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.
See the Related Articles above for bird food preferences and recipes.