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Bird Feeding - How to Attract Birds

Updated on February 10, 2013

Visiting Birds Can Transform Your Yard

Birdsong relieves stress and adds beauty to your environment. If you get up on the wrong side of bed, a singing bird can help set your day straight. If you're in a lousy mood, birdsong reminds you that there is some good in the world. Birds look and sound beautiful, except maybe crows and vultures. This article is not meant to convince you that birds are wonderful creatures. You already know that. The purpose here is to help you bring more birds into your yard and your life.

Birds don't inhabit your yard because they're attracted by your sparkling conversation. You have to feed them. Feed them right and feed them regularly and your house will be a concert hall of bird song.


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The Bird Feeder. Not All of Them Are Alike.

Most commercially available bird feeders work just fine for the purpose intended—they attract and feed birds. The photograph to the right illustrates the typical parts of a bird feeder. There are the perches for the birds to land and stand on. the hole from which the bird retrieves the food, a hanger, and an opening top that enables you to replace the food. Nothing complicated.

Small Perches for Small Birds

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Larger Perches for Larger Birds

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The Right Size Bird Feeder

The right size feeder is important. if you want to attract larger birds, make sure not to buy a feeder that has perches that are too short for the bird's claws to grasp. The photo to the right shows a feeder that is designed to attract small birds. Notice that the perches are small, too small for larger birds to comfortably stand on when dining.

The next photo illustrates a feeder that can attract larger birds. Notice the substantial perches .

The Issue of Squirrels

Squirrels like to eat every bit as much as birds, and they enjoy bird food. But you didn't buy a bird feeder to feed squirrels so what are you to do? Some feeders have springs to keep squirrels away. Because birds are lighter than squirrels the spring won't retract with a bird on it but will when a heavier squirrel jumps aboard. The spring retracts and the feeder slides down, closing off the food openings. So goes the theory. But it's been my experience that unless you adjust the spring very carefully, a larger bird, such as a cardinal, will slam the food holes shut. Not a good thing!

Squirrels are acrobats and those little paws can manipulate the most intricate mechanical parts. A good way to keep squirrels away to put a slippery substance on the bird.feeder pole. Use something harmless like Vaseline, not a grease that contains harmful chemicals. You just want to keep the squirrels away from the bird food; you don't want to hurt them.

Clean the Feeder

Bird feeders can get grungy. The combination of rainwater and organic matter can make for a solid mass of gunk. Most manufacturers recommend that you clean the bird feeder with soap and warm water every two weeks.

Hey, the birds are your guests; treat them right. They will reward you with their song and beauty.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I needed this hub; we recently started putting feeders out but the birds don't seem to care about them. I suspect we need to do a little more research on this to find out what we are doing wrong. Thanks for the tips.

    • rfmoran profile image
      Author

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      It may take a few days, but once they discover your feeder they will visit often.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      My kids love birds and they want feeders at hour house. We don't have any trees though so I have to find out a different way to hang them. Excellent hub on what to get for the size birds we have. Thanks for the advice!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent tip about keeping feeders clean- so few people actually make a point of keeping bird feeders in good condition!

    • rfmoran profile image
      Author

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Birds are like people. hey don't like to dine in a pig pen.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Your tips are all great! I like the springer to keep the squirrels away. I so enjoy birdsongs. Any time of the day birdsongs bring a smile to my face :)

    • rfmoran profile image
      Author

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Sunshine. They do sooth the soul.

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