If you ever wondered how can you attract more birds to your garden, there’s a simple solution – make yourself a bird feeder! Not only you will have a beautiful time observing different species, but they will also keep your plants healthy from insects. Another important thing that bird feeders do, that it has a positive influence on populations. So, invite your feathered friends to your garden by getting a bird feeder, and you will have a view to enjoy throughout the year.
You can buy a bird feeder, but it’s very easy to make one. And you don’t even need fancy materials, you can make one from a plastic bottle, milk cartoon, etc. In this article, we will cover the most important things that you should know about the bird feeders. We will also take a look at the best bird feeders that you can make.
Important things to know about best bird feeders
A bird feeder on a terrace or garden is a wonderful experience for us, and help for birds in their daily struggle to get food. But it is important to pay attention to certain issues that prevent the feeder from various problems.
Although some places for a bird feeder are better than others, the truth is that sooner or later the birds will end up finding the food, wherever the feeder is. The important thing is to minimize the risks that a wrong location can pose for birds. For example, you should never place a bird feeder near a window, so the birds won’t crash into it. Also, if the area is accessible to cats, you should place the feeder in such a way, that it would be impossible for a cat to approach it without being seen. In other words, it should be in an open space.
2. Do birds need to be fed?
The ornithologists recommend placing bird feeders only in urban environments. That’s because in cities the distribution of food is already highly conditioned by human factors, for example, open trash bins or food remains on the terrace of a bar. Meanwhile, in non-urban environments, birds are still influenced by human activity, especially by agriculture. Also, birds in non-urban areas usually have natural food sources which are distributed seasonally and following the rhythms of nature. This means that the negative impact of feeders in urban areas is much smaller compared to the other types of environments.
3. Don’t skip the cleaning
A lot of birds will be visiting your feeder. And since so much of them will gather in such a small space, this triggers the possibility of infections and diseases transmitted between them. To reduce this risk, it’s very important to regularly clean the bird feeder. You should do this at least once every two weeks. This is important to remember before choosing the feeder since materials such as unvarnished wood are more difficult to clean properly. When cleaning a bird feeder, remove it from its place and scrub it with soap and water, then clean it with a special solution of bleach diluter in water. Lastly, rinse it with water and let it dry before putting food in it. Make sure you remove any parts of leftovers from the bird feeder, as well as clean the area under the feeder, as the remnants can attract unwanted visitors.
4. Use quality food for the best bird feeders
A bird feeder shouldn’t be a place to throw your old food. It should be a source of quality food that provides birds with needed nutrients. So, you should use specific food for birds, such as seeds or special mixes for wild birds. Another important thing is to remember that the nutritional needs of birds may vary throughout the year. A fat-rich food will be perfect during the winter, but harmful during the breeding period when birds must get protein-rich foods for the nestlings.
5. Steps to take when the spring approaches
During the autumn and winter, birds spend all their time looking for food. Most of them even change their social habits. They group together with different species to optimize the time spent on eating and observing the environment of predators. But as the spring approaches, the birds begin to show behaviors linked to reproduction. They start to search for a mate, a nesting place. This leads to a decreased tolerance of other specimens of the same sex. And this is when a bird feeder can interfere with the behavior of the birds. So, you should gradually reduce the supply of food when the spring approaches. You should stop putting food to the feeder at the beginning of March.
6. What foods should you put in a bird feeder during autumn-winter and spring-summer seasons?
As already mentioned, during the winter birds require energy food. So, putting various seeds such as sunflower, birdseed, peanuts, or butter balls, will provide the necessary nutrients. You can also put some ripe fruit such as apple or pear. This mix of quality foods will help the birds to survive the long and cold winter nights. Meanwhile, in spring, the excess fat in peanuts and butter balls start causing a problem. So the best bet would be to hold the feeding until the end of the breeding period in August or September. But if you choose to maintain feeding during spring and summer, you should use protein-rich foods. That would include worms or larvae, as well as sunflower seeds or pieces of ripe fruit.
7. The types of best bird feeders
You can find many bird feeders on the market. But it is important to remember that each design is good for some species, but not for others. Species such as sparrows, finches, or greenfinches, prefer to eat on the ground. That’s because it’s their natural way of finding food. Because of that, these birds like food simply poured on the lawn. If a tray feeder is large enough, they can enter it without a problem. For birds that look for food on tree branches, hanging feeders are the best option. By hanging it next to the trunk of the tree, you will help the birds to find it even more easily.
8. Know the birds that are frequent in the place where you plan to put the bird feeder
You won’t attract birds that are not already present in your area. So, it’s a good idea to spend some time to see what type of birds are common in the area. Some of them will be around continuously, while others will pass by occasionally while moving around and looking for food. And others will simply never visit your bird feeder. Find out what kind of species are present in your area by visiting your local ornithology website. Once you know which species are likely to visit your bird feeder, the next step is to choose the right design. If there’s a lot of species around your area, it’s a good idea to put more than one feeder, to cover the tastes of different birds.
9. Birds have other needs too
Your bird feeder will cover a part of the food needs of the birds. But our friends have other needs, and we can help them too! Another important need is water, especially in the warm season (but do not forget that they need water throughout the whole year!). Water supply for birds is not only important for drinking but for bathing, too. And as we need to clean bird feeders, we also need to clean the water fountains. You should renew the drinking water every day.
10. Have patience
You carefully chose the place of the feeder. Got the best option for the species that are common in your area. And you still don’t see any of our friends? Be patient! It’s normal if the birds don’t show up even for a couple of weeks. However, if this waiting period is longer, the problem may be that you have chosen a feeder that’s not suitable for the birds frequent in your area. Or you can try and change the location of your feeder. But don’t worry, sooner or later, the birds will find it. Especially when the times are tough, they spend every minute searching every corner for food.
Best bird feeders
Here are some of the best bird feeder ideas that we’ve gathered. We hope you enjoyed this article, and will now go and make yourself a nice feeder to attract some feathered friends to your garden.