Becoming Grandma Kramer

My husband’s mom was a great lady.  I really loved her and she was so kind to me.  Even if I tried really hard, I couldn’t think of a bad thing to say about her.  Growing up, my kids all called her Grandma Kramer.

When I became a grandma my kids all decided that there was no way they were going to call me Grandma Kramer to their kids as they just couldn’t get past their Grandma Kramer to call me Grandma Kramer.  I was fine with that.  They asked me what I wanted to be called and I said Jo was fine…Carver has changed that to Joey and that’s okay too.

Well…after this story…Kalissa has decided that I’ve officially become Grandma Kramer because when she was little and we went to Grandma’s house the conversation often moved to stories about her outdoor birds…and me…my conversations lately have been about the birds outside my window.

It’s all Kayla’s fault.  I’ve become a bird lady.  The other day Kayla posted this video in our family messenger group.  Push the arrow button for the video to play.

You all might remember that I’ve been wanting to have birds but was so hesitant to spend the money thinking they wouldn’t show up anyway.

After seeing the video, that was it.  I was going to get bird feeds.  I didn’t even care if I tried and it failed.  I was going to try.  In fact, I was so excited about it that I got in the car and drove to the store!!

My WalMart didn’t have any gold finch feeders with the yellow on them.  My parents and Kramer’s mom all had feeders with yellow on them.  That made me think that I needed yellow to attack gold finches…so I didn’t buy any.  I did have a couple of feeders at home so I did get bird food.  I also bought a flat feeder with a bird bath.

The next day Kalissa was going to town and would be at the farm store.  I told her to get two finch feeders for me.  She got one like this …that I am putting wild finch food in…


…and she got this one that I am putting thistle seed in. (DON’T ORDER THIS ONE.  Keep reading)


I went on Amazon and ordered THIS.  It looked like what Kayla had.

Well that stake and hanger wasn’t supposed to come for a bit but I wanted it all out NOW.  I wanted to see if I could attract some bird like Kayla had…so, I went and pulled the stakes for my hanging baskets and put them in front of my dining room window.  I filled the feeders and in about two hours, I had this…

I was just thrilled.  I really never dreamed they would come and be so prolific.

I have been watching them a lot over the last few days and am kicking myself wondering why I took so long to get the feeders and actually try to get birds.  I always thought there was some secret trick to it…I’m starting to think there isn’t.

My grandkids have loved it.  Kalissa has even loved it.


Typically if we get this close, they fly away…but Gannon got lucky and the birds let him get a close up look.


I have TONS of birds at the feeders.  At one point I counted 21 birds.  Gold finches are my main birds.  They are so pretty and fun to watch.

I’ve seen an Oreile.  I’ve seen a Downy Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and Sparrows.

These two birds with the gold finch I am confused by.  I haven’t seen either of them.  Anybody know what they are?


Here are a couple more pictures of the red bird….Hmm.

I wondered if it was a momma robin but they seemed much smaller.  There were actually two of these reddish birds.


I think now I need a bird book.

I am totally enjoying the birds.  They are so fun.  There are regularly five birds on the feeders and often closer to 10-12.  At certain times of the day the numbers float around 15 -20.  They are fun to watch.  The kids really love them.

UPDATE:
I hate this feeder.  In fact, I’m going to Amazon and leaving a bad review of it.  The thistle seed pours out of it and gets wasted.  After 2 1/2 days the entire feeder was empty and most of the thistle seed was on the ground.


I ended up getting this instead.  It’s not yellow but the gold finches don’t seem to mind.


I can’t wait for the new pole to come in.  These hooks are a little low and we can’t see all of the birds at once.  I am totally in love with it…but have some to realize that bird seed will likely be a staple on my shopping list.

If anyone has bird advice, suggestions, or ideas, please pass them on.  I’m pretty into birds now.  Oh no.  What have I become?  I think it’s official.  Kalissa is right, I’ve become Grandma Kramer.

59 thoughts on “Becoming Grandma Kramer

  1. Nancy F Van Roekel

    The brownish one looks like a female grosbeck. The finish is a purple finch. They have more red on their head than a male house finch.

    Reply
    1. Karen Meyer

      The red one is called a male purple finch abs the tan one is a female purple finch. I have feed birds for 20 plus years and I get so much pleasure from the birds. I do get upset with the blue jays because they kick the seeds out of the feeder sometimes but they are so pretty to watch I forgive them. Today I had a couple woodpeckers, a blue bunting, some blue jays, dozens of finches, yellow and purple finches, a couch or black birds and some starlings and that is just the few times that I had a minute to watch them. You will be hooked and it is a wonderful addiction. Karen from Michigan

      Reply
  2. Mary E

    Purple finch or house finch
    My feeders are loaded these days, too, but sadly it won’t last. Most of them continue north.

    Reply
  3. Cheryl

    I love your birds! The gold finches are so pretty. The reddish birds are house finches. Those are the predominant birds at our feeder. It is so much fun to see all the birds bantering back and forth. How fun for you and the kids to watch from a birds eye view!

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth

    I think your “red” headed birds could be Purple Finches. I look forward to your posts everyday!

    Reply
  5. Helen

    The birds with the red on them are called purple finches. Why they are called purple when they are clearly red,…….? I don’t know. your book might tell you. We have them in south Georgia almost all year round. Although right now, my birds have disappeared. I usually have finches, sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, and titmouses (mice?). Love my birds! Wish I could get some yellow finches but they don’t like our heat down here! heehee. I don’t either. Enjoy them!

    Reply
  6. Helen

    ps Be sure you don’t those thistle seeds germinate. They make nasty plants with thorny stems. not good at all!

    Reply
    1. RuthW in MD

      FYI, Thistle seeds are AWFUL!! Why??? Because birds eat them and they poop them and they fall to the ground and GROW more Thistle stickers and Thistle seeds!! Judy at Patchworktimescom complained about this happening on their property. It got so bad they had to put down cardboard on the garden paths so they wouldn’t be tracking thistle stickers into the house. And they stopped buying bird seed that had thistle seeds in the mix.

      Reply
  7. Gail L Piper

    The bird with the reddish color is either a purple finch or house finch. Glad you’re enjoying them!
    We have had orioles here for 2 1/2 weeks in our part of OH, they showed up the same time as the hummingbirds. The orioles eat nectar, grape jelly and oranges at this time of year. They will try to get nectar out of the hummingbird feeders, but we have an oriole nectar feeder too. The orioles went through a whole jar of jelly the other day, but that won’t last too long – they start wanting protein soon. What has amazed me is that several other birds like the jelly and oranges. We’ve had house finches on the jelly and woodpeckers on the oranges.
    Enjoy!!!

    Reply
  8. NJ

    I believe the reddish birds are House Finches. If you see a little bird hanging upside down on the feeder & coming down a tree trunk head first, it’s probably a Nuthatch.
    At the end of our driveway, there’s a gutter & it usually has a stream of water running in it from surface water in our neighborhood. Every morning just as it gets light, we have a drake & a hen taking their morning bath in that water. They’re having a good time then eventually people are out for their morning walk and the ducks disappear.

    Reply
  9. Deb

    My husband (who knows birds) says the two birds with the Goldfinch are housefinchs. The male is the one with the red coloring, female is the drabber colored one.

    Reply
  10. shirley

    My mom always called the red birds a house finch. They will make their nests in the bushes close to the house and some times in potted plants. Males have more red than the females. You can take a picture and do a reverse google search and many times it will find it for you. I found this. Guess my mom was right. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_finch.

    Reply
  11. Dianne R

    I think they are purple finches. The wine-colored one is the male and the plain one is the female. I just love the yellow finches. We used to get a lot of them when we had bird feeders.

    Reply
  12. Norma

    We feed sunflower seed and suet. The finches will come for the sunflower seeds through the season and it’s fun to see them go from drab to dandelion yellow! Cardinals, chickadees, nuthatch,all varieties of woodpeckers come in the winter. Now we have Baltimore Orioles, orchard Orioles, indigo buntings,and rose breasted grosbeak as well. The Orioles have been working on the suet lately.

    Reply
  13. Ellie

    You could try a hummingbird feeder and sugar water. They are pretty easy to attract. Bluebirds are easy to attract with dried meal worms but if you put them in a flat feeder the starlings will eat them all! A bluebird feeder is a a bit pricey but only the small birds can get into it so the starlings can’t. It’s fun watching the parents bring the young birds to the feeders.

    Reply
  14. Kim from TN

    Jo your feeding station is off to a great start. Thistle seed can get expensive, so I bought it in 50 lb bags at my farm supply stores. I also had feeders that held black oil sunflower seeds, great for lots of songbirds and Safflower seeds for cardinals. Feeders have specific size holes for the birds and the type of food they hold. The adults and the kids are going to love your feeding station. What fun.

    Reply
  15. Karen Miller

    Hi Jo. I am also a bird lover. I have three feeders on the outside of our wrought iron fence overlooking a pond. We have a large variety of birds right now. My favorite to watch are the northern bluebirds. We have had a nesting box up for 4 years but this is the first year it has been used. We had 6 eggs in the first clutch and once those eggs hatched and the birds fledged and departed, the parents rebuilt another nest and we now have 5 eggs almost ready to hatch. The parents are very vigilant in guarding the next. Enjoy watching!

    Reply
  16. Kate

    Having bird feeders is quite fun as you discovered. We just started putting feeders up last year. This year we have seen Baltimore oriole, rose breasted grosbeak, cardinals, some kind of finch (not as pretty as the ones you have), and of course robins, grackles, and blue jays. We also have humming bird feeders and see those once in awhile, but later in summer, will see more of them. Totally amazing how many beautiful birds there are.

    Reply
  17. Susan MacLeod

    I love watching the birds! Goldfinches are the most cheerful sounds ever. I also have a pair of Cardinals. I did have a purple finch last week. Also, lots of chickadees, nuthatches and the tufted titmouse. I have to be careful here in VT to take my feeders in so I don’t attract bears. My favorite bird book is an audubon book. I’ll look it up on amazon for you

    Reply
  18. Sarah F.

    I feed the birds year round when I am home. Put out some black oil sunflower seed also and you will have cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, even blue jays, etc. The finches will eat it also. In Texas we get the finches in the winter but they loose their gold in the winter. They will come in November and leave in April usually. The purple finch or house finches stay year round in Texas. I just love watching the birds and squirrels. If you don’t want squirrels-don’t put out sunflower seed.

    Reply
  19. Kris in WI

    Oh, those house finches! I was so pleased with the sunflower wreath I hung beside our front door one year. That is until it became a nest site for a pair of very determined house finches. I thought I could put up with it until the droppings began to coat the mailbox below. Sorry, birds. I took down the wreath and haven’t been brave enough to put out another one unless it is inside the storm door. I love the pix of Gannon and the goldfinches. So nice to see children involved in nature this way. There are several good bird books for children, too. Enjoy your birds, Jo. They are beautiful and mark the seasons as they come and go.

    Reply
  20. Sheila in WI

    I agree… the unknown birds are probably house finches or purple finches. I like to sprinkle a product called Preen on the ground under the feeders. This helps keep the seeds that fall from germinating.
    Enjoy your bird show!

    Reply
  21. Hedy

    We are really into birds here too. Right now we have so many Cardinals I can’t even begin to count them. We have yellow bellied sapsuckers and blue jays with doves and finches, downy and Pilated woodpeckers. We found that birds need protection and so we always put our feeders near trees or large bushes. We use black oil sunflower seed mostly with suet blocks bought on sale. Buy the largest bags you can, but protect them from squirrels. Happy birding. The first hummingbird was sighted here today.

    Reply
  22. Jen

    House finch. Download the app called Merlin. I’ve found over 25 different species at the feeders and edge of timber.

    Reply
  23. Kathleen in Mississippi

    You can get some screen door replacement screen and put it on the inside of your window. You can see out but the birds can’t see in. We did it so the kids could get right up to the window and watch hummingbirds in the suction cup feeders outside.

    Reply
  24. Helen

    Where do you live, Hedy? just curios about the cardinals. Looks like Birds bring us all a lot of joy!

    Reply
  25. Martha W

    Hedy mentioned the squirrels getting the seed. My mother who lives in Southern MN has raccoons after the seed. They even chewed through the top of a plastic garbage can to get the food. It is fun to watch them climb the poles and get to the food. They even opened the suet container doors to get the suet out. Also, the deer love her feeders too. If you want the orioles to stay you need to get grape jelly out ASAP. They usually send a “scout” out to find the jelly before the flock arrives. Oh, my 98 yr old mother has been watching the downies eating the sugar water. She loves watching the birds.

    Reply
  26. Virginia Grenier

    If you feed them… they will come. I’ve given up on feeding them thistle seed (tired of the thistles growing in my yard because they either dropped or pooped the seed on the ground!). I still get the finches – they also love black oil sunflower seeds AND no more thistles growing in the yard (have had a couple of sunflowers though).

    Reply
    1. Kathy

      Me too, we no longer feed thistle seed, and we have finches year-round. I love watching birds….well all wildlife. Have fun Jo! I’m glad the grand kids can see them too.

      Reply
  27. Debbie

    I use the Audubon app on my phone. I allows you to identify the bird and it plays their different songs. It was a free app

    Reply
  28. Anne Fisher

    My bird feeders are my entertainment all year around!! I’ve gone through I think at least 175 lbs of black oil sunflower seeds –and close to 75 lbs of cracked corn—which all the birds do eat–but that was an attempt to keep the squirrels from eating so much of the sunflower seed!! Birds wouldn’t touch the niger thistle seed here– –no idea why –but it was just left in feeder and got moldy–which wasn’t good. FLOCKS in the winter–at times I think 100 birds–and many different species in the winter. Keeps me busy-when snows or have blizzard–shovel paths to my feeders!! Love it when the Goldfinch get their summer colors and also can listen to them sing!! Downy woodpeckers, Flickers, Blue Jays- Finches–House Finch–hopefully Grosbeaks will stop by– and Orioles soon– I don’t see Hummingbirds in summer–but they go to son & daughter-in-laws flowers/planters they have around patio!! Cardinal came today– Red Headed Woodpecker–and I have to still check bird book to know if it is Brown Thrasher or Thrush that comes every spring!! The grape jelly–the orioles love!! HATE the GRACKLES– Enjoy your Birds!! Looks like there are lots of us that feed the birds!! Know the kids will enjoy —and there are many things to learn!

    Reply
  29. Edith

    The small red bird is a house finch or a purple finch. You may want to look at squirrel proof feeders because they can consume a lot of seed fast and in a pinch will hang down and eat the thistle seed. No waste feed costs more but you get less mess and weeds at the base. Also at Menards I have gotten feed with grubs etc which will attract a wide variety of birds. Also suet cakes with bugs and fruit are great to get woodpeckers. Anther thing that needs a double cage or the critters will grab it and eat it instantly. A bird bath with a water fountain kept with very fresh water brings lots of cardinal antics. Also they love safflower seeds which the squirrels are not so fond of I think. Hot, fresh water in the winter brings lots of birds too. If you feed you have to keep it up in winter. Finally haves of oranges nailed up high like on the clothes line poles attracts orioles when they pass through migrating. Have fun with endless hours of bird entertainment!

    Reply
  30. Beryl in Owatonna

    When I lived in Montana, we called the reddish finch a Cassin Finch and the brown one was the female. They have a beautiful song, especially now when they are mating.

    I get a mesh bag with thistle seed in it from Walmart. It will hang on your hooks. All finches enjoy this.

    I enjoy the hummers so much.

    I am going to put out an orange for the orioles…they are here.

    Enjoy they are so entertaining and beautiful!

    Reply
  31. Linnea

    Now you’ve made me want to somehow attract birds in our yard at the RV Park where we live! We’ve no trees or bushes to hang feeders but this idea of hangers would work well. I’ll let ya know if they approve or not. They’re a bit hit and miss on what they permit and what they deny here.

    Reply
  32. Chris

    If you can photograph the bird or even a piece of fabric you may find out about it with an app on your phone “lens”

    Reply
  33. Bridget

    There is an avian flu currently in the wild bird population which is devastating to domestic poultry so this year no bird feeders. Experts are on the fence about the impact feeders may have but I would rather not have the fun this year than risk the poultry operations in my area. Hope they can get it under control.

    Reply
  34. Susan

    I adore my bird feeders! You will never know who is coming to visit. The small red n brown bird visited us here in NC earlier this year…it is a house finch. The feeders will bring you great joy…glad you decided to give in and become Grandma Kramer!

    Reply
  35. MarianneK

    Congratulations on becoming a bird watcher. I have been one for my entire life! That bird with the rose colored breast is a House Finch. You made me laugh when you said you resisted getting feeders as you didn’t think the birds would come.

    Reply
  36. Beverly

    We tried bird feeders when we first moved here 22 years ago but all the dropped seeds produced weeds on our garden so my husband said no more feeders! Do you have a solution to the dropped seed problem?

    Reply
  37. Jeanine from Iowa

    Jo,
    I think the red bird with the goldfinch is a House finch and the other red one might be a Purple Finch. We have these in southern Iowa, too. We have a great bird book. It is “Birds of Iowa” field guide by Stan Takiela. We are referring to it often. We got it at our local bookstore, but I know you probably don’t have in your town. You really attracted those goldfinches. We don’t see many of them, but we are in the country and don’t have a lot of trees by our house.

    Reply
  38. susie Q

    Well, Grandmom Kramer you don’t do thing half way!!! that is some big time set up for a beginner…… perhaps some of the attraction to the birds is the time of year…….. not as much to eat as fall, etc.

    Reply
  39. Colleen in Oregon

    We don’t have TV because we prefer watching our birds and other wildlife. We also put up suet feeders and have found that the birds prefer the peanut butter suet. Nyjer seed is also a finch favorite. One of our favorite books is The Sibley Field Guide to Birds. Enjoy!

    Reply
  40. Aileen

    We had problems with the sparrows and house finches eating all the thistle seed . Somebody told us about an upside down finch feeder , we found one . The goldfinches are the only ones that can eat upside down , it’s really fun to watch them flip over to get the seed , we all like watching them .

    Reply
  41. Pam Jolly

    I have had bird feeders for years and love watching the birds. When my grandson was 2, he saw some birds on the ground at his house. He, quite seriously, told them to “go to Oma’s and she will feed you.” Nevermind the fact that I live 5 hours away from him!

    Reply
  42. Toni W.

    We get yellow finches at our bird feeder, but I’m not familiar with the house or purple finch. When I Googled it, I found this and thought it was interesting:
    “House finch symbolizes harmony in life. Even if you’re going through a tough time in life, these finches remind you to persevere as good times will knock on your door soon again. Savor your beautiful memories and learn from your recent failures in order to move ahead in life.”

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.