If it's not one thing... it's another.   This past week, I've come to fill the feeders in the morning and found them on the ground.  Sometimes the new " grid within a grid squirrel-proof"  feeder has been as much as 10 feet away from it's "home".  
   Since I took  pics of a raccoon at one feeder that was anchored in the ground last winter, I suppose a raccoon could climb up and throw them down. I guess I will need to tie the feeders to the poles.  Tonight I just took them inside. 
   Also, I've placed a birdbath heater ( a round coil covered in aluminum foil ) in a shallow pan on my patio. The birds seem reluctant to go near it.  I put fresh water in it daily. After about 2 weeks, I saw two eurasian tree sparrows at it today. I put some small river rocks on top of the coil which may be helping disguise the heater.  The birds keep going to the frozen water in the other feeders.  It's really kind of funny to watch them on the ice (sorry, no pics, as it was mostly at dawn ) . 
     The other morning as I was putting out the trash, I heard a trill I did not recognize. I listened and then followed the sound. It was a carolina wren. I had not heard that vocalization before. I should have known from the loudness that it was the carolina.
    I would be lying if I didn't say that I am looking for a return of the spotted towhee. I figure it is a small chance of it returning as I don't really know why it disappeared. It could have become prey.  Jackie Chain and I tease about it returning with family in tow.  I know, birds don't stay together that way, but the two immature blue jays that fledged in my yard this summer are still together and becoming very handsome. 
   I expect you long term birders and backyard "feeders" probably snicker at my learning curve.  So snicker away.. as I am learning.
Jane Allen
St. Louis County
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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