Yesterday afternoon the temperature soared to +24C, somewhat unusual for an autumn prairie afternoon. All the birds that hang out at our place decided it was the perfect day for a bath. At one point we counted nearly 20 sparrows jammed into our tiny bird bath, water flying everywhere as they hustled and bustled and fluffed their feathers while chasing each other around in a circle. Two large mourning doves chased the sparrows off at one point and had their own "soak in the tub". My husband had to refill the bird bath three times yesterday.
We took advantage of the weather with a walk down to the local "jack of all trades" store to pick up new suet packs to tie onto the net house frame for the winter. We originally put up the suet for the woodpeckers, but over the past few weeks we have seen ALL the other birds feasting on it. The jays, sparrows, nuthatches, finches and flickers all seem to enjoy it.
My husband bought a pack of fresh mixed nuts and hung them up under our kitchen window eave. Some of the birds prefer feeding under the safety of that eave, particularly when the hawks pass over our place. The Downys love eating those nuts but the ones in the old bag are getting moldy in the middle of the bag. He took that bag down and was going to toss it out but realized there are still some good nuts around the outside, so he rehung it over on the net house frame. Seconds after he came back indoors Missy Downy was at the new nut bag. She took a few mouthfuls, stopped and looked all around. Then she flew directly over to the new location of the old nut bag and ate her fill, mold and all. She didn't return to the new bag. haha Downy Jr. was much more impressed with the new nuts than the old ones, so my husband felt justified in putting them out there. The jays were delighted with the fresh cashews.
It is shaping up to be a delightful winter with the birds that winter over at our place. A new heat tape is in place in the bird bath to guarantee there will be fresh water even in the -40C days of December and January. There is an extra suet pack or 2 in the garage storage, fresh packs of mixed seeds and bags of sunflower seeds in the shells. After leaving the feeders and bird bath empty for most of Sept. so that the migrating birds would indeed migrate out of our place, the birds who spend winters in the yard will be well taken care of.