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1.  Just for fun, I put up two identical suet feeders, about a yard apart.
One has beef suet and the other a processed suet cake.  I am about to
refill the beef suet for the third time and the suet cake still looks
largely untouched.  While the suet cakes are a good idea when the weather
gets warmer, do others find that birds prefer the "real" thing?

2. My feeders are getting a LOT of action, including four mourning doves (I
usually get two or three.)  One of the birds climbs into the large platform
and feeds alone, pecking at the others who wait outside if they try to
sneak closer.  Yesterday, two birds were on one side and one on the other
and they took turns trying to approach.  When the dove in the feeder lunged
at one, a bird on the other side took the opportunity to grab a seed. When
the bird in the feeder changed directions to attack that bird, the one on
the other jumped forward.  After a few minutes of this, the bird in the
feeder did a serious attack and the other three retreated to the ground to
pick up the "scraps."  A good show.

3. I am envious at those of you who get 200 redpolls at their feeders.  I
have occasional groups of thirty or so but more often, I have one to five
birds.  The colors vary SO much.  I do not believe that I have had a Hoary
but sometimes they are so light.  Sibley states in his Guide to Bird Life &
Behavior that their "plumage grades along a continuous spectrum in areas
where both forms breed."  What do you find?  Are the color differences
really obvious?  I have put a few awful pictures of flickr...they are quite
skittish and I am forced to take the shots through windows.  I am sorry to
bother but would love your thoughts if you have a second.

The redpoll set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbmcclintock/sets/72157632594015469/
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbmcclintock/sets/72157632594015469/>
Thanks,

Martha
Westford