|Red-bellied woodpecker |
at a backyard feeder.
My Answer: Long ago before I met Kathy and when I was a young man, I used to live on the third floor of a "luxury" apartment complex and had the same issue with rules you have. Basically, I just broke the rules. Fortunately, the apartment managers (all female!) thought I was a wonderful tenant, so I got away with breaking the rules---one of the privileges back then of being young and dashing.
But I did use cracked sunflower seed that left no hulls or mess on the balcony---Kathy and I use the same kind of seed in our yard. You can purchase it at any of the Wild Birds Unlimited stores in the Houston area, or you can order it online at http://www.shopwbu.com/products/. Get the "No-Mess Blend Bird Seed." They also sell suet cakes specially blended for warm climates---order the "No Melt" variety. (I have no financial interest in Wild Birds Unlimited; I simply like their products and customer service.)
We also travel quite a bit, so we record birds when we're home and leave it at that.
Project FeederWatch has no hard-and-fast rule that you have to count birds every week. If you sign up for the project, it will take about two weeks to receive the kit. But you can download the tally sheet on the website at www.FeederWatch.com and begin keeping tallies right away.