letters from nairobi


An Appeal to Avian Aficionados
February 15, 2012, 11:22
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Calling all avian aficionados —

Last week, I bought a birdfeeder and hung it on my balcony like so:

I tried filling it with granola, to no avail, and then sunflower seeds, which I bought at the grocery store:

Since the sunflower seeds were the only birdseed available, I assume(d) that they would attract the local bird population.

So far, I have yet to see one bird avail himself of the free buffet. There are birds everywhere in my apartment complex — hopping among tree branches, taking fluttery baths in the swimming pool, perching on rooftops. But not one willing to drop by for a delicious snack.

The irony of the situation is that I don’t particularly care for birds. But, now that I’ve set my sights on sitting on the balcony in the sunshine, watching a pretty little iridescent friend munch happily on some seeds, I am determined to make this vision a reality.

So, I appeal to you, friends wise in the ways of birding: what am I missing? How can I make my feathered friends feel welcome? Advertise a two-for-one special? Happy hour?

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4 Comments so far
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This sounds like a question for Miss Megan. I think a cocktail would be a grand idea! Pun intended. Hope you get some feathery friends over there soon!

Comment by Liza Avruch

i am on the case. make sure the sunflower seed doesn’t have any salt or any other additives on it (it’s crazy bad for birds, and they seem to know it and avoid it). Otherwise, sunflower seed should be the best for almost any bird and it just takes some time for them to find it. Try sprinkling some loose seed around/below the feeder daily to entice them. I wouldn’t think they would come to granola. It looks like a loy of the more common birds of nairobi are more fruit eaters than seed eaters, you might tried dried fruit, typically atleast in the the US a lot of birds go nuts for it, but it makes for a messy feeder… try mixing some in with the seed. Also, if you can, get a water source close by, like a bird bath, but something as simple as a large bowl with fresh water would get them coming. just give it time, and thank god someone else i know has been mysteriously turned into a bird watcher! try to get them all: http://www.birdlist.org/kenya.htm (yes, like pokeman).

Comment by megan

It may take a few days for them to get used to it being there so be patient. What kind of birds do you have. We have 4 feeders. You will get hooked when they start to come around. What kind of birds do you have?

Comment by Janet Stepka Finch

Megan: That is amazing advice. Thanks! I don’t know why I didn’t come to you first — you are an expert! I will keep you posted on the experiment. Next steps: find dried fruit and enticing water bowl. Will report back.

Janet: Right now, there are a bunch of different birds in the neighborhood, but I’m not sure which ones want to come in for a snack. I have christened them with names such as Scary Beak, Yellow Tummy, and Crazy Eyes (a very scientific system of nomenclature).

Comment by Hannah Rubenstein




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