It’s for the Birds

Thirty years ago I bought a bird seed feeder at our local hardware store. One feeder eventually became many, meaning that in my yard today birds can find feeders holding black oil sunflower seed and hulled chips, nyjer seed, hulled peanuts, suet, sugar water for hummingbirds in summer, and in cool weather homemade cedar snags holding a mixture of peanut butter and plain cornmeal with a few sunflower chips folded in. Several water dishes and a lot of natural cover around our property ensure plentiful birds year-round.

You can pay about $30 and up for a 6-8 inch cedar snag with a few shallow holes drilled in it with a wood boring bit, or you can make one yourself with a minimum of time and expense; and whatever imagination you wish to apply to your creation. If you make one you will make several, and use them. If you give one to a bird-feeding enthusiast it will be gratefully received.

I mentioned black oil sunflower seed. If that is your only seed offering the birds will not object. I’ve bought expensive seed blends, and their seed quality and diversity has improved over the years, but observed no increase in the variety or number of birds at my feeders versus offering straight black oil sunflower seed. That is what works for my southeast location, and only by trying and observing will you find what will work best for your location. Do not underestimate the importance of location. During warm months there are kingbirds in the flat two acre open field next to my yard, and not once in twenty-four years have I seen one on my sloping, wooded property.

Remember water and cover so birds can drink, bathe, nap, nest, spend the night, and get protection from storms. A few days ago we had seven bluebirds drinking and bathing in a long shallow water-filled dish sitting on the patio handrail. Beautiful.

Be extra alert during spring migration. We get an occasional rose-breasted grosbeak passing through, which I believe is the prettiest bird to ever visit my yard. Their stay here is short, but rewarding.

Take care.

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