One of the best ways to enjoy wildlife in the comfort of your home is to watch birds at a feeder. You’ll be amazed at the variety of birds that will come to your feeder throughout the year. Experts disagree about whether backyard bird feeding will significantly help bird populations. But feeding certainly can help individual birds in your neighbourhood. The general rule for the feeding of any wild animal is: do not feed when it might cause harm. With birds, there are few situations in which we can imagine harm being caused, so we say, go ahead! These answers to common questions will help you get started on the ideal bird food.
There are many different bird food that you can get from the website via Petsmart Coupons where you can get deals on bird food and different kitchen scrap food items are also mentioned below that can appeal to backyard birds:
Stale or dry bread, bread crusts, donuts, cakes, cookies and crackers are all appealing options of bird food in your backyard. Break the products up into small pieces and soak very stale pieces in water before offering them to the birds. Uncooked pastry dough is also suitable. Whole grains and less processed baked goods are preferable.
Stale, hard bits of cheese will readily be eaten by birds. Mild flavours such as American or mild cheddar are most suitable, but soft cheeses such as cream cheese are not. No mouldy or rancid cheese should be offered to birds at any time.
Leftover cooked plain rice is a great source of carbohydrates, especially for granivorous birds. The scraps should be soft and chopped into small enough pieces to be carried by the birds. Avoid offering leftover pasta with heavy sauces, strong spices or thick cheeses.
Birds eat a lot of seed and plant material, and scrap vegetables can be a welcome feeder treat. Frozen peas or corn (thawed first), leftover baked potatoes or bits of canned vegetables, even from canned soups, can all be offered to backyard birds.
Insects are a popular source of protein for many birds. Offering scrap meats such as bacon rinds, beef grease drippings, beef fat trimmings, meat bones or marrow bones can help birds get essential protein even if insects aren’t available. As with cheese, no rancid or rotten meat should ever be available to birds.
Both dry and wet food for cats and dogs is formulated to be healthy for pets, and it can be an equally healthy food source for birds. Dry food should be moistened or crushed before offered to the birds.
Windfall or bruised fruit from backyard trees is always appetizing to the birds. The fruit can be collected and chopped up to add to feeders, or it can be left on trees for the birds to find. Other fruits, such as old berries, raisins, grapes, bananas, oranges, grapefruits and the seeds of watermelons, honeydew melons, pumpkins and cantaloupes can also be offered to birds.
Stale or leftover cereal and oats, including rolled or quick oats, is a tasty bird food. For the best nutrition and most attractiveness, offer birds cereal with a lower sugar content and fewer artificial dyes.
While peanuts can easily be purchased raw as bird food, other nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are also tempting for birds. Offer finely crushed nuts or whole nuts for the birds to take, or use peanut butter to attract different birds. Coconut halves can also be used as small feeders in addition to being tasty treats themselves. Do not offer birds nuts with candy coatings or spice flavourings.
Eggs and Eggshells
While it may seem contrary at first, cooked eggs can be a popular feeder food that offers many essential nutrients for birds. Crushed eggshells are also an important source of calcium for nesting birds and grit to help birds’ digestion.
Fresh Water Is Essential
Keep water bowls full of clean water and make sure bowls and feeders are placed far away from bushes and other areas where predators might hide.
Black sunflower seeds
These are excellent year-round food, and in many areas are even more popular than peanuts. The oil content is higher in black than striped ones, and so they are much better. Sunflower hearts (the husked kernels) are a popular no-mess food.
Never Feed Milk
Never give milk to any bird. A bird’s gut is not designed to digest milk and it can result in serious stomach upsets or even death. Birds can, however, digest fermented dairy products such as cheese. Mild grated cheese can be a good way of attracting robins, wrens and dunnocks.
Give fresh coconut only, in the shell. Rinse out any residues of the sweet coconut water from the middle of the coconut before hanging it out to prevent the build-up of black mildew. Desiccated coconut should never be used as it may swell once inside a bird and cause death.
All types of bread are acceptable to birds, but ideally, it should only be just one component in a varied diet. Bread does not contain the necessary protein and fat birds need from their diet, and so it can act as an empty filler. Although bread isn’t harmful to birds, try not to offer it in large quantities, since its nutritional value is relatively low. A bird that is on a diet of predominantly, or only bread, can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.
With this there are some tips that can take care of to make the bird feeding more successful and healthier:
Quality, not quantity
Use a high-quality bird seed mix to ensure the birds get the most out of the food you put out. High-quality food tends to be a little more expensive, but generally has less “filler” than cheaper food, which tends to be bulked-up with cheap grains like wheat. Many birds simply scatter this filler on the ground as they search for more nutritious morsels in the mix. That makes a mess, under feeders, and potentially attracts unwanted pests like rats. It also means that a substantial proportion of your investment is being literally thrown away.
Don’t forget the water
Water is just as important as food for survival, and fresh water can be difficult to find in the depths of winter. Providing a convenient source of fresh water for drinking and bathing in your garden will help birds conserve valuable energy as they won’t need to go searching for it elsewhere. It also offers you an opportunity to observe a greater variety of interesting bird behaviour on your doorstep.
Clean your feeders regularly
Keeping your bird feeders and bird table clean is important. With so many birds visiting the same feeding stations day-in-day-out there’s a very real risk of spreading disease. By cleaning your feeders with warm soapy water on a regular basis you can minimise that risk and ensure your garden birds stay fit and healthy. Relocate your feeders periodically (once a month or so) to prevent the accumulation of bird droppings in one place.
Variety will ensure diversity
If you want to attract more species the best way is to offer more variety in the bird food that you offer. A high-quality seed mix and peanuts are the standard, and will suit many bird species, but by adding specialist foods like mealworms, fat balls and suet cakes to the mix — not to mention kitchen scraps and dried and fresh fruit — you will cater to a wider range of dietary requirements and attract a more diverse range of birds to your garden feeding station. Just steer clear of kitchen scraps that have a high salt content, which can be harmful to your feathered friends.
Once you start feeding, don’t stop
It may take a while for birds to discover a new source of food when you first start putting it out, but once they do they’ll keep coming back, and before long will come to rely on that food source. So once you start feeding the birds, keep it up throughout the winter until their natural food sources become more plentiful again in spring. And remember, it won’t do any harm to keep feeding birds throughout the year if you’d like to keep encouraging them to visit your garden.
Place your feeders where you can see them
While you’ll want to situate your bird feeders/bird table in the open, where birds have an unobstructed view to detect approaching predators, you also want to be able to see the comings and goings of the various species conveniently, and without having to resort to binoculars to see what’s going on. It’s amazing how many people think they have to hide their feeders away in a remote corner of the garden. Birds will happily visit feeders and bird tables near the house, and placing feeders near a convenient window can give you a great view without disturbing the birds. Why not choose a location like a kitchen window, where you can watch the birds while you get on with other household jobs.
A place that offers food, shelter, water, a refuge from toxic sprays, and safety from mowers—it’s what every creature wants, right? They want a Humane Backyard. By making simple changes, you can create that haven of comfort and security for local wildlife. And you can do it anywhere: in the city, suburbs, or country. Once you’ve learned how to use the tips that we have shared above to keep your backyard filled with the melodious chirping of birds.