How to Attract Wild Birds - Page 4
Feeding Wild Birds
Remember that birds lived on our properties before we did. They are quite capable of finding food without our assistance. The birds do just fine without our purchased seeds.
But don't let that stop you!!
I only mention it for the folks who worry themselves silly about supplying food for their birds. Relax and savor the knowledge that you are helping your birds if you offer them fresh and smart choices. Do not feel that your provisions are the only thing standing between your birds and starvation, unless, the weather has taken a frightening turn.
Gardening and bird watching combine into a satisfying hobby. You can add plants to your landscape which will attract a variety of birds! Nectar producing plants will attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and many vanishing pollinators. Plants which provide seeds and berries will be popular with beautiful wild birds. Goldfinches will appreciate the seeds of rudbeckia, sunflower and coneflower. Berries can attract waxwings, mockingbirds, orioles, yellow-breasted chats, house finches, etc.
"If you enhance or restore the habitat that is correct
for your location, wild birds will come"
Your wild birds will be delighted to find tiny insects and spiders in your garden. Never spray your yard to kill insects. The birds need the protein they receive from devouring the bugs and they do not need the insecticide exposure! If you are growing natives or appropriate plants for your gardening zone, harmful insects should not be a huge problem. There are organic choices for insect control. Ask your local nursery for help.
If you choose to provide feeders, make some smart choices about styles and seed.
Bird Feeders - They come in a variety of styles. One lone bird feeder will "do the trick" but I like to experiment with all kinds.
Fruit and Cheese
The bird feeders we use at our own home:
- Hanging tray feeder or platform feeders with sunflower and safflower and mixed seeds.
- Bin or hopper feeders with sunflower.
- Sugar water hummingbird feeders and oriole feeders.
- Tube Niger seed feeders.
- Ground platform tray feeders with millet and sunflower mix.
- Suet with insects, nuts and/or raisins...peanuts!
- Peanut cage feeders. (NOTE: they grow moldy in some locations so ask around)
- Spiral fruit holder for apples and oranges.
- Suction-cup trays on favorite windows with mixed seeds
Seed & Food Preferences
These bird feeders are used by the following birds in MY yard:
- Cardinal - sunflower, safflower - platform feeders
- Carolina Chickadee - sunflower, safflower
- "Black-crested" Tufted Titmouse - sunflower, safflower
- Painted Bunting - platform feeders with millet or mixed seeds
- Doves including White-wings - millet - platform feeders
- Bewick's Wren - (looking for spiders at the feeders)
- Carolina Wren - suet
- Ladder-backed Woodpecker - suet
- Red-breasted Nuthatch - sunflower, suet
- House Finch - sunflower, safflower, niger - Tube and platform feeders
- American Goldfinch - Niger, sunflower, safflower - Tube and platform feeders
- Lesser Goldfinch - Niger seed, sunflower, safflower - Tube and platform feeders
- Pine Siskin - niger seed, sunflower - Tube and platform feeders
- Baltimore Oriole - fruit, hummingbird feeder
- Dark-eyed Junco - seeds on ground and platform feeders
- Black-chinned Hummingbirds - sugar water feeders
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird - sugar water feeders
- Rufous Hummingbird - sugar water feeders
- Chipping Sparrow - millet and sunflower - platform feeders
- Field Sparrow - millet and sunflower - platform feeders
- Song Sparrow - millet and sunflower - platform feeders
- Harris's Sparrow - millet and sunflower - platform feeders
Flying & Crawling Food
Many birds, including hummingbirds, need the protein provided by insects. Among others, this will include flies, mosquitoes, spiders, aphids and ants. Do not kill all the bugs in your yard if you want birds. Flowers, shrubs and trees will encourage a rich insect life in your yard that will, in turn, provide necessary food for wild birds. I find that spring and fall migration are so much more productive when my flowers are loaded with tiny harmless bugs. The warblers (that I would never see during the rest of the year) spend hours in my salvias right in front of my windows.
EXPERIENCE SAYS:-Squirrels will take advantage of your generosity too. The ideal placement for a bird feeder is on a single branch 10 feet or more from the trunk of the tree or any other object from which the squirrel can jump. I use hanging baffles over my feeders to keep the squirrels from climbing down the chain and robbing my seed supply. Use pole feeders with a baffle underneath. Remember to put the feeder away from any object (trellis, tree, roof, fence, car etc.) that will let the squirrel jump onto your offering.
Fruit and Berry Bushes
A thicket of fruit bearing bushes will be a welcome addition to your bird feeding station. Ask your local nursery about fruits and berries that will attract songbirds to your garden. Your county extension office may have handouts with a suitable list of plants to feed the birds in your gardening zone. You are welcome to visit my Gardening For The Birds page for suggestions.
Here is a quick reference chart to help you
make smart choices in bird feeders.
Type of Bird Feeders
Birds They Attract
Hopper Bird Feeders - (also called bin feeders) These can be wooden, metal or plastic.
|Cardinal, Titmouse, Chickadee, Doves, Jays, Finches, Buntings, and the occasional Wren
Tube Bird Feeders - (can be caged feeders also to protect seed from squirrels)
|House Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Chickadee, Titmouse
Platform Bird Feeders(also called tray feeders)
|Cardinals (love it), Doves, Sparrows, Painted Buntings, Juncos, Jays, Titmouse, Chickadee, Robin (sunflower)
Peanut Bird Feeders(also called caged feeders)
|Titmouse, Nuthatch, Jay, Woodpecker
Clinging Bird Feeders(such as globe feeders or sock feeders)
|Chickadee, Titmouse, Goldfinches
Fruit Bird Feeders - specialty feeders to spike half oranges and apples on
|Oriole, Cardinal, Mockingbird
Suet Bird Feeders(can be caged feeders also to protect suet from squirrels)
|Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Titmouse, Mockingbird, Wren (possible), Kinglet (possible), Gray Catbird (with raisins)
|Hummingbirds, Finches, Woodpecker, Oriole, Warbler, Jay, Mockingbird, Chickadee, Lizards, Raccoons, Bats
Mealworm Bird Feeders
|Bluebird, Cardinal, Oriole, Thrush, Warbler
Bowl Bird Feeders(for bread, jelly and scraps)
|Bluebird, Robin (bread & fruit), Mockingbird (bread & fruit), Oriole (jelly)
Want to see more birding pages?
How to attract wild birds:
1. How to Attract Wild Birds - Introduction
2. Water Features
3. Backyard Habitat - Protective Cover & Nesting
4. Feeding Wild Birds ------- (you are here)
Other sections of wild bird pages:
5. Wild Birds FAQ
6. Wild Birds Disease & Dangers
7. Injured Wild Birds - Links to Help
8. Wild Birds Photographs - ID Help
9. How to Attract Hummingbirds