Do all backyard birds need a perch to feed?
No. Some birds such as Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Woodpeckers, Finches and Pine Siskins "cling" and do not need a traditional perch to sit and dine. Other birds do need a traditional "post" style perch to feed. Many feeders allow you to choose whether you want to use a traditional or "ladder" type clinging perch. One added benefit to not using a perch is that it helps to discourage many of the larger birds, such as Crows, Grackles, Starlings,Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, etc. from overwhelming your feeder.
Will I find only finches at my finch feeder?
No. Pine Siskins, Redpolls, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Towhees, and Cowbirds are all attracted to thistle seed.
What is the best location for my feeders?
Ideally a sheltered southeastern exposure. Birds like to feed in the sun and out of the wind. They also prefer not to have any obstructions over their feeding area so as to be able to see an attacking predator.
What criteria should I use when selecting a bird feeder?
Here are some of the most important:
- Seed level viewing. You should be able to know when the feeder is empty.
- Capacity. The larger the capacity the less frequently you will have to refill the feeder.
- Placement. You will need to decide whether you want a hanging or pole mounted bird feeder.
- Materials. Bird feeders can be made out of plastic, metal, glass and wood. Each material offers its own advantages. These advantages should be weighed against their cost.
- Removable perches. Removing the perches discourages larger birds.
- Seed saver tray. A tray can minimize wasted seed. It should also be easily removed for cleaning.
- Easy to fill and clean.
- Number of feeding stations. The greater the number of feeding stations the more birds can sit and dine at one time.
Should I feed all year round and why?
Yes. As with the fall and winter, spring and summer are also important times of the year to feed the birds. Spring time feeding provides the supplemental nourishment birds need to recover from migration. Summertime feeding helps reduce the stress of nesting at a time when natural seed supplies are at their lowest.
Should I have more than one feeder in my yard?
A greater variety of feeders and seed will attract a greater variety of birds.
Why do birds fly into our windows?
The window reflects a mirror image of the surrounding environment. An object on the window, such as a window mounted feeder or a suncatcher, will let them know there's a surface in front of them.
Why should I have a birdbath?
Why is water so important? All birds need water for drinking, bathing and play.
How durable is terra cotta outside during the cold winter days?
We suggest you bring terra cotta birdbaths inside when the temperature drops below 30F. Even though the baths may be glazed, moisture can get into the clay pores, freeze and cause the clay to expand and crack. This is not a problem with ceramic feeders, as they have drain holes and do not trap water.
Nesting Boxes/Bird Houses
Many types of birds use nest boxes or bird houses; Chickadees, titmice, bluebirds, wrens, nuthatches and swallows to name a few. See the birdhouse hole size chart for a more complete list. Mother nature provides some cavities for these birds, but unfortunately, due to the effects of high winds, insects, diseases, people cutting down old trees and trimming hedge and fence rows that provide the natural cavities for nests, there is a critical habitat shortage. Without an ample supply of nesting sites, the population of these birds in some areas is declining drastically.
Thanks to the growing popularity of birding and the dedicated efforts of conservationists around the country, the use of nest boxes and bird houses is becoming more widespread. Providing nesting boxes is the easiest and most effective act an individual can do to promote a lasting and growing bird population. Below are some nesting box basics to help you get started:
* Use lumber that is untreated and at least 3/4" thick to protect nests from the spring chills and summer heat.
* Do not paint or stain the interior of the box. If you paint or stain the outside of the box, use a light color to reflect the sunlight to keep the box cool on warm days.
* Use galvanized screws to assemble the nest box, it will last longer than a box that is glued together.
* You should design a side or front panel that can be swung open or out to gain access to the inside of the box.
* Perches on the front are not necessary. All cavity nesters have strong feet and can cling to the wooden surface. Perches actually invite predator birds to land and stick their head into the hole and cause trouble.
* The roof of the nest box should extend well over the entrance hole to protect the opening from the driving rain and predators.
* The inside front panel of the box should be deeply scored below the entrance hole to give emerging fledglings a ladder for exiting the box.
* The floor of the box should have at least 4, 3/8" drainage holes so the box can drain if water gets in.
* Ventilation holes near the top allow excess heat to escape.
* A nest box can be mounted on a pole, preferably with a predator baffle in place below the box.
* Nest boxes may be left out all winter long. In fact some birds will use them in the winter during extreme cold weather to get in out of the cold.
Wild Bird Feeders
As a backyard bird enthusiast you may just be starting out and looking to buy your first bird feeder. Maybe you experimented with different types of bird feeders and are now looking for a feeder to attract a particular type of wild bird. Your location has a lot to do with the type of wild birds you attract. Many factors that influence your ability to attract birds have to do with 1) where you live (city, suburbs, country or on a coast), 2) the attractiveness of your neighborhood or yard to the birds (trees, shrubs and flowers), and 3) the availability of food and water. You'll find that someone living in the city will be far more limited in the numbers and types of birds they can attract than somebody who lives in the country or suburbs. Just as important are the numbers and types of plantings in your area. Birds are attracted to environments that provide natural protection, places for nesting and food and water. You can improve your chances for success by enhancing your feeding site with plantings in addition to offering the birds a reliable source of water and food.