When prepping a brand new feeder, there are a few simple steps to get your feeder ready for your feathered guests.
- Clean Your New Feeder
Wipe down your new feeder with a mix of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 9 parts hot water) or a commercially available cleaning solution designed for bird feeders. If you do not want to use bleach, a solution of unscented dish soap and water is also suitable. This will help remove any residue that might have gotten in or on the feeder after it was manufactured. Once your feeder is clean, rinse it thoroughly then allow it to dry completely before filling it with your chosen bird food.
- Carefully Choose Your Location
The type of feeder (bowl, tube, mesh etc.) you are putting up and the kinds of birds you hope to attract will dictate your feeder’s location.
- Feeders typically require frequent re-filling and cleaning so choose a location that you can easily check. The easier your feeder is to keep an eye on and get to, the more likely you are to maintain it properly.
- Beware of predators (a.k.a. cats) and bird food thieves (a.k.a. squirrels). Placing a bird feeder low to the ground where a cat can easily get to it is putting your feathered friends at risk and may affect the number of visitors you have. Also, squirrels can (and will) jump a long distance in an attempt to get at your seed so keep this in mind when choosing your location.
- Most songbirds like to have a tree nearby where they can perch when feeders are busy. In contrast, many larger birds are more comfortable feeding on the ground as seeds fall from the busy bird feeder activity above.
- Pick the Right Food for the Type of Bird You Hope to Attract
Know your bird types and their favorite foods. These are some of the most popular birds and their meals of choice.
– Bluebirds: Suet, mealworms, berries, chopped fruits, soaked raisins, currants, nutmeats, sunflower hearts, citrus
– Cardinals: Sunflower seeds and hearts, safflower, cracked corn, millet, fruit
– Finches: Nyjer, sunflower hearts, fruit, peanut kernels, suet
– Hummingbirds: Plant nectar, small insects, sugar solution
– Jays: Peanuts, sunflower seeds and hearts, suet, meat scraps, cracked corn, safflower, mealworms, citrus, grapes/raisins
– Juncos: Millet, sunflower, cracked corn, peanuts, nutmeats
– Kinglets: Suet, suet mixes
– Titmice: Peanut kernels, sunflower seeds and hearts, suet, peanut butter, mealworms
Once you have your feeder cleaned, placed, and filled, sit back and enjoy as your feathered friends delight in their new dining space!