Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Bird Fodder

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Cardinal, Bird Fodder, Mike Niven, Eastern Bluebird, Blue Jay
Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Cardinal, Bird Fodder, Mike Niven

Male Northern Cardinal / Cardinalis cardinalis, Photo by Mike Niven

Hello Fellow Readers,

Anita of Blairstown NJ shared the story of Squeak, a male Cardinal who squeaks after snagging each sunflower seed. “He’s also a bit of slob,” writes Anita, “dribbling shells back into the dish.” Her other guests, such as “titmouse, nuthatches, juncos and sparrows, take one seed at a time” and nosh elsewhere before returning for another. How polite! Anita’s story inspired a search for more fodder from my birder buddies Dennis Briede, also of Blairstown, and Mike Niven of Coatesville PA.

I’ll admit I’ve only recently begun to fully embrace birds. Years ago, I was beaked by a Blue Jay who aerial attacked during a morning jog. I learned male Blue Jays protects the nest while the female incubates the eggs. Surely Mr. Jay thought I was a predator and made a bloody mess of my scalp; never mind the “ick” factor. To this day, I hold a grudge for Blue Jays, though I chuckle that running with flailing arms could have made America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Cardinal, Bird Fodder, Mike Niven, Blue Birds, Blue Jay

Blue Jay / Cyanocitta cristata , Photo by Mike Niven

Indeed, Blue Jays are aggressive confirmed both birder buddies. Mike explained they also provide a service of giving warning signs by creating a ruckus when hawks are approaching. Dennis, whose day job is Stewardship Manager of The Land Conservancy of NJ, shared a Blue Jay once landed on his hand as he set out food which sounds friendly and appreciative. However, a Cesar Millan of birding would say the gesture was not of kindness. Rather, dominating the dish. One time during a Big-Stay (a concentrated bird watch), Dennis counted 650 Blue Jays migrating. Seems a mystery that some migrate south during winter, others don’t, and some migrate every other year.

Dennis’s love of birds began as a kid when his dad described the fields of Bluebirds in Jersey City where his dad lived in the 20’s and 30’s. Conservation groups have been concerned over their decline, though the introduction of nest boxes has helped them make a comeback. Dennis once provided mealworms to a Bluebird on his deck rationed over five days. When the allotment ran out, the Bluebird banged his beak on the sliding door asking for more. Another time a three-and-a-half-foot black rat snake was partly inside a Bluebird box filled with babies. Dennis intervened by grabbing the snake and tossing it aside. The next evening Dennis felt a presence. He looked up and the rat snake was glaring at him through the sliding glass door. “My hair stands up every time I tell the story.”

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Cardinal, Bird Fodder, Mike Niven, Eastern Bluebird, Blue Jay

Eastern Bluebird / Sialia sialis, Photo by Mike Niven

Mike became a birder and masterful at photographing them over the last ten years. His backyard became a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation and he served as a Steward for many years. Mike has counted 85 species of birds on his property so far. Dennis has counted 162. Both have improved their properties with native plants and water sources to provide a happy habitat for their feathered friends. Stay tuned next week for Bird Fodder Part 2 !

Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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