Now that winter is here in full force, this is a good time to consider doing some bird feeding to help out our feathered friends as those species of birds that do not migrate are searching for more food this time of year and have fewer food sources available. It is also very entertaining to watch them in action at your feeding station, and kids love it! It is a great way to bring a little more nature right to your window.
Feeding the birds can actually be quite simple, using just one or maybe two feeders. There are a few basic types to choose from, depending mostly on the types of birds you would like to attract. The most popular, and probably most practical, is the tube type of feeders, which have less waste as birds land on roosts and feed from ports in the sides of the tube. They are usually a bit harder for squirrels to get into as well as other wildlife. They are usually hanging and should be set approximately 5 feet from the ground. There are different versions, the most popular are sunflower seed tubes that will hold a mixture of larger and smaller seeds, attracting both larger and smaller birds. Also available are finch and thistle tube feeders that have smaller roosts and ports that encourage smaller birds to feed with less crowding out from larger birds. Aside from tube feeders, hopper feeders are also very popular. These consist of a platform type of base with a relatively large hopper, usually transparent, which the feed is poured into and stored, spilling into the platform at the bottom, and birds can land and feed anywhere on the platform. It is designed for larger and smaller birds and a bird seed mixture of both larger and smaller seeds is usually best. They attract quite a few different types of birds and don’t need filled as often as tube feeders. The drawbacks are that larger birds could congregate in large enough numbers to crowd out some smaller birds, and it is easier for squirrels and other wildlife to get into. Also, if the bird seed is not consumed fast enough spoilage or even rotting can be a problem. Hopper feeders can be hung, but are usually mounted on a pole, again about 5 feet from the ground.
Suet feeders are another great option. These are usually cage- like structures that hold suet, in either cakes or balls. Suet is comprised of bird seed held by a fatty substance, a component that provides a great source of stored energy to compliment the proteins and carbohydrates of the seed and is desired by birds this time of year as it allows them to go further between feedings in the colder weather. It is also a favorite of insect-eating birds that are lacking abundance of food sources this time of year.
Specialty feeders are also available that will hold either smaller or larger bird seed types. These are excellent for placing in separate areas at your station or anywhere in your yard, as larger birds and wild life would be attracted to, and feed at, the larger bird seed feeders while the smaller birds would be attracted to the smaller bird seed feeders and not be crowded out.
We have a large selection of bird feeders and bird seed available this time of year and would be happy to help in your selections and answer any questions you may have.
-Provided by Oakland New Albany