Tuesday, October 7, 2008

For the birds

As many of you do, I provide multiple feeding stations and premium bird seed for the winged critters around here. It's delightful to sit on the deck after a long day and just watch the activity at the feeders. This past year we've had a population explosion of Northern Cardinals. They're always a treat to watch although I worry sometimes that their attractive color may be a little too attractive to the neighborhood cats. (But maybe the fact that we've rid the neighborhood of some of the unneutered male cats accounts for that population explosion.)

So about a week ago as I was enjoying the bird scene, I started noticing how the cardinals would fly down to my bench and then hop over to the table in front of it. There was some type of activity there but the tomato plant was blocking my view of what it was. So I grabbed my binoculars and moved over a bit and what did I see? A bit of a feeding orgy on my little potted sedum. Each bird would pull off one of the leaves and eat it right there or on the bench. You can see in this picture how the leaves have been stripped off. I took this pic a week ago and you should see the plant now - it's almost completely stripped!

Which has got me to thinking about a couple of things. First, what do they like about that plant? Is it like a fruit to them? And secondly, why do I let them do that? If it were the squirrels doing that you can bet I would scold the squirrels and move the plant out of harm's way. But I'm a sucker for the birds.


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  2. I'd love to see a Cardinal - here in California it's the crows that are a problem.

    I've seen them hop right down an entire row of Sweet Pea seedlings, nipping off the tops.

    They are so big even my cat is afraid of them


  3. Chloe - I've seen those California crows and I'd be afraid of them too! It's funny how some birds are common to one person (cardinals to me) and not so common to others around the world.

  4. I wonder if they are eating your sedum because of the moisture. I know that is why they will peck at a berry (a least that is what a farmer once told me). Do you have water available to them? Or, maybe it just tastes good to them.

    Always Growing

  5. Yes Jan, they have access to plenty of water. In fact, the plant is near the bird bath. I found out from my sister-in-law that the same thing happened to her sedum plant one year. My guess is it must have some nutritional value and taste okay. As you said, it seems like it would be similar to a berry.

  6. Yes the birds, my husband was really the one to actively introduce the birds to our garden. I love them. We have blue birds that have been coming for over 13 years, right back to to the same nesting box of which there are many choices. Living in the north not many of our birds are so colorful as these.


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