If you love watching and listening to birds in your backyard, you should provide them with food, water, and shelter. You can attract various birds to your garden, such as cardinals, hummingbirds, finches, and more. However, not all birds have the same preferences and needs. Choose suitable feeders, birdbaths, and seeds for the birds you want to see. This article will help you find your garden’s best feeders, birdbaths, and bird seeds.
Feeders for birds:
Feeders are devices that hold and dispense seeds, nuts, fruits, or other foods for birds. Many types of feeders are available, each designed for different kinds of birds and foods.
Here are some of the most common types of feeders and their benefits:
These are the most popular and can attract many birds. Seed feeders come in two varieties: hopper and port. Hopper feeders have a large container that holds the seeds and a tray where the birds can perch and eat. Port feeders have a tube that contains the seeds and several openings where the birds can access the sources. Both seed feeders can be filled with a mix of grains, such as sunflower, millet, safflower, or peanuts.
These are specially designed for peanuts rich in protein and fat. Peanut feeders have a wire mesh that allows the birds to peck at the nuts without taking them away. Peanut feeders can attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, and jays.
Niger seed feeders:
These are made for niger seeds (also known as thistle seeds or nyger seeds), which are tiny but highly nutritious. Niger seed feeders have small holes that prevent larger birds from eating the seeds. Niger seed feeders can attract finches, siskins, redpolls, and goldfinches.
These are designed to prevent squirrels from stealing or damaging bird food. Squirrel-proof feeders have various mechanisms that deter squirrels, such as weight-activated shrouds, spinning perches, or cages.
These are made for fat or suet blocks, solid animal fat mixed with seeds or nuts. Fat/suet feeders provide a high-energy food source for birds during cold weather. Fat/suet feeders can attract woodpeckers, warblers, wrens, starlings, and robins.
These are attached to windows with suction cups or hooks. Window feeders allow you to watch the birds up close from inside your home. Window feeders can attract sparrows, finches, chickadees, titmice, and cardinals.
These are placed on the ground or a low platform. Ground feeders offer easy access for ground-feeding birds that may not visit other types of feeders. Ground feeders can attract doves, quails, thrushes, blackbirds, and juncos.
When choosing a feeder for your garden, you should consider the following factors:
- The size and shape of the feeder: The feeder should be large enough to hold enough food for the number of birds you expect to visit. It should also be easy to fill and clean. The feeder’s shape should match the birds’ feeding habits that you want to attract. For example, some birds prefer to perch on a tray or a tube, while others prefer to cling on a mesh or a wire.
- The location of the feeder: The feeder should be placed in a spot that is visible and accessible for the birds but also safe from predators such as cats or hawks. It should also avoid solid winds or direct sunlight that could spoil the food or harm the birds.
- The type of food you want to offer: The feeder should be compatible with the food you want for the birds. For example, some feeders are suitable for seeds, while others are suitable for nuts or fruits.
- The type of birds you want to attract: The feeder should appeal to the birds you want to see in your garden. For example, some feeders are designed for small birds, while others are designed for large birds.
Birdbaths for birds:
Many types of birdbaths are available, each with different features and benefits.
Here are some of the most common types of birdbaths and their advantages:
- Pedestal birdbaths: These are the most traditional type of birdbaths and consist of a basin mounted on a stand. Pedestal birdbaths are easy to install and move around. They can also add a decorative element to your garden. Pedestal birdbaths can attract birds like robins, sparrows, finches, and cardinals.
- Hanging birdbaths: These are suspended from a branch or a hook by a chain or a rope. Hanging birdbaths are ideal for small spaces or balconies. They can also prevent ground predators from reaching the birds. Hanging birdbaths can attract small, agile birds, such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and hummingbirds.
- Deck-mounted birdbaths: These are attached to a railing or a post by a clamp or a bracket. Deck-mounted birdbaths are convenient and easy to maintain. They can also offer a close view of the birds from your deck or patio. Deck-mounted birdbaths can attract medium-sized and perching birds, such as finches, jays, woodpeckers, and cardinals.
- Ground-level birdbaths: These are placed directly on the ground or a low platform. Ground-level birdbaths mimic natural water sources such as puddles or streams. They can also blend in with your garden landscape. Ground-level birdbaths attract ground-feeding and shy birds, such as doves, quails, thrushes, and wrens.
- Solar-powered birdbaths: These are powered by solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Solar-powered birdbaths have various features that enhance the water quality and appearance, such as pumps, fountains, misters, or heaters. Solar-powered birdbaths can attract more birds by creating movement, sound, or warmth in the water.
When choosing a birdbath for your garden, you should consider the following factors:
- The size and depth of the basin: The basin should be large enough to accommodate the number and size of birds you expect to visit. It should also be shallow enough for the birds to stand and splash in the water. The ideal depth is between 1 and 3 inches.
- The material and design of the basin: The material should be durable and easy to clean. It should also be non-toxic and non-slippery for the birds. The design should be simple and smooth, without sharp edges or decorations that could hurt the birds.
- The location of the birdbath: The birdbath should be placed in a spot that is visible and accessible for the birds but also safe from predators such as cats or hawks. It should also avoid solid winds or direct sunlight that could evaporate or overheat the water.
- The maintenance of the birdbath: The birdbath should be cleaned and refilled regularly to prevent algae growth, dirt accumulation, or mosquito breeding. It should also be drained and stored during freezing weather to avoid cracking or damage.
Seeds for birds:
Here are some of the most popular types of seeds and their advantages:
- Sunflower seeds are the most popular type of seeds among people and birds. Sunflower seeds are rich in oil and protein and can attract many birds, such as cardinals, finches, sparrows, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and jays. Sunflower seeds come in two varieties: black oil and striped. Black-oil sunflower seeds have thinner shells and higher oil content than striped ones. They are easier to crack open and more nutritious for birds.
- Millet seeds are tiny round seeds in various colours, such as white, red, or yellow. Millet seeds are high in carbohydrates and fibre and attract ground-feeding and small birds, such as doves, quails, sparrows, juncos, and finches. Millet seeds are often mixed with other seeds in birdseed blends.
- Nyjer seeds: These are tiny black seeds that are also known as thistle seeds or niger seeds. Nyjer seeds are high in oil and protein and can attract finches, siskins, redpolls, and goldfinches. Nyjer seeds require unique feeders with tiny holes to prevent spillage and waste.
- Safflower seeds: These are white cone-shaped seeds that are high in oil and protein. Safflower seeds can attract cardinals, grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. Safflower seeds have a bitter taste that deters squirrels and some unwanted birds, such as starlings and grackles.
- Peanuts are not technically seeds but legumes high in fat and protein. Peanuts can attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, jays, and bluebirds. Peanuts can be offered whole or shelled, raw or roasted, in feeders or on the ground.
- Cracked corn: This corn has been dried and broken into smaller pieces. Cracked corn is high in carbohydrates and can attract ground-feeding and large birds, such as doves, quails, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, geese, and crows. Cracked corn can also attract rodents and other pests if not cleaned up regularly.
When choosing seeds for your garden, you should consider the following factors:
- The quality and freshness of the seeds: The seeds should be clean and free of dust, mould, insects, or debris. They should also be stored in a cool and dry place to prevent spoilage or rancidity.
- The preference and diversity of the birds: The seeds should match the taste and dietary needs of the birds you want to attract. You can also offer a variety of sources to attract a diversity of birds to your garden.
- The availability and cost of the seeds: The seeds should be readily available at your local store or online. They should also be affordable and within your budget.