The birds are eating me out of house and home this frigid week, with black oil sunflower seed evaporating from 3 feeders daily. I could easily fill them all twice daily, but am now limiting it to once a day. The tiny thistle seeds so coveted by American Goldfinches last longer, even with a lot of it ending up on the ground for the Juncos and Sparrows. The finch “sock” feeder can hold up to about seven Goldfinches at a time. I love hearing their high-pitched “che-e-e-e?,” almost as a question when they arrive at my yard at first light. The chickadees fly in, calling their cheerful “chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” take one seed at a time, and fly away to a perch to eat it, then swoop in for another. Mannerly.
The squirrels, on the other hand, are greedy pigs, can empty a feeder in about 30 minutes, hanging upside down to gorge themselves on the high quality feed. They even remove the top of the feeder, crawl down inside, and eat where it’s easier to feed. I once found a squirrel stuck upside down in a tube feeder, little hind legs kicking frantically out the top and tail flailing ineffectually, unable to get out. I put on heavy gloves, removed the feeder, and placed it on the ground so it could escape to safety. It would have frozen if I’d been out of town overnight, but I saved it to gorge itself another day, with not so much as a hurried thank you as it scrambled away.