Garden Topics:  Birds & Pets

Top Twelve Bird Feeding Tips Top Twelve Bird Feeding Tips

1. Bird feeding is for people who love watching birds - Always place your bird feeders in places where you can readily and frequently see the birds you are feeding.

2. Start with the basics - The most important step when you get started feeding birds is to offer the right food. For the beginner, Black-oil sunflower in a tubular feeder is a very effective combination for attracting a large number of birds to your yard.

3. Attract more species by adding additional types of feeders and seed - Try Nyjer seed in a tube feeder, and mixtures of black-oil sunflower, hulled sunflower, and whole peanuts in hopper and platform feeders. To feed woodpeckers, offer suet, and to feed jays offer whole peanuts. Hummingbirds will drink nectar, while orioles will eat grape jelly, fruit and nectar. In the spring, slice an orange in half and leave it outside to attract orioles to your yard. These colorful birds love to eat and drink the juices from oranges. For a varied backyard flock, offer a range of foods to attract many different species.

4. Keep your birdfeeders full all year round - Some birds will visit throughout the year, and if your feeder is always full, the birds will keep coming back for more. Winter is a harsh time for non-migratory birds, and often their only source of nourishment is through birdfeeders.

Bird Feeders5. Try a few feeder designs - Choose 2 or 3 bird feeder designs to accommodate the different bird feeding preferences.

6. Put Up Feeders Conveniently & Correctly. When searching for a place to hang your birdfeeder, please keep in mind that the best place might not always be in your line of sight. Birds won't visit feeders they can't find, and you aren't likely to refill feeders that are inconvenient. Place feeders near good shelter or water sources for birds so they will find them, and be sure the feeders are safe from hawks, cats and other potential predators. Do not hang feeders too low and within a cat's reach. Birds will not enjoy constant attack by predators, and will move on to find a new bird feeder if they can't eat in peace. Squirrels can also be a problem. Keep the feeders easily placed so you can refill them as necessary - many backyard birders prefer to place feeders near patios, walks or porches.

7. Don't forget about alternative foods and water - Suet, fruits, mealworms, nectar and water may attract Twelve Bird Feeding Tipsspecies of birds not found at traditional offerings.

8. Maintain Bird Feeders - Once you have started feeding the birds, it is essential to take care of your bird feeders. Refill the feeders whenever the seed is running low, and keep the feeders clean to avoid spreading diseases among different birds.

9. Be patient - It can take several weeks for birds to discover a new bird feeder and learn to count on it as a reliable food source. If after six weeks your feeder is still not attracting birds, check the seed quality and feeder position and consider changing to a different feeder style that is more open and noticeable for local birds.

10. The bird species in your yard change with season of the year - The birds visiting your feedersTwelve Bird Feeding Tips in summer may be very different than those in winter. Provide the feeders and food best suited to your seasonal community of birds.

11. Make your yard bird-friendly - Provide birds with habitat, food, water, and nest boxes so birds will use your yard year-round. Bird feeders near larger trees and shrubs often have more bird visits.

12. Keep the birds safe - Reduce window collisions, keep birds safe from outdoor cats, and clean your feeders. Move feeders to within 3 feet of windows, remove hiding places of cats, and keep feeders free of debris and filled only with seeds birds will eat.

13. Informative and Valuable Links 

Twelve Bird Feeding TipsA. Bird Feeding 101 from the Cornell lab of Ornithology.  http://ww.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/slides/Backyard_Bird_Feeding_web.pdf

B. An index of references concerning birds and bird feeding.  http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/BirdFoods.htm

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