Sunday, March 29, 2009

Attracting birds

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.
2. What might be some problems with attracting birds & how might you solve them.
    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~


Anonymous said...

Zach, thanks for all the good bird feeding information! I just put out my first one a few weeks ago, and it has taken them awhile to discover it. One big problem is that I don't have any trees nearby for shelter. The starlings found it, and often scare away the "good" birds, but I did see a finch or two so I hope that others will soon arrive. 500 Tulips! That must put out an impressive display.

Dan said...

Nice bird photos, I like that red feeder too. I feed the birds black oil sunflower seed and nyjer seed. I know all about those pesky squirrels, we have tons of them. I use one of the weight activated feeders but they only work until the spring wear out. I wish I spend the cash on one of those barn shaped weight activated ones, they seem like they don't wear out in a few years.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Great advice especially for folks who just can't seem to stop those squirrels from emptying or destroying the feeders.

Where did you find that red feeder. I've never seen one and I really like it.

Zach said...

What type of feeder do you have, and what bird food are you using. I have not had any starling come to my feeders, even though they surround my house! Yes 500+ tulips is quite a display, but when they are thrown all around the yard, both front and back, and bloom at different times, it doesn't seem to be as many!

Zach said...

I have never used the weight activated feeder, they are really expensive! It is good to know that the spring can ware out. I didn't even know that that happened.

Roses and Lilacs:
I got the red feeder on Park's Seed's website! I tried looking for it so I could give you the URL but cannot find it. I will look at my invoice and see if I can find the item Number...Later on!

Dawn said...

Good advise, I love bird watching

Zach said...

I am going to agree with you. One of things I love about birding, are all the beautiful birds songs that enchant me!

Dan said...

I have the cheap weight activated one like this:

It worked really well until the springs rusted.

Bren said...

I am super happy you found my blog so I could find yours. FABULOUS WORK!!! I love your images and thoughts on gardening. I can't wait to stop back often.

Happy Spring - Fellow Ohioian!

lynn'sgarden said...

Hey Zach, great info. on this post. I have to admit, I've not been a "birder" (as much as I love gardening) and don't know the name of most birds. Other than bird baths and flowers, I don't provide feeders because I KNOW I won't have the time to constantly refill least I'm honest! But with so many beautiful blogs of birds out there, I'm adding some feeders soon! I love that photo with the thistle and "yellow" pretty!

Bren said...

HEY... thank you for stopping by my blog tonight. I can't wait to do an Anderson run.... only I have to drive 20 minutes to get to one.

HERBS ARE AMAZING and so are you. Thank you for being so kind.

Happy Gardening and please keep in touch. I love your blog dear friend.

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