One of the most important aspects of feeding wild birds is having an ideal combination of bird foods and feeders. This will attract a variety of different species, from warblers to woodpeckers, which can increase the enjoyment of watching them in your backyard.
Whether you have a large garden with plenty of room for feeders or just a small patio area that needs careful planning, it is possible to create a functional system that can turn into a great entertainment opportunity for all members of the family. In order to decide upon an appropriate combination for whatever size space you happen to have, there are many key factors that should be taken into consideration.
Different Birds Need Different Food
In terms of bird food, it is not necessary to provide more than one type of feeder for a single food source. In fact, doing so may actually discourage some birds from visiting your yard. This is because different types of wild birds require different high-quality foods in order to survive and thrive. For example, small songbirds such as finches and chickadees primarily eat small seeds while larger birds such as cardinals and blue jays enjoy eating sunflower seeds. If you want to attract different types of wild birds, try providing them with a variety of high-quality foods in separate feeders or containers. Also, note that peanuts are toxic to birds, but premium-grade monkey nuts for squirrels are aflatoxin-free and can be eaten by great tits, blue tits, woodpeckers, wrens, jays, doves, or crows. Make sure to research commercial bird food, as not all have the same formulations and some may have preservatives or lack nutrients. Check the nutrition information of commercial suet, dried worms, or sunflower hearts before feeding them to wild birds.
Start with One Food Type
One important thing to remember when feeding wild birds is that they are creatures of habit. This means that they are more likely to visit your yard if they are used to eating at a particular feeder. For this reason, it’s best to start by feeding the birds only one kind of food. Once you have noticed that some wild birds have become accustomed to eating from your yard, then you can slowly introduce another type of food source. Remember, feeding different types of wild birds is not complicated but there are many factors that contribute to attracting them to your backyard such as providing high-quality foods & feeders in separate containers/feeders at the appropriate time(s) throughout the year.
Below are some useful information and suggestions on bird foods and feeders
Seed Feeder and Small Seeds
This type of feeder is ideal for finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and some woodpeckers. Small seeds (e.g., thistle, Nyjer®, safflower) are the best combination for this feeder type because these birds are attracted to small seeds that are less than .4 inches in diameter. A tube-style feeder is often best for these birds as it makes it difficult for larger birds to steal the food. Make sure to keep the feeder clean and refill it regularly to ensure that the birds have access to food.
Seed Feeder and Sunflower Seeds
If you want to feed cardinals, blue jays, grosbeaks, finches, or some woodpeckers, this is a good pick. Sunflower seeds are an ideal combination because these types of birds are attracted to large seeds that are greater than .4 inches in diameter. Make the feeder easy for them to access by placing it close to the ground where there is more visibility. Keep in mind that larger birds may have trouble accessing a seed feeder with small holes so if your only option is a platform feeder then use one that has several feeding stations or place multiple ones close together. Supplement this food by providing suet during the late fall and winter months.
Orioles, waxwings, and other fruit-eating birds are fun to watch, and you need a fruit feeder that goes best with fruits such as raisins, cranberries, or apples. Orioles are especially attracted to orange slices while waxwings prefer sugary fruits. Place the feeder in a location where there is plenty of sunlight as these birds like to sit and eat in the open. Be sure to keep the feeder clean and replace spoiled fruit regularly. Also, remember to keep clean water available at all times as these types of birds are attracted to freshwater.
Hummingbirds are a joy to watch, and you need a nectar feeder to attract them. Sugar water or honey is typically used since these tiny birds are attracted to brightly colored nectar feeders that have perches. It’s important to keep the nectar feeder clean and full of fresh fruit-flavored nectar. In the late winter months, you can also supplement with a suet feeder that has small perches to help attract this kind of bird.
As you can see, providing the ideal combination of bird foods & feeders is not complicated but there are some things to keep in mind. By following the tips provided in this article, you can be sure to attract a variety of wild birds to your backyard.