When I first moved to Georgia, I was immediately delighted by the number and variety of birds living in our area. Where I grew up, we usually saw robins and magpies but not much else. I was so excited the first time I saw a cardinal. Eager to lure more birds into view, I began setting out bird feed and it led to quite the show of birds stopping by our back porch.
I quickly learned, however, that there are some trial and error that goes into feeding birds. A few of my homemade bird feeders quickly went missing, thanks to the squirrels, while other feeders remained virtually untouched by birds and squirrels alike. If you are thinking about setting up your own bird feeder, here are a few good things to know and keep in mind:
Locate the feeder in a sheltered area, away from the wind. There should be trees or bushes nearby where birds can land and survey the area to determine if they feel comfortable there. The area around the feeder should be open enough for the birds to feel that they have space to survey the area and keep an eye out for attackers.
Different placements of feeders will attract different kinds of birds. A feeder that is located on or near to the ground will attract birds that are accustomed to foraging on the ground. A fixed feeder on a pole or tree with plenty of perching places will attract a different group of birds. Finally, a free-hanging feeder or one without perches will attract only those birds that are able to cling to it while they eat.
In my experience, I had some free hanging cakes of bird seed that I left out on the tree. They stayed untouched for a week. When I took them down and placed them out on our porch banister, however, the birds were suddenly very interested. If your seed doesn’t seem to be working, try moving it around first in different locations. Sometimes birds just need a more convenient place to land and feast.
In the end, you’ll want to strike the balance between finding a place where the birds are comfortable and having the feeder where you will be most likely to see it, since half the fun is being able to see what feathered visitors you get in your yard.
In addition to placement, the type of birds that you attract will be determined largely by what kind of seed you provide. Certain species will favor certain seeds. Most seed packaging will identify the types of birds it is intended to attract. Beware of some types of seed that include filler seed, meaning extra seeds that the birds are not likely to eat. Watch for which types of seeds the birds prefer and pay attention to what seed end up untouched on the ground.
As a side note, the type of bird feed that you use will sometimes determine what kind of feeder you buy. Suet is a common variety of bird feed. It comes in bricks or tablets and has its own kind of holders. Do some research to decide if this is the type of food you would like to provide for the birds in your yard.
A big part of successful bird feeding is being able to make birds feel welcome in your environment and enticing them to return. Once you have set out birdseed, your feathered neighbors will take note, but only as long as there is food available. Once the food it was gone, they will have not reason to linger in your area and will instead seek elsewhere for food. If you have “regulars,” keep them coming back with the same seed and consistent availability. If you want to make changes to the seed you put out, do so over a gradual period of time. If you are transitioning to a winter diet, this is also a good idea to keep in mind. If you will be out of town, try to find someone who will be willing to refill the bird seed. If not, taper the amounts off, especially during the winter, so the birds will have time to adjust to finding their food elsewhere.
A final step you can take is to interest and involve your neighbors in setting out birdseed. This is especially helpful if you take frequent or long trips because it keeps your regular bird visitors close and content and ready to return once you begin setting out seed again.
Did you know we even take care of birds? All kinds of birds from feeding outdoor birds to feeding a Macaw. If you would like to learn more call us at 770-695-3096. We would love to answer any questions you may have about pet sitting, or dog walking. What we can’t help you with regarding pets we will sure try to find out.