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Birdfeeding Tips

Bird feeding can be enjoyable, entertaining and educational hobby that will last all year long. Depending on the types of seed you buy and the species of birds living in your area, bird feeding can be an extremely rewarding endeavor.

If you want to establish a new birdfeeder, place it in an area that bird can find it easily. Birds can find your new feeder by sight. When one bird finds your feeder, other birds will come around as well. A new birdfeeder can be frightening to birds so it may take a few weeks for birds to gain the confidence to check it out. When your bird feeder becomes active with birds, let it sit for a few weeks to gauge how often you will need to refill it.

If you are having problems with bird feed spilling, consider using a different type of feeder. Try different mixes of larger seeds or put something beneath your feeder in order to make cleaning up a little easier. Cleaning up after your birds will help to reduce the number of ground feeders in the area. Theses little pests, such as squirrels, chipmunks, and other predatory animals can attack ground feeding birds and thus scare away your birds.

Location of your bird feeders is key. On one hand, placing your feeder in an open area can help minimize intrusions by squirrels. However, feeders placed in open areas tend to make your visiting friends vulnerable to attacks by flying predators. Keep in mind theses dangers when you are trying to locate a place to put up your feeders.

You should make sure you refill your feeder regularly so that birds keep coming around. During the winter it is especially important that you continue regular feeding. Birds tend to have few natural food sources during the winter months, so they will rely on you for subsistence during that time. If you plan to stop bird feeding, try to wait until spring time to stop feeding since natural food will be more available to them.

Birds also need a ready source of water. This is especially true during the summer months. You can provide a birdbath or another source of water for them. Birds do not take baths during the winter since and can normally find enough moisture from snowfall on the ground or in trees.

Your feathered friends digest their food with a special organ called a gizzard. Birds tend to look for pebbles or other types of grit to help their digestion work properly. You can offer grit along with your bird feeders in the winter so that your birds have an ample supply available. Do not mix the grit into the feed itself. Try placing it in a small dish near the feeding station.

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Selecting a Garden Birdfeeder

Adding a garden birdfeeder is a great way to attract birds into your yard. In suburban areas where birds’ natural habitat has been removed to make way for houses, finding food can be a challenge, but with a little foresight, you can help to provide some of their dietary needs while bringing the tranquility and natural feel to your yard that plenty of feeding birds can bring.

Even for people who live in cities, a birdfeeder can still bring bird visitors to your window or balcony.

During winter, foraging for food in a dwindling natural environment means many birds are venturing into suburbia seeking alternative food sources. This is where your garden bird feeder can help – especially in winter when food is scarce.

Different birds will be attracted to different types of food and even varying birdfeeder sizes. There are so many different bird feeders available that it’s often hard to know which one is the right one for your yard.

Birds like easy access to their food, so try to choose bird feeders with wide food dishes. This not only allows birds to get into their food quickly, but it also means several birds could be feeding at the same time.

Birds find their feeding sources by being attracted not only to the sight of food in plain view, but also by the sight of other birds eating, so be sure to mount your garden bird feeder in full view. You should try to elevate your bird feeder away from easy reach of cats and predators, but still be sure it’s reachable so you can clean it when necessary.

A tray birdfeeder can be hung from tree branches or from overhanging eaves of your home. These are easy to fill and easy for birds to access safely. Make sure to choose a bird feeder with a perch or a ledge so birds can grip as they eat.

The best part about a garden birdfeeder is that once you establish a larger birdfeeder, you’re free to set up several smaller bird feeders in different spots around your yard to attract smaller birds who don’t like to eat around much larger competition.

You might try a few different types of garden birdfeeders to appeal to several varieties of birds. A tray birdfeeder is great for some types of birds, but perhaps adding a tubular shaped wire-mesh feeder to appeal to smaller birds. These types of bird feeders are great for larger seeds or nuts.

If you prefer to offer your bird visitors finer birdseed, then a tube bird feeder is a great option. Hummingbirds are a great addition to any garden, but they won’t be enticed by regular bird feeders. If you don’t have the room to plant nectar producing plants that hummingbirds love, then you could put up a nectar feeder to bring them into your yard instead.

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6 Steps to turn yard into a Sanctuary For Bird

1.Put out the welcome mat!
Create a habitat with native plants to provide natural food, shelter from weather and predators, and nesting sites. Provide feeders, nest boxes and water. 

2.Prepare a proper menu. 
Offering the right foods year round will attract more birds to your yard and help ensure that they have a safe and nutritious diet. Refill feeders regularly. 

3.Keep feed and feeding areas clean. 
At least monthly, clean feeders with 10% bleach and warm water. Scrub birdbaths with a brush. Replace water every three to five days. Keep seed/ foods dry; discard musty, wet or moldy food. Clean hummer feeders every three to five days, more often when hot. 

4.Birds and chemicals don't mix.
Many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are toxic to birds; avoid using these near areas where birds feed, bathe or rest. 

5.Keep cats away from birds.
Scientists estimate that cats in the U.S. kill hundreds of millions of birds each year. Keep cats indoors. Place feeders in areas not readily accessible to strays. 

6.Reduce window collisions.
Collisions with glass windows kill millions of wild birds each year. Windows reflect sky or trees, and birds try to fly through them. Attach decals or decorations to the glass to reduce reflections.

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Will Birds Starve if I Stop Feeding?

We have often heard the comment “I don’t feed birds because I travel and I don’t want to make them dependent on my bird feeder.” Often we are asked about this at our booth at various birding festivals and trade shows. For the longest time I really didn’t have a good answer based on facts. Now I do. Margaret Brittingham at the University of Wisconsin’s Wildlife Ecology Department conducted a three year study, tracking 576 Black-capped Chickadees and found no difference in the rates of survival of feeder visitors to wild foragers. Her study indicates that feeder birds obtained only 20 to 25% of their daily energy requirements from feeder food. However, when temperatures dropped below 10 degrees Fahrenheit the chickadees increasingly turned to feeder seeds. The goal of Brittingham’s study was to learn whether birds become dependent on feeders and loose the ability to forage in the wild. Her study did not support that premise. The specific citation for this study is Journal of Field ornithology, 63(2):190-194: Does Winter Bird Feeding Promote Dependency, by Margaret C. Brittingham and Stanley A. Temple.

With this said, let’s get out there and put up the bird feeders. Birds are colorful and interesting. They provide a wonderful link for both children and adults with the natural world around us. Studies show that relaxing and enjoying the birds coming into a feeder reduces stress. These are good things for you and your family. The food does help the birds out so it is a win-win situation. And you will not make them dependent on your feeding in the process.

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Squirrel Proof ?

 There are some words I read from DUNCRAGT for the Squirrel Proof bird feeder: 

To be honest,with over 50 years in bird feeding,we have not yet found a feeder that offer 100% protection from squirrels,gray or red,eating form the feeder.99% yes,100% no.

Same words also appears in BIRD CARE STANDARDS ASSOCIATION:

"Squirrel resistant" is a difficult term to define and should be avoided unless explanied in detail ie "this feeder will resist destruction by squirrels teeth but will not stop a squirrel taking food" or similar. Under no circumstances can a feeder manufactured primarily of plastic,wood or a similar material be called "squirrel resistant" or "squirrel proof".

I also remember there was a story,which said I man who feed wild bird with a bird feeder,asked an expert who made bird feeders "do you have a bird feeder that can entirely resist squirrel?" The answer was "no, we take a little time to make the feeder and feed the bird, but squrriels search food with 90% of their whole life time."

Gabriel from bird-care.org
2012.05.23

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"LOOK, A BABY BIRD. NOW WHAT?

Baby Bird Care - Information from PROJECT WILDLIFE.

If the bird is uninjured and has some feathers, put it in the nearest tree. The parents have no sense of smell and will not know it's been touched. If it can't perch and has fallen out of the nest, put it up in the tree in a berry basket or a woven basket so water will drain out. Parents WILL feed it after people leave. 

If the bird runs around, is chick-like (covered with short, fuzzy down), it may be a baby quail or killdeer. These birds nest on the ground, and the parents' fly off when people come near. Leave the immediate area and watch to see if a parent will come back (you may have to wait up to an hour). 

The bird needs help and should be picked up if: the parents are dead; the bird is newly hatched and the nest and nest mates are out of reach; the bird fell from a palm tree; it has an injury; a cat or a child has brought it in from places unknown. 

If the bird is injured, or has no feathers, it is most important to get it warm. Use a heating pad on low or a light source (low wattage). Fractures need to be set within 48 hours or they heal incorrectly and get infected. 

Raising an orphaned songbird takes from four to eight weeks and a lot of daytime commitment. They need feeding about every 45 minutes from 6AM to 8PM for four to six weeks. No trips to the beach while you're a bird mother! When they become self-feeding (which may not be until six weeks old), they need to be exposed to their natural foods (grains, etc. for seed eaters, mealworms, fruit and berries for the insect and fruit eaters). After being completely self-feeding for one week, they need two weeks in an outdoor aviary to fly and compete with others. 

Hummingbirds, pigeons, doves, hawks, owls, killdeer and quail need special formulas or feeding techniques. Note: Hummingbird babies fed sugar water or "hummingbird nectar and hawks/owls fed hamburger, etc. for more than 24 hours may develop crippling deformities. 

TEMPORARY (24-48 HOURS) DIETS FOR BABY SONGBIRDS:

What to feed: Soaked dry cat food (Science Diet, Iams) or soaked dry dog food or hard-boiled egg mashed with water.

To prepare: Add two parts boiling water to one part dry food and soak for one hour. Drain excess water. Mash well with a fork, ricer or blender. Use canned foods as is, or add water if necessary. Consistency should be like thick applesauce.

How to feed: Use a coffee stirrer, straw or paintbrush to put a mouthful of moist food into the back of the bird's throat. Feed until the bird stops gaping (opening it's mouth).

If the bird won't gape (open the mouth wide): Tap the side of the beak, shake the "nest" gently.

Additional Tips for Wild Birds:

1.Warm the bird in your hands. 
2.Get some MEALWORMS and cut them into small pieces and place them down its throat. 
3.Normally sold at convenience stores, hardware and sporting good stores that sell fishing supplies. 
4.You can also use MOIST CAT FOOD as a substitute. 
5.Keep bird warm (85 degrees unfeathered) or (75 degrees feathered). 
6.Depending upon the age - 4 to 5 feedings a day. 
7.Use fish tank or plastic Tupperware container, put towel inside and place bird on towel. 
8.Cover container with screen or cover container ?to keep heat inside with another towel. 
9.Place heating pad under container for warmth. 


DO: Keep the bird CLEAN (no food on face or feathers), QUIET (no children or pets in sight of bird), CONTAINED (a box with screen or cover on top).

DON'T: NEVER GIVE LIQUID OF ANY KIND including milk (causes diarrhea) or any liquid (the entrance to the lungs is on the tongue and the bird may drown).


Good Luck!

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How to Help Wild Birds in Cold Winter Weather?

The extreme and cold winter weather can be detrimental for wild birds. With freezing temperatures, high winds, snow, ice, and decreased food, birds have a much harder time surviving than in the warmer months. As insect eating birds migrate south, you will see the devoted seed eaters filling themselves up to make the best attempt they can at living through to another spring. Here are ways you can help them.

1.1
WATER.
This is maybe the most important of all things for wildlife other than oxygen. When the temperature reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, shallow water freezes and wild birds may not be able to get water when they need it. This is where you can step in and be a real hero for them. Place a shallow dish outside that is only big enough to get a drink out of, not take a bath in. You will want to fill it with warm water as often as possible. Never hot water though, because the birds may come to it immediately. This is a great job for the whole family, after all, if all of the adults and children are keeping an eye on the water, there should nearly always be unfrozen water available.

2.2
FOOD.
Make available a variety of wild bird seed in different places. You may use small standard feeders for the smaller birds, larger feeders for the larger birds, and open flat feeders or sprinkling on the ground for the ground birds. At most pet, feed, and even some grocery stores, Wal-mart and outdoor stores, you will find something called suet. It comes in a variety of flavors, shapes, and mounts. Suet is high in fats and oils and will also help the birds hold calories in extreme winter weather. Another ideas is to coat pine cones in peanut butter, roll in bird seed, tie to strings, and hang around your yard.

3.3
SHELTER. 
In the spring plant conifers or "evergreens", or if you already have them, leave them. These include most pine trees, firs, spruces, and a few others. These will help block the wind and wet weather so the birds can rest and sleep dry. If you have the money and time, buying or building bird houses will also help. You can research dimensions that are appropriate for different birds. Please... when you see residence being taken on your porch, deck, wreath, window, or any other place, have a heart and leave it. You may even greatly enjoy your little house mates. Provide them with piles of short pet hair, hay and straw to make it warm and cozy.

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Keeping your garden birds happy and healthy

We all enjoy feeding the wild birds in our gardens, but it is important to follow a few simple hygiene procedures to ensure that your garden is a safe place for them.

Outbreaks of diseases such as Salmonella and E.coli are a constant threat and can quickly spread from infected birds to healthy birds sharing the same feeding areas.

These guidelines should ensure that your garden visitors remain both happy and healthy.

More...

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