AUBURN, Ala.— More than 62 million Americans enjoy feeding birds and attracting them to their homes. Alabama has a diverse gathering of different species of birds, making bird feeding in the state a popular activity. In addition to the birds that call Alabama home, many migrants birds flock to the area to spend their winter. Bird feeders provide many hours of watching pleasure for backyard birders.
Dr. Jim Armstrong, an Alabama Extension wildlife specialist, said that bird feeding is something that can be enjoyed all year.
“Bird feeding is generally believed to be a winter activity, but it really can be a year-round hobby,” Armstrong said. “Fewer birds will use feeders in summer, but those species that do will reward their human hosts by bringing new offspring to the feeders, too.”
Armstrong offers the following tips for feeding birds in your home landscape to enhance your wild bird feeding experience.
- Always place your bird feeders in places where you can readily and frequently see the birds you are feeding
- Start with the basics. Black-oil sunflower seeds in a tubular feeder is an effective combination for attracting large numbers of birds to your yard.
- Attract more species by adding additional types of feeders and seed. Try Nyjer® in a tube feeder, and mixtures of black-oil sunflower, hulled sunflower and whole peanuts in hopper and platform feeders.
- Don’t forget about alternative foods and water. Suet, fruits, mealworms, nectar and water may attract species of birds not found at traditional offerings.
- The bird species in your yard change with seasons of the year – The birds visiting feeders in summer may be different from those in winter. Provide the feeders and food best suited to your seasonal suite of birds.
- Make your yard bird-friendly. Provide birds with habitat, food, water, and nest boxes so birds will use your yard year-round. Bird feeders near larger trees and shrubs often have more bird visits.
- Keep the birds safe. Reduce window collisions, keep birds safe from outdoor cats, and clean your feeders. Move feeders to within 3 feet of windows, remove hiding places of cats, and keep feeders free of debris and filled only with seeds birds will eat.
- Use binoculars and a backyard bird guide to learn more about your birds. Learning more about birds by using the tools of the birdwatcher provides you with a greater appreciation for your feat species you can’t see in your yard.
Alabama Extension has a publication co-written by Dr. Armstrong on bird feeding. It covers information on when to feed birds, types of feed, bird feeder pests and much more. For a free download of this publication, click here or visit Alabama Extension online. For further information, contact your county Extension office.
Photo in story: Shutterstock.com 448760431-bird feeding at feeder