There is something about watching birds feed that is relaxing. While I cannot explain it, I can appreciate the feeling of content. Maybe it is watching their graceful movements, or maybe it is knowing you are enjoying the day together? Whatever it is, watching birds is addicting.
Feed the birds. Sounds pretty simple, and it is actually. However, a little forethought and preparation will increase your, and the birds visiting, enjoyment.
Getting started is easy, and here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Choose a feeder that holds a fair amount of seed so you are refilling less often. If you have squirrels, a squirrel-proof feeder is worth its weight in gold. Tube feeders or platform feeders will allow multiple birds to feed at the same time.
- Consider the location. First and foremost the birds need to be able to find your feeder. Secondly, place it where you can easily view it.
- Allow the birds to feel safe. Some nearby cover such as a large shrub or tree gives birds the opportunity to land, and scans the area before going to the feeder.
- Use a quality blend of seed with little or no fillers. You and the birds will notice the difference. A blend of seeds containing black oil sunflowers seed will attract 15-20 species of birds in our area. Most birds can easily crack the thin shell, and the high oil content is very nutritious. Cheap bird seed just ends up on the ground, and costs more in the long run.
- Adding a suet cake feeder will also increase the variety of birds feeding.
- Keep your feeders clean. Wash them once every three to four weeks.
- Having water available will keep birds flocking to your yard as moisture can become scarce especially in the heat of the summer, and freezing temperatures during the winter. Make sure your bird bath is shallow, and not slippery. A heater for your bird bath is a great winter addition. A rock or brick in your birdbath that sits slightly above the water’s surface gives birds a place to land, drink, and bathe.
- Be patient. It will take a few weeks for birds to find your feeders.
- 9. Do not feel like you have to keep you feeders full every day. Birds find multiple sources of food. If a day or two goes by where you have not filled your feeders don’t worry they will be back once they see the food is there. Knowing this can help stretch your bird-feeding budget allowing you to spring for the better quality bird seed.
- Have a field guide on hand as you will want to identify, and learn more about your new feather friends.
One final thought. We are inviting birds to enjoy our yard, and in doing so we have an obligation to keep the surrounding environment safe. Chemicals, whether it be pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides can detrimentally hurt or poison birds as they feed on insects, worms and other critters. Whenever possible avoid using chemicals as even those labeled as organic can have an adverse effect on wildlife.
I’d love to have a bird feeder, but squirrels are always an issue. There are some poles with baffles that work well in keeping them from climbing up to the feeder, but if you put the feeder anywhere near a bush or under a tree, near your house or any other structure, they will easily jump to it. Any thoughts on how to prevent that, or do you just let them join the feast too?
You are so right. It is a challenge keeping the squirrels at bay. They are very agile aren’t they?
Good morning Eric,
Thank you very much for this great article. Very informative! I feed many birds and my husband and I enjoy the rewards of doing it. It took a while for birds to come and to feel comfortable eating in our presence. They are a lot more at ease nowadays. Regarding squirrels, I also feed three and one of them comes into the kitchen when she is hungry. They love peanut butter suet. Squirrels are also children of God and, in our house, there is food for everybody.
Have a great weekend!
Good morning Eric, Thank you very much for this great article. Very informative. I feed many birds and my husband and I enjoy the rewards of doing it. It took a while for birds to come and feel comfortable eating in our presence. They are a lot more at ease nowadays. Regarding squirrels, I also feed three and one of them comes into the kitchen when she is hungry. They love peanut butter suet. Squirrels are also children of God and, in our house, there is food for everybody.
Have a lovely weeked!
Dang those squirrels are living great at your place! We have a ton in our yard and I think they get as much of the bird fee as the birds do.
Good article, and very timely. We have just added bird feeders to our landscape, and have discovered http://www.allaboutbirds.org — an awesome site with a “bird ID” function and a gazillion pictures. All for free. You might want to mention it in a next email!
We are enjoying your emails, too!
Thanks, I will look into the site. I am still learning a lot of the varieties. Try our Birdman’s Blend feed some time. We get a ton a varieties of birds at our feeders with it and no fillers at all.
I purchased a fountain some years ago from Autumn Hill and I am constantly entertained by the guests that come for a quick dip and drink before they fly off!
We know what you mean. It’s fun to watch them.