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Old 02-26-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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m_Freeloaders.jpg

Well, more about the freeloaders waiting for us to feed them. These ducks (I think there are 25 in the picture) are sitting in our back yard waiting for food. About 18 inches (.46 m) of snow has fallen in the past 24 hours, and it is still snowing. Everything in NYC and northern New Jersey has pretty much come to a standstill.

We didn't start feeding them until a week or so ago when the lake froze over completely. They just wouldn't go south for the winter. Between 15 and 25 ducks would come to our yard to forage for the bird seed that the birds were tossing on the ground. The bird feeder is about 20 feet off the ground so that the bears won't visit our yard, and few birds will pick up the seed on the ground because of the neighborhood cats (another reason for having the bird feeder as high as it is).

When we finally bought some cracked corn for the ducks, they told all their friends, I guess, and about 40 ducks were visiting us twice a day. We limit the amount of food we put out to be sure that the ducks continue to forage for most of their daily needs, but there's little open water right now except back behind the beaver dam.

Poor MV Watermelon, sitting in Florida waiting for us to get back there. Soon!
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:18 PM   #2
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Nice photo JeanneP!
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:03 PM   #3
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People think it cute to feed birds in winter. Indeed, it s a good deed but only if you continue to do so. They have to be fed until such time as conditions permit them to forrage for themselves.

My mother was a great feeder of birds. She always ensured that the birds arround our house had enough to survive the winter but was well aware of the fact that by feeding the birds she was conditioning them to remain in a place which they should have left due to lack of food. This put on her an obligation to feed them daily until conditions permitted them to fend or themselves. You alluded to this Jeanne when you mentioned the fact that you were not overfeeding so that they continue to forrage. Would that all were so wise.

Feed the birds by all means but if you do then continue throughout the winter.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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I love having the birds around, and have another bird feeder just outside our window (another 2nd floor feeder - bears are a significant problem here).

We did not feed the birds in the Fall, waiting for the migratory birds to pass through - first year I've exercised such restraint. Migratory seasons the birds could gobble up 5 pounds of bird seed PER DAY. One year we had a "mystery bird" that was finally identified as an albino House Sparrow. He was visiting us, up close and personal. Mystery Bird

The ducks are another issue entirely. There seems to be a hard core group of them that stays through the winter, year after year. They might have outsmarted themselves this year because it's been a terrible winter. This is the first year I've put food out for them, but they're clearly hungry for them to be foraging for the leavings of the birds. My sister said that we should have swept up all the acorns that fell on our driveway from our neighbor's oak trees. They prefer acorns, but our tree didn't produce many this year.

We're avid wildlife watchers wherever we cruise, too.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:19 AM   #5
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Hi Jeanne! Well, well, well... I know those shots! Have waaaaay too many of them for one year. The snow is almost gone here, but even two weeks later there is still about 6 inches left in the yard... Was out in San Diego all week....no snow and nice temps as usual...came back to 1/2 an inch on my car....I was bummed...and it was cold!

Hoping this last one is the last hurrah for the year....have a lot to do on Boomerang!....and the snow does NOT make it easy to get anything done!

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Old 03-01-2010, 02:46 AM   #6
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Not ducks... And not freeloaders... And they left us alone... But here's some video of 100's of birds flying all together in amazing formations... They did this everynight as we were anchored in this slough http://bit.ly/bbHt5r
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