For the Birds
For the Birds - Your Guide to Attracting Birds in Your Backyard
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Give Your Winged Neighbors a Treat with Wild Bird Food

Wild bird feeding has emerged as a popular hobby among a large section of Americans. Today bird feeding is no longer a mere pastime that involves thrown away scraps of food. Modern bird feeding has acquired a scientific approach, based on researches and observations relating to the types of foods and feeders that wild birds are attracted to. In the market you will find several varieties of wild bird food, which contain a selection of seeds, nectar, suet and flower plants.

Like the variations in shapes, colors and sizes, food preference and behavioral types also vary with different species of birds. Before offering particular feeds to the birds, you have to know the kinds of birds that are inhabitants of your area and accordingly select the types of feeds.

As a general rule, black oil sunflower seeds go down well with most bird species, though suburban and gregarious types of birds such as sparrows or brown-headed cowbirds show a preference for cereal grains like white millet. Interestingly, they do not like food grains widely consumed by human beings like wheat, rice, corn, and oats. Flax, canary, and rapeseed are also rather unpopular among birds.

For small species like chickadees or finches, thistle seeds make an ideal choice.

You can attract the hummingbirds with sugar water or nectar placed in a tube bird feeder.

If you want to keep away such birds as house sparrows, brown-headed cowbirds, blue jays, or grackles you can keep safflower seeds in your bird feeder, which are flatly rejected by these birds, but would attract cardinals and mourning doves. However, if you want to attract starlings, raise the proportion of peanuts in your bird feed mixes.

On the other hand, for those birds that do not like to eat off the ground, like woodpeckers and nuthatches, suet is the perfect choice. If you want to attract insectivores, either grow plants where insects make their homes, or put out special food mixes sold for insectivores like robins.

If you are a bird feeding enthusiast, always maintain hygiene and cleanliness of the feeding station. Use gloves during these cleaning sessions to prevent contacting viruses that originate from bird droppings. Never feed wild birds from net bags because these are potentially fatal to these small creatures. Also refrain from mixing whole peanuts or hardened dried fruits in your birdfeed during the breeding season.

You can buy the wild bird food from seed dealers, pet corners in supermarkets, livestock stores, or from Internet wholesale dealers. Offering selective foods will help you to attract particular birds to your garden, while unattractive food will help you to keep away undesired species.

For more on bird food or related topics, choose from one of the following:

Bird Feeders | Bird Seed