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bird feeders, nests, what backyard birds eat - in progress

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  • lorraine m nessman
    Choose a place you can see, that is easy to get to (so you won t decide to wait on cold messy days when the birds need help the most), and that won t be a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2005
      Choose a place you can see, that is easy to get to (so you won't decide
      to wait on cold messy days when the birds need help the most), and that
      won't be a problem to you if it is messy (bird droppings and seed shells
      are issues).

      It is healthier for birds to find their food in a feeder instead of on
      the ground!

      For starters use a piece of scrap wood, elevated a few inches above the
      ground. Add a few holes for drainage and you've built a platform feeder.
      It won't be long before the birds find it.

      But squirrels are an issue there: so: In the long run, a squirrel-proof
      feeder or any feeder on a pole with a baffle is the least aggravating
      solution. The most effective squirrel-proof feeder is the pole-mounted
      metal "house" type. If you have the "right" situation in your yard, a
      pole with a baffle should suffice. Any wood or plastic feeder can be
      effective when mounted on a pole with a plastic or metal baffle, if the
      pole is at least 10 feet or more from a tree limb or trunk.
      http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/feed.html#1

      Seed will spoil when it gets damp or wet. Cloth, vinyl, nylon and metal
      netting feeders are inexpensive, but they do not protect your seed. You
      can improve them by adding a plastic dome.
      http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/feed.html#1

      Most wood, plastic, ceramic and solid metal feeders will keep seed dry,
      but water can get into the feeding portals. Look for feeders with
      drainage holes in the bottoms of both the feeder hopper and the seed
      tray. http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/feed.html#1

      Even bowl-type feeders and trays with drainage holes will clog with seed
      and bird droppings. Add rainwater and you have an unhealthy broth. Look
      for shallow plate-like seed trays. The purpose of a tray
      is to catch dropped seeds while allowing spent seed shells to blow away.
      http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/feed.html#1

      Clean feeders regularly (not necessarily daily). Diseases like
      salmonella can grow in moldy, wet seed and bird droppings in your feeder
      tray and on the ground below. It's a good idea to move your feeders (just
      a foot or so) each season to give the ground underneath time to
      assimilate the seed debris and bird droppings. Keeping your feeders
      clean should not become a major undertaking. The degree of maintenance
      required is directly related to the types of birds you want to attract.

      A thistle feeder for goldfinches should be cleaned about once a month
      depending on how often it rains. Feeding hummingbirds requires cleaning
      at the very least, weekly, preferably more often -- two or three times a
      week. Sunflower and suet feeders may need to be cleaned only once a
      month.

      Feeders made of plastic, ceramic and glass are easy to clean. Wash them
      in a bucket of hot, soapy water fortified with a capful or two of
      chlorine bleach, then give them a run through your dishwasher. Use the
      same regimen with wood feeders, but substitute another disinfectant for
      the bleach so your wood won't fade. If too many birds at your feeder
      becomes a problem, you can control their numbers by putting out smaller
      amounts of seed, by using specialty seeds, or by using restrictive
      feeders.

      If you fill your feeder only when it's empty, the birds will look for
      food elsewhere. They'll return as long as you continue to fill it. You
      can virtually eliminate visits by birds you'd rather not see by offering
      seeds they won't eat. Be selective in your choice of seeds. If you use
      more than one type of seed, put them in separate feeders. This will
      reduce wasted seeds, as birds will toss unwanted seeds out of a feeder to
      get to their favorites.

      Birds that visit your feeder have very specific preferences, Most prefer
      sunflower. Some prefer millet. A few prefer peanuts. None seem to prefer
      the other grains used in the mixes: corn, milo, red millet, oats, wheat
      and canary seed.

      Tube feeders with no perches can only be used by birds who are able to
      cling: finches, chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers
      http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/feed.html#1

      ==========================
      What feeders should a novice birder begin with, and what about bird feed?

      Unless one is wishing to draw specific birds, and/or keep away specific
      birds, the general rule of thumb is to use a separate feeder for each
      grain. Many of the cereal grains, such as corn, milo, oats, canary,
      wheat, rape, flax and buckwheat, which are found in mixed bird seeds are
      NOT favorites of birds that visit tube feeders. These seeds will be cast
      on the ground as the bird wants to get them out of his way while looking
      for his own favorites, and if the birds don't eat them, rodents usually
      will. Birds also usually cast away
      artificial berry pellets.

      ****STORE YOUR SEED IN A METAL GARBAGE CAN, LINED, AND OUTSIDE IN THE
      COOLEST, DRIEST PORTION OF THE GARAGE--or better in a shed away from the
      house, to keep rodents and squirrels from gnawing through, to keep the
      moths from moving into your own home (or keep them in a very, very cool
      place in your home where they cannot hatch), and to keep the seed dry.

      Do not purchase seed in a burlap sack, or in a sack that has been patched
      (insect or rodent infestation might have occurred otherwise). Start any
      time, but do not stop just after winter has really begun and no, the
      birds feet will not stick to metal portions of feeders when there is ice
      and snow). A few birds become reliant on one source, and do not know how
      to find another food source. If the birds are not finding a new source,
      and it is not a window feeder (which will take extra time to draw birds),
      then wrap some shiny foil around the top of the feeder for a little while
      to get the birds' attention. If the birds have stopped coming, it may
      be that they have found an abundant natural supply, the bird feeder needs
      cleaned, or there are predators disrupting their sense of safety.

      One might do well to begin with one or more of the following:
      ---a suet feeder with bottom access only (primarily to discourage
      starlings, though chickadees and woodpeckers are happy with these)
      ---a house feeder for sunflower (or a tube feeder, depending on what
      birds you want to restrict--a tube feeder with black oil sunflower would
      specifically attract goldfinches, woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees,
      nuthatches, redpolls - pine siskins)
      ---a bluebird feeder
      ---a wire mesh cage feeder for peanuts
      ---a nectar feeder
      ---a tube feeder for thistle
      ---a stationary or tray fruit feeder
      ---a house or platform feeder for (white proso) millet (species you might
      see: doves and sparrows, especially at the platform feeder)
      ---a bird bath or trough
      ===================================================
      Crow, house sparrow and starling problems can be remedied by seed and
      feeder selections. But cats sitting about are an issue. Belling the cat
      is about the best that can be done.
      ===================================================
      TUBE FEEDER WITH BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER
      goldfinches chickadees
      woodpeckers nuthatches
      titmice redpolls, pine siskins

      ADDING A TRAY TO THE TUBE FEEDER WILL ALSO ATTRACT
      cardinals jays
      crossbills purple finches
      white-throated sparrow house finches
      white-crowned sparrows

      TRAY OR PLATFORM FEEDER -- WITH MILLET
      doves house sparrows
      blackbirds juncos
      cowbirds towhees
      white-throated sparrows tree sparrows
      white-crowned sparrows chipping sparrows

      TRAY OR PLATFORM FEEDER -- WITH CORN (do not use corn that has pink
      dye on it....which indicates it has been treated with a fungicide
      used for planting corn......and is deadly to birds and
      animals.....and you)
      starlings house sparrows
      grackles jays
      juncos bobwhite quail
      doves ring-necked pheasants
      white-throated sparrows

      PLATFORM FEEDER OR TUBE FEEDER AND TRAY -- with PEANUTS
      cardinals chickadees
      grackles house finches
      titmice house sparrows
      sparrows starlings
      mourning doves white-throated sparrows
      jays juncos

      NIGER THISTLE FEEDER WITH TRAY
      goldfinches house finches
      purple finches redpolls
      pine siskins doves
      chickadees song sparrows
      dark-eyed juncos white-throated sparrows

      NECTAR FEEDER (1/4C sugar to 1C boiling water - and change it 3
      times per week, especially when it is warm)
      hummingbirds orioles
      cardinals tanagers
      woodpeckers finches
      thrushes

      FRUIT
      orioles tanagers
      mockingbirds bluebirds
      thrashers cardinals
      woodpeckers jays
      starlings thrushes
      cedar waxwings yellow-breasted chats

      HANGING SUET FEEDER (when it is cold enough, less than 70 degrees, all
      you need is raw beef fat from your butcher, but when it is warmer, that
      fat can become rancid.......so using commercially rendered suet cakes is
      a good thing, as the rendering kills the bacteria--- if you offer suet
      in the warm seasons, woodpeckers might even bring their babies.........

      To render your own, ask your butcher to grind beef fat or chop it as
      finely as you can, heat over medium heat until it is clear liquid with
      solid gray bits, strain out the gray bits using cheesecloth, let it cool,
      heat it again, strain it again, and when it cools, it will not be so
      soft. Use as is, or stir in chopped peanuts, chopped sunflower seeds, or
      try one of these recipes:
      http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/suetrecs.html
      or here http://baltimorebirdclub.org/by/birdtret.html)
      woodpeckers wrens
      chickadees nuthatches
      kinglets thrashers
      creepers cardinals
      starlings

      PEANUT BUTTER SUET (if you make your own, mix in lard, cornmeal and/or
      grit)
      woodpeckers goldfinches
      juncos cardinals
      thrushes jays
      kinglets bluebirds
      wrens starlings

      HANGING PEANUT FEEDER
      woodpeckers
      chickadees
      titmice

      GRIT & EGG SHELLS
      All birds need grit, and in the winter, it can be more difficult for
      them to find it when the snow is a problem (which is why birds are often
      seen on the edge of a road when he has just been snow plowed) -- Offering
      grit seasonally can be beneficial. Egg shells do work as grit, and also
      add calcium for nesting season.
      ===================================================

      blackbirds - white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      bluebirds - fruit // peanut butter suet // [(A pair of bluebirds will
      nest in a bluebird house. If you place a bluebird house on a tree stump
      or wooden fence post between three and five feet high, near an old field,
      orchard, park, cemetery, or golf course, *with an opening no bigger than
      1 1/2"* (to deter starlings and house sparrows, who times kill baby
      bluebirds, and even adult bluebirds at times), you might find a pair has
      moved in. But bluebirds also nest in abandoned woodpecker holes. If
      predators are an issue, place the
      house on a pole, or use a metal predator guard on a wooden post.)]

      bobwhite quail - tray or platform feeder with corn //

      brown creepers - [(Nests are made behind the curved bark of trees,
      especially in heavily wooded yards.)]

      cardinals - sunflower feeder, safflower // black oil sunflower in a
      tube feeder with a tray // platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and
      peanuts // nectar feeders // fruit // hanging suet feeder // peanut
      butter suet // [(Will not nest in boxes. But you can hang out nesting
      material: fiber scraps, twigs, wool, feathers...)] //

      Carolina wrens - (see wrens)

      cedar waxwings - fruit //

      chickadees (nuthatches and titmice) - able to use tube feeders with no
      perches // able to use suet feeders with bottom access only (restricting
      starlings) // niger thistle feeder with tray // platform feeder or
      tube feeder with tray and peanuts // hanging peanut feeder // [(Hang
      nesting boxes at eye level from a secure
      limb or secure them to a tree trunk. The entrance hole should be 1-1/8"
      to deter house sparrows. Then continue to offer suet and peanuts.)]

      chipping sparrows - white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      cowbirds - white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      creepers - hanging suet feeder //

      crossbills - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder with a tray //

      dark-eyed juncos - niger thistle feeder with tray //

      doves - safflower, white proso millet (platform feeders) // tray or
      platform feeder with corn // niger thistle feeder with tray // [(Will
      not nest in boxes. But you can hang out nesting material: fiber scraps,
      twigs, wool, feathers...)] //

      ducks - will eat corn

      finches - niger thistle - able to use tube feeders with no perches //
      nectar feeders //

      geese - will eat corn

      goldfinch - thistle feeder - add a vertical perch to a tube thistle
      feeder, and you have restricted access to goldfinches // black oil
      sunflower in a tube feeder // niger thistle feeder with tray // peanut
      butter suet //
      grackles - tray or platform feeder with corn // platform feeder or tube
      feeder with tray and peanuts //

      house finches - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder with a tray //
      platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and peanuts // niger thistle
      feeder with tray //

      house sparrows - white proso millet (platform feeders) // tray or
      platform feeder with corn // platform feeder or tube feeder with tray
      and peanuts //

      hummingbird - nectar feeder - Big nectar feeders are not always better.
      Each hummingbird will drink about 2 times its body weight a day (less
      than an ounce). Hummers are often territorial in the early season and
      won't share a feeder. Thus, a sixteen ounce feeder can be wasteful, even
      unhealthy or lethal, because artificial nectar does ferment in the hot
      summer sun. So watch to see how many hummers you have in your
      yard. If you see only one hummer, a two ounce feeder is plenty. Then
      again, in the southwest, some birders may have 34 hummers in their yard,
      so a sixteen ounce feeder may not be big enough. Do leave your nectar
      feeder out until the last hummingbird has migrated away. The feeder will
      not keep them from
      migrating. It might even help a weakened straggler gather his strength
      for the journey ahead of him.

      jays - peanuts // black oil sunflower in a tube feeder with a tray //
      tray or platform feeder with corn // platform feeder or tube feeder
      with tray and peanuts // fruit // peanut butter suet //

      juncos - white proso millet (platform feeders) // tray or platform
      feeder with corn // platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and
      peanuts // peanut butter suet //

      kinglets - hanging suet feeder // peanut butter suet //

      mockingbirds - fruit //

      nuthatches - (chickadees and titmice) black oil sunflower in a tube
      feeder // hanging suet feeder // [(Hang nesting boxes at eye level
      from a secure limb or secure them to a tree trunk. The entrance hole
      should be 1-1/8" to deter house sparrows. Then continue to offer suet
      and peanuts.)]

      orioles - nectar feeders // fruit // [(Will not nest in boxes. But
      you can hang out nesting material: fiber scraps, twigs, wool,
      feathers.....)] //

      pine siskins - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder // niger thistle
      feeder with tray //

      prothonotory warblers - [(Nests are made over water, behind the curved
      bark of trees, especially in heavily wooded yards.)]

      purple finches - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder with a tray //
      niger thistle feeder with tray //

      quail - will eat corn

      redpolls - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder // niger thistle
      feeder with tray //

      ring-necked pheasants - tray or platform feeder with corn //

      robins - (our largest thrush) - [(Prefer to nest in the crotch of a tree,
      but you can offer a nesting platform on a shaded tree trunk, six feet or
      higher, or even under an overhang of a porch or shed. Offering a mud
      puddle nearby is helpful, as robins use mud to build their nests.)]

      song sparrows - niger thistle feeder with tray //

      sparrows - white proso millet (platform feeders) // platform feeder or
      tube feeder with tray and peanuts //

      starlings - hanging suet feeder // want to restrict them at the suet
      feeder? - use a suet feeder with bottom access only - as chickadees and
      woodpeckers don't mind perching upside down // tray or platform feeder
      with corn // platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and peanuts //
      fruit // mourning doves - platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and
      peanuts // peanut butter suet // peanut butter suet //

      tanagers - nectar feeders // fruit //

      thrashers - fruit // hanging suet feeder //

      thrushes - nectar feeders // fruit // peanut butter suet //

      titmice - (chickadees and nuthatches) - peanuts - able to use tube
      feeders with no perches // black oil sunflower in a tube feeder //
      platform feeder or tube feeder with tray and peanuts // hanging peanut
      feeder // suet // [(Hang nesting boxes at eye level from a secure
      limb or secure them to a tree trunk. The entrance hole should be 1-1/8"
      to deter house sparrows. Then continue to offer suet and peanuts.)]

      towhees - white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      tree sparrows - white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      white-crowned sparrows - black oil sunflower in a tube feeder with a tray
      // white proso millet (platform feeders) //

      white-throated sparrows - safflower, peanuts // black oil sunflower in
      a tube feeder with a tray // white proso millet (platform feeders) //
      tray or platform feeder with corn // platform feeder or tube feeder
      with tray and peanuts // niger thistle feeder with tray //

      wrens - suet // [(Nest boxes can be placed quite close to your home.
      Male house wrens build several nests for the female to choose from, so
      offer several nest boxes at eye level, on partly sunlit treelimbs, using
      a 1" x 2" slot, instead of a hole, which is more comfortable for wrens.
      Use a 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" slot for Carolina wrens.)]

      woodpeckers - the best food to attract woodpeckers is suet // able to
      use tube feeders with no perches // able to use suet feeders with bottom
      access only, as they can perch upside down, which restricts starlings //
      black oil sunflower in a tube feeder // nectar feeders // fruit //
      hanging peanut feeder //
      wrens - hanging suet feeder // peanut butter suet // yellow-breasted
      chats - fruit //
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