Fall bird feeding bustles: Workshop scheduled for November 4The seasonal horde of red-winged blackbirds clamored in the trees around my house in mid-September, and set off for warmer climes. With the exit of these noisy birds comes the start of the fall bird feeding season, and the bird feeders out my kitchen window are bustling with activity.
By: By Robin Trott, Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press
The seasonal horde of red-winged blackbirds clamored in the trees around my house in mid-September, and set off for warmer climes. With the exit of these noisy birds comes the start of the fall bird feeding season, and the bird feeders out my kitchen window are bustling with activity. Our most frequent visitors include nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers and sparrows. If you would like to attract and feed birds this season, here are a few bird feeding tips.
Ground feeding birds like sparrows and juncos prefer millet. About 30 percent of your bird feed should be white millet or millet mixes scattered on the ground-feeding sites. Chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and jays prefer peanuts, suet and commercially prepared suet mixes. These foods provide the high energy required by these birds. Peanuts can be fed in quarter-inch mesh hardware cloth feeders, and suet can be suspended in wire mesh cages or mesh string bags.
A source of water near your feeders, especially if it’s moving, splashing or misting, will generate interest from birds.
Use dead branches and shrub and tree trimmings to build a brush pile about10 feet from your feeders. This pile provides safety and shelter for many types of migrating songbirds. Create your brush pile when you see the first fall migrants, such as white-throated sparrows, arriving at your feeders.
To avoid catastrophic collisions, place your feeders at least three feet away from windows. Make sure the kitties don’t have cover in which to hide and ambush our bird friends.
Include tube and shelf feeders in your bird feeding plan, and provide a variety of seed choices including black oil sunflower seeds, Niger thistle seed, safflower seed, wild bird seed mix, peanuts, suet and mealworms. Different types of birds prefer different seed and have a variety of eating styles. Make sure you place your feeding stations so they are easily viewed from your windows. Now sit back with your binoculars and your bird book, relax and enjoy.
For more detailed information about bird feeding, please attend our Winter Bird Feeding Workshop at the new Douglas County Public Works Building on Wednesday, November 4 at 7 p.m. This hour-long workshop, presented by Department of Natural Resources non-game wildlife expert and author Carrol Henderson, will detail methods of attracting and feeding winter birds. Mr. Henderson will be available before the workshop to sell and sign copies of his popular wildlife and bird feeding books. Please call (320) 762-3890 for more information.
Until next time, happy birding!