Winter and spring are the most important times of the year to feed the birds – when wild food may be covered with snow and when the nesting season begins. Most birds are territorial and develop a routine of where to eat. So, if you want to make sure your yard is included in their circuit, you should start offering bird seed in the fall. But be patient. It can take several days for a new feeder to be discovered.
Bloomingfoods now carries a full line of bird seed, feeders, and other accessories in the Garden Center at the East Store. We have top quality, personally-tested products at very reasonable prices. If you’re unsure of what to try, talk to Chris at the Garden Center. He’s always eager to chat with other bird enthusiasts!
You can choose the kinds of birds you attract by selecting certain seed mixtures and styles of feeder. Black oil sunflower is favored by many birds. [I don’t recommend striped sunflower – it results in more waste because the shells are too large for most birds.] Supreme Mix has something for nearly everyone, plus the safflower it contains discourages squirrels. Singin’-Good, our low-priced mix, includes cracked corn and milo, which attract mourning doves and starlings. Woodpeckers love feed-grade roasted peanuts. For less mess under the feeder, try our Waste Free Mix or the ultimate: Sunflower Chips. Goldfinches adore this in a tube feeder. They also thrive on Nyjer (thistle) seed. By the way, goldfinches are plentiful this time of year. Though they have replaced their yellow feathers with drab, tan ones, you can still recognize them by their black and white wings.
Although tube feeders are a good choice for attracting small birds, larger birds such as cardinals require somewhere more substantial to perch, such as the platform of a hopper feeder.
Place your feeders where you can watch the activity but near shrubs or trees where the birds can find safe haven or await their turn. Many species will pick up one seed at a time then fly off to crack it against a branch.
At our home, we have both tube and hopper feeders just outside the living room window between a lilac and a cedar for refuge. Finches cling to dangling Virginia creeper, awaiting a turn at the feeders. Bloomingfoods decals on the window prevent strike accidents.
Watching birds can be much more relaxing and entertaining than TV. Maybe more exciting too, like when a new species shows up and we make a dash for the binoculars and the field guide. We’ve had unexpected visits from grosbeaks and indigo buntings, for instance.
For a complete bird-friendly habitat, provide a source of water, such as a shallow-lipped birdbath. A de-icer will keep it from freezing. Birds need to bathe most especially in winter to keep their feathers in good order.
It’s a good idea to store your bird seed in a bug- and varmint-proof 20 gallon galvanized metal can with a secure lid. If you keep this outdoors, you won’t have to open the garage door just to refill the feeders.
The more birds you attract this fall and retain over the harsh winter and the fecund spring, the more will be there to help control bugs in your garden next summer.
So, on your next shopping trip, why not stop by the Garden Center and check out our new line of bird seed and our ever-increasing selection of bird-feeding accessories.
Chris Bobbitt, Bloomingfoods Garden Center
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