The birds have returned! A few months back we had to stop feeding the birds outside. For a couple of years, our backyard had suet holders and a really nice looking bird seed holder on display and filled with food for the birds to feast on.

Our beloved seed holder... no more.

Our beloved seed holder… no more.

I was very diligent about keeping them well stocked everyday. Our area was a popular spot for sparrows, finches, doves, and various types of birds that I could not identify. All this food also attracted pigeons. This is the main reason why Ellen and Portia found their way into our lives. At any rate, we kept feeding them but things got a bit out of control. At certain times of the day, there could be upwards of 30 or more pigeons perched on our roof, our neighbors’ roofs, and surrounding area. And they were a bit pushy, not sharing with any of the smaller birds, who were supposed to be the intended recipients. But the little birds managed to sneak in food here and there. However there was an unwanted side effect. The mess left behind from, not only the pigeon poop, but the seed falling onto the soil resulted in a proliferation of grubs, which attracted the unwanted attention of raccoons, who started to come around regularly and totally destroyed the garden in their wake. Not to mention that our next door neighbor complained about all the pigeons. In order to stop this, we had to stop putting food outside.

Even with a modification to discourage pigeons, they found a way around it.

Even with a modification to discourage pigeons, they found a way around it.

Within a couple of months: the grub situation was under control; we managed to ward off the raccoons; and the huge flock of pigeons started ignoring the garden. After all that was accomplished, I felt it was time to feed the birds again. I decided to put the suet holders out, but to totally disregard the seed holder. Unlike seed, suet does not leave a huge mess. Plus, suet is cheap and comes in various flavors. For the nuggets I have purchase the standard peanut but also picked up “bluebird” and berry. Obviously, the “bluebird” one is not made of them, but rather a favorite of those birds, which have made an appearance. As for the suet cakes, currently the birds are enjoying orange burst and blueberry medley. The great thing is that there are a variety of flavors to select from, so I can change it up a bit.

Suet nuggets. These come in a few different flavors.

Suet nuggets. These come in a few different flavors.

Suet cake: Orange Burst

Suet cake: Orange Burst

One with a hint of blueberry.

One with a hint of blueberry.

Initially there were no takers for days. Slowly, a few sparrows made an appearance. The word spread and more sparrows returned, along with all the different types of birds that I have seen before. An abundance of seed is graciously being provided by a neighbor not too far away, so the pigeons are being fed as well. Everyone gets some! I’m happy that the pigeons are getting their fill while leaving the smaller birds to their own food.

The set up...

The set up…

One of the two suet cake holders...

One of the two suet cake holders…

Suet nugget holder...

Suet nugget holder…

Throughout the day there is never a moment where at least one bird is enjoying the suet. Often there are around five or six at one time. This is not including the birds resting and perching in the lemon tree, apple tree, arbor, and fence. The only exception for a vacant backyard is when there is a threat lurking, like when our neighbor’s friendly and harmless cat pays a visit for a little sunbathing, or when a hawk is circling overhead.  But even when the cat is sunbathing, the birds will feel safe enough to return to eat and he’ll simply leave them alone.

Let's eat!

Let’s eat!

Birdies enjoying their food.

Birdies enjoying their food.

Chirps of happiness fill the air....

Chirps of happiness fill the air….

It's like this the whole day...

It’s like this the whole day…

A ring neck dove just chillin'.

A ring neck dove just chillin’.

A sparrow sneakin' a nibble or two...

A sparrow sneakin’ a nibble or two…

Little ones just hangin' about...

Little ones just hangin’ about…