February is National Bird Feeding Month: Here’s How to Celebrate
Birdwatching is a delightful hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. You can invite beautiful feathered subjects to dine at your home and enjoy nature's beauty from your doorstep. Providing the right food and habitat is essential to transform your yard into a haven for feathered friends.
Read on to learn how to attract more birds to your yard while keeping unwanted guests like squirrels and rats at bay.
Choosing the Right Feed:
Selecting the appropriate bird feed is the first step in attracting avian visitors. Different bird species have distinct dietary preferences, so offering a diverse range of food will attract a wide array of birds. Consider incorporating:
- Seeds: A mix of high-quality seeds like sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and nyjer seeds is a favorite among many bird species, including finches, cardinals, and sparrows.
- Fruits: Fresh fruits like apples, berries, and grapes appeal to fruit-eating birds such as orioles and robins.
- Nectar: To attract hummingbirds, use a specially designed feeder filled with a sugar water solution.
- Mealworms: Loved by insect-eating birds like bluebirds and robins, mealworms add protein to their diet.
- Suet: Provide suet cakes during colder months to attract woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches.
Strategic Feeder Placement:
Once you've gathered the right assortment of bird food, the next crucial step is placing feeders strategically to ensure their effectiveness while minimizing unwelcome visitors.
- Height Matters: Hang feeders at varying heights to accommodate different bird species. Ground feeders like sparrows prefer feeders placed closer to the ground, while hanging feeders, such as the Small Blue Hopper Bird Feeder, can attract finches and chickadees.
- Near Shelter: Birds feel more secure when they have nearby shelters. Place feeders close to trees or shrubs where birds can retreat if they feel threatened.
- Safe from Predators: Squirrels and other rodents can be persistent in raiding bird feeders. Position feeders away from overhanging branches and structures they could use as launching pads.
- Open Spaces: Birds prefer open spaces where they can easily spot potential threats. Avoid placing feeders too close to dense vegetation that could harbor predators.
Dealing with Unwanted Guests:
Despite your best efforts, squirrels and rodents may still attempt to share in the feast. Here are some additional strategies to keep them at bay:
- Baffle Them: Install baffles on feeder poles to prevent squirrels from climbing up. Baffles are domed or cone-shaped devices that make it difficult for rodents to reach the feeder.
- Squirrel-Proof Feeders: Invest in feeders specifically designed to outsmart squirrels. These may have weight-sensitive perches that close off access to the food when a heavy animal, like a squirrel, lands on them.
- Secure Containers: You should store bird food in secure, rodent-resistant containers all year. Metal containers with tight-fitting lids like this one can help keep rats away.
- Natural Deterrents: Try planting bird-friendly vegetation that deters rodents. Mint and marigolds, for example, are known to repel rats.
Transforming your yard into a bird haven requires a thoughtful approach to food selection and feeder placement. By providing a diverse menu of bird-friendly treats and strategically placing feeders, you'll attract a wide variety of feathered friends and minimize the risk of unwelcome guests like squirrels and rats. Enjoy the beauty of nature right outside your window as your yard becomes a bustling hub for avian activity.