Bird Feeding Basics - Part I
Choosing the Right Bird Feed and Feeder
October 2015____________________________________________________ _
This subject is both timely and important, considering that Winter is around the corner and natural food sources will be more scarce.And as we plan ahead for feathered travelers, it is also important to consider reports of a colder than usual season for southern states.
A few key factors to consider are your geographic location and the birds that you may attract as well as issues of practicality such as maintenance.
Consider which bird species you are most likely to attract based on your US location.Often you can look at your local stores specializing in birds, home improvement stores or similar to see which type of birds and associated feed are applicable to your region.Additionally, Audubon has a helpful online Guide to North American Birds.There may be species found here not addressed at local feed provider stores.Each species in the guide includes a map, bird call audio files, images, what each species tends to eat and more information.Many of these features are also available via Audubon’s app.
This also drives your decision in regards to which type of feeder to choose.There are several types including:
The following spreadsheet is a general overview of the type of feed and feeder by several common bird species and adapted from information provided by feederwatch.org:
Cornell Labs also offers a common feeder birds list.This is a comprehensive list of bird species found in North American regions, the types of food they enjoy and other information.
Issues of practicality
In terms of maintenance, clean your feeders one to two times per month in the dishwasher or utilize soapy water and a sponge.The objective should be to remove mold or the threat of mold as this can be toxic to birds.Hummingbird feeders are also susceptible to mold issues.
Choose a feeder that is sturdy enough to withstand regular bird activity, cleaning and addition of feed on a regular basis.Your feeder should be easy to clean on a regular basis and adjacent to where you typically store feed for convenience of adding food.
Bird feeders are susceptible to small mammals.Some are nocturnal (night feeders).For those situations, consider taking the feeder in at night.Convenience of location to an evening storage area is an important location factor.These mammals may eventually find different locations to visit, eliminating your need to store.At the very least, it is important to guard your feeder against persistent squirrels.Baffles are typically effective for this.
The following links were used in the creation of this blog and should be clicked for additional information: