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Bird Feeding

Backyard bird watching is a pastime enjoyed by millions. To attract birds to your home, start by putting up some bird feeders and follow the following tips:

Use black oil sunflower seed since many birds refuse to eat most of the filler in cheaper mixes. Finches, chickadees and nuthatches love a small, slender black seed called niger or nyger. Hang a mesh bag of it from a post or line. In the winter, suet feeders attract woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches. You can buy suet cakes where seed is sold.

Seed will attract other feeders, particularly squirrels. To discourage them:

  • Since squirrels can jump 10 feet to reach a feeder, set feeders at least 15 feet away from trees and buildings.
  • If you set your feeder on a pole, set bafflers of at least 2-3 feet in diameter below it. These barriers, available where feeders are sold, block the progress of squirrels up the pole, although some clever squirrels still figure ways around them.
  • If you hang your feeders, use thin wire or high-strength fishing line to deter squirrels. Put a baffler above the feeder for good measure.
  • One model of feeder than mounts on a post resembles a little green metal house. When an animal heavier than several birds climbs on it (like a squirrel), the feeding tray snaps shut.

If you have bears in your area, it may be wise to take feeders inside each night.

Finally, use proper care to make the feeding a positive experience

  • To prevent the spread of avian diseases, clean feeders and discard spoiled seeds at least once a month.
  • During the summer, if you set up hummingbird feeders, clean them and replace the sugar water solution at least once a week. Fermented solution can be deadly.
  • To guard against birds striking windows near

    the feeders and getting injured seriously, keep blinds partially closed. Putting bird decals on the windows also helps birds see that there is a glass barrier.
  • Finally, remember to keep cats indoors. Cats let outside kill countless millions of wild birds every year.

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