Saturday, January 14, 2017

For the birds

I'm running out of seed for the birds and we're about to go into a cold spell. I'll be off to the garden center this morning to re-stock. I still have a good supply of suet/seed balls, "grease balls" as we call them, boules de graisse in French. I hang those up in a holder on the deck railing.

This is a pinson (chaffinch). I can't tell if it's a male or female; the male's head is usually more blue in color.

The birds enjoy the seed balls. Our most common visitors are le mésange (the great tit, blue tit, and crested tit), le pinson des arbres (the chaffinch), and le rouge-gorge (the European robin). Recently we've seen a mating pair of merle (common blackbird) eating the seeds. I see chardonnerets (European goldfinches) out there from time to time as well. The tits cling to the seed balls and pick at them, throwing a lot of seed down onto the deck. The other species walk around on the deck eating what falls.

The same pinson takes a look at me while I take its picture.

In addition to the seed balls, I have two hanging feeders that I fill with a loose seed mix. One of the feeders hangs from one of the maple trees out front, the other is suspended above the real fake well out back. At the feeders, as with the seed balls, the tits land on the perches and throw seeds down to the ground where the chaffinches, robins, and blackbirds gobble them up.


  1. I'd like to think that the tits are helping the other birds that don't like to, or can't, hang on to the suspended ball. I am afraid that we call the grease balls Fat Peckers!

  2. I never have much luck with the suet cakes we put out...they get ignored...I've tried different varieties too....but my Dad in Va says the birds go through his really fast

  3. heh heh heh, you said "tits". my birdies are hungry too; spouse is out getting more seed this morning.

  4. I miss feeding birds. It seems more enjoyable in winter, with snow.

  5. That is a male, Walt... they are often a bit pale like this.... the females are all brown.
    I think that it is only the dominant male in any one area that is really richly coloured.
    That said, the breast on this one looks a nice brick red.... perhaps he hasn't completed his mount and the bluey-grey head is yet to develope?

  6. potty, oh my...

    jan, thanks!

    melinda, that's strange, eh?

    anne marie, I got the seed, too. Now I'm waiting for the cold that's coming in today or tomorrow.

    michael, tuppence a bag!

    tim, thanks. I thought it was too brightly colored to be a female, but was thrown by the lack of blue on the head.


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