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Bird Feeding 101

Housefinch

Bird feeders offer a fun and entertaining way to observe birds up close and connect with nature. They also supplement the natural food sources available for birds in your yard or garden. Different species of birds prefer varying types of feeder foods.

Nourishment for wildlife should come primarily from natural food sources such as native plants. Feeders should only be supplied to complement birds' natural diets.

Bird Feeding Tips

  • Provide multiple feeding stations in different areas of your yard to disperse bird activity. Feed in moderation, with only a few feeders per acre.

  • Clean your feeders regularly with hot water, and let them air dry completely. Also keep areas under and around the feeders clean.

  • Keep seed clean and dry, and watch for mold.

  • Use a seed blend designed for your feeder and the types of birds you feed. Blends that contain filler seeds and grains (milo, sorghum, and red or golden millet) are not typically eaten by birds, and will often end up on the ground.

  • If you find a dead bird near the feeder that has not been killed by a predator, disinfect the feeders with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.

  • Place bird feeders in locations that do not provide hiding places for cats and other predators. Place feeders ten to twelve feet from low shrubs or brush piles.

     

  • Many bird species will not eat from a feeder. Some species eat only fruits or insects. Provide for these species also by planting native plants and not using pesticides in your yard or garden.

  • Black oil sunflower seed is a favorite of just about every seed-eating species.

  • Suet feeders are a favorite of woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds. You can make your own suet or buy blocks of suet from a wild bird store. Typically suet blocks are placed in a wire cage that hangs on the side of a tree. Do not put suet out in warm weather or it will go rancid.

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