For the birds…and critters too

When we asked readers about feeding the birds, Karen Hagen Goldberg of Stroud Township was the first to respond.

She’s got a regular wildlife sanctuary with bird feeders everywhere and a few nesting boxes that are unintended homes to critters.

 “I have a bluebird nest box, which is currently inhabited by a flying squirrel during the day, and a screech owl box, which the gray squirrels go into to peer out while it’s raining,” Goldberg said.

She has four children and they are continuing her tradition of birdwatching. 

Shirley Walker has also been busy at Hemlock Farms. “I love the birds – and can’t resist feeding them all year round,” Walker says.

In case you’ve been hibernating and didn’t realize, bears are a problem in Hemlock Farms, and

Shirley Walker has this elaborate setup in Hemlock Farms to foil the squirrels and the bears.

many other places in the Poconos. Shirley has devised a system: “Though I lose a few feeders to the bears, so I’ve adopted these plastic trays (see photo) that turn a soda bottle into a feeder. If the bear drags it off – I can easily replace it with another.”

Shirley added, “Every once in a while I’ll venture into the nearby wooded area to retrieve the broken bottles, as the plastic tray feeders can usually be used again.”

She hangs her feeder hung on a wire suspended between a tree and the house and keep empty plastic bottles threaded on the wire to keep the squirrels from raiding the feeder. “Once they set foot on the wires, they encounter the bottles that tend to spin with their weight – and it looks like a log rolling contest,” she said. Send video please!


“I put the feeders out only during the daylight most of the year, but can leave them out 24/7 when the bears are dormant. I usually add a suet cage then, which makes the woodpeckers quite happy,” Shirley adds. 

This red-bellied woodpecker visited the home of Mary Radke and Jim Frailey in Bartonsville earlier this year.

Mary Radke and Jim Frailey who live near Lowe’s in Bartonsville, try to feed all the birds. They use whatever wild bird seed is on sale, but Jim adds cracked corn to the mix knowing some will fall on the ground for the morning doves. 

They have two suet cake feeders which are very busy in the winter and a one tube feeder filled with nyjer finch seed to attract the goldfinches.

“None of our feeders are squirrel proof so a good portion of the food is consumed by these varmits.  I spend a lot of time opening the door or window to yell at them to get out,” Mary says.
  She avoids sunflower seeds because the shells make quite a mess.


These wild turkeys came to visit last January.

Mary shared a photo of the red-bellied woodpecker that visits and a photo of the strangest visitors to the bird feeders last January, some wild turkeys that got up on the deck to check out the feeders.


If you don’t feed the birds, you’re missing out. You can start with plastic feeders for $8 (available at discount stores and our new Tractor Supply store in Brodheadsville) or buy a better feeder at the Monroe County Environmental Center and help to support the programs there. Or ask Santa to bring you a feeder. You’ll have hours of endless enjoyment. Here’s what you need to know.





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