With the recent artic blast and lingering snow, this subject is even more important.
East Texas hunters are familiar with feeders, more specifically corn feeders. Primarily for deer but feral pigs, rabbits, turkey and basically every animal in our area that will eat corn. I have witnessed a coyote eating a few kernels. The point about a corn feeder is they actually benefit an entire host of outdoor creatures.
Raccoons are probably best known for eating most of the corn or otherwise manipulating the device to feed on demand. Some hunters will also feed some sort of protein which will help the deer much more than basic corn. If you have a feeder or multiple feeders, please keep them working and full throughout the year.
The benefits of a feeder to peripheral animals is tremendous. This week has been a prime example of how brutal outdoor living can be. We have multiple wild bird feeding stations at home and at our deer camp. A game camera near these feeders will introduce you to most of your neighborhood animals. Bobcats will usually check out a feeder and if you have a food plot, you have set up a dining room for the cats and coyotes.
I have a few pictures of a group of doves below a feeder and a bobcat crouched down in the background. I don’t know if the cat was successful but he hung around the area for a few weeks and, like a bobcat, he disappeared. Deer have been hitting our corn feeders extremely hard this week. The corn is on top of the snow and easier to get at, but again the protein does the deer much good.
If your wild bird feeder is being taken over by bully birds, there are a few tricks to the game. Cowbirds, grackles and redwing blackbirds can and do show up in large numbers, cleaning out a feeder in a matter of a few hours. The smaller birds like finches, nuthatches and cardinals just have to wait until the larger birds are through or pick up scraps off the ground.
There are feeders that restrict larger birds and allow the smaller birds inside. Another tactic is to furnish multiple types of feed or seed. Finches love the Nyjer seeds. They are tiny and come in a sock or tube feeder. I rarely see any other birds near the Finch feeder. For cardinals, sparrows and nuthatches, fill a feeder with safflower seeds.
The blackbirds and grackles aren’t interested in the safflower and will stick to the cracked corn or standard bird feed mix.
The main idea is to help all the creatures in your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter if your neighborhood is in town or in the river bottom.