Bird Tips

Bird Feeders


Specialty Feeders

If you are really interested in observing birds at a feeder for longer periods of time, you may want to put up a peanut feeder. This type of feeder will attract blue jays and woodpeckers especially, but nuthatches will spend many long hours at my peanut feeders as well.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders  Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders

Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders  Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders

Some peanut feeders have large holes for use with peanuts that are still in the shell. Others have smaller holes for use with shelled peanuts. I usually offer both in my yard. Yes, I am a bird fanatic, but I also know that the smaller birds like the nuthatches and chickadees prefer the shelled peanuts. If you are using peanuts still in the shell, you will have woodpeckers and blue jays that will stay on the feeder longer so you can observe them better.

If you want to attract hummingbirds, than a nectar feeder is a must. I recommend one with bee guards on them. If you have a feeder without the bee guards, then you run the risk of wasps climbing down into the nectar and dying and then the hummingbirds will not drink from it.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders  Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders

I have a feeder like the one pictured above on the far left. Even though it is not advertised as having bee guards on it, the metal flowers on each port prevent the wasps from getting into the nectar.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders  Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders

One of the great things about putting up a hummingbird nectar feeder is that the same birds will come to the feeder year after year, so it's important to keep it in the same place each year, or at least within a few feet of the original location.

It's also important to put up more than one feeder in your yard as they can be pretty territorial.

You don't need to buy nectar. It can be made easily from white granulated sugar and tap water. Some people have said that Hummingbirds don't like the smell or taste of soap residue either, so I generally clean my feeders with white distilled vinegar and use a little sand inside to help scrub the sides of the container.

When first starting out, you may want to make up small amounts at a time as it is only advisable to keep leftovers in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.

The ratio is simple for hummingbird nectar: 4 parts water to 1 part white granulated sugar.

Never add food coloring or anything other than tap water and white granulated sugar as it can be harmful to the birds.

To make up a cup of nectar, microwave 1 cup of water for about 2 minutes, just so it's warm enough to melt the sugar and then stir in 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar until it is completely dissolved. Allow the nectar to cool before filling the feeder. Clean the feeder at least once a week and refill nectar as needed.

You can read my other article on "How to Attract Hummingbirds" by clicking here.

Fruit and jelly feeders are also popular with orioles and robins as they don't eat birdseed. I really like the one pictured to the right as it is made from recycled milk jugs.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bird feedersEverything you ever wanted to know about bird feedersEverything you ever wanted to know about bird feeders

I usually leave out one platform feeder and one hopper feeder all year round along with at least one suet feeder. I collect bird feeders almost as much as I collect plants, so when I need to clean one, I put a new one out. If you are just starting out, I would recommend having a platform feeder and a suet feeder of some kind, and then you can add more if your budget or taste allows.

Don't forget to check out the next two articles on this topic: All about bird food and bird feeder placement & maintenance. Also check out some of our handmade feeders here.

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