Bringing some excitement and fulfillment to our gardens and landscapes in the winter can be found with attracting birds to our yards. There are several ways we can do this. Setting up a bird feeder is ultimately the easiest way.
Generally speaking there are several varieties of bird feeders. During a recent podcast and article I read from Harrowsmith magazine, author Wayne MacPhail stated there were a few guidelines to follow. It is recommended to feed birds a good source of protein. Whether it be peanuts (without salt) or sunflower seeds; generally the black oil sunflowers are best. This feed will bring the largest variety of birds and even some song birds. One recommendation is to avoid ground feeds like cracked corn as this attracts primarily ground feeders – like doves and even the squirrels. Which is not a bad thing just understanding some of the song birds will be less attracted to it.
Kitchen windows , along the railing of a deck, or even in a tree within sight of a window are great places to start for your feeder Placement. Feeding birds does not make them 100% dependant on the food you serve as they travel so much from place to place. Landscape trees, shrubs, and perennials such as Serviceberry, Oak, Mountain Ash, Purple Coneflower, Daisy and many others help attract birds as well. The trend has been to cut perennials back in the fall for ease of clean up in the spring. Try leaving perennials with seed heads to attract different varieties of finches. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide great habitats for birds – even if the tree is not in the best of health it still providers a source of a source of shelter and security.
To avoid birds hitting windows and glass, place stickers and or pictures on your windows to help reduce fly thru attempts. We can try to make our bird feeders squirrel resistant but never squirrel proof – they also enjoy the food. Understanding bird patterns in our area can be found by checking out birdstudiescanada.com. Wayne MacPhail of Harrowsmith Magazine has a great radio pod cast. You can find the magazine at local book stores.