Santa Fe Scoop

Ideas for our dog park - what do you think?

How about feeding the birds during winter season? I see no reason why not, do you? We could buy a huge bag of seeds from the feed bin for their best price, $25, find a sealable container (I am thinking for example of a Coca Cola barrel they used to give away) and place it somewhere central in the park like near the table and chairs.

Having watched Animal Planet of late, I also think it would be nice to have something like an obstacle course for our dogs to be challenged and stimulated by. Maybe a barrel to crawl through, ropes to jump over, big logs to balance on.
I am not an expert, but I always like to find things to entertain and stimulate my dogs, what do you think? And most importantly what might you be willing to contribute?

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Comment by om on January 9, 2010 at 6:50pm
Maybe feeders can be taken home and cleaned, as water should not go down to ground levels. This might mean rotating containers.

I also notice a lot of poop and wished for a scattering of long handled shovels (?) and small brooms that allow for a load to go directly in to the garbage, a much more efficient way of cleaning up. The little broom I had brought has disappeared but served well for a good long time and cost maybe $4.
Comment by om on January 9, 2010 at 6:16pm
I talked to a lady at Wild Birds Unlimited and her suggestion was primarily to provide water for the birds, but she sees no problem in providing seeds. So my idea is to find a used clean and safe closeable container for at least 25 lbs of seeds or more, about $1/lb. Then find trays, baskets, wide containers of various kinds to either hang from trees, maybe with simple twine or rope, or place on at least 5 feet high stands, maybe tree trunks. Start with 3 containers of seeds and 3 containers of water I suggest in 3 areas, the central table area one of them and maybe where the seed bucket might be kept. Once all of this is in place all we have to do is remember to refill the containers with seeds and water. Who is willing to contribute some money to start this now while the birds really need it the most? 20 individuals giving $5 would make this happen very quickly. I be glad to do the leg work, collect the money, get the seeds, go to second hand stores on the look out for a big container and various baskets, big plates, trays and such.
Comment by melanie milburn on January 9, 2010 at 8:40am
The pine cones with peanut butter and seeds worked really well, it is simple. One can also smear bagel halves with peanut butter and seeds, of course everything would have to be high enough to not tempt some of our easily tempted dogs!!!!
The birds need a quick escape to shelter, so off near the trails where there are lots of evergreens is the best place, since we have hawks also at the DP.
A bird person I know suggested bluebird nesting boxes, if someone is really wanting to help the birds, i dont know much about that. I know that when i have spread millet on the hills between the two sides of the loop, it has been devoured by the time i return the next day, perhaps the rodents eat some, i dont really see that as a problem, they live there too, field mice etc. Lots of seed laying on the ground could i guess attract snakes etc, but that would take more seed than we should scatter.
All in all, pine cones are a great idea for anyone who can be for an obstacle course, perhaps we could have a show of interest, and see if there are enough people interested to create one? I would be happy to help, it could be fun.
Comment by om on January 8, 2010 at 10:05pm
Julie, because the dog park was a land fill and the ground is now toxic, watering anything may not be a good idea. There is worry that Methane could reach the ground water! Methane escaping in to the air is no problem as I understand.

Potentially there could be lots of ways of beautification of the area, for one by offering more seating areas. Simple thick logs might do or else more used furniture that will not blow away in the wind. The metal table and chairs are great, why not create more gathering spots like it.

One concern of mine is that bird seed while attracting birds will attract snakes once it is warm again, but the idea is really to help them survive the winter.

Maybe more cones rolled in peanutbutter and covered with seeds might be an answer, surly the ones on the Christmas tree got devoured somehow.

Melanie, I appreciate your responding to the idea of an obstacle course of some kind. And thanks for the info on bird feeding, I had no idea the feeders had to be cleaned. Spreading seeds on the ground may attract other, less desirable creatures, certainly snakes in the warmer weather. But the point of course is to support the birds through the cold and attract them so we can enjoy their presence.

I liked the idea of a big bag of seeds at a bulk price placed right at the park, available to anybody that notices a need for refilling and supporting the birds there. Hmmm...
Comment by melanie milburn on December 30, 2009 at 9:03am
The obstacle course is a great idea....we were in Flagstaff and had some fun teaching our dogs at the obstacle course in their dog park. It would take some construction and perhaps a group of people getting together to design it, it would not be expensive, but some effort and hauling of logs etc.
As for feeding the birds....I sometimes take some thistle or millet and put it at the bottom of the christmas tree for the juncos...or spread millet in the hills between the big arroyo and the trail, hanging feeders could be nice but should perhaps be done on an individual basis, since that carries the responsibilities for keeping the feeders clean. Most people who feed the birds at their homes know that hygiene is important, especially since the finches , about 10 percent of them have a spreadable disease ...when birds amass together to feed they can infect each other. Hanging feeders need to be sterilized with a dilute bleach solution once a month. On an individual basis, one could take care of ones own feeder. I notice more ground feeder birds at the park, but there must be finches and sparrows too. I find the articles at very helpful as regards the practice of birdfeeding. So, anyway, i think birdfeeding is really sweet, but less confusing when one is responsible for ones own practice.
I dont know if you noticed the flock of birds clustered in the middle of the field? Sheila pointed out that they are horned larks, not a usual visitor to our dog park, and are really quite beautiful.

I would be willing to help with the construction of an obstacle course, what fun!!!
Comment by Julie L on December 29, 2009 at 6:14pm
I understand Shari's concerns. Maybe a more out of the way place, further away from the main traffic? I usually have 3-4 dogs in my yard, plus bird feeders and the birds don't seem that phased. I had thought of a community perennial native garden, but it'd just get peed on. Last spring and 3 springs ago I left baggies of native seeds at the park for people to spread around, hoping people would put them in an out of the way spot and water them on occasion when they walked by. Any little bit of beautification helps!
Comment by om on December 29, 2009 at 5:20pm
I imagined feeders of some kind, likely hanging on a bush or tree. My dogs seem to show little interest in chasing birds. And the birds already at the dog park I imagined would know how to cope with the dogs. But I might be wrong, would love to hear more, thanks for responding.

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