The birds need your help

The past few days the birds have been emptying my feeders on a daily basis. I’ve noticed some new visitors such as the Juncos and another long curved-bill bird that I haven’t identified yet*. The upcoming week is predicting more snow and single-digit temps. Make sure you keep your feeders filled and brush off the snow or chip away the ice, so they can get at the food. That is a little challenging given our frequent snows.

The front-yard feeder below is filled with Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Mix – a more expensive food, hence why it’s in a smaller feeder with a tray to capture the spills. It contains shelled sunflowers, white millet and peanuts. All types of birds LOVE it – finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, cardinals, doves and the Juncos and titmice when they stop by. Since there’s no corn in it, the starlings leave it alone. I also have a suet cage in a nearby tree for the woodpeckers. I bought a seed wreath but it’s not working out because it got soaked with rain and it seems it must be hard for the birds to get the seed out.

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The backyard wooden feeder below simply contains oilers. The hanging feeder contains thistle for the finches. I have a second finch feeder in another part of the backyard, plus another hanging suet feeder. In addition to the finches, doves also like the thistle seed and will clean up any spilled seed on the ground.

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These photos are a little “fuzzy” because I must take them through an inside window to prevent scaring the birds away. I really enjoy having the birds around and have planted certain plants for them. They especially like a pyracantha for protection and it is usually filled with 20-30 birds when they take time out for resting. Its thorns prevent the occasional stray cats from bothering them.

If you would like to start feeding birds, I strongly suggest visiting Wild Birds Unlimited to get quality seed and a good feeder. The seed you find at discount stores or groceries contains seed types that birds don’t eat (like red millet) so you’re wasting your money and it makes a mess under the feeder. Why pay for seed that doesn’t get eaten? I also recommend avoiding any seed mix that has corn as those mixes will attract starlings. As for a good feeder, definitely choose one that’s easy to get the lid off and filled when the temp is 10° and fingers are cold. Plastic feeders can crack when frozen. I hope you enjoy watching the birds as much as I do.

* The unknown bird is a Carolina Wren

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