For the Birds …

Setting up a bird feeding station

Cooler weather is just around the corner, which means many bird species will soon be migrating south for the winter. Setting up a bird feeding station in your garden can help keep migrating and native birds full and happy this winter and give you hours of bird watching enjoyment.

Photo Credit: Judith Black Horn of Judith e Photography

What’s for Dinner?

What you choose to place in your feeder will depend on the species of birds in your area that you would like to attract to your garden. You can purchase a commercial mix of seeds to attract a variety of birds, which may also contain grains that some birds dislike, or if you prefer you can provide the following seeds individually:

  • Sunflower: the most popular with many species
  • Thistle: great for attracting finch and sparrows
  • Millet: preferred by many smaller birds
  • Safflower: Cardinals and Chickadees love these while squirrels do not

Keep in mind bird food is not limited to seed. Many birds enjoy grains such as oats and corn and nuts, including raw peanuts and walnuts. With hard shelled nuts be sure to crack the shell. Remember squirrels love nuts too. Fresh and even dried fruits including apples and orange halves are a wonderful choice for your feeding station. .

Photo Credit: Judith Black Horn of Judith e Photography

Dining with a view, where to place your birdfeeder

The best place to set up your feeder is near a tree or bush for cover but at least 10’ away to deter squirrels and mice from feasting from the feeder. To close to a tree will also give cats a place to hide, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting bird. Keep in mind certain birds will eat at different levels. For instance cardinals and finches enjoy eating at table level while Mourning doves and sparrows like to eat closer to the ground.

What type of birdfeeder is best?

There are many styles of birdfeeders available and just like choosing what to feed choosing a birdfeeder will depend on the species of birds. Simple platform style feeders, with a flat open surface, will attract the widest variety of birds and can be made easily using re-purposed items such as dinner plates and teacups or scrap wood. Some retail platform feeders come with roofs to help to keep the seed dry while a hopper or tube style feeder will slowly dispense seed.

Photo Credit: Judith Black Horn of Judith e Photography

If you fill it they will come

It may take some time before the birds notice the feeders. One way to attract them is to have a ready supply of clean water available, using a birdbath or small fountain. Moving water in a fountain or small pond is especially attractive to birds. In addition moving water will keep mosquitoes from laying eggs.

A family affair

Bird watching can be educational and fun for adults and children. Get the kids involved with this simple kid’s project; using an empty paper towel holder, smear it with peanut butter and roll in seeds. Simply place outside and wait for the birds.