Backyard Bird Habitat
Putting up feeders is a wonderful way to bring your local birds out of the bushes so you can learn about and enjoy them! Seeds attract finches, chickadees, nuthatches, and sparrows, for example. Suet will attract bushtits and woodpeckers. A hummingbird feeder will attract hummingbirds, of course!
If you would like to attract local birds to your backyard and keep them coming back, you will want to provide clean food, water, and shelter from predators.
BACKYARD BIRD HABITAT TIPS
Here are some important tips for inviting birds to safely enjoy your feeders and yard.
- Buy a feeder which can be easily cleaned (take apart and scrub twice a year at a minimum to get rid of mold, rinse well with warm water).
- Clean often underneath the feeder to discourage rats and squirrels. You can minimize seed sprouting below the feeder by laying pavers or growing a thick groundcover that will compete with weeds.
- Place a seed feeders in different areas. Place at least one in an area where there is tree or shrub cover for a bird to retreat to in case there are predators around (such as hawks).
- Place your feeder well away from windows where a retreating bird might strike glass. If there are cats in your yard, place the feeder in a place inaccessible to your feline friends.
- Buy a dome cover to protect the seed feeder from rain, which accelerates mold developing in your feeder.
BIRD FEEDER SELECTION
Here at Swansons, we carry a number of different types of feeders as well as the seed or suet to fill them.
We have tube feeders to hold seeds and seed mixes, some with protective cages around them that keep the squirrels and larger birds from taking over and emptying the tube before the smaller birds have a chance!
If you choose to hang a tube feeder in your yard, it is a good idea to cover it with a plastic rain guard to keep the seed from getting wet. The seed will mold quickly if it is not protected from the rain. We carry a number of different sizes and shapes of these plastic rain guards.
We also have hopper feeders, usually made from wood, that have a chamber that holds the seed or seed mix and a lid that lifts from one side or both for easy filling. These feeders keep the seed dry because it is covered.
You can use thistle socks for holding niger seed (a very small seed that attracts finches especially).
Open hanging box screen feeders can offer nuts, corn kernels, fruit, and other delectable treats to your feathered friends.
Suet is a high energy formulation of animal fat and other ingredients that attract insect-eating birds. It is a quick source of heat and energy for birds. It is usually contained in a suet cage and hung alongside seed feeders. We have a variety of suet cages.
Swansons carries a variety of colorful hummingbird feeders.
Which birds do you want to attract? Pick their favorite seed and you will have better luck! Swansons carries the following varieties of Cole’s Wild Bird Seed:
- Cole’s Blue Ribbon Blend for attracting the widest variety of birds to your feeders. There is some millet in this mix that groundfeeding birds like dark-eyed juncos, crows, pigeons, and doves enjoy.
- Cole’s Special Feeder Blend, which will attract woodpeckers, finches, and other songbirds like wrens.
- Cole’s Nutberry Suet Blend, which contains both fruit and nuts. Bluebirds, warblers, robins, woodpeckers, and others love this.
- Cole’s Finch Friends and Cole’s Niger Seed for the finches and goldfinches in your yard.
- Cole’s Blazing Hot Blend, which is especially attractive to songbirds (like finches, sparrows, and wrens).
Be sure to provide water for your visitors. This can be done by using a bird bath or any container that can be placed in a protected place in your yard. Be sure to clean it out and fill it with fresh water frequently.
Shelters, such as bird houses and next boxes are helpful in attracting birds and keeping them safe. Swansons carries many different bird houses, some locally handmade. A wide variety of vegetation is also key to attracting birds to the garden. Snags (dead trees) can be left in the garden, as long as they don’t pose a safety risk, and their cavities make an attractive shelter.
See more bird resources on our Community Partners page.