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How To Encourage Birds-Birdhouses-Attracting Birds To Your Garden

Updated on January 10, 2013
Cats will eat birds-especially this cat.
Cats will eat birds-especially this cat.
A pond or other water source can provide a drink for thirsty birds. If You have fish you may want to use netting to protect them from some predators
A pond or other water source can provide a drink for thirsty birds. If You have fish you may want to use netting to protect them from some predators
Shrubs and flowers also provides food for birds and butterflies
Shrubs and flowers also provides food for birds and butterflies

Attracting and Feeding the Birds

Feeding birds is a wonderful thing.I usually feed the birds during winter and early spring, I stop when the flowers start to bloom. The birds tend to manage on their natural diet of wild berries,fruit,seeds and insects without human intervention,although extreme weather conditions such as-drought, for example -might call for an exception. The birds bestow so much delight with their color and grace,and their song. Bird feeders offer a wonderful opportunity to study the colorful feather patterns that in many species vary between male and females,from juveniles to adults. There is no need to fuss with expensive specialty seeds to attract myriad species. Common ground feeding species,such as doves,sparrows,and dark eyed juncos,prefer millet,while other common species that flavor raised hanging or shelf feeders enjoy sunflower seed.


Birds do not need or demand fancy feeders, and will happily feast from a coffee can,recycled milk jug or plastic soda bottles hanging from a tree, even a burlap sack right off the ground. I have an indoor bird, when I change his food, I throw his left-overs out on the snow or grass for the outdoor birds so I can watch from the window as they enjoy.I enjoy feeders which are easily refilled from the top that slides over easily, an ample overhang for shelter from rain and a good perch.Many stores have feeders available for purchase.You can find feeders at stores like Home Depot,Lowe's, Sears, Walmart and many online sources will have several types available.

You can also make your own with a recycled or creative container-the birds are not fussy. Some feeders offer a twist off bottom for refilling- this to me is not convenient or easy, as not only do the feeders jam when I try to shut them,but it also is a struggle to open them and sometimes causes the perch to break off. Wooden feeders are also decorative and pretty and the birds love them to, although I find sometimes if a feeder is made of wood the squirrels will gnaw at the wood, destroying the feeder.Some feeders with glass or acrylic surfaces are pretty,but I have found the birds avoid these types of feeders, maybe because it mirrors their image and they may mistake it as a competitor? Tube shaped feeders with a metal base are nice and easy to fill, the problem here is they are not always easy to clean as seed and seed dust gets stuck in the crevices by the feeder holes and in the bottom; the tube is too long to clean with a bottle-brush, and it does not always fit in the dishwasher.

Here are a few easy guidelines to make your birdfeeding efforts more rewarding.

1. Choose feeders that are easy to fill and clean,as well as ones which are bird friendly with perches,and an overhang to keep the seed dry,and holes for drainage. Keep in mind that even covered feeders get wet from blowing and drifting rain and snow-despite the cover.

2.Place many feeders throughout your yard to give both passive and aggressive birds a chance to feed.

3.Include different types of feeders-like small hanging models,ones with broad platforms and maybe also a flat tray on the ground-this helps to attract a wide range of species.Window feeders with suction cups are also fun and offer delightful entertainment-and great photo opportunities.

4. Position feeders where they are visible, so you can enjoy watching your guests dine.

5 Provide protection from the weather and predators by planting dense shrubs and evergreens nearby for natural cover.However, site feeders should be kept a safe distance from shrubbery and fences to prevent ambushes from cats and other predators.

6.Locate feeders where scattered seed and hull will not be a problem. Birds are messy feeders.Although,the sunflower seed will spout and enhance the beauty of your garden,thistle may not be as welcoming.

7. Keep feeders clean to prevent spreading bird diseases. Always remove spent hulls (seed shells) and any moldy wet seed. Periodically wash the feeders with soapy water and rinse well,pat dry.

8.Scrub your hands and fingernails after handling feeders to protect yourself from the spread of bird-borne illness.

9.Avoid spraying your garden plants with toxic pesticides or herbicides. These endanger both birds and their environment.

10. Enhance birds with a natural habitat. Plant native flower species and include water in a pond or birdbath.Birds enjoy drinking and splashing in the water.Keep your water sources for the birds clean,and offer fresh water often.

Some tips for a problem free movable feast:

Buy the smaller,black oil-type sunflower seed.It is cheaper and makes less of a mess.About 70 percent of the seed's weight consists of kernel,which is the edible part of the seed. Only 57 percent of striped sunflower seed is kernel.

Birdseed often harbors insect eggs,so buy seed in smaller quantities during warm weather in order to use it before it goes "buggy".

Suet is a great high energy,cold weather food,but it is best avoided in the summer,as it will melt in the heat.Although you can hang this in cooler shade areas out of direct sunlight.

Soft fruits such as peaches, oranges,banannas and grapes appeal to many birds, but they also spoil quickly and attract flies. If you offer any fruit,provide small portions that will be eaten quickly.

Keep your camera handy as you will have many great photo opportunities. Enjoy your feathered friends


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