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Crafting Your Bird Habitat with Bird Feeders

Jun 26, 2008
You can create your own wild bird sanctuary by adding a few bird feeders to your yard. The best way to learn what bird foods and feeders work best for you is to test several different kinds. Once you find the right combination and the birds discover it, they will return for years to come. Birds that migrate will stop by for a taste when traveling north and south and non-migratory birds will stay year-round.

With a little effort, attracting more birds into your backyard bird habitat is easy. Both migratory and non-migratory have dietary needs that change through the seasons. If you want to attract these birds all year around, the foods you offer will have to change to meet their needs.

Offering the right bird food at the right time of year will help you attract many different wild bird species. If you only put your bird feeders out in the winter you may not attract as many species. But if the birds in your area are familiar with your feeders, they will stay close in the winter.

Wild birds require different types of food throughout the year based on weather conditions and activity level. In the winter birds are trying to stay warm. Foods high in fat like suet provide an energy boost that helps to keep them warm.

In the spring birds are busy defending their territories, building nests, raising broods and searching for food. If you fill your feeders with an assortment bird food, you can help them reproduce, thus strengthening the bird population in your area.

Parent birds will often take food from your feeders back to their nest to feed their hatchlings. Once the young birds are ready to fly, the parents will lead them to the feeders to teach them how to feed. I have even seen the parent birds place seed into the mouth of their young.

A variety of bird feeders designed for different feeding styles will attract a wider variety of wild birds. Tufted titmice like to perch while they eat, while juncos, cardinals and blue jays prefer a flat surface like the ground or a platform bird feeder. Woodpeckers can cling to almost anything while they eat including an upside down suet feeder.

Here is a sample feeding station for creating a wild bird habitat: two tube bird feeders, one platform feeder, one hummingbird feeder, one oriole feeder, one hopper feeder and two suet feeders.

Adding a peanut butter feeder to your feeding station is a way to add more variety to your bird food offerings. Many birds like woodpeckers and chickadees love the taste of peanut butter. You can make your own peanut butter feeder by drilling a few holes in an old log. Then just fill the holes with peanut butter and hang it from a branch.

Bird feeder placement is very important. Taking the time to plan where you put your feeders will increase your chances for success.

When hanging your feeders there are a few things you should consider:

If you also use nest boxes in your bird habitat, make sure your feeders are at least 60 feet from them. If you want to watch wild birds feed at your feeders, be sure to hang them in a place they can be seen. If you have problems with squirrels, try hanging your feeders at least 7 feet from any jumping surface.

Once you've found the best spot for your bird feeders, you need to fill them with the best bird seed you can buy. High quality bird seed will actually save you money by reducing waste. Most economy bags of bird seed contain seeds that birds won't eat. They end up pulling seed out they don't like and tossing it to the ground.

Stopping squirrels from eating all your bird seed can be a real challenge. They are part of the natural world around you, but with a little planning and effort they can be stopped.

If you can afford to purchase squirrel proof feeders then do so. Purchase metal feeders because the squirrels will chew through a wooden feeder, dumping the entire seed stock out onto the ground.

An affordable option to squirrel proof bird feeders is stove pipe. You can purchase stove pipe at your local home improvement store. Placing stove pipe around the base of the tree or pole will deter squirrels from attacking your feeders from below. The surface is slippery and difficult for squirrels to climb.

Bird watching is a lot of fun, but if you are like me you don't have time to hit the local birding hot spot every day. The next best thing is to bring the birds to you. Having a wild bird habitat in your backyard will give you more time to enjoy your bird watching hobby.
About the Author
Before you buy any bird feeders you should to understand why there are so many different kinds. Using the right feeders will help you attract more wild birds into your yard. You can use an assortment of feeders to create your own wild bird habitat for birding at home.
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