Attracting Birds to Your Backyard

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 18th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1lqwk02a/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Outdoor>Bird Watching

Bird watching is a fun hobby you can do without getting up from your kitchen table. Find out how to get birds to hang out in your backyard or outside your window.

Feed the Birds


If you hang it, they will come. Birds will flock to your backyard within hours of hanging a bird feeder filled with seed. Bird feeding is an easy hobby which almost anyone can do without investing much time or money.
Feeding birds is one activity which can literally be done almost anywhere in the world. Even if you live in a high rise apartment in the middle of a large city, you can feed the birds. Just hang a bird feeder outside the window and watch them come.
This is a hobby which doesn't require expensive equipment, years of training or hours of travel. You can watch the birds eat their breakfast outside your window while you sit at your kitchen table, drink coffee and eat your own breakfast.

Choosing a Bird Feeder


Bird feeders are sold at lawn and garden stores, hardware stores and 'big box" stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. Prices vary but a good feeder can cost as little as $20. There are many different types of feeders to choose from.
If you live in an apartment without a yard, you can get a feeder which attaches to your window with suction cups. You can fill it right from the window, which is quick and easy to do. Be sure to refill it every day and keep it clean because birds don't have much room to perch on these feeders, which means they may stand on the seed while feeding, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The most popular type of feeder is a tube feeder, pictured in the cover image above. Many have several ports so more than one bird can eat their lunch at the same time. The tube feeder is designed to protect the seed from getting dirty or wet. This feeder is easy to fill with seeds. It's just a matter of lifting up the cover and pouring the seed in. Don't worry if you spill seed while refilling the feeder because any seed which spills onto the ground will be eaten by birds or squirrels.
A platform feeder is another popular option. This looks like an open box or tray. Some have screens to protect the seed. One drawback to this feeder is there's not much protection for the seeds, which can become wet and dirty within a day or two. Be sure to refill this one often.
Suet feeders are made of wire mesh. This is a good option for the winter when food is scarce, according to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Suet feeders can be hung from trees.
Here are some more tips on choosing the right feeder:

Choosing the Right Bird Seed


Sunflower seeds are the most popular types of seed. Almost every bird seems to like sunflower seeds. Look for the black oil type, which has a thin shell and is easy for birds to crack open with their beaks, according to the Cornell Ornithology Lab.
Safflower is another good choice. Cardinals, doves, sparrows and chickadees are all big fans of safflower, according to the Cornell Ornithology Lab.
White millet is another good choice. This one is especially good for birds who are ground feeders such as doves. Cardinals, juncos, and sparrows also love white millet, according to the Cornell Ornithology Lab.

Keeping Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders


Squirrels are the biggest pests when it comes to bird feeders. They scare away the birds and eat the seeds meant for them.
To guard against squirrels, set up feeders at least 10 to 15 feet away from trees and buildings which they can use to launch themselves onto the feeder. They can jump at least four feet high so hang your feeders as high as you can.
Another way to discourage squirrels from using bird feeders is to put a cage around your feeder. Birds can still peck at seeds but squirrels won't be able to.
You can also make or buy a squirrel baffle - a cone shaped device. Squirrels can't climb up it. Baffles can be made out of old pipe or other metal products.
There are also types of feeders in which the weight of the squirrel will close the feeder. So he won't be able to feed and will get discouraged and look for lunch elsewhere.
Let's take a closer look at some ways to keep squirrels away from bird feeders:

You can also sprinkle cayenne pepper around your bird feeder. This doesn't hurt the birds but it does annoy the squirrels. Using cayenne pepper also keeps deer out of your yard.
Or you can give up the fight and provide a separate feeder with nuts and peanut butter for the squirrels. Then, the birds and squirrels can eat separately and in peace while you watch both of them from your kitchen window.

Attribution


The videos came from You Tube.
The bird photos came from Morguefile while the squirrel one came from Wikimedia Commons. All are available for use in the public domain.
This article used some information from the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which is also a great source for more information on feeding and identifying birds:
Here is an article I did about attracting hummingbirds to your backyard:
Here is one I did about attracting butterflies to your backyard:
Here's one on how to get rid of garden pests such as deer and woodchucks:
Here is one on wild animals that hang out in my backyard

Tags

Bird Feed, Bird Feeder, Bird Food, Bird Watching, Birds, Birds Behavior, Birds In My Yard, Birds In Your Garden

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
18th Aug 2013 (#)

Very helpful and enjoyable article Connie many thanks...:0)

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Delicia. You had another lovely poem the other day. And I loved the sunset photos!

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author avatar Carol
18th Aug 2013 (#)

helpful information Connie, many thanks

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carol. You've had some great stories this weekend.

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author avatar Retired
18th Aug 2013 (#)

Very well written article indeed! The videos were especially interesting to me, since we live in a wooded area where birds are frequent visitors to our yard. Wonderful work! Thanks!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks so much, Mike. It's wonderful to see our feathered friends. I have so much fun just watching them.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Aug 2013 (#)

mist useful and interesting Connie again you make this site a pleasure to be on....

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carolina. I enjoy your work as well.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Aug 2013 (#)

Tweet, tweet and beware of puddy tats. ;)

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Phyl. I tawt I saw a puddy tat!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Lovely and informative post, Connie. Makes me wonder why I don't get into the act as living in a city and high rise is no bar or excuse anymore! siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Siva. You should put up a bird feeder. It's one way to bring nature to your city.

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author avatar Judy Ellen
21st Aug 2013 (#)

I love feeding the birds too! They bring so much joy to my life!! This is such an all inclusive and very helpful article for people like us who love our birds! I need this so much because I just moved from the country to the city on April of this year!! Thank you so much for all these great tips!!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
21st Aug 2013 (#)

Glad to help, Judy. Enjoy the birds. Aren't they wonderful?

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author avatar tz
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Connie Mckinney! I loved your articles, so well written. It is really nice to have birds in your backyard. Birds are really beautiful.
Sometimes, i talk to birds, it feels like they are really listening to me and responding as well.
Your written Master piece was helpful, especially in choice of a bird feeder and seeds. I have tried it. Thanks. Pictures included are also amazing! with love. tz.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, TZ. Glad I can help you through my articles.

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