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Wildbird Feeders
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Wildbird Feeders

Things to consider before buying any bird feeder.
  • How many feeders can my yard handle?
  • What birds do I want to attract?
  • Do I have a good habitat for birds?
  • How much money do I want to spend?
  • How much time do I have to dedicate to this hobby?
  • What type of look do I want?

This is determined by how close your neighbors are and if they are feeding birds, your backyard habitat and the look you desire.If your neighbors are close and are feeding birds, this will allow you to attract more birds as they are familiar to the area and will soon learn about your feeding stations.If not, you should be patient; it may take a while before the birds get familiar with your feeders.A good backyard habitat will solve this problem. Birds will already be familiar with your yard and be using it for nesting and feeding.

Everyone has a favorite or a few favorite birds.To attract these birds you need to provide a proper environment for them.Read up on their nesting and feeding habits.Provide them with the right nesting locations and nest boxes, the raw materials they use to make nests with and feed them with the feed they desire the most.An example would be: Do not use peanuts to attract Goldfinch, use Niger (Thistle)or Black-Oil Sunflower seed.

A good habitat is the best way to attract birds all year and keep them coming back.Shrubs, Water and a non-sterile landscape are best. Birds like insects!By spraying insecticides and other chemicals, you will reduce the appeal of your yard to birds.Visit A Plant's Home for great tips on how to improve your backyard habitat.

Buying good bird feeders and caring for them properly will provide many years of use. A good bird feeder is rarely found in a local discount store.These feeders are made using scrap wood and are held together using staples.A good feeder is made to later for years, not one season! Don't buy a bigger feeder than your budget can afford.Look at the feeders in your price range only.Once you have purchased your bird feeder(s), make sure they are kept clean.Moldy food will deter birds from visiting your feeders!

Some excellent brands are: Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Heartwood, Droll Yankees, Duncraft, Bird's Choice and Vari-Craft. These range in price from $20 to over $500. There are bird feeders in every price range!

Do not purchase more feeders than you have time to take care of.Feeders need to be kept full and kept clean to keep birds visiting your feeding stations.Most people can handle up to four feeders with a minimum amount of time. Diversify the feeders you buy.Do not buy 4 feeders of the same type. This will only attract the same birds and other species will not visit.Below is a list of some feeds, feeders that hold the feeds and the birds they attract.

  • General Mixed Feed- Is there such a thing as BAD mixed seed? You bet! Bad mixed seed has lots of filler in it-junk seeds that most birds won't eat. Bad mixed seed can include dyed seed meant for pet birds, wheat, and some forms of red milo that only birds in the Desert Southwest seem to eat. Good mixed seed has a large amount of sunflower seed, cracked corn, white proso millet,colorand perhaps some peanut hearts. The really cheap bags of mixed seed sold at grocery stores can contain the least useful seeds. Smart feeder operators buy mixed seed from a specialty bird store or a hardware/feed store operation. You can even buy the ingredients separately and create your own specialty mix. Most feeders will hold a general feed except for Niger, Suet and Hummingbird feeders. This feed will attract a many birds like Chickadees, Titmouse, Finches, Blue Jays, mourning doves, Grosbeaks, Junco, Sparrows and Cardinals. Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees, or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Niger - Though it can be expensive, Niger, or thistle, seed is eagerly consumed by all the small finches-goldfinches, house, purple, and Cassin's finches, pine siskins, and redpolls. You need to feed thistle in a thistle feeder of some kind-the two most commonly used types of thistle feeder are a tube feeder with small thistle-seed-sized holes, and a thistle sock. A thistle sock is a sock-shaped, fine-mesh synthetic bag that is filled with thistle seed. Small finches can cling to this bag and pull seeds out through the bag's mesh. Two potential problems with thistle: it can go rancid or moldy quickly in wet weather and uneaten seeds can germinate in your yard, creating a prickly patch of thistle plants. Fortunately, this problem does not seem to be widespread. All thistle seed is imported to North America, and it is all supposed to be sterilized prior to entry into this country. This needs a feeder specifically designed for this feed. It will attract mainly Goldfinches, Purple Finches and House Finches at the feeders, but Mourning Doves and Junco will feed on the seed that has fallen to the ground. Use Vari-Craft or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Black-Oil Sunflowers - This is the best feed to attract birds. This seed is the hamburger of the bird world.Almost any bird that will visit a bird feeder will eat black-oil sunflower. Birds that can't crack the seeds themselves will scour the ground under the feeders, picking up bits and pieces. Bird feeding in North America took a major leap forward when black-oil sunflower became widely available in the early 1980s. Why do birds prefer it? The outer shell of a black-oil sunflower seed is thinner and easier to crack. The kernel inside the shell is larger than the kernel inside a white-or gray-striped sunflower seed, so birds get more food per seed from black-oil. This last fact also makes black-oil a better value for you, the seed buyer. Striped sunflower is still fine (evening grosbeaks may even prefer it slightly), butblack-oil is better. Chickadees , Titmouse, Purple Finches, Bunting, Towhee, Blue Jay, Nuthatch and Cardinals will always visit a feeder with sunflower seeds. Most feeders will hold sunflower seeds. Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees, or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Suet -This feed comes in many flavors such as peanut butter and orange. Most humans don't want a lot of fat in their diet, but for birds in winter, fat is an excellent source of energy. Ask at your grocery store butcher counter if you don't see packages of suet on display. No suet feeder? No problem-just use an old mesh onion bag. If you want to get fancy with your suet, you can render it. That is, melt it down to liquid, remove the unmeltable bits, and then allow it to harden; this is best accomplished in a microwave oven. Rendered suet lasts longer in hot weather, and while it's melted, you can add other ingredients to it. Woodpeckers (Hairy,Downy,Red Bellied, Flicker, Red Headed), Nuthatch, Warblers, Creepers, Wrens, Chickadees, Titmouse and Grosbeak love suet. A feeder specifically designed to hold suet is needed or you can use pre-formed suet cakes that do not require a feeder. Use Vari-Craft or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Safflower - Most birds that like sunflowers like safflower seeds. This white, thin-shelled, conical seed is eaten by many birds and has the reputation for being the favorite food of the northern cardinal. Some feeder operators claim that safflower seed is not as readily eaten by squirrels and blackbirds (caveat: your results may vary). Feed safflower in any feeder that can accommodate sunflower seed. Avoid feeding safflower on the ground in wet weather; it can quickly become soggy and inedible. You can buy safflower in bulk at seed and feed stores. The Nuthatch is especially fond of safflower seeds. Most feeders that hold a general mixed feed will hold safflower seeds. Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees, or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Fruit - Humans are supposed to eat at least three servings of fruit every day. Fruit is also an important dietary element for birds, but it can be hard to find in many areas in midwinter. Set out grapes, slices of citrus fruits, apple or banana slices, and even melon rinds, and watch your birds chow down. If you want to feed raisins, chop them up and soak them in warm water first to soften them up a bit. Offering fruit to tanagers and orioles is a traditional spring and summer feeding strategy, but many winter feeder birds will eat fruit, too.Feeders that hold fruit will attract Orioles, Bluebirds, Thrashers, Thrushes, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Warblers, Tanagers and Robins. Other birds may visit, but Orioles are the most likely. A specific feeder that holds fruit is needed or just hang the fruit and let the birds pick at it. Robins love crabapples! Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees, or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

  • Cracked Corn - This feed is used mainly for game birds such as Quail, Turkey and Grouse. Depending on where you live you may also get turkeys, deer, elk, moose, and caribou. Fed in moderation, cracked corn will attract almost any feeder species. Some feeder operators only use this food to lure the squirrels away from the bird feeders. Squirrels love corn-cracked or otherwise-best of all. Whole corn that is still on the cob is not a good bird food because the kernels are too big and hard for most small birds to digest. Cracked corn is broken up into smaller, more manageable bits. Blue Jays, Blackbirds, Crows, Starlings and Sparrows will be attracted to Cracked Corn. Squirrels and Chipmunks also love corn and by providing it, it is a good way to keep them out of your other feeders. Corn usually needs a specific feeder to offer the feed to birds and animals. Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees or Birds Choice bird feeders.

  • Sugar Liquid -This will attract Hummingbirds and Orioles. Each bird needs a different type of feeder. There are many types of Hummingbird feeders to choose from. Use Perky Pet, Droll Yankees, Schodt Designs Bird's Choice or Duncraft bird feeders.

  • Peanuts - Peanuts-de-shelled, dry-roasted, and unsalted-are bird-feeding's hot new trend, at least in North America. In Europe, feeding peanuts has been popular for a long time. Peanut manufacturers and processors have now identified the bird-feeding market as a good place to get rid of the peanuts that are broken or otherwise unfit for human consumption. Ask your feed/seed retailer about peanut bits or rejects. Several major feeder manufacturers now produce sturdy, efficient tube-shaped peanut feeders. Woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice will readily visit a feeder for this high-protein, high-energy food. Even cardinals and finches will eat peanuts. Use Lazy Hill Farm Designs, Duncraft, Droll Yankees, or Bird's Choice bird feeders.

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Feeders come in many shapes and sizes.They are made from wood, plastic, metal and glass.They are painted and unpainted.Choose whatever you like.It does not matter what someone else says, it is your backyard!

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