ninevirtues: (Default)
When I first got the bird feeder on my patio, I put it near the neighbors' fence. They kept moving it. I assumed they needed to reach the hose that's (in)conveniently located in my little patio, so they could water their garden, so I kept moving it back.

My korean neighbor disabused me of that notion in her highly economical, accented English. Pointing at the bird feeder, she exclaimed, "Birds poopie!" 

Well, THAT must have been hard on the drying laundry she hangs back there. Sorry, Korean neighbors!

So the bird feeder was moved to its current location (right outside the sliding glass door, safely far from the neighbors' fence) and I reached a detente with the feathered ones... in which they visit the bird feeder when I'm not in the kitchen, or, alternatively, not looking directly at the bird feeder. 

I notice, though, that they keep eating (I go through a bag of birdseed every week, and I've seen doves, buntings, finches, and chickadees so far). However..... In any given day, I can't tell whether the same birds visit the feeder multiple times, or whether different birds that look the same are visiting the feeder one time each.

Hmm, let's put this a different way. Say I see a chickadee, and then twenty minutes later I see a chickadee again. I can't tell whether it's the same one. So here's how I'd figure it out. (Yeah, I know. Like I actually have time to do this. Consider it a thought experiment for now.)

1) Look up the kinds of birds I've seen and find out, on average, how much a small bird eats per day. (Confounding factor: They probably don't just eat what I put out; they find other stuff to eat. I don't know how to compensate for that.)
2) Weigh the bird feeder at midnight (no birds around) each day to measure how much seed disappears from it in one day.
3) Divide measurement (2) by measurement (3). That gives me a rough estimate of the number of birds I'm supporting.

4) Get a bird feeder cam. Watching the footage, determine how many birds actually visit the feeder.
5) Divide.... aw, man. I need to sit down with a paper and pencil and mentally chew on this one to understand what divides into what. I'd do it, but I'm going to work now. More later. Suggestions welcome.

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ninevirtues

April 2016

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