Most locations in the U.S. see a variety of birds in summer and others in winter. Some more adaptable birds live in the same climate all year round. But winters tend to see more feeder invaders like squirrels, rats, raccoons, and even larger birds, so you want to make sure to get feeders that are protected in some way from food thieves.
Here are 5 very special bird-specific feeders that, with the right foods, will attract your avian neighbors and keep the predators away, as long as place them in inaccessible locations.
This delightful feeder is sure to attract every finch and finch-size bird for miles around. Here you see a crowd of American goldfinches, but expect lesser goldfinches, house finches, pine siskens, sparrows, and other small sociable birds.
The three seed tubes are plastic and contain feeding holes for 24 birds right next to 24 copper perches. The top and bottom of the seed tubes are reinforced with copper stoppers. Perches are too small for larger birds and the feed holes are not adept at pulling food out of small holes.
Nyjer is a wonderful winter seed for birds, as it contains a relatively high fat content. Finches and other small birds love the stuff. Nyjer, originally named for Nigeria, where it was most commonly grown, comes from an African yellow daisy. Grown in several African countries and southeast Asia, Nyjer is a trademark of the Wild Bird Feeding Industry. Although sometimes it is referred to as thistle, the two foods are quite different.
Nyjer is not only a great source of fat, but of protein, and it is claimed that it assists birds, large and small, in regrowing their feathers after molting (source). Note that because of its high oil content, it is not advisable to place Nyjer feeder above cement or wood as it drips oil and can be slippery and can change the color of your patio floors.
Before you move to the next bird feeder, enjoy these beautiful finches enjoying their Nyjer. Of course, you can fill the Three-Tube Nyjer Copper Feeder with other small seeds too!
Isn't this a gorgeous photo? This Wreath Peanut Feeder is a must-have and a must-give holiday present for anyone with jays, towhees, cardinals, and woodpeckers in their hoods. Smaller birds might come and peck at the peanuts too. Crows might find this 12-inch diameter feeder too small for them to perch. Try to hang this wreath from a porch or patio where squirrels are unlikely to get at it. The Wreath Peanut Feeder comes in blue, purple, and spring green. It is made of weather-proof metal.
Orioles have a sweet tooth, or rather a sweet tongue. They especially love oranges and sweet fruit jelly. They've been known to like the sweetness found in a hummingbird feeder too, which really irritates hummingbirds, as the oriole easily ignores their territorial behaviors. Oriole prefer cover, so this bright Oriole Fruit & Jelly Gazebo Feeder is perfect for them and, not coincidentally, bright orange is not seen by most predators, so this Gazebo Feeder blends right into the Oriole. If you don't have an orange on hand, you can feed orioles apples, peaches, berries and bananas.
Mealworms are not exactly worms; they are the larva from a mealworm beetle. But the mealworms you see in the feeder above are dried. I feed dried mealworms to my backyard phoebes, but many birds will eat them - mostly insect eaters. Chickadees and warblers, robins, jays, tits, and wrens are among the many birds which will eat dried mealworms.
Mealworms are very high in protein, important for harsh winter survival. Expert birders say that natural mealworms are healthier than dried mealworms; you can purchase natural and dried mealworms at Duncraft here, or you can try the mealworm suet, mixed with roasted peanuts, corn, and oats! Only the dried mealworm is suitable for the Snack 'N Treats Mealworm Tube Feeder.
If you are looking for a well-made, decorative, all-purpose bird feeder, the Dogwood Bird Feeder is it. This hanging feeder accommodates your little visitors as well as larger birds who can sit on or hang from the ledge (welcome woodpeckers) or perch from the side rungs. Just keep it full of their favorite seeds and nuts.
The Dogwood is made from rust-free recycled aluminum and finished with a weather-resistant bronze polish.
As mentioned previously, birds need extra fat (oils) and proteins in winter. Here are some super-foods that are easy to find
- Nyjer, as we wrote above, is high in fat and protein. Also don't forget the mealworms!
- Black oil sunflower seeds are eaten by most birds, even the little guys, as they are very easy to crack.
- Suet, essentially animal fat, is another delightful feeder food for many birds. You can add shelled nuts and fruits to it for a special treat.
- Peanut butter! Yes, peanut butter is a wonderful winter food for birds, but it will attract unwanted visitors, so make sure to mix it with corn meal or oat meal and put it in a suet feeder to protect it.
- Cracked corn is a favorite of several medium and larger bird. Cracked corn is dried and cracked into small pieces so it is easy for birds to eat. You can mix this with Nyjer and sunflower seeds.
- Fresh fruit like apples, pears, and berries are great additions to your feed, but you will need to freshen it almost daily if not eaten.
- Dried fruit - raisins, apples, apricots, pears - are excellent feed as well, but you will need to keep them fresh. If they are hard, soften them in warm water and drain before feeding. A fruit and nut assortment, chopped up, is a flavorful meal for your bird buddies and it will attract almost any bird to your feeders.
The best way to attract backyard birds is to have many feeders available with different kinds of foods. Keep the ground beneath them free of snow, so they can eat the seeds that fall from the feeders.
Also, make sure they get plenty of water!
That's the buzz for today!