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Bird Feeding Tips

October 7th, 2011 Gardening

Feeding the birds in your backyard not only provides sustenance for them in the winter time, but it will draw lots of wildlife into close range for you and your kids to look at. You'll be surprised how many different bird species there are in your area when you put out foods that attract them. Here are a few tips about bird feeding to keep in mind once you decide to get a feeder, according to MarthaStewart.com and Birdfeeding.org.

Birdseed
There are different types of birdseed - whichever you choose depends on the types of birds you want to attract. Try a few feeders with different kinds to get a variety coming into your yard.
• General mix. This has corn, white proso millet and peanut hearts in it, which attracts birds like blue jays, doves and blackbirds.
• Thistle, aka Nyjer®. Thistle seed will attract smaller birds like goldfinches and is good for providing them with lots of energy.
• Sunflower seeds. Birds like cardinals and chickadees love these seeds. The black-oil varieties are the healthiest.
• Suet. This mixture attracts all kinds of birds, particularly woodpeckers. It's made out of animal fat mixed with seeds, berries, peanut butter and even insects.

Store your seeds in a cool, dry place. If they get too hot, the taste and nutritional value will be affected, and wet seeds can grow mold.

Make your yard bird-friendly
Put out a couple of different feeders that are close to the trees and shrubs. You may also want to consider placing a few bird baths and bird houses around your yard so your flying friends can really feel at home. Make sure everything is kept well away from places where animals like cats could hide.

Be sure to clean your bird feeders at least twice a year. Empty it out and wash with dishsoap and warm water. Change the seeds if you notice there is a lot of debris mixed in or if they look wet.