If you feed them, they will come. For the most part, when it comes to wild birds, this is true. There are however some things that you can do to increase the chance of getting a large variety of aviary friends to visit your back yard and feed more frequently.
Water is Essential to Attract Wild Birds
Most important of all is water. Whether it is water from a pond, waterfall, or a bird bath, cool water is the key element needed in keeping birds coming back to your feeders. Ponds are usually the most satisfying to your feathered friends because there is usually a place for the birds to hide from predators. However, any type of water will satisfy their needs and keep them coming back. Making sure that your bird bath is in the shade will help keep the water cooler longer. It is, however, essential that you keep your birdbath clean and add fresh water regularly, this will help prevent diseases being passed among birds.
There are several things you should think about when you are looking at where to put your bird feeder. Like real estate agents say, “the most important of all is, location, location, location”. You also need to decide what you want out of your bird feeding experience. Do you want to see your birds feed while you look out your living room window? What about as you sit on your back porch? Can you get to the feeders easily to refill them? What about the mess factor? Do you have a lot of squirrels in your neighborhood? What about cats? How will you hang your feeder?
Each of these questions will need to be taken into consideration before you hang up your feeders, so we will touch on each of them for just a bit. We all want to see the birds. That is why we feed them, so put your bird feeder near a window where you can sit in your comfortable chair and watch them as they convene upon your feeders.
Placement of Bird Feeders Near Windows can be Dangerous
Windows are much more dangerous to birds than you might think. None of us want to have the experience of picking up an injured bird that just crashed into your window. To prevent this you should put the feeder 30 feet away from your house windows so that if the birds get scared off by some predator it has a chance to see its reflection in the window.
The other option is to put it up to 3 feet from your window so that the birds don’t have time to get into full flight before approaching the window. Some people use suction cups and attach a feeder to your window, however, this can be messy on the window itself and if someone walks through the room they can easily scare off all your birds. The most important part of picking the location of your feeder again is for the birds to be comfortable and for you to be able to see them feeding.
The Squirrel Factor
One other thing that is important when thinking about hanging your bird feeder is squirrels. Hanging your feeders in trees or near trees can enable squirrels to get to your feeders and destroy not only the chance of your birds staying to feed, but also your feeders. Squirrels chew into wooden or plastic feeders and suspension cords or wires, knocking down your beloved and sometimes expensive bird feeders.
One way to address this problem is to use a shepherd’s hook. This is usually a tall metal stake with a hanging hook at the top, much like a plant hanger, you would put outside of your home. This tool, coupled with good placement, makes the assault by squirrels less likely. A squirrel baffle also works if you don’t have a location suitable away from larger trees and buildings. This tool is a cone shaped device that you hang on the suspension wire above the feeder. It prevents the squirrels from being able to come down and eat your birds’ feed and destroy your feeders.
Potential Predator: Dogs and Cats
Predators such as your cat or dog are also a problem for birds. We have all laughed at the cartoon of the cat lying in the backyard with feathers in its mouth quite content with itself for catching the feeding bird; however, this is a very real problem for the birds you are trying to attract to your yard. Hanging your bird feeders inaccessible locations such as on or under large trees or lower to the ground, make it easy for predators, such as cats, to scare off your birds, possibly even injuring them. Once this happens, it takes a lot for birds to want to come back.
Now, about that mess! The hulls from seeds as well as uneaten seed can crop up underneath your bird feeders easily as birds are messy eaters. A location where it is easy to clean up after our messy little friends is necessary. Some feeders offer a tray that can be placed under your feeder that will help with the mess issue. Look around and see what you can find that will help. There are also No Sprout Bird Seed blends that will take the mess out of the equation. Birds find them just as appealing and so do you when you do not have to clean up the mess of the hulls yourself.
Using some of these methods you can easily enjoy feeding the birds in your yard and enjoy the show. They will know that you care to give them the best and keep coming back.