For the Birds

Winter is a time when the birds could use some help with food resources.  But, it’s important to practice some good housekeeping techniques too so that your birds stay healthy.  There are so many types of feeders available these days that you could spend unlimited amounts of dollars on just feeders, never mind the bird seed.  But, pick a couple different ones and see what works for your habitat.

One of my favorites is the large squirrel proof feeder that holds 5 lbs of seed.  Just about every bird species I know love black oil sunflower seed and this feeder works great since you don’t typically have to fill it every single day.

Female Cardinal and Rose-brested Grosbeck Fussing over the Feeder Rights

Female Cardinal and Rose-breasted Grosbeak Fussing over Feeder Rights

I add a baffle or dome to most of my feeders.  This deters squirrels and helps to keep seed and birds dry.

Feeder with Large Dome or Baffle

Feeder with Large Dome or Baffle

Suet is another favorite food for nuthatches and woodpeckers.  You can add a cover like this one.  It’s important to keep check on suet as it tends to mold and even get covered in mildew in the Carolina humidity.  It’s not likely to freeze in the Carolina’s since suet contains lots of lard but it can freeze in our northern climates.

Covered Suet Feeder

Covered Suet Feeder

Off and on I’ve had good luck with finch or Nyger feeders but these little sacks seem to hit the spot with the goldfinches, and all the other house finches too.  Again, watch for mold and mildew on these.  Goldfinches in particular are very picky about that sort of thing.

Niger Sack Feeder

Nyger Sack Feeder

Don’t forget to provide a source of water for your birds.  I have bird baths and many little saucers and shallow bowls placed all around my habitat.  When temperatures drop, be sure to check them for ice and add some fresh water.  Some people put in heaters but power is a problem for me so I just have to do things manually and keep watch.

Tufted Titmouse Bathing

Tufted Titmouse Bathing

Another very important thing is to clean your feeders, especially after it’s been raining for days on end.  I use vinegar, never bleach, and water to clean my feeders.  I drop the feeder in a 5 gallon bucket and let it soak overnight.  Then I empty that and fill the bucket with about 3-4 cups of vinegar and water and let it soak again for a few hours.  I then scrub it (with gloves on) and hose it out and let it dry in the sun.  Some of the newer feeders have a removable base which is fabulous for those tough spots in the bottom of the feeder!  I just got one for Christmas and I can already see it’s a great addition to my bird feeding collection!

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