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Top 10 bird feeding tips everyone should know

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Bird feeding is a fun and rewarding experience that not only helps birds, but provides you a great way to reconnect with nature. Whether you’re an old pro or just starting out, here are 10 key tips to keep in mind when feeding birds.

1. Use a variety of feeders and types of bird food

When you’re first starting to feed birds, it’s fine to get just one feeder and fill it with one type of seed. However, you will become disappointed with the lack of diversity because different birds love different types of food. For example, insect-eating birds love suet, bluebirds enjoy mealworms, orioles have their own feeders, hummingbirds like nectar, etc. Putting up different types of bird feeders, like tube feeders, platform feeders, hopper feeders and others, will attract an array of beautiful birds.

2. Make sure your backyard is a safe place for birds

Safety is a key thing to provide to birds because they can be susceptible to predation under certain circumstances. In order to keep your backyard a safe place for birds, keep your cats indoors (which will also add years to their lives) and put up baffles to keep out bullying squirrels.

3. Be conscious of where you place the feeders

Selecting the right location for your feeders is important because it dictates how safe the birds are and whether or not they will be attracted to it. To learn more, check out my other blog post on the best locations to put your bird feeders.

4. Provide water and nesting boxes

Along with food, the other two essential resources that attract birds are water and shelter. Putting up a birdbath will attract birds that don’t eat from feeders and will draw in other birds. Also, if you add nesting boxes, you’ll make your backyard a sort of Las Vegas for birds where the fun never ends.

5. Clean feeders frequently

It’s absolutely essential for you to clean your feeders with consistency. The importance of cleaning bird feeders has been well-documented on this blog because they can spread harmful bacteria among birds and attract unwanted critters.

6. Supply food continually but don’t let it sit outside too long

To keep birds coming back, always have food in your feeder or they will start looking elsewhere. On the flipside, you should only fill your feeders to last a day or two. Bird food, especially the ones that go bad quickly like suet, does not stay good when exposed to the elements of nature for too long time.

7. Store food properly

In a related tip, the food for your birds should be stored properly before it even gets to the feeder because the same bacteria and dirt could contaminate the food. Suet should be stored in the freezer until it’s ready and read this article by Melissa Mayntz on how to store bird seed.

8. Buy the seed you can afford, but try to go for quality

While bird feeding can be an expensive hobby depending on how many feeders you have, you should never let it affect you financially. Nevertheless, birds are picky eaters and will shun those mixed-seed bargain bags, so opt for quality when you can.

9. Get a field guide and learn more about the birds

Half the joy of watching birds is admiring them and learning more about their behaviors. In order to do this, a good field guide (or field guide app) will make your experience more rewarding.

10. Have fun!

Last, but not least, bird feeding is only as fun and rewarding as you make it. Don’t see bird feeding as a chore or an unpleasant duty. See it as a way to give back to nature and contribute to birds on an intimate level. When you’re having fun with the birds, it makes everything worthwhile!

If you have any tips that I’ve missed, feel free to leave them in the comments, on Twitter @BackyardChirper or on our Facebook page.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

1 Comment

  1. I like that you mentioned to make sure you put up baffles to keep squirrels away from your birdfeeder. That way, the birds will know it is safe. I want to have more wildlife and birds in my backyard, so I have been looking for tips. I will definitely keep these things in mind, thanks for sharing!

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