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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n02)
Right in my Own Backyard - Clean Up Crew - by Brandt Carter
posted: Jan. 20, 2017

Right in my Own Backyard header

Clean Up Crew
The holidays have come and gone. Whew! What a bustling time! From all the make-ready to the actual festivities and then cleaning up‚ąínothing is ever dull or static. As the New Year unfolds, I think back on all the guests: ones dropping off gifts and treats, some stopping by to chat, or others coming in from out of town. I stockpiled provisions in anticipation that surprises would surely pop up at my doorstep. As for people, I believe in being prepared for as the biblical saying goes, "You never know if you will be entertaining angels."
For the other critters at my home, the cat, dogs, and yard critters are probably glad the streams of people have lessened. We often have guest dogs visit, so extra treats are in order. I save special toys for some canine visitors; others I have to hide so they are not destroyed. The frozen patio and yard are always a great place for play dates. Luckily the cat has no visitors. She does relish the birds on the other side of the big picture window. Her chatter and vocals entertain us, and let us know our birds are busy emptying the feeders.
I also load up the provisions for the outdoor critters. It is especially important at this time of year to supplement birds during harsh weather conditions. I offer extra birdseed, suet cakes, and peanuts. I have put out a few more feeders and added the heated birdbath.
Now I have the steady stream of outdoor visitors. The Downey, Red-bellied woodpeckers along with the nuthatches, flickers, and titmice gratefully dine at the suet feeders all day long. Every now and then I spy a blue jay trying to mine a peanut. The cardinals, house finches, sparrows and chickadees show their gratitude for a free meal of Backyard Premium blend made of sunflower, chips, safflower, and millet. They kick out the millet so my ground feeders (mourning doves, juncos, cardinals, and squirrels) get served a meal also!
This month is also a great time to clean the kitchen of provisions that were overlooked. You can offer your backyard critters your stale nuts, wilted fruit, and tired popcorn and cranberries. You might try tying them to a tree or draping them over a shrub. Did you know crows love turkey carcasses? Put it in an old onion bag and tie it to a tree limb. You can also put stale bread and squash seeds in a tray feeder. They will appreciate withered apples too. The birds and critters in your backyard will be only too happy to help you clean up after the holidays!

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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