Did you know that bird watching is the second most popular pastime in North America, coming in second only after gardening? You can integrate the two by planting a bird-friendly garden with plants that birds love. Why not go even further, and create a bird-friendly yard by installing nesting and feeding sites to attract birds to your yard.
Each type of bird has its own feeding preferences, and each food type will need its own kind of food dispenser. With that in mind, check into what birds are local to your area, and which foods will attract them to your yard. By taking certain precautions and with good maintenance, you can ensure your feeding stations are healthy and disease free for your feathered neighbors.
How to place feeders:
- Locate bird feeders so they can be cleaned and filled easily.
- Set them at least 10 feet from fences and trees so squirrels and cats can’t jump onto them, yet close enough so the birds can see a place to escape to and hide if danger approaches.
- Choose a sunny site, in a clear area so birds can see any approaching danger.
- Set feeders in a place where it is easy to clean the area beneath them of scattered seeds and bird droppings.
- Place the feeders where you can see them from inside and enjoy the activity, but if near a window, put decals on the window so reflections are broken up and the birds can see the window.
Maintaining the feeders:
- Clean away bird droppings and seeds before they get moldy and wet, to prevent infections that can infect the birds, and so any dropped seeds can be removed before they sprout.
- Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned twice a week in warm weather
- Use a 1:10 solution of bleach and water for cleaning all feeders, and allow the mixture to sit on the feeder for ten minutes before rinsing and restocking it.
Types of Feeders:
If you are using non-selective feeders and a wild bird seed mix designed to serve several types of birds, then consider putting up more than one. This way the less aggressive birds will not lack access to food. The disadvantage of these feeders is the waste, as birds will scratch away the seeds they don’t like to get at the ones they prefer.
Consider setting up only selective feeders, with one type of food in each. This way each bird can enjoy its preferred food unmolested by aggressive other types. Waste is also reduced. Remember to keep feeders at a distance from birdhouses and other nesting sites. Mother birds get quite nervous and territorial close to the activity around a feeding area. Now that you’ve set up the feeders, have fun watching the birds you’ve attracted to your yard.
Look for more landscaping and gardening tips, links and great articles from gardening expert, Nicki Goff, on her blog, Through Nana’s Garden Gate.