Several weeks ago, I was debating (with myself mostly) about whether or not to set up a bird feeder in my new backyard. I was eager to watch and photograph birds as so many bloggers do. I knew that several birds lived not only my yard, but also in dense vegetation close by.

Curiosity and visions of close-up bird photos carried the day.

First, what kind of feeder should I buy? After looking at several, I purchased one made of recycled material that would not rust or corrode, an important consideration when living on a barrier island. Salt air is relentless! The hanging variety seemed like a good choice since I have many trees in my backyard.

Next question: where should I hang it? I wanted it close to trees and shelter so that my little visitors could hide or flee from predatory raptors. But would I also attract seed-loving squirrels? I did not know how many squirrels also lived in my backyard habitat.

First try, feeder on tree.

First try, feeder on tree.

I decided to try an experiment and hung the feeder from a hook firmly affixed to a tree trunk. Overnight, a trio of squirrels not only found the feeder but dumped it and its contents all over the ground. Strike one.

Feeder on House

Second try, feeder on house

The next spot I chose was under the eaves of the house near the porch. I surmised that this was close enough for me to watch the birds, but not accessible to climbing squirrels. But this turned out to be too close, not only to the house, but also to my porch-loving, bird-watching cats. No visitors arrived, feathered or furry. Strike two.

Undaunted, I followed Internet recommendations to hang the feeder between two widely spaced trees. Squirrels would be discouraged from making a scary jump from the trees to the swinging feeder, I hoped.

Present set-up, suspended between 2 trees. Yes, that is a squirrel on the tree!

Present set-up, suspended between 2 trees

Success at last! The birds have been visiting the feeder regularly, at least one pair of cardinals, some finches, and a beautiful male painted bunting and his less colorful mate. The squirrels have been eying the feeder longingly, but seem content to eat the seeds under the feeder that I scatter there for them.

This morning, coffee cup in hand, I peered out from the kitchen to see “my birds” at the feeder. Instead, and to my horror, I saw Mr. Squirrel firmly settled on the feeder, happily feasting on bird seeds. It appears that tightrope skills are part of this squirrel’s bag of tricks.

Strike 3 and out? No, I am not ready to give up yet!

And, you ask, what about those beautiful close-up bird photos? Sadly, my little point and shoot cannot zoom in quite close enough from my kitchen window to the feeder. But, since this is a matter of equipment, I could easily solve that problem.

I will be sure to let you know when I win the lottery so I can buy all that expensive “stuff” that I so clearly need. No doubt I will then have some gorgeous bird photos to share.

Until such day, here is my painted bunting photo. Can you see him? Isn’t he pretty? Lyn

There really is a painted bunting in this picture!

There really is a painted bunting in this picture!

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