I don't know how many times I have gone outside or driven in a car, and seen empty feeders sitting in lawns with birds on them. This is just about heart breaking. As you all know, spring is the perfect time to put out new bird feeders. Due to the birds having a low food supply they are more likely looking for food. This is why it is so very important to keep filling and refilling the feeders that you do have presently. Birds have a mental mapping system, where they mark in their heads the locations of food, water, shelter, and other necessary survival items. This is why it is important to not let your bird feeders go empty; birds just wont waist the energy to stop off at an empty feeder.
So what are some of the things that you should look into when getting a feeder?
1. What birds are you trying to attract.
- Now don't be naive. Trying to attract a red wing blackbird while living in the city, or some exotic bird when you are in Ohio is not going to happen! If you live in North Carolina try attracting Cardinals. If you are in Oregon try for a Meadowlark. There are a great variety of birds in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Just do a little research.
- One of the biggest problems that birders have, are the dreaded squirrels...*evil music plays* Squirrels have been the bane of both gardeners and birders alike; digging up bulbs and hording all of the bird food. There is an obvious solution to this problem, pick food that squirrels don't like or feeders that they can't use. Nyjer (Thistle) seed seems to be
- repulsive to squirrels but is a magnet to goldfinches, house and purple finches, red polls, chickadees and pine siskins. Another seed that I have recently found is safflower seed. Safflower seems to be a very contradictory bird feed. Safflower is supposed to attract Cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, buntings, purple finches, redpolls, and grosbeaks Some say that it doesn't attract Cardinals and squirrels love it, while other say the opposite.
You can also buy feeders that wont allow squirrels (due to their weight) to feed form them. this is a great investment.
3. Attracting the Birds
- Birds tend to be a little on the pick side, when it comes to the environment that they will eat. To optimize the amount of birds and how soon they will visit your feeder, here are a few tips. Since birds are on almost all other animals dinner list, they like to have some shelter to fly to in case of emergencies. So provide this with some shrubs or trees near by to provide protection for them to fly to.
They also like to have a place for bathing and drinking. To accommodate this, simply add a bird bath. Putting both of these together will attract them even better, since once they find the one they will find the other. I like to put my bath under a tree or large shrub, so that when they fly into it, they can't help but see the bath.
Also to help them find the feeder, put it in a large open area that they can see when they fly by. Once they have found it, you can slowly move it to they location you want.
I promise you, you will love your new feeder and all the new friends you will make with it. I know I have! Remember, give it time. Good things come to those who wait. So be patient and give it a couple weeks, the birds will come when they want to. But when they do, be ready and get your camera. Doing these tips have ensured that I have a constant flow of my feathered friends to join me.
~Next time I will be talking about Safflower Seed, Does it work or not~