Ten Tips for Feeding The Birds

Many people enjoy feeding the birds. Here are ten tips to make your bird feeding experience easy and enjoyable. You will find that this is a great hobby.

  1. While there are many different types of bird foods available, the simplest solution is often the best. In this case, the healthy all purpose food for feeding birds is black oil sunflower seeds. They are high in protein and fat, two nutrients that birds need.

    Bird Eating on Sunflower Plant

    Bird Eating on Sunflower Plant

  2. Seeds and grains that you should not buy are flax, golden millet, red millet, rapeseed, buckwheat, wheat, oats, and canary food. You should not buy these because they are a waste of money. This is because these are seed that are either unpopular with birds or only popular with the nuisance birds such as house sparrows.

    Mixture of White Millet, Golden Millet, Red Millet, Oat Chips, Canary Seed, Rape Seed, Nyjer Seed and Flax Seed

    Mixture of White Millet, Golden Millet, Red Millet, Oat Chips, Canary Seed, Rape Seed, Nyjer Seed and Flax Seed

  3. Ensure that you have a supply of food in the bird feeders beginning early in the morning, because birds start to eat at the crack of dawn.

    Hummingbird Eating at Dawn

    Hummingbird Eating at Dawn

  4. As the bird feeders are emptied during the day, make a point to fill up the feeders in the afternoon. This way, there is enough food so that the birds can eat before bedtime. They need the energy so that they stay warm at night.
  5. Here is a tip for tube feeders: fill it with just one kind of seed. The reason for that is that a tube feeder is supposed to mimic a plant that has seeds up and down its stalk. Since plants only produce one kind of seed, your tube feeder should also contain only one kind of seed.

    Tube Feeder

    Tube Feeder

  6. There is often confusion surrounding the seed called Nyjer (niger) seeds. They are sometimes referred to as “thistle” seeds, but they are not the same thing at all. True North American thistle is from the genus Cirsium. The most common plant in this genus is Canada thistle. Nyjer seeds, however, are from the imported plant known as Guizotia abyssinica. It is likely that the misunderstanding arises because goldfinches have the propensity to line their nests with fluffy Cirsium thistledown. Nevertheless, if a commercial seed mixture reports that it has thistle seeds, it is almost certainly Guizotia abyssinica and not Cirsium.

    Cirsium thistledown

    Cirsium thistledown

  7. As for the time of the year when you should feed birds, don’t wait until winter. Instead, start feeding birds in late summer. This gives the birds a chance to fatten up before they migrate. Some birds don’t migrate. These are the ones that you will continue to feed all through the winter.

    Hungry Birds at Bird Feeder

    Hungry Birds at Bird Feeder

  8. Don’t stop feeding the birds once the cold goes away. Rather, feed birds during winter and throughout the early spring. They need the extra energy because their nest building activities are highly stressful on their bodies.
  9. Be wary of platform feeders. While they are very effective, they may be too effective. They attract all sorts of animals besides the birds. You can end up spending a lot of money feeding squirrels, deer and racoons, who will deplete the food quickly. The picture below is not of a platform feeder, but if a racccon can get to this tube feeder, imagine what it will do on a platform feeder.

    Raccoon on Bird Feeder

    Raccoon on Bird Feeder

  10. Hopper feeders are a good alternative to platform feeders. They are designed such that they permit only a limited amount of food to be available at any particular time.
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Understanding Bird Behaviors

Some behaviors that birds exhibit are instinctual – this means that they know them from birth. Other behaviors of birds are learned from older birds. As an example, bird migration is an instinct. Yet, something you might assume to be instinctual is not always – singing. In fact many birds learn their songs from their parents and the other adult birds.

Migration

Many birds migrate each fall. They typically fly to warmer climates. These migrations are carried out by instinct. How birds actually find their way to the new location is unknown. Interestingly, some birds are known as “Neotropical migrants,” which means that in the summer, they migrate northward from the tropics to nest. Some birds do not fly all the way to the tropics. There are which which spend the summer in the northern parts of Canada fly and then fly south into the United States during the winter. Juncos, also known as snow-birds, are one the birds that flies only as far south as the U.S.

Migrating Birds

Migrating Birds

It is OK – good in fact – to feed the birds throughout the late summer and fall. Some people have the misconception that feeding hummingbirds in the autumn will keep them from migrating. This is a fallacy. In fact, in autumn, birds eat more than what is typical in order to fatten up before they fly south. The changing winds and the shortening of the available daylight are triggers to inform them when to start their migrations.

Birds at Bird Feeder

Birds at Bird Feeder

Another interesting myth that is often told about birds in winter is that swallows are able to survive the winter by burrowing in the mud. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, birds in the swallow family – purple martins and barn swallows, among them – fly to Brazil – about 10,000 miles round trip – to escape the winter.

Songs

It is true that some bird songs are instinctual, but many others are learned by baby birds by listening to the adult birds in the neighborhood. Why do you think that birds sing? You may have come across the phrase “songbird of happiness,” but happiness is not at all what motivates birds to sing. One of the main reasons that birds sing is to claim their territory, and chase other birds away. They also sing as part of courtship rituals.

Nesting

Nest building can be done by males, females, or both. In some species, male birds construct several nests as part of their courtship routine. They then invite the female bird to inspect the nests and choose the one she likes. In other species, male and female birds build their nest together. Males and females can stay together for one or more seasons. It is quite rare for birds to mate for life. Polygamy, which is when a male has multiple mates, is, in fact, quite common among birds. The practice of polyandry, which is where the female has multiple mates, is less prevalent, but it is a habit of some bird species.

Bird House with Nest Inside

Bird House with Nest Inside

As to which parent raises the fledglings and young birds, that varies by species as well. In some cases, both parents participate; sometimes it is just the female who cares for the young birds; sometimes it is just the male. Interestingly, in some bird species, relatives or even neighbors are recruited to help feed and rear the young.

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Completely new redesigned site!

Our site is now updated and redesigned from the ground up!  It has been crafted to meet the needs of our friends and visitors.

Immediately you will notice the variety of outdoor items now available from simplylovegardening.com.   Most of these items feature free shipping and a 30 day money back guarantee!

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Raised Bed Garden Ideas

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Raised Bed Garden Ideas by SimplyLoveGardening.com

My Raised Bed Gardens
The forsythia’s and the pear trees are in bloom here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.   We had a beautiful weekend in the 60 and 70 degree range and spent a lot of time working in the yard.   The flower beds are getting cleaned up and compost is being added.   We will add some dark mulch in a few weeks.   It’s time to start planning for the backyard raised gardens.
We have three raised gardens beds that are approximately 5 X 12 and have been very successful with them over the past few years.   One is dedicated to a raised vegetable garden, another raised garden is dedicated to  herbs, and the third is dedicated to blueberries.  Some of the advantages that I have found with raised bed gardening include:
–  Plants can be placed closer together, because there is no need to allow room to step between.
–  There is higher production in a smaller area.
–  Less water, compost and fertilizer are needed in a targeted controlled area.
–  Raised beds tend to drain well.
f1f24-raisedgarden
We have found that gardens for all seasons are more achievable using raised beds.   Farmer’s Almanac has great raised garden bed ideas athttp://www.almanac.com/content/garden-raised-beds-and-small-plots.
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Looking for the Right Fire Pit for our Backyard

One of the things that l look forward to this time of year is a fire in the fireplace on a cool night.  We have a gas fireplace in our home so there is no mess to building a fire.   We are thinking of installing a gas fire pit in our yard so we are looking at different kinds that are available.  Do you have any recommendations?  

 fire

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