them, too), getting them to come very close by feeding them by hand. The next thing we knew they were stalking us outside and trying to get into the house.

We've learned our lesson: it's best to keep a polite distance between us and the wildlife.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sun Mar 7, 2010