Bird Feeding Tips
Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.
Designing Your Feeding Station
For most of us, it started simply enough: a feeder hung from a tree branch, maybe a wren house outside the living room window. But when one feeder becomes two (or three, or six) and the bath turns into a water feature, it’s time to consider a plan!
A feeding station helps meet avian needs for food and water as well as our human need for a sense of connection with nature. To accomplish both, locate a place (or several places) in your yard where you can see from one of your favorite inside spots for eating, reading, or working. Ideally, your feeders will be about eight feet from shrubs or trees. This is close enough to provide the cover which helps your birds feel comfortable, but far enough away so that you can protect your feeders from squirrels or other critters. In other words, look for a place where your birds will be safe and happy, where you can easily see them, and where routine maintenance tasks are easy to perform too.
Next, add your feeders. Feeders come in a variety of sizes and shapes and purposes. To design a complete feeding station, you should consider featuring feeders which accommodate seeds and nuts, suet, fruit, nectar and mealworms.
Fruit feeders are best placed in shady spots, as are bird cakes with high suet content. For summer, many backyard birders switch to no-melt suet products because they hold up well in the heat and are attractive to a variety of summer birds. Nyjer (seed) feeders are best placed a bit away from sunflower feeders to give goldfinches the privacy they prefer.
In some cases, it is best to initially place your new feeder in a spot easy for birds to find. Later you can move it to a spot where it is easy for you to watch it. For example, suet feeders often may start out on tree trunks and hummingbirds feeders start out in the open or near hummingbird-attractive flowers.
When deciding on “where” and after you ask yourself if it will be good for your birds, ask if it will add joy and relaxation to your life. Just as food is part of our gift to them, relaxation and joy is part of their gift to us.