For those who love seeing varieties of birds in their yards, bird feeders are a surefire way of guaranteeing they show up, especially in winter. However, it’s the kind of bird feeder and the feed you offer that determines the birds you invite into your yard, so here is a quick guide to figure out what you need.
Basics of Bird Feeding
Wild birds only need three items to be encouraged to come back to a location: fresh water, cover for nesting and hiding, and quality food. The feeder you purchase must be easy for you to empty, clean, and fill, and a few other tips include the following:
- Plastic feeders must be strengthened with metal surrounding the feeding ports in order to dissuade squirrels from treating themselves. The perches ought to be metal as well or replaceable dowels.
- Wooden feeder parts should be cedar, which is weather-resistant, or painted or stained to protect from moisture.
- Add convenient water sources to your yard to attract many different kinds of birds.
- Birdhouses or nest boxes may inspire birds to raise families around your home. As well, birds need protection from natural predators, so their feeding zones ought to be away from cats and similar predators.
A word of caution—roughly one billion wild birds die each year from crashing into windows. To reduce this, place your feeder either 30 feet from a window or less than three feet. Opaque decorations, fruit tree netting, and mobiles outside of windows can also help deflect birds from windows.
Now, you must choose the right feeder for the specific kinds of birds you’d like to attract or those native to the area. Also, having more than one can help to attract even more species and prevent feeder congestion.
Platform or Ground Feeders
These feeders are screen-bottomed trays that sit near the ground, preventing bird droppings and seeds from touching each other. Ground feeders with wire mesh can also prevent large birds and rodents from snatching food. To keep predators from getting at the birds, these feeders must be set in open areas at a minimum of 10 feet from trees or shrubs. If outside cats live nearby, don’t use this type of feeder. They’re good for cardinals, goldfinches, doves, towhees, juncos, and sparrows.
Capable of holding several pounds of dry, mixed-seed feed, hopper feeders allow birds to hop on and trigger seeds to be released. You can hang these feeders from tree branches or use a five-foot tall pole. Cardinals, goldfinches, grackles, chickadees, nuthatches, jays, house and purple finches, siskins, redwinged blackbirds, and titmice like these feeders.
Set hummingbird feeders in shaded areas to keep food from spoiling faster. The hummingbirds will soon feel comfortable enough for feeding and can be watched if placed within three feet of windows, thus reducing injuries since the birds cannot build enough speed up to get hurt.
Also available for homeowners are suet feeders or suet chunks to hang in mesh onion bags from trees or poles with other feeders. Some people prefer making suet puddings of their own by taking large pine cones and stuffing mixtures of seeds and ground suet into the crevices. Chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and nuthatches really like suet feeders while warblers, wrens, and creepers may peck at them as well.
When buying a bird feeder, make sure it’s maintained all year, especially during harsh winters that make food sources harder for birds to find out in the wild. Birds often burn greater amounts of calories during winter in order to keep warm. Chickadees, for example, must eat 20 times more during winter than during summer. Also, if you’re worried about squirrels eating up your bird seed, you might consider purchasing a squirrel feeder or placing your bird feeder in a more open area away from trees, as squirrels won’t feel safe eating from it.
If you think you’re in need of a new bird feeder, please click here. Feel free to check out the rest of the Hipp’s Help store for any other home improvement needs. We offer FREE ship to store for all of Mountain View customers. And we also offer reasonable shipping rates for the rest of our customers throughout the country.
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