The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Monday, December 20, 2010

A personal question . . . How happy are your feathered friends?

 Evening Greetings,

Today I had a lovely time. I went out to lunch with a friend and then tended to a project I really enjoyed. Setting up new bird feeders and a feeding station for the birds.  I've included a photo of the finished project over in the right hand column.

I had been unsatisfied with the status of my bird feeders the last few years. Because in truth, if you're to really appreciate your feeders they need to be in a place you can .  .  .  well .  .  .  appreciate them! And a good vantage point is considered not just for visual enjoyment but for ease of tending the feeders.

I had my feeders near the tree line and along a walk way in the back yard but what made for good summertime viewing as I walked along in the yard,  I found were too far from the house to be viewed properly in the winter. Then add a few feet of snow and trudging out back became a chore and even worse, was not seeing the birds at the feeders, and becoming busy with so many other things to do, I would forget to refill the seed regularly.  So for the birds benefit and my peace of mind, I re-thought my feeding station location for my birds.

What I've determined was the way we live in our house and yard throughout the year, that a summer feeding station in one location and a winter station in another is really the best choice.  My winter station, is the one I just set up today and its pictured at the right.  I have a seed house-platform feeder, that is secured to the balcony railing. The roof of the seed container lifts off so I was able to screw the base down tightly and not have to worry about removing it every time.  I like this little wooden house as it has holders on each end for suet cakes.

The suet is important because it contains fats and nutrients that will stay with the small critters longer and thereby keep them warm longer. I'm excited also! I found that my local Agway, a farm supply store, is having a sale on suet. A case of 12 suet cakes for 9.99! That's a terrific deal, so I got my case. It will last most of the winter.

The wooden platform in the center of the feeding station is what I call a simple platform feeder. Its a piece of 1/4 " plywood I commandeered from the garage and screwed into the balcony railing. I then took two 3" finish nails and nailed them through the plywood into the railing, but only put them in about an inch or so, leaving the majority of the nail exposed.

Finishing nails have almost no head so they are perfect for impaling citrus segments or sections of stale bread.  You can put on the plywood platform anything birds would typically eat. Popcorn, seed, breadcrumbs, stale rolls, etc. This feeder is important because not all birds will eat from a stand up feeder like my little house-platform one. Some birds are ground feeders and can be convinced to eat from a raised platform, but they like 'the bigger the better'. Birds that are ground feeders are cardinals, love birds or morning doves, and crows. Ground feeders, like chickens who are also ground feeders, all peck along the ground rather than flying up to and perching on a feeder  to eat.

 Let us now discuss the squirrels. I'm not pro-bird, anti-squirrels or other animals. I'm pro-wildlife. If you are then they all are worthy of a our care throughout the winter.  So, instead of fighting against nature, which by the way you'll always lose. It may take a while, but eventually nature wins out. So, as a witch, instead of fighting the greatest Mother of them all, I seek instead, to learn from her and then incorporate ways to allow us all to live in harmony, in my small world.  

In this matter, my new bird feeding station is situated on a balcony that is several feet off the ground and I've seldom ever seen a squirrel on the balcony. That's not to say they won't come here because of the new feeding station. Come on, its like a new supermarket opening up with all the free food and amazing sales! Of course they'll come.  But to make the bird station less attractive to the squirrels, I installed a suet feeder on a railing 20 - 30 feet away just for them. And I installed the suet cake holder only a comfortable 8 inches or so above the railing. That makes it easier for the squirrels to get at what they want.  Squirrels love the suet cakes!! Especially  ones filled with peanut butter flavored suet.

Now the occasional ambitious, ninja wanna-be squirrels will find themselves over at the birds feeding station, but they won't do much harm. As long as I keep their feeder full.  By the way, if you use suet cakes and get frustrated by the squirrels eating through the cake in a day or so, as that can get expensive, find a cake feeder that has small wire mesh enclosed around the cake. The squirrels will still be able to eat it (make sure they can) you just want to slow them down.  If you make it too difficult, which is not the point, they will eat through the holder, causing yet more issues.  Make it ambitious, yet doable and easier still than going to where the birds will be and it will be a happy winter for everyone.

Many of the wild animals we see in the winter in my part of New England are squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, foxes, possum, woodchucks, coyotes and we once had a quail fly into our house. Poor thing! Snapped its neck, as it was towards evening and it mistook our big, glass block window for air space.

Of course we felt terrible, much as Dorothy must have felt when her house fell on the Witch of the East! 'So sorry, our house was in the way'! So, to prevent it from happening again I used silicone and affixed brightly colored glass medallions on the glass blocks, so we see the pretty colors during the day and hopefully the birds see them also. We haven't had any such tragedies since then.  That was also the only time that had ever happened and if it hadn't, I don't think I would have ever thought of such a large bird living in our vicinity.  It was easily 6-10 lbs.

Believe it or not, animals have as much right to be here as we do. They won't go away unless we cause them, as we have several times in the past, to go extinct

Imagine that we lived in a world without wildlife. That any non-domesticated animals we saw, we either saw in a zoo, or in a photograph. To see something for real would be amazing, if we lived in a world with no wildlife.

I see it as amazing today and don't think we need to go there,   .   .   .   just because we can.

So the next time you see the squirrels eating from your bird feeders, or deer nibbling in your yard, make a note to buy a little extra for them and design a way to make your small private eco-system live in harmony with all of nature.

  Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

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