A great way to bring nature to you is to feed the birds! Kids love to watch which new birds come to the feeder every day. Here are some quick tips on how to set up your own bird paradise in your backyard/yard area.
Get a bird feeder and bird food that is appropriate for your yard.
As shown, an ideal set up for a bird feeder is raised above the ground to avoid attracting other animals, such as rabbits and raccoons. It also helps birds feel more safe when eating. If you have a tree in your backyard, a great place is to hang it on a tree branch. The tree provides some shade and protection for the bird when eating or waiting their turn to eat.
If you cannot do this, you can still put out bird food daily in a large, flat pan or dish and remove the pan at night. Sometimes I spread out bird seed on the ground under the feeder to feed other birds, but this works only when birds already know your backyard/yard area has food.
Wherever you decide to place your bird feeder, make sure it is far from windows to prevent window strikes. Birds can sometimes inadvertently fly into a window if a feeder is close to or on a window. Another way to avoid window strikes is to place vinyl stickers or hang other items on the window to break up the reflection.
What birds do you want to attract to your yard? Hummingbirds? Finches? Songbirds? These birds eat different types of bird food, which require different types of feeders. Hummingbird feeders are usually filled with nectar. Finches love thistle, which usually require a wire mesh feeder. Several varieties of songbirds will eat bird seed, which is the easiest way to get started with a bird feeder. To get the most variety of birds in your backyard, I’d suggest attracting songbirds with a see-through tube feeder such as this and hull-less bird seed variety mix. Selecting a hull-less, shell-less bird seed will eliminate any seed waste on the ground. A good bird food mix will include different seeds, such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn.
Here’s a video of my resident bird expert showing how to fill a tube bird feeder.
Taking care of your bird feeder = healthy birds!
Be sure to clean out your bird feeder once a week to eliminate any mold buildup that can make birds sick. Wash the feeder with hot water and soap and dry completely before refilling.
Get the bird feeder out of the rain to avoid wet bird food, which can grow mold if left out.
Wash your hands after handling bird seed and the bird feeder.
Get a bird guide or download a bird identification app.
This is the fun part! Once you have your feeder set up, wait and see who will be your first customers! It may take a few days for birds to see your feeder and spread the word to other birds. You never know which birds may come to your feeder to check out what’s on the menu. Purchase a bird field guide or download some of the free apps for your phone, such as these from Audubon, iBird, or the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Our resident bird expert shows us his favorite bird in his bird “comic book”
Enjoy seeing which birds swing by for a snack!