If you don’t feed birds, you’re missing an opportunity to observe this special wildlife at close range.
The National Audubon Society estimates that nearly one-third of the adult population of North America feeds about a billion pounds of birdseed each year.
The best way to attract the most and widest variety of wildlife to your yard is through wildlife friendly landscaping. Water will attract more birds than seed. Birds need water to drink but they also need it to bathe, as it increases the insulating value of their feathers. Keep the birdbath ice-free by using a birdbath heater or refilling daily.
A tube feeder filled with black-oil sunflower seeds will attract the widest variety of birds. Look for a tube feeder with metal ports around the seed dispensers. Squirrels will chew plastic to get to the seed. Goldfinches, pine siskins, house finches and chickadees prefer these tubes.
A ground-feeding table is raised a few inches off the ground, usually having a screened bottom so water drains away. Doves, juncos, and sparrows are birds that especially favor ground feeding. Place the feeder in an open area to give birds a chance to flee from predators.
Suet feeders attract birds like flickers, jays, chickadees and nuthatches. Hang suet cakes in an onion bag or wire basket. Squirrels may (will) chew through a bag, so a wire basket is preferable. Make your own suet cakes by melting or grinding suet and adding seeds. They make great gifts for your bird-feeding friends.
Some seed choices;
• Black oil sunflower seeds for birds with small beaks, the stripped variety for birds with larger beaks. They all prefer the hulled variety. Who doesn’t?
• Millet, either red or white, is readily eaten. Millet attracts quail, doves and juncos to name a few.
• Cracked Corn is a favorite. Feed only a little at a time because it absorbs moisture and tends to rot quickly when damp. Use the medium cracked as the finely cracked turns quickly to mush.
• Niger Thistle is not the seed of the weed we pull out of our gardens. It’s from a different plant entirely and won’t germinate under feeders. This seed isn’t cheap so use it in thistle feeders will small holes for birds with tiny beaks. Goldfinches love this stuff.
• Milo, wheat and oats are sometimes mixed in low priced birdseed. Birds prefer other food so this can accumulate under feeders where it may attract rodents. It will, however, attract pheasants, quail and doves.
Be sure to keep your bird feeder clean to avoid spreading disease. About once a month, scrub all parts of the feeder and sanitize with a 10% bleach solution using 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
D&B makes it easy to feed birds. It’s your one stop shop for all your bird feeding needs from various bird feeds to dozens of bird feeders, Find time to enjoy this popular hobby; you won’t be disappointed.