After my exhausting birding adventures with Mike, Charlie, Jean, and Patrick, which will soon be described in great detail, I’m sure, I had Mike drop me off at, no, not my apartment, but Forest Park! The sun was out and the afternoon was still young. My energy level was at a pretty low ebb though, so I decided to just sit and watch rather than actively seek out the birds. So I put my plastic bag on the still somewhat wet ground, put my back against a thick tree trunk, sat on the bag and watched the birds come to the mini-feeding station in Forest Park.

There are four basic elements to the feeding station. First, and seemingly most popular, is the suet feeder.

suet feeder with Downy Woodpecker and White-breasted Nuthatches

It is almost never without a bird. There is a definite pecking order to the suet feeder line-up too, with Brown Creepers being chased off by anything, followed by Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, and the ruler of the roost, the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Red-bellied Woodpecker on the suet feeder

On occasion I’ve seen a Hairy Woodpecker come to the suet feeder but I’ve never seen them go toe-to-toe with a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I wonder which would get to feed first?

The second element of the feeder system is the nyjer sock. This is extremely popular with the American Goldfinches, though I have seen both Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice take seeds from it as well.

American Goldfinches on the nyjer sock

Feeder number three has already been pictured on this blog with a Pine Warbler on it. It is a simple platform feeder. Everything from Mourning Doves to Dark-eyed Juncos feed there.

Dark-eyed Junco on platform feeder

The final element of the feeding station is the element in common at every feeding station everywhere: the ground. Seed is scattered and can’t be let go to waste. Though many birds help with the clean up process I doubt any are as diligent as the vacuum cleaner of the forest floor, the Eastern Gray Squirrel.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

After a hectic day all over the borough of Queens and into the wilds of Nassau County it sure felt good to just sit back and let the birds (and squirrels) come to me. But even better than the feeder birds was my first Black-and-white Warbler of the year! I bet Charlie, Mike, and Patrick wished they birded a bit more now…

Black-and-white Warbler at Forest Park

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.