Here are 6 ideas for attracting and feeding birds safely.
1. Know your seeds
Match the seed to the type of bird you wish to attract.
Black oil sunflower is the all around best seed, but can be relatively expensive.
Milo and millet are small, round seeds often seen in mixes sold at grocery and big box stores. They are less expensive than sunflower but best served on the ground or a low platform feeder. Sparrows, quail and other ground feeding birds will dine on these seeds but they are not popular with most species that will visit hanging feeders.
Visit Birdzilla.com http://www.birdzilla.com/attracting-birds/food/bird-seed-images.html
to see images of different seeds and the kind of birds they attract.
2. Match feed and feeder
Be sure your feeder and feed are compatible. This is most often an issue with tube feeders. Some tube feeders are designed for larger seeds, such as sunflower, while others for small seeds like NyjerÂ®. Sunflower seeds placed in a Nyjer feeder will not attract very many birds.
3. Offer a buffet selection
Mix your offerings to attract a greater variety of seeds.
Bluebirds love mealworms and bluebird populations climb in Texas in the winter.
Suet is an inexpensive food choice that can be offered in a $2.00 feeder. Commercial suet cakes can be purchased for as little as dollar or two and attract a wide variety of birds, including woodpeckers, wrens, nuthatches, juncos and some sparrows.
Even something as simple as spreading peanut butter on a tree trunk can attract a variety of species.
Orioles like orange slices and grape jelly but are best offered in the spring and summer.
4. Just add water
In many areas water can be at a premium, especially in the drought conditions found in much of Texas. Birdbaths will attract species that do not normally visit feeders. In-ground baths tend to attract the most species as they appear more natural to the birds.
Using drippers and misters will help alert birds to the presence of water. Small birds like to leaf bathe, point a mister onto leaves and allow the water to drip into a birdbath.
5. Develop habitat - build it and they will come
This is Number One on our list but takes time - develop the habitat in your yard. Places to find shelter and nest are critical items on a bird's most wanted list. Plant a mix of flowers, shrubs, vines and trees. A diverse habitat attracts a diversity of birds.
Select plants that offer natural food sources.
6. Feed the birds safely
Keep feeders clean. Quality tube feeders have removable tops and bottoms for easy cleaning.
For platform or ground feeding, do not feed more than is consumed in 2-3 days.
Rake and remove seed hulls from under feeders or use a screen to capture hulls from hanging feeders.
Change water in birdbaths regularly. If used heavily, every 3-4 days. Or use a pump and filter to keep the water clean and flowing. Especially important in the summer and early fall to prevent mosquito larvae from developing.