Winter is the perfect time to think about attracting bird visitors to your yard. Bird watching is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by both younger and older members of the family, and getting started is both easy and inexpensive.
The type of bird feeders you select will depend on where you want to observe your feathered friends, as well as the kinds of foods you are offering and the types of birds you want to attract.
Hanging feeders, suitable for smaller birds, can be hung from a tree, pole, or hook. Platform feeders can be mounted on a pole/post, deck railing, or fence, or even just set on the ground. There are also window feeders that can be mounted directly to a window for enjoyment close at hand, plus suet feeders or cages that hold suet cakes — a must for attracting insect-eating woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Feeders should be located in a sheltered place where they are not exposed to strong winds or vulnerable to attack from predators such as hawks and cats. Try grouping several different feeders together to attract the maximum number of different birds. All feeders should be kept clean and in good repair.
Just like us, birds have certain food preferences. Black oil sunflower seed is one of the most popular seeds, attracting a large variety of different birds. Some seeds, such as Nyjer (thistle), are very specific — if you want to attract colorful goldfinches, then this one is for you. Mixes containing sunflower, thistle, cracked corn, millet, and other seeds are also available to tempt many bird visitors. Larger birds that feed on the ground, such as doves, quail, and wild turkeys, will love cracked corn.
Natural Food Sources
If you are serious about attracting birds to your yard throughout the year, then think about planting trees, shrubs, perennials, and even annuals that will provide natural foods at different times. Birds love berry-producers such as crabapples, hollies, hawthorns, and viburnums. Perennial favorites for seed eaters include members of the black-eyed Susan family (Rudbeckia), coneflowers (Echinacea), goldenrod (Solidago), and coreopsis. Seed heads of ornamental grasses are also highly sought after. Of the annuals, sunflowers (of course!), marigolds, and cosmos are popular. Just be sure to leave seed heads on the plants so birds can take advantage of them.
Don’t Forget Water!
Water for bathing and drinking is one of the basic requirements for all birds, even for species that won’t visit feeders. If you already have a bird bath, be sure to keep it filled with clear, fresh water. A bird bath heater will keep water available even during freezing weather. A mister, dripper, or bubbler will move the water around and attract even more birds with sparkling splashes.
From feeders and seeds to plants and water sources, we have everything you need to get started attracting birds. Come on in today, and you’ll be able to enjoy your feathered friends this fall and winter!