Bird Feeding Tips

Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.

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What and where birds like to eat – Part 1 of 2

Posted by on in Attracting and feeding wild birds
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These bird feeding recommendations are based on research showing what backyard birds like to eat and how best to present it. Different birds have different preferences (see www.projectwildbird.org), so we can offer a variety of foods and feeder types for best results.

b2ap3_thumbnail_cardinals-and-goldfinch-on-feeder-in-winter.jpg
Cardinals and American Goldfinch at feeders

Sunflower-based seed solutions: The greatest variety of birds are attracted to feeders filled with black-oil, hulled and sunflower-based blends. Some of these birds readily use short perches, while others prefer feeding from the ground or from feeders (like hopper feeders with wide feeding ledges) which simulate the ground.

b2ap3_thumbnail_american-goldfincheat-feeder.jpgAmerican Goldfinches in winter plumage.


Many perching birds – like chickadees, finches, nuthatches, and siskins – prefer to eat sunflower-based seed from tube style or mesh feeders. Larger birds like Evening Grosbeaks prefer to eat from platform feeders or trays. A platform feeder will attract a wide variety of birds large and small. Nuthatches, jays, towhees, finches, and doves all enjoy this combination.

b2ap3_thumbnail_red-bellied-woodpecker-at-feeder.jpg
Male Red-bellied Woodpecker

Tip: If you want to attracted ground-feeding birds, we recommend a large platform feeder placed low to the ground and filled with white proso millet. Or you can simply scatter a handful or two of millet on the ground. Millet is attractive to a number of species, including popular winter visitors like juncos, as well as doves and many native sparrows.

Next time: Other important and attractive foods other than sunflower or millet!

I am delighted to join the Birdzilla team through this blog, sharing ideas and topics related to feeding and attracting wild birds in your backyard. Bird feeding is my life-long passion,  instilled by bird-feeding parents who raised me on an 80-acre farm in central Michigan.  After college, my wife and I served as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer high-school teachers in Africa and then as staff members over an eight-year period.
 
Those wonderful times led to 30-years of bird-feeding leadership as founder of the Wild Bird Centers, franchising and supporting wild bird specialty stores across the country. I helped found the Bird Education Network and was a key financial supporter of PROJECT WILDBIRD, I currently serve as Executive Director of the National Bird-Feeding Society. Several years ago, I was asked to join “The Birder’s Team”, a working group of birding leaders selected by the National Wildlife Refuge System to recommend ways to better serve birders. millions of whom visit our extraordinary network of more than 500 Refuges. These “conservation jewels” actively protect critical habitat and conserve bird populations of all kinds. Most recently, I served as a judge to select the winning artist for the NWRS’ 2015 Duck Stamp Contest.

I now look forward to helping our readers experience the best our wonderful hobby offers. As I often say “The closer we live to each other, the closer we want to be to Nature.”

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