Our local skies house everything from flycatchers to summer tanagers. So how can you invite them to your garden?
Feed them, of course. Late winter to early spring is a crucial time for putting out birdfeeders, as natural food sources may be depleted. Let’s fly through some need-to-knows to keep you popular with the local birds.
🪶 Feeder types
There are three basic types of feeders: seed, suet, and nectar.
- Seed feeders are the most versatile. Black-oil sunflower seeds appeal to the greatest number of birds, according to the Audubon Guide to Bird Feeding. They’ve also got homemade recipes that everyone will be chirping about.
- Suet (or beef fat) is a high-energy treat for bug eaters, and you can make a DIY feeder from an onion bag. Be warned: warmer weather turns suet cakes rancid, so take them down when temps start rising.
- Nectar feeders give hummingbirds and orioles a sweet treat. Opt for a low-capacity feeder to make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.
🪶 The perfect setup
You want to give songbirds an easy meal — not squirrels, cats, or birds of prey — so set up the perfect perch.
The magic numbers for a feeder pole are 30 feet from any windows and 10 feet from cover, particularly native plant cover. In fact, you can even spruce up your garden with bird-friendly plants.
Monitoring your feeders is key to keeping the local ecosystem healthy. Clean seed feeders every two weeks, and keep an eye out after rain.