Friday, January 4, 2013

Backyard Bird Feeding- Bringing Nature to You

Winter is a great time to start bird feeding. A limited food supply during the cold months means that birds have fewer places to look for nourishment and can locate your new feeders faster. Black-capped chickadees are super curious and are usually the first ones to investigate. Once the first bird finds your feeders you will be amazed at how quickly your flock grows! 

**Remember to be patient. It can take several days to over a week for you to start seeing birds on your feeders.

If you want to attract a variety of birds you will need to have several feeders and provide a few different types of seeds. Here are my favorites:

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds-
Just about every bird loves these! BOSS are packed with healthy fats and proteins for lots of energy. To attract larger songbirds(Cardinals, Grosbeaks) you will want a feeder with either perches or a large tray that they can land on. If you choose a smaller feeder they will still come but will eat off the ground. 

Birds that love 'em: Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Blue Jays  Tufted Titmice, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Woodpeckers, Redpolls, Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches, Sparrows, Mourning Doves

Thistle (niger) Seeds-
Thistle seeds are tiny so only songbirds with small, delicate beaks can eat this seed. It is a great seed if you want to give your finches special attention. Make sure you buy a feeder made specifically for Thistle. The seed will run out and make a huge mess if you use a traditional or all-purpose feeder.

Birds that love 'em: House Finches, Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Redpolls

Peanut Butter-
Peanut Butter is a nutritious treat for insect eating birds because of its high fat and calorie content. It is especially great for winter feeding because the cold keeps it solid, but if you get a Peanut Butter feeder with horizontal cups you can continue to feed it all year round. 

Birds that love 'em: Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Woodpeckers

What about about commercial seed mixes? While these can often be the cheapest to buy I am not a fan. They have a lot of filler seeds that most songbirds won't eat. You will end up with big mess on the ground and you will have to buy seed more often. That being said, doves and sparrows will often eat the discarded seed and commercial mixes can be a cheaper way to begin feeding while you are building up your flock.

Birds that love 'em: Mourning Doves, Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Blue Jays  Tufted Titmice, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Woodpeckers, Redpolls, Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches

Whatever you decide to feed your birds you will be helping them out so the most important part about starting to feed wild birds is to sit down and ENJOY IT!

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