Bird Feeders

Bird Feeders - Feeding Birds in Your Backyard

Bird Feeders Will Bring Lots of Birds & Pleasure

Food Capacity

The ideal bird feeder capacity varies with your situation, and the types of birds you want to attract. If you feed hummingbirds, big bird feeders are not always better. One hummingbird will drink about twice its body weight (less than an ounce) a day. Early in the season, hummers are territorial and won't share a feeder. A sixteen-ounce feeder can be wasteful, or even lethal, because artificial nectar (sugar water) can ferment in the hot summer sun. A two-ounce feeder is more than enough for one hummer. Increase the size of your feeder depending on your location and how many hummers you see in your yard.

If you opt for a large-volume seed feeder, protect it from the weather and keep it clean. If after months of use, the birds suddenly abandon your feeder full of seed, it's time for a cleaning.

How Many Birds

If too many birds at your bird feeder become a problem, you can control their numbers by putting out smaller amounts of seed, or by using specialty seeds or restrictive feeders that will attract only certain species. If you fill your bird feeder only when it's empty, the birds will look for food elsewhere.

You can encourage small birds and discourage large birds with bird feeders that restrict access. Wood feeders with vertical bars and feeders covered with wire mesh frustrate larger birds.

The most non-selective bird feeders are the tray, platform or house feeders because they allow easy access by all birds.

Tube feeders without trays also restrict access to only small birds. Remove the perches, and you've further restricted the bird feeder to only those birds that can easily cling - finches, chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers.

Many birds prefer sunflower. Some prefer millet. A few prefer peanuts. Sparrows, blackbirds, doves and juncos will eat the other grains used in pre-made mixes: corn, milo, red millet, oats, wheat and canary seed. Birds will also kick out artificial "berry" pellets, processed seed flavored and colored to look like real fruit.

Black oil sunflower is the hands-down favorite of all the birds that visit tube and house bird feeders. Birds who visit platform feeders (doves and sparrows) favor white proso millet. Ducks, geese and quail will eat corn. Many cereal grains (corn, milo, oats, canary, wheat, rape, flax and buckwheat) in mixed bird seeds are NOT favorites of birds that visit tube feeders.

The most effective way to attract the largest variety of birds to your yard is to put out separate bird feeders for each food:

  • a starling-resistant suet feeder
  • a house feeder for sunflower
  • a bluebird feeder a wire mesh cage feeder for peanut
  • a nectar feeder
  • a tube feeder for thistle
  • a stationary or tray fruit feeder
  • a house or platform feeder for millet

When is the best time to start feeding birds?
Usually, whenever the weather is severe, birds will appreciate a reliable supplemental food source. In northern areas, start before the onset of cold weather so birds have time to find the feeder.

When's the best time to stop?
Although you can feed birds year -round, especially with fruit and nectar, you can stop feeding seeds once a reliable supply of insects is available in the spring.

A bird feeder in your backyard will bring you more joy than you would ever imagine!


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