Essential Guide: 11 Proven Tips for Feeding Backyard Birds
Winter can be rough for birds in your backyard, but providing them with food, water, and shelter can help make their transition back to their summer homes easier. All it takes is hanging a bird feeder in your yard and filling it with birdseed, making backyard bird-watching a fun and relaxing pastime, whether you're a seasoned bird-watcher or just starting.
|11 Proven Tips for Feeding Backyard Birds|
We at Cialisbay are enthusiastic about our feathered friends and want to make the most of your experience of bird-feeding. This article will offer advice on choosing the right bird feeder types, placing them optimally, the importance of cleaning, various kinds of birdseed, and making sure the birds have access to water.
What are the Pros and Cons of Feeding Birds?
When caring for birds beyond their natural habitat, it's essential to:
- Offer safe and suitable food, as outlined in our chart. Never provide bread as it lacks proper nutrition and may cause the condition known as "angel wing."
- Maintain clean bird feeders, as being a bird feeder owner requires responsible cleaning to prevent the spread of viruses and parasites.
- Avoid feeding birds if it alters their behavior, such as aggressive seagulls or endangered snow owls.
In return, you'll have the chance to attract feathered friends to your backyard and garden and the joy of observing wild birds from your window. In severe winter weather, placing a bird feeder in your backyard can aid birds in their survival by providing access to food that may otherwise be buried under deep snow.
Feeding Backyard Birds: 11 Tips
Adhere to these tips to draw in the largest number of feathered friends to your feeders.
1. Place bird feeders at varying heights
For attracting a diverse range of bird species and avoiding overcrowding, place bird feeders at varying heights: ground-feeding birds like sparrows, juncos, and towhees prefer table-like feeders; shrub and treetop feeders like finches and cardinals prefer hopper or tube feeders; and woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees will utilize suet feeders placed well off the ground.
2. Provide different types of seeds in individual feeders
Attract a wide range of birds with a diverse mix of seeds by offering different seeds in separate feeders. Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite among birds, so provide separate feeders for sunflower seeds, nyjer (thistle) seeds, and peanuts.
Choose birdseed blends that contain the three most popular types: sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn. Sunflower specialists will easily consume sunflower seeds while tossing the millet and corn to the ground, where ground-feeding birds like sparrows and juncos can feast.
Offer feeders with a mix of peanuts, nuts, and dried fruit for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice. A smaller number of species prefer milo, wheat, and oats, which are included in budget-friendly blends.
3. Offer suet during cooler temperatures
Offer suet, which is beef fat, to attract insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice. Use special feeders or net onion bags, placed at least 5 feet off the ground, to keep the suet away from dogs.
Avoid providing suet during hot weather as it may spoil, and dripping fat can harm the bird's feather's natural waterproofing.
4. Combine peanut butter with cornmeal
Combine peanut butter and cornmeal to create a summer alternative to suet. For optimal results, blend one part of peanut butter with five parts of corn meal, then place the mixture in holes drilled into a hanging log or within the cracks of a large pinecone.
This all-season blend appeals to birds such as woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, and sometimes warblers.
5. Offer fruit as a food source for berry-eating birds
To attract berry-eating birds such as robins, waxwings, bluebirds, and mockingbirds, offer fruit. Soak raisins and currants overnight and place them on a table feeder or provide dried fruit blends. To attract orioles and tanagers, skewer halved oranges near other feeders or offer nectar feeders.
These fruit specialists rarely eat birdseed.
6. Offer nectar for hummingbirds
Create a sugar solution by mixing one part white sugar with four parts water. For quick sterilization and sugar crystal dissolution, boil it briefly. There's no need to include the red food coloring. Clean feeders every few days with hot water to prevent mold growth, and maintain their cleanliness.
7. Ensure the safety of your birdseed by storing it in secure metal containers
Store birdseed in metal containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent access by squirrels and mice. Keep the containers in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing them to high temperatures. Moist seeds can foster mold growth, which can be harmful to birds, while heat can affect the quality of sunflower seeds, reducing their nutritional value and taste.
Therefore, it's recommended to purchase fresh seeds each winter season.
8. Prevent squirrels from accessing feeder food
To deter squirrels from feeding at your bird feeders, it's best to place them on a pole in a clear area. The pole should be positioned about five feet from the ground and guarded by a cone-shaped baffle (with a minimum diameter of 17 inches) or a similar barrier below the feeder.
Additionally, the pole-mounted feeder should be placed at least 10 feet away from nearby shrubs, trees, or other tall structures.
Note: Reduce competition for bird feed by offering a separate feeder for squirrels and chipmunks using blends that attract them. Place the squirrel feeder away from bird feeders to minimize competition.
9. Place feeders away from windows to prevent bird collisions
Approximately one billion birds suffer fatal collisions with windows in the US annually. To protect birds from these incidents, place bird feeders as close as three feet from windows, if feasible. Hanging mobiles or decorations with an opaque surface outside windows can also prevent bird strikes.
Another option is to drape fruit tree netting outside windows to redirect birds away from the glass.
10. Regularly maintain feeders by cleaning them and removing any spilled grain and hulls
To prevent the growth of harmful mold, clean feeders regularly and remove spilled grain and hulls. For best results, empty and wash feeders at least twice a year (spring and fall), or more frequently during humid summers.
Use a long-handled brush, dish detergent, and a powerful hose to scrub the feeders, then soak them in a solution of 10% non-chlorine bleach, rinse thoroughly, and let dry in the sun.
Additionally, in the early spring, clean up any spilled grain and sunflower hulls.
11. Provide a constant source of water
Maintaining a constant source of water is critical for birds, especially during the winter season. Providing access to drinking and bathing water is crucial for their health, as water can freeze and become unavailable during the colder months.
|Provide a source of water for birds|
Provide a source of water for birds by placing a bird bath or dish filled with fresh water in a sheltered location in your garden. Avoid exposing the water to harsh elements by choosing a spot that shields it from freezing. Additionally, you can purchase bird baths equipped with a built-in heater to ensure the water remains accessible to birds year-round.
By providing a bird bath in your garden, you can attract birds like robins, thrushes, and blackbirds. Offer additional food options like chopped fruit or peanuts to birds that visit the bath. Alternatively, place a bird table in your garden for both food and water offerings.
What should you do if you find an injured or unwell bird in your garden?
If you find a bird in your garden that is injured or unwell, it's best to reach out to a nearby wildlife rescue center for assistance. They have the resources and expertise to provide the necessary care for the bird.
Caring for injured or sick birds requires expertise and special care, therefore it is best to leave it to the professionals at wildlife rescue centers. Attempting to care for the bird yourself can lead to unintended harm and may worsen its condition.
What is the Optimal Bird Feeder Sizing?
To ensure adequate food supply, particularly during severe winter conditions, it's crucial to have feeders with appropriate capacity or to utilize multiple feeders. You can find high-quality bird feeders at various local retailers, including bird-specific stores and lawn and garden centers.
What must I avoid giving birds?
Avoid feeding birds items like bread, chocolate, and alcohol, as they can cause harm.
Summary: 11 Proven Tips for Feeding Backyard Birds
By taking a few simple steps to protect and feed birds during winter, you can help prevent the yearly loss of many birds due to harsh weather conditions. Implementing winter bird feeding techniques can have a significant impact on the avian inhabitants in your garden.
No more worry about birds feasting on your foliage. A simple and compassionate solution is to protect your plants from birds by covering them with bird netting. This will keep the birds from accessing your plants without causing any harm.
You can ensure the well-being of the birds in your garden during the winter by following these crucial winter bird feeding tips.