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January 14, 2011


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Sara - I'll keep my fingers crossed for your Hoopoe!


You know, sometimes wishful thinking helps :)

Since my last comment complaining about European greenfinches, now I got so many of them I can't keep up in giving out sunflower seeds! I know that compared to your numbers it might sound puny, but more than 6 kg of seeds were gone in less than a week... so I also tried to variate with other blends and njger. But they don't seem to care about njger, yet. So just plain sunflower it is!

Maggpies and backbirds are now around, even if they seem to just like to hang out, but never saw them on the feeders.

And even the great red woodpecker passed by once!!

Soo... just the Hoopoe is missing now :) And hopefully soon also chaffinces and nightingales will show up!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Mark - lucky you to have a Carolina Wren!
Joy - maybe he's staying away because a "so bad I can taste it" comment! ;) Enjoy the birds.
Larry - oh my, photographic nemesis birds would be a whole different set! I wish I had another opportunity to photograph the Northern Goshawk that visited occasionally during 2007. Or the Barred Owl that parked just outside the back balcony a few years back.
Dave - you're so right; cut back on the diversity of food you put out and you'll see fewer birds and less variety. Hope you can get a full complement of feeders out soon!


We've dialed back the winter feeding this year and eliminated seed feeders (rat problems) so we've only got a suet feeder up. Makes for quite a difference although we still get some of our regulars moving through.

Larry Jordan

Well Nancy, my nemesis birds have been kind lately. They are mostly "photographic" nemesis birds. Birds I want to photograph but never seem to be able to get close to. Recently I have gotten the Belted Kingfisher and American Kestrel photos I wanted. My most wanted photo session would be with the Pileated Woodpecker.

These are birds I am able to see, sometimes often (like the Kestrel) but don't like to pose for me.

This last spring, my wife told me of a Bullock's Oriole that came to our hummingbird feeder (while I was at work of course). I immediately went out and bought an Oriole feeder and placed it near the hummingbird feeder in question but never saw the bird myself. My wife saw it for a few days, then it was gone.

Joy K.

Pileated woodpeckers. I want to see one so badly I can taste it, but I think I'm 3 1/2 feet outside their range.

Mark the Birdman

I have a pair of Carlolina Wren feeding of the suet feeder all winter.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Momlinda - those siskins move around a lot so sometimes catching them at your feeders is tough. Fresh, loose niger seed is ideal. Keep watching!


Me, too. The WBU store down the street tells me the pine siskin feed in flocks like noisy school yard children but I have not seen a one. I get most of the rest from blue birds to grosbeaks to waxwings to wrens to multiple varieties of nuthatches and woodpeckers and up to 5 pair of cardinals...but not the pine siskin.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Nate - where are you located? Keep trying!
LNMP - Well, you've seen your redpoll! Does that mean I get my wren? ;)
Sylvie - it's tough when they visit ONE TIME and never again!
Eileen - lucky you. What are YOUR nemesis birds?
Pia - thanks and good to hear you've started a list. You'll enjoy doing it and revisiting it.
Marianne - quite a few reports of Carolina Wrens in our area so keep watching.
Barbara - I'm very rural too - that's why the cardinals are not an everyday bird.
Sara - that's quite a list! I've seen pictures of hoopoes and think they're amazing looking birds.
Raymond - good news on the waxwings. They are such handsome birds!
RSA - cardinals certainly brighten the yard anytime of year.
John K - share those birds with me!

John K.

Via email:
As I strolled across your blog and read the article on "Nemesis Birds", I was surprised that the (3) you chose as absent from your feeder are regular morning feeders at our small but well visited window feeder here on Blue Barns Rd. in Rexford.
So if you're wondering why they're absent, they're at our place! (LOL, and I'm sure we're missing some that are at yours.) What are they eating? Cheap bird seed from Tractor supply and suet chunks from Odd Lot. We've even seen Blue Jays this year, saucy and raucious, but welcome after being chased out by a flock of crows that moved in some (20+) years ago.
Regards, John K

RSA Online

Haven't really got a nemesis bird. I'd LOVE to see more cardinals though, they really brighten up a garden :)

Raymond Schmidt

I dont really have a nemesis bird, I get all the birds I "should". However I would from time to time spot Cedar waxwings in the treetops. Could never get a good look at them. So I decided to build a little pond with a water fall to try and attract them in. It worked. In the fall i had dozens of waxwings bathing and drinking in the pond. As an added bonus I also got a vireo and 2 different Warblers drinking from the pond.


I live in Europe, but I just love your blog! And many adiveces are good anyway :)
My nemesis bird are:

Magpie. There is a couple with a nest just across the street, but they visited my feeders only once!
(a nasty bird for many, but I just find them so beautiful!)

European Greenfinch. A bird that everybody has, but not me.

Hoopoe. I saw them in my garden often in the past, but not in the last two years ufortunately.

Woodpecker. It is so common here that it's even the symbol of my region! But still I never saw them once.

Blackbird. There were many of them in the past but not anymore. saw some around the yard, but never at the feeders!

Another one, a bird that I know I'd never see at a feeder is the Barn Owl. I just saw one once by chance in my garden and it was just sooo amazing! Would just love to see her again!

And squirrels. Yes, not a bird, and usually hated by bird lovers in the US :) they are, unfortunately extremely rare and in danger here but I found some suspiciously opened nuts around my hazelnut grove, hope I'll see them once!

But still, I'm blessed with many other birds like: (European) blue tit, great tit, sparrows, robins and eurasias collared dove. For my first year as a birdgardener... Can't complain! :)


Lovely photos - since I'm out in the country cardinals rarely visit my feeders, they are numerous in the towns round about though, and red-bellied woodpeckers - had a family of them, until my dog caught one and made it so angry it hasn't returned... probably scared it so much. Never seen a Carolina wren - this may be just a bit too far north for them... but what a super idea to list the ones you want to see!

Marianne Russell

I have I think one pair of cardinals that sporadically visit my feeders (always very early in the morning and at dusk); the red-bellied woodpecker I can hear calling in the trees, but only once made an appearance on the ground beneath my feeders (? that was a first for me - have always had them but never on the ground) and have yet to see one of my all-time favorites - the Carolina wren. Had them nest when I lived in GA and VA, both times in pansy planters on my deck. Hope all of these (and more) will find my bird cafeteria and visit often!


Just wow to the photo with the red bird! I also love to view my birds in the garden and did a list. I like your blog!


Great shot, all three are regulars visitors to my feeders.


Nemesis, I like the sound of it, but had never thought of that. To me, they're "dream birds", and they are not at all uncommon, but too rare in my backyard. I wish I could see more of the Northern Cardinal, which I have only seen one on New Year's day of this year. My other nemesis would be the White-breasted Nuthatch, who has paid one visit to my birdfeeders but has yet to return.


Great topic! Well, currently, I'd have to say redpolls. I know that you and others have reported hordes of 'em at their feeders this winter. Although I've been keeping the feeders full, I've had precisely two redpolls show up, and that was on a single day. I haven't seen any since then!


For your second definition of nemesis, mine is Pine Siskin.

They've been everywhere this year, but I can't get them at my feeder.

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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.