Photo courtesy of Matt Wetrich
With the changing of the seasons comes different flying animals through Iowa.
Jefferson resident bird expert and Carroll County Conservation Naturalist Matt Wetrich says lots of water fowl have moved through Iowa on their way to warmer temperatures. He points out one type of birds that are more prevalent this time of year are Bluejays.
“So you’ll see huge groups of them. There are days where you can go out and see hundreds of Bluejays flying over or moving through. And if you want to attract Bluejays to your yard they love peanuts (including) peanut pieces (or) peanuts in the shell. If you put peanuts out in the shell, it’s fun to go watch them because they’ll pick them up and drop them, pick them up and drop them. We’re pretty sure what they’re doing is weighing them. So they’re figuring out which ones have the most food in these shells. They’re comical.”
Wetrich says another food source for the 20 different species of sparrows that migrate through Iowa is spreading crack corn or sunflower seeds. However, squirrels can be a deterrent when it comes to fending them off to have birds visit. Wetrich describes how to reduce the chances of squirrels visiting your birdfeeder.
“The only way I have ever had success with keeping squirrels off of birdfeeders is put them on some type of pole and then you have a baffle on the pole. There’s two types of baffles, there’s a cone-style, kind of reminiscent to when dogs have injuries and they have to wear that cone, it looks very similar to that. Or there’s what’s called a stovepipe baffle, which is basically a cylinder that you put on the pole and the squirrels and the raccoons cannot climb over those.”
Wetrich adds to remember that squirrels can jump five feet high and ten feet sideways. He recommends placing your birdfeeder more than ten feet away from the closest structure that squirrels can jump from.