The Basics of Bird Feeding

For many people, there is no greater joy than that of seeing feathered visitors appearing in their yard, and having backyard bird feeding stations is one of the best ways to ensure that they make their appearance. The following tips will help to make sure that your bird feeding efforts benefit both the view and the birds!

Keep It Full:

Backyard birds will make use of feeders year-round, however, they won’t keep coming back to feeders that aren’t reliably full. Once you begin feeding, make sure to keep your feeders full at all times, or the birds will find another place to go. 

Choosing The Right Kind of Bird Feeders:

There are many different kinds of bird feeding stations, and each kind has pros and cons. Some of the most common kinds are hopper feeders or house feeders (these tend to look like a little house and can either hang or be placed on a platform. They have walls and a small roof surrounding the seed to keep it dry. Tube feeders have a central refillable tube and either has holes along the tube, or deposit seed on a tray, or a combination of both. Usually, these feeders are hung to help avoid seed theft by squirrels. Tube feeders with smaller holes attract finches as they hold thistle seeds or nyjer seed. Suet feeders are cage-like containers which hold chunks of fat which help attract the birds through the winter. Instead of suet, in the summer, you’ll want to use peanut butter and cracked corn in your suet feeders, as suet can go rancid in summer. Your local hardware store such as Brinkmann’s will have these, and many other types of feeders. 

Experts suggest having more than one type of feeder in more than one location in your yard to attract the widest variety of bird species to your yard. 

Which Type of Food:

The type of birds you’re looking to attract will help you decide what type of food to choose from. Black oil sunflower seed is the most popular seed. This type of oil, along with many other types, can be found at your local Brinkmann’s. These natural oils can be used to attract a wide variety of birds including blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, and sparrows. If you’re looking for a “starter seed” to get into the hobby, black oil sunflower seed is a great place to start. Other seed choices include “no mess” seed mixes which have been de-hulled and will cut down on the mess below your feeder or even fruits such as raisins and currants soaked in water overnight. This will attract fruit eaters such as robins, waxwings, bluebirds, and mockingbirds. Once you start feeding in summer and fall, it’s best to keep feeding through the winter as birds use many more calories to survive in the cold.

Give Them A Bath:

Finally, another way to attract a variety of birds to your yard and to see their natural behavior is to have a birdbath. Wild birds need to wash their feathers and they are attracted to birdbaths to do just that. Be sure to put mosquito dunks in your birdbaths and to clean them often! Just as you
want clean water for your bath, so do the birds.

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