"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ready and waiting.

Okay birds I'm ready for you.  I'm starting my count today for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  I've got my  3 page checklist, a pen, bird identifying books and the bird feeders are all clean and full.  I even put two new feeders up earlier in the week.  I know I've had visitors already because I've seen the seeds on the ground below, but I haven't caught one in the act yet.
 This is a peanut butter feeder.  I'd never heard of one before, but thought it looked interesting.  I've already found a Black-capped chickadee on it.  I used bark butter that I found at Wild Birds Unlimited.   It is a mixture of peanut butter and suet with seed mixed in.  Apparently the trick is to put it on with a fork to make it look tree bark.  You can also spread the bark butter right onto the bark of a tree.  I haven't had a chance to do that yet, but maybe I'd get some more woodpeckers that way.
I'm hoping we'll get some interesting birds to count.  I hope it's not like a party that everyone is invited to, but nobody shows up.  Our most common birds lately have been the Dark-eyed Juncos, they hang out in the currant bush or on the fence behind it.  
I've been seeing a lot of seagulls and crows as well.   They like to visit the school yard behind us on popcorn day.   I hope some of them and more will make an appearance so I can tally them up.  Even the heron is welcome to stop by and be counted -  if he leaves my fish alone!

Updated to add:  There was a concern about the peanut butter used on this feeder.   I being a bird lover decided to check on the bark butter I used. Here is a direct quote from the website of the company on Wild Birds Unlimited:

Concerned About the Peanut Butter In Bark Butter?

You may have heard the recent news about a salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter and wondered if it's safe to continue feeding Bark Butter. Below is a statement from our peanut butter supplier:

"There are no concerns about Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter®. All associated finished goods from each individual lot of peanuts is tested for Salmonella A and B. By utilizing this type of testing we would pick-up any indications of the presence of any strain of salmonella thereby limiting the possible exposure to any other finished goods.”

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  1. How much of a coincidence is this? I was just at a site that has information about "Peanuts, Salmonella, and Backyard Birds" and here you have posted a pic of a peanut butter feeder. I myself am now afraid to put out peanut products for the birds or squirrels right now. Does anyone have advice? Here is the site for the info:


    The last paragraph on the article is:
    The bottom line: the chance of you - or the birds in your backyard - becoming sick from tainted peanut products is small, but real. It is definitely not safe to feed birds any of the human foods included in the CDC’s recall - you should throw those products away without opening them. And it’s always a good policy to keep your bird feeders clean, and to stay on the lookout for sick birds around your backyard.

    Yours is such a popular blog, so thought I'd comment regarding the issue. Hope all our birds and critters are safe!

  2. Be prepared to be bombarded. Yum peanut butter.Never seen a feeder like that one.
    Get some pretty shots.

  3. I totally spaced off the bird watch! Well, I'll just watch yours!

  4. I just wrote about our backyard being oddly silent today! I swear they're playing with us.

  5. I would not worry about the birds and salmonella, Birds have a much stronger immune system that most humans, and are less likely to contract this virus. If it were me, I would not worry about it.
    Did the bird count thing start today! Gosh I must have been busy, I wanted to participate in this event!

  6. I'm ready to count too;) Tomorrow morning I plan to sip hot cocoa while I identify all the birds that visit the feeders.

    Good luck with your count. Hope your get some unusual visitors.

  7. If your garden is silent, it's because they're all away scoffing Catherine's peanut butter mix! I think I'm going to try to make my own mix as I haven't seen that sort of thing in the shops over here. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Awesome hobby guess blogging friends join this too. I'll be checking in to learn the names of different birds. Love the peanut butter feeder!

  9. Before all of this tainted peanut butter happened I used to smear JIF or the other brand on the bark of the oak tree and all sorts of birds and squirrels came and pecked it off or licked it off. I just dumped a mouth full of Little Debbie Nutty Bars after I realized what I was eating might be contaminated. There is no way of telling where they got their peanuts.

    We don't have a lot of birds left so I don't want to give them something that might make them sick. I think I would trust JIFF or SKIPPY but that's about it.

    I like your blog and your post and wish you luck in the big bird count. I have only seen a couple of sparrows today.

  10. Kris - I replied to your email. Thanks for the information. I would never want to harm anyone or anything. I updated the post with the information I have.

    Lona - I was gone most of the morning, so I'm ready to resume counting and hopefully will get some pictures.

    Tessa - It's not too late, it starts today!

    Melanthia - I've been gone most of the morning, but didn't see too many earlier. Maybe they're hiding. I'm heading over to read you post soon.

    Zach - It's so hard to know anymore what is and isn't safe. I went to the website of the company. They assure that it is safe. I sure don't want to cause any harm. It isn't too late to start the count, it just begins today.

    Marnie - Hope you'll be sharing your results! :)

    Nutty Gnome - I did see there are recipes for it on the internet. Let us know if you try and it and who shows up.

    Darla - I hope I get some more visitors, it's been slow so far today!

    Abe Lincoln - Thanks for your input too. I just hate that nowadays you never know what is safe anymore. I would hope that those name brands would be safe, but I guess you never know with them either. I hope I get some more visitors now that I'm home to count.

  11. I hope you have a big party-that bark butter looks good enough for me to eat!

  12. I hope you have a Great Number of Guests for your super-spread! ;-) Enjoy and keep us posted.

  13. Cool! I'm doing this too! I have 3 bird identification books, but I think the one you've pictured is THE one I really need for this area. Thanks for posting the picture of it!

    I worried about the peanut butter too. I make my own suet using crunchy p-b, so I scoured the internet to see if the contamination/recall included peanut butter we would buy in the grocery stores. From everything I've read, it doesn't include those.

    Cool peanut butter feeder.
    Happy birding!

  14. My grandfather used to get suet from the butcher's and make his own mix with PB and seeds. I seem to recall the spread-it-directly-on-the-tree method too. He also crunched up peanuts and fed the chickadees right out of his hands! I know that's considered un-PC now but he didn't know any better. Hope you get lots of visitors (and pictures). We don't have feeders anymore but I still see and hear a bunch of different birds. Nothing too exotic. I bet you have flickers around too, you can probably hear them and the jays kicking up a real racket as they prepare for nesting season. :)

  15. Tina - we ended up with a small party, but I'm putting that bark butter on the trees tomorrow to see who else will come!

    Shady Gardener - I will post my results and hopefully get a picture or two.

    Aerie-el - That book has been the easiest to use for me since it's just the birds around here. Have you ever shared your recipe for suet? I'd be interested in seeing it and trying to make my own. You'll probably have a really interesting list!

    Karen - I'd never heard of the PB on the trees. Your grandfather was probably ahead of his time. Those chickadees are so friendly I'm not surprised they sat on his hand. I've always got my kids or dog outside with me so the birds don't come that close.

  16. I hope your party wasn't a dud Catherine ~ it looks like you did everything you could on your end! I haven't ever seen one of those bark butter feeders either ~ it's cool. I make my own bark butter and spread it in the cracks of the Burr Oak bark. It's always popular maybe a little too much so because it attracts raccoons too!

  17. I hope you post your finished count. It will be interesting. Happy Valentines Day.

  18. So far today it's much more exciting around here. Maybe they just needed a little sun. I will post my count and any pictures if I'm fast enough.


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