Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feed the Birds

Feed the Birds! In this time of ever increasing habitat destruction, we can help through habitat creation in our yards, gardens, parks and farms. Many of our smaller, native birds continue to be at risk from imports like starlings.

Since these native birds evolved within our local ecosystem, they fill a niche in the local food web. They are an important link to an ecosystem. Frequently, they need help to make it through the winter. You can help by setting up a feeding station.

Before you consider making a feeding station, remember:
1. birds will depend on your food supply
2. don't start if you think you will tire of the project
3. place feeders in places where cats can't get the birds
4. don't mix seed for larger bird species (set up feeders just for them)
5. keep squirrels out of bird feeders

My favorite small bird feeding station is a very unique feeder that uses a 2 liter bottle to hold the seeds and a small platform screws on the existing bottle threads. It is convenient to refill, and you can replace the bottle whenever you want. I purchased my feeders at my local Ace Hardware. I found this supplier, The Yankee Gardner, online.

Squirrels can't get to the seed because they are too heavy, and the feeding station tilts when they try to use it.

Since I feed small finches, wrens, chickadees and similar types of birds, I use two types of seeds: thistle(black) and safflower seeds. Most of the smaller species love these seeds. The largest birds that will eat these seeds are cardinals, but they don't travel in flocks. They are not a problem for they seem to co-exist with the smaller birds.

Some of my friends, family and colleagues create small bird habitats also. It would be wonderful to learn what they are doing.

If you love beauty, you will be rewarded by feeding the unique, small native birds in your region.

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