A Birdfeeder for Your Backyard

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When a bird's natural plant food has waned or withered away, a few well–placed bird feeders can entice it to stay. Here are some tips.

Any simple construction with a flat surface, possibly lipped at the edges to prevent spillage and allow a suitable perch, will serve as a bird feeder. Add a simple roof to protect it from the weather. If you have cats, place the feeder high enough to be out of reach.

However, if you are interested in attracting certain types of birds, the type of feeder and food provided will make a difference. There are four basic types of feeders:

  • A tray or platform feeder placed one to three feet above the ground will lure ground–feeding birds like juncos, towhees, and mourning doves.
     
  • Hung from a tree or mounted on a pole, "house"–style feeders with seed hoppers and perches on the side will usually entice grosbeaks, cardinals, and jays.
     
  • Long, cylindrical tube feeders suspended in air will bring in an array of small birds, including grosbeaks, finches, titmice, nuthatches, siskins, and chickadees.
     
  • A fruit feeder stocked with fresh fruit will tempt colorful birds like tanagers, orioles, bluebirds, and waxwings.

When can you feed the birds? Any time of year. A feeder simply attracts feathered friends your way so that you can watch them. Birds get their food from a variety of sources and migrate on their own schedule so your feeding doesn't have much impact overall. In the case of a bad winter storm, however, your feed could actually make a difference.

You can find some attract bird feeders for purchase in our Almanac.com General Store.

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Comments

i saw a hawk in a tree last

By duckie14

i saw a hawk in a tree last nite then noticed there were no birds ,how do i get the hawk away?? i know hummingbird food can sour but can it ever be so sugary??

1) It’s natural for hawks to

By Almanac Staff

1) It’s natural for hawks to become attracted to birds at the feeder. Even though it is a hard thing to see a hawk kill a bird, it is doing what it needs to in order to survive, and will not catch more than it needs. Often, it will catch the weak, old, or sick birds rather than the healthy ones.
To protect the songbirds, try the following:
Place feeders under an opaque cover, if it doesn’t have one already, so that birds aren’t easily seen by air.
Locate your feeder within 10 feet of shelter for songbirds, such as shrubs, brush piles, or thickly leaved trees (but not so close that a ground predator might have access to pounce on birds at the feeder).
Remove any birdfeeder in the area for 10 to 14 days. The songbirds will move off for a while, and the hawk may move on to another territory. Replace the feeder afterward. (Repeat as needed.)
Eliminate dead branches of tall trees, which are perch sites for the hawks.
Hawks are protected by state and federal laws, and should not be harmed; contact a licensed professional if you need further help.

2) Yes, hummingbird water can have too much sugar in it. Not only would that not mimic flower nectar, it might cause harm to the birds. Pay close attention to the proportions mentioned in a hummingbird food recipe. Also, do not add red food coloring, artificial sweeteners, or honey to the liquid. Use four parts water to one part white sugar; boil (do not microwave) it for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it cool before adding to the feeder. Any cloudy liquid in the feeder should be replaced immediately; the feeder cleaned before adding the new food. In hot weather, you should change the food daily; otherwise, if the liquid stays clear, every 2 or 3 days should be OK.

I love feeding my birds.

By Denise MacColeman

I love feeding my birds. Enjoy your bird feeders, but don't forget the ground feeders too! Happy Spring.

I hung my finch feeder right

By boltmanOH

I hung my finch feeder right next to the new bird houses I made for small birds.. I made no perches and starlings cant land and try to take small birds nests.. I love feeding and watchin birds, but birds havent been feedin as much this spring or winter as far as that goes.. Mild winter I guess..

We have robins,blackbirds,

By Debora

We have robins,blackbirds, and occasionally we get cardinals. The problem is that I got a lot of squirrels that get the food. What can I do to stop them from eating the seed.

Use safflower seeds.

By Shelly R

Use safflower seeds. Cardinals love them but squirrels and chipmunks dont like them.

I strung a wire between two

By solo

I strung a wire between two trees about 8 ft. off the ground. I put the wire thru some old water hose where it wrapped around the trees so-as not to hurt the trees. I also slipped several small 18" pieces of bamboo onto the wire for spacers. I hung bird feeders from the wire between the bamboo spacers. Without the spacers, the feeders tend to slide together. Squirrels can't walk on the wire or jump to the feeders.

I eliminated squirrel problem

By Senior in Wisconsin

I eliminated squirrel problem by using metal pole and and a squirrel guard from Menards (or Home Depot has?)--its a metal dome under feeder and over metal pole--squirrels cant climb metal--can use metal furnace pipe around pole also

I usually just try to

By Donna Marie

I usually just try to accommodate the squirrels also. Throw out nuts, berries, large bread chunks, cereal etc and they leave the bird food alone

We have a lot of blue jays

By Sharon S

We have a lot of blue jays around our house but the magpies take their food. Any suggestions?

Put out more food. Seriously,

By momcat

Put out more food. Seriously, I don't mean to be flippant. I have found that several feeders plus a variety of foods pretty much takes care of everybody. TOFA has great suggestions for feeders and foods.

Hi, I enjoy all forms of

By careosell

Hi,
I enjoy all forms of nature but birds are what I see and enjoy the most. I see all types of woodpeckers but an occaisional pileated is a special treat. Chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, goldfinches, cardinals, robins, grackles. I'm probably forgetting some but that's what comes to mind. I get a few hummingbirds.

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