One of the first tasks at the bird observatory every morning is to put seed out on the feeder. We have a unique feeder. Its the wellhouse from the old farmhouse that once stood where the RRBO building is now. The well is no longer in use, and a metal grate installed at the top protects anything from falling into its watery depths. A piece of fiberboard cut to fit the top provides the feeding platform, and Voila! The perfect bird feeder!
The wellhouse roof protects winter seed from snow and ice, so the birds can always locate some food. The former cover was a piece of plywood that didn’t quite fit exactly, so there were openings to the grate on either side. Scared me half to death the first time I saw a chipmunk dive under the top cover. I thought he was a goner until he popped out the opening on the side of the well. I needn’t have worried – the inside walls of the well are hand-laid stones, and there are plenty of holding-on places for a chipmunk. Still, it was a bit unnerving to see the chipper dive into the well.
We have since replaced the plywood with a fitted piece of fiberboard. Happened to be laying around, so we made use of it. So far, it’s only slightly warped and works just fine. In the summer I hang flowering plants around the top for the hummingbirds. In winter, the seed is spread on the cover and we hang suet and smaller feeders from the roof structures – but usually, not until the bears are in for the winter. We have found our hanging feeders in very odd places on the grounds, far away from the well house.
So yesterday morning, I went out to add more seed to the feeder, which was completely bare of sunflower seeds (I took this photo after adding seed). Didn’t take me long to figure out why. There were some obvious tracks etched into the fiberboard. Some big ‘bird’ had apparently climbed on to the feeder and helped themselves to the seed. Can you tell by it’s track what bird it was?