Lake Lorman

A Private Community in Madison County, MS

Birds and Birding

Gallery of Birds Common to Lake Lorman

The Gallery of Birds Common to Lake Lorman is designed to encourage participation by residents... The gallery has been started using file photos with the intent to replace those file photos with ones taken and submitted by Lake Lorman residents.  Once a resident submits a photo we will replace the file photo and give credit to the photographer.  The list is not complete so we're counting on you to help expand our collection of sightings.  (Note: It may take a minute for the Gallery to load... but worth the momentary wait.)
One of the great pleasures, often taken for granted, of living in a place like Lake Lorman is the wildlife around us.  Every day we are surrounded by the beautiful creatures in nature and so often simply don't notice... For several years Sarah Lea and Dale Anglin have given us "The Bird's Eye View", a popular section in the Lake Lorman Newsletter and now they have agreed to share with us some pointers re: birds and how to make your yard more inviting to our feathered friends.
Feeding and Attracting Birds Around Lake Lorman
Two things are needed to attract birds: a water source and a food source.  The lakes provide a water source, although if you want to attract birds to your yard, a bird bath - particularly one that has moving water or a drip - will work very well.  Wild Birds Unlimited has items that work well as additions to bird baths (including rocks that vibrate or attachments to hoses that will slowly drip - see this video:  A variety of seed mixes and food items will attract a variety of birds.  Some of these and the types of birds they attract are listed here.
Mixed Wild Bird Seed: Inexpensive mixes typically contain large quantities of milo and millet, as well as smaller amounts of cracked corn, millet, sunflower seeds, peanuts and other seeds or grains.  Many different resident species and migrants will eat this.  Mixed seed can be offered in many types of feeders, including hoppers, tubes, and mesh feeders, as well as open trays or platforms or even just sprinkled on the ground for easy feeding.  Squirrels and raccoons tend to wreak havoc on feeders, so finding a critter-resistant feeder is helpful.  Birds at the Lake that are often observed feeding on generic wild bird seed include: cardinals, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, house finches, mourning doves, and white-throated sparrows and juncos.  It helps to buy quality seed mixtures that are low in milo (small round red seeds), as these are very low in nutritional value and are often left uneaten if other food sources are available.
Black Oil Sunflower Seed: This is probably the most popular seed for the largest variety of birds.  These seeds have a high oil content that many birds select over other seeds, so we purchase a bag of these seeds and mix them with our wild bird mix; you may also put the sunflower seeds alone in a tube feeder (just enough for a day, or the raccoons will come at night!).  All of the birds listed above will select the sunflower seeds first out of a wild bird mix, leaving the other seeds for later.  Woodpeckers are fond of sunflower seeds as well.

Shelled Peanuts: These may be added to a seed mix or placed alone in a feeder.  Woodpeckers, Jays, titmice, and even the tiny chickadees will select these if provided (even before the sunflower seeds)!

Nyjer Seed (also called thistle seed): This is a high-fat, high protein seed that is often placed in a sock (called a thistle sock), a favorite of finches and siskins.  When the goldfinches arrive, they will crowd on and around our thistle socks, emptying an entire sock in less than a week.  Pine siskins, house finches, and purple finches will also be attracted to this seed.  This seed is best used during winter months, as few birds eat it at the Lake during the summer.
Suet Cakes: Suet cakes are typically made from animal fat (usually beef fat around here) with a variety of types of seeds, nuts, and/or fruits embedded in the fat.  Peanuts, sunflower seeds, millet, corn and various bits of dried fruits are commonly used.  These are favorites of woodpeckers, kinglets, pine warblers, chickadees, and wrens at our house.  The trick to suet cakes is to only use them in winter - they go rancid very quickly and grow moldy in warm temperatures.  In the winter, however, they provide an excellent source of energy for birds.
Mealworms: While you can get these alive, for us it is easier to purchase dried mealworms.  These mix easily with wild bird mix at any time of year, and immediately attract the attention of many bluebirds and wrens as well as a variety of warblers.  While most of the warblers didn't eat the mealworms, a few will, and it is beautiful.
Hummingbird Mix: Mix four (4) parts sugar to one (1) part hot water and stir until dissolved, and place in a clean feeder.  No need to add food coloring - it isn't healthy for humans or birds!  It is recommended to clean hummingbird feeders every three (3) days to ensure that bacterial contaminants don't harm the birds.  Especially in the heat of summer in Mississippi, these sugary mixtures will harbor microorganisms that can harm the birds - so be cautious and always use clean feeders and fresh mixtures.  You can store the mixture in a refrigerator for a week or so and distribute it in smaller amounts, avoiding waste.
Remember Edith
For several years we were graced with the beauty and gracefulness of Edith.  But alas, a swan is not a solitary bird and as most know mates for life.  Edith left us and we trust she has found another home where she will be appreciated as much as Lake Lorman did and that she has found her soulmate and lifelong companion.  We'll miss you, Edith... but we will never forget you. 
(photo: Elizabeth Marsh)