Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stupid Finch Bong

Well, the guy at Pay-Way feed store assured me that the finches would be happy to eat out of this kind of feeder, but until recently, it’s been a huge bust.

I mean, really. Why would any critter want to pick little seeds one-by-one out of a tiny opening the size of a hyphen when it can push its entire head into our other feeders and chomp away like a hog at a trough?

After a few weeks went by, and the finches were ignoring this feeder and its abundance of gloriously finch-specific seed, I decided that maybe the birds needed a hint. A visual cue. Birds do see in color (apparently), and finches and sunflowers go together like cats and canned tunafish. So I got out my paints and surrounded each miniscule feeder-hole with bright yellow “ray flowers.” Hint, hint.

But they still ignored it. I felt better, though, because at least the stupid finch bong-feeder is more decorative now. Kinda purty, hanging there, with its yallow flowers, functioning merely as a convenient perch for birds awaiting their turns at our other feeders.

So yesterday afternoon I glanced outside and was thrilled, utterly thrilled, to see a small flock of finches at this feeder, eating like there’s no tomorrow. Hooray! They finally figured it out!

. . . But then I noticed that every time a finch poked its bill at the feeder and toked a seed, about a dozen more seeds fell straight onto the ground.

Turns out the finches hadn’t taken the hint, but the squirrels had. And the bong feeder, being plastic, was an easy mark for the squirrels’ teeth, adapted for cutting into rock-hard walnuts.

So the holes aren’t the size of a punctuation mark anymore—they’re more the size of Parcheesi dice. And the seeds are practically just pouring out.

When it’s empty, we’re flinging it in the dumpster.


JaneL said...

We've had a pair of finches feasting on our sunflowers, sitting on top of the flowers and pecking away. They are fun to watch, but the flowers are far the worse for it. Have you found any bird feeders that are actually squirrel proof?

Julie said...

Yeah, I saw your photos of goldfinches--very beautiful, even if they're hammering away at your poor flowers. (Did you get a new lens?) I think that the few goldfinches we get in our hood do prefer to eat from our real-live coneflowers.

The folks at Pay-Way offer two types of sturdy, lifetime-guaranteed squirrel-proof bird feeders, and I believe that they would work--but they are like $85 each. And who hates squirrels THAT much? And do we really want a bird feeder that lasts *forever*? (Yuck: Cleaning it! And you thought *birdbaths* got nasty-gross!)