An idea was put into action in 2004 which has turned out to be a success after a two-year trial. The idea was to make a specially designed birdfeeder that would attract specific beneficial species of birds to the orchard area. The beneficial species include those with the habit of finding and eating the harmful insects in tree bark and branches. Of course, we were not very interested in attracting the fruit-eating birds, and the seed-eaters posed little benefit. A little research revealed that these beneficial species include Brown Creepers, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Titmice. Interestingly, black oil sunflower seeds and suet are the favorite foods of these species while at the same time being less attractive to other birds.
As for the feeder, it should resemble a tree trunk with food in the cracks. It should be designed to hold suet and sunflower seeds, possibly peanuts, and should have no perches in order to encourage only the species that easily cling to the sides of trees. Even though we have really only used sunflower seeds, the feeder has done an excellent job of bringing all the above species into the orchard. All except for the Brown Creeper, that is, which only likes suet and is difficult to attract even with that.
We keep the feeder up from September through March. It is an especially valuable source of food for the birds when the ground is covered with snow. Keeping it up in the springtime brings riots of cowbirds. Further improvements include a way to attract birds that eat almost entirely insects (but not bees) in the summer, and creating more cover in the orchard area for the birds to hide in. A second feeder may be in order as the orchard expands.
“The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love Him: but all the wicked will He destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:15-21).
It was a delight to take some time on my birthday to snap these photos. The birds certainly bring praise to their Creator!