Find solace and splendor in nature by watching birds feed at your backyard wild bird feeding station. Here are our expert bird feeding tips for attracting birds to your backyard:
1. Provide a variety of feeders
The most universally eaten birdseed at a backyard bird feeder is black oil sunflower seed. Provide a tube, platform and or hopper feeder with black oil sunflower to attract a wide variety of bird species. To attract goldfinches, niger thistle seed is an oil rich seed most preferred by goldfinches. “Our goldfinches go crazy fo niger seed. We have to fill our feeder daily,” says one loyal bird feeder here in Ashland, OR. By hanging a thistle sock or mesh tube feeder you can attract 20-30 goldfinches at a time to the feeder. Suet and peanut feeders are a good option especially in the winter because they offer a high protein boost to winter weary birds. Think of suet and peanuts as an “energy bar” for birds. Seed-eaters such as chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice will eat suet as well as insect eaters- wrens, sapsuckers, warblers, creepers and orioles. Peanuts are enjoyed by not only jays, but also woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches. Remember, suet can melt and or turn rancid in temperatures above 70 degrees F, so if you live in a warmer climate, consider using suet “dough” instead.
2. Keep your feeders clean.
We highly recommend you clean your seed feeders at least once during the season. To clean your feeder, take out any remaining seed, and then scrub them with soap and water. Soak the feeders in a light water and bleach solution (one part bleach and nine parts water.) Rinse the feeder well and make sure it is thoroughly dry before refilling. Keeping your feeders clean will help protect them against disease-carrying microbes. Also, rake up and remove seed hulls from your yard in the spring; decomposing hulls can kill your grass and spread disease to feeder birds. Note: if you do see sick birds at your feeder immediately remove and clean the feeder. Do not replace the feeder for a few days to let these birds disperse.
3. Place feeders in a safe, sheltered location
Overhanging trees provide safety from hawks and evergreen shrubs and trees provide shelter from cold wind and snow. Very dense trees and shrubbery provides safety from ground predators.
4. Keep your birds safe
If cats roam in or near your yard, be sure your feeders are several feet away from any potential cat hiding places.
5. Place your feeder in a convenient location
You want to be able to enjoy your feathered friends so place your feeder in a location that is easily visible to you. Also keep in mind that as you attract more birds to your feeding station you will be filling the feeders frequently so put up your feeders in a location that is easy and convenient for you to attend to.
6. Provide a water source
Water is one of the most effective and reliable draws you can use at your backyard feeding station. Birds love a bird bath that is shallow (1-2 inches,) at ground level and close to shelter but with good visibility to prevent a surprise attack from cat or other predator. In very cold or dry weather, birds seek out water sources. Despite cold weather birds use water to bathe and improve the insulation capacity of their feathers. To prevent water from freezing in the winter you can heat water in the morning and add it to the bird bath (avoid ceramic bird baths which will crack upon freezing) or invest in a bird bath heater made with safety features specially designed for outdoor birdbaths.
7. Use local native plants and protect wild habitat
Bird feeding is a great way to invite local birds into your yard where you can appreciate and learn about them. Your Backyard birds are the top of an important food chain where a wide variety of native plants and habitats provides food for native insects which the birds then eat. Backyard birds require a large supply insects to feed their young and for important nutrients. For bird populations to be healthy in the future local wild areas need to be protected and our backyards need to help supply the raw ingredients (native plants) for the local food chain. Most regions have native plant nurseries that have a variety of locally adapted plants to fit any planting style, consider incorporating as many of these plants as possible.
We hope you found these bird feeding tips helpful! Please come into the shop if you have any further questions, or feel free to give us a call.
Happy Bird feeding!