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Backyard Bird Feeding: Getting Ready for Winter

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Feeding wild birds can be a good way of bringing some light-hearted fun to your backyard or garden. In addition to the hours of entertainment for you and your family, they can help keep your lawn and gardens pest-free by eating insect pests and weed seeds.

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Setting Up Ground Feeders

Depending on species, birds may feed from the ground or from elevated feeders. Birds that prefer ground feeding include doves, sparrows, juncos, quail, pheasants, and more. These birds typically enjoy wild bird mix, but larger birds may also eat cracked corn or scratch feed. Setting up a ground feeder can help keep feed from spoiling on wet ground.

Attracting Seed Eating Birds to Your Yard

Traditional hopper feeders can be great for attracting seed eating birds including finches,sparrows, juncos, chickadees, cardinals, and more. Seed hoppers also may attract larger birds such as grackles and jays that may bully smaller birds. Providing both hopper and tube feeders can accommodate all birds, while tube feeders are designed for small birds. Fill hoppers with wild bird mix, and fill tube feeders with ground sunflower seed or thistle seed.

Attracting Insect Eaters with Suet

Suet is beef fat, and it provides nutrition for birds that eat insects, larvae and grubs. Woodpeckers, flickers, nuthatches, jays and others typically eat suet. Attach mesh bags filled with suet to tree trunks, or use suet feeders.

While the type of feed can determine what species of birds visit your yard, the placement of bird feeders should also not be overlooked. The placement of bird feeders is usually important for discouraging pests and predators. By positioning your feeders in open areas clear of trees and shrubbery, you can discourage squirrels and allows birds to watch for predators while feeding.


About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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