Attracting Wild Birds to Your Yard

March 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Birding Tips

Isn’t it fun to watch all the chirping little feathered friends at your neighbor’s birdfeeder? They’re so adorable! And there’s all different species there, too. But when you look at your own yard… well, let’s just say it’s a different scene. There are no singing little friends, only a lone squirrel. How can you attract birds to your yard? This article can help you out.

First, you need a squirrel-resistant birdfeeder. If you have a tree to hang a feeder from, get a birdfeeder with mesh around it that lets birds in and keeps squirrels out. If you do not have a tree in your yard, you can buy a birdfeeder on a pole and put some squirrel baffles on the pole. (Also, consider getting a tree or some shrubbery- it will help attract birds.) Put sunflower seed in the feeder- this is often the most popular food for small songbirds such as chickadees and titmice.

In fall and winter, get a suet cage and some high-energy suet. Suet is a popular wintertime food for birds; it is high in fat and will keep them going throughout the day. It also is attractive to birds such as woodpeckers, which you will not usually see at your birdfeeders, since they don’t eat seeds.

Some kinds of birds, like tanagers, orioles, and mockingbirds, prefer fruit to seeds and suet. Put out a dish of dried cherries; place a half-orange on a tree branch. Mockingbirds and catbirds are known to like grape jelly, so consider putting out a saucer of it if you would like these birds to come to your yard.

Bluebirds have beautiful plumage, accompanied by a wonderful song. They are very popular among bird enthusiasts. If you would like to attract them to your yard, put up a few special bluebird nesting boxes in your trees (assuming you have trees). Also, they like mealworms, whether alive, frozen or dried; you can obtain some at a bird specialty store. Put them in a dish near your other birdfeeders- don’t worry, the birds will find them. Some other species of birds, such as wrens and robins, also enjoy an occasional mealworm, so even though they can be a bit pricey they may be well worth it, since they will attract many avian buddies.

Bluejays are also rather beautiful birds. Their striking ice-blue and white plumage is sure to wow even someone who isn’t interested in birds. However, they can sometimes be bullies at birdfeeders, and they will chase away smaller birds. They also will mimic hawk cries in order to scare away ‘competitors’. If you would like to welcome bluejays to your yard, but you don’t want them hogging the birdseed, get another feeder and fill it with peanuts (unsalted). Although squirrels will also be attracted to this treat, it is one of the best ways to attract these beautiful blue corvids to your yard.

Consider investing in a birdbath, even a small one. Although it can be a pain to clean it out, it is sure to attract all different species, even birds that won’t eat anything you offer them. Birdbaths are an especially big hit with robins, although you can find almost any species frolicking about in the water.

Although it can be very expensive, consider adding some fruit trees and berry bushes to your yard. This is one of the very best ways to get birds to visit, and once you have purchased & planted the bushes/trees, they will supply you with free bird food! Berries and fruit are what birds tend to eat naturally, and species that are especially attracted to these foods are: Cedar waxwings, mockingbirds, orioles, bluejays, wrens, and cardinals, just to name a few.

There are many different ways to improve your yard & make it more interesting to your avian pals. Remember- whatever food you offer, make sure that it is not stale/has not gone bad, or birds will completely avoid it, or they will eat it and become ill.

Article submitted by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Attending a Local Bird Fair

November 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Have you previously attended a dog or cat show? Wasn’t it fun to view all of the animals for sale, especially the adorable babies? It was also interesting to see the wide variety of things for sale at the vendors. You may be surprised to know that events like this exist for bird lovers as well. They are generally known as bird fairs, exhibitions, shows, or expos. Often, owners or breeders will enter birds to be judged and, if they are lucky, win prizes, much like a canine or feline show. Breeders may also sell baby birds of all species, varying from pigeon squabs to little finches to parrot chicks. They will also sell adult birds at these events, or they will sell a breeding pair. It is unlikely that someone will be selling a breeding pair of macaws or cockatoos at a bird fair, however- generally, you will only find them selling breeding pairs of parrotlets, parakeets, cockatiels, doves, finches, or canaries. But one of the best parts of a bird fair is the vendors. Here, you can find anything your avian buddy could ever want, need, or dream of- giant stainless steel cages, the newest spill-free birdfeeder (although most parrot owners would firmly argue that such a thing does not, and will not, ever exist), freeze-dried treats, supplements, toys of all shapes, sizes, and colors, free-flight ‘harnesses’, even bird-themed items for people such as artwork or stuffed animals.

Remember, it probably is a very, very bad idea to bring your bird to a bird show. Generally, it is not even allowed, and you will have to go back home with your bird. If it isn’t prohibited, however, it still doesn’t mean you should do it. Your bird could get parasites or a disease from fellow birds at the fair. All of the screeching and tweeting, and all of the people milling around and talking, could frighten your bird. If your bird becomes frightened, you will probably have to head back home, because your bird could hurt itself trying to escape from a small travel cage. And if it isn’t trying to escape, it could upset other birds or their owners if it is loudly screaming or making other unsuitable vocalizations.

Another fun part of bird fairs are the raffles. Although bird fairs don’t always have raffles or auctions, it is fairly common and generally it isn’t a big surprise if your local bird fair has one. A wide variety of items can be raffled off- birdcages of all sizes, coupons for free avian vet checkups, bird toys, bird food and treats, and playstands. You may also see some bird-themed human items, like paintings, photos, t-shirts, and more.

Bird fairs are fun opportunities to socialize with fellow bird lovers, owners, and breeders, to buy your avian friend some interesting toys or treats –or perhaps a new cage, and, to possibly find a parrot or other bird that you would like to add to your feathered family. Look for bird fairs near you- they can be extremely fun events suitable for the whole family.

Article submitted by: Eliza Kuklinski