How can I attract feral parakeets to my yard?
December 21, 2010 9:49 AM   Subscribe

How can I attract my neighborhood's feral parakeets to my yard?

There are three scarlet-fronted parakeets (I think) in my neighborhood. They've been here for years, are usually in some tall trees a block away, and spend a fair amount of time across the street from me. I live near Seattle. We don't have any pets, but the neighborhood cats do wander through our yard.

Is it possible for me to set up a bird feeder that will attract the parakeets to my yard? How do I make sure that it won't be immediately taken over by our numerous crows, raccoons, and squirrels?

The crows are a special concern, as there are so frikkin' many of them and they're bullies.
posted by The corpse in the library to Pets & Animals (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have experience with wild parakeets, but if you talk to a local wild birdfeeding store, they could probably tell you an ideal seed to attract them. I'm guessing something like millet might work well - at least that's what my tame parakeet loved.

For avoiding having the feeder taken over by crows, raccoons, and squirrels, you might try a weighted baffle birdfeeder. They aren't foolproof - my folks have to take theirs in at night to keep the raccoons from getting into it, and the chipmunks have figured out how to balance on it. But crows and heavier birds haven't been able to get to the seed, while the smaller birds do. It's adjustable, so when they wanted to be able to let heavier birds (grosbeaks) to use it, they just fiddled with it until it was a good balance for the birds they wanted.
posted by ldthomps at 10:58 AM on December 21, 2010

If these are the Conures of Seward Park they are much larger then the parakeet you find in the pet stores. I think most parrots love sunflower seeds. Although It would be hard to keep the crows away I would be more worried about the cats.
posted by ljesse at 11:07 AM on December 21, 2010

Yup, they might be related to those. They're pretty large. Smaller than a crow, closer to a pigeon than a little parakeet. (I know nothing about birds.) One person thought they were some kind of African parrot.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:12 AM on December 21, 2010

Well, most parrots *don't* come from Africa, so I wouldn't put too much stock in that. A problem is that crows and parrots are afraid of the same things, so no plastic owl for you. You can get tube feeders that hang down from something in order to get rid of the climbing animals, but the crows are going to be harder to separate. One technique is to build a separate feeding area for the crows, where you put corn, which they love. Even though crows prefer to eat off the ground, it would certainly help to not have them try to get at your parrot food (per ldthomps).
posted by rhizome at 11:52 AM on December 21, 2010

Black sunflower seeds. But don't sell the crows short, they are smart and funny, truly awesome birds. I would kind of rather have the crows, but that is beside the point. As for squirrels and other critters, they will figure out whatever you do to. What we did was plan on feeding everyone.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2010

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