Wednesday, October 25, 2006
When placing your feeder, allow privacy for the birds. Avoid areas where there is excessive noise from dogs, driveway traffic, and slamming doors. Use a location that is as quiet and undisturbed as possible. Set the feeder back several yards from the window so indoor activities will not scare the birds away. Normally, a corner of the yard near some shrubs or a fence is ideal. Bushes permit a social arena where birds may light, preen, search for food and maintain pecking order. Where your yard meets deciduous trees and where the shrubbery ends and garden begins all serve as mini-habitats. These areas offer the interspersing of plants and perches that birds love to utilize. By taking advantage of little "waste areas" in your yard you will be able to provide the privacy needed to maintain a population of feeding station visitors. When setting up your new feeder, wipe off the feeder with a damp cloth. It takes time for birds to become used to something new in their environment. To help attract birds, sprinkle seed on the ground under the feeder. Do not be discouraged if it takes time for birds to respond to a new feeder. Frequency of feeding can depend on where you live, the number of trees, and other feeders in your area. A poor winter at the feeder -- low numbers, few species -- is usually a sign of a mild winter or abundant natural food rather than some sort of catastrophe. Birds eat grit along with their food to help them digest it. During the winter, you can scatter sand near the feeder to help the birds, since natural grit may be frozen or hard to find. Cardinals, blue jays and house sparrows are often the first visitors to a new feeder. When titmice, woodpeckers and nuthatches begin coming in, you have established an effective feeding station.