BIRD FEEDING BASICSAbout AudubonThe National Audubon Society saves birds and theirhabitats throughout the Americas using science,advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters,and partners have an unparalleled wingspan thatreaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire,and unite diverse communities in conservation action.Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world inwhich people and wildlife thrive.Visit Audubon online formore information and tips oncreating a bird-friendly yard.www.audubon.org225 Varick StreetNew York, NY 10014844.428.3826Written by Stephen W. Kress, PhD.Cover, clockwise from top left: MikeFernandez/Audubon; Paintbrush(Castilleja), Photo: vkbhat/iStock;Rufous Hummingbird. Photo: birdiegal/Adobe Stock; Mike Fernandez/Audubon;Baltimore Oriole. Photo: Steve Byland/Dreamstime; Columbine (Aquilegiacanadensis). Photo: Grafissimo/iStock.Inside, bottom left: Coral Bells (Heucherasanguinea). Photo: Tamara Kulikova/iStock. Inside, center: Ruby-throatedHummingbird and Bee Balm (Monarda).Photo: mtruchon/Adobe StockAudubon Guideto AttractingHummingbirdsand OriolesAt least 53 species ofNorth American birdsdrink nectar—the naturallyoccurring sweet liquidproduced by plants.Hummingbirds and oriolesare the main nectardrinkers, but mockingbirds,grosbeaks, tanagers, andseveral warblers also enjoysweet drinks from flowersand tree sap. You can bringthese nectar-loving birdsto your home with a feweasy steps. Once they startvisiting your garden, it’slikely some will stay theentire season and evenreturn the following year.N E C TA R L O V E R SSmall birds, big appetitesHummingbirds and other nectar eaters are some of themost intrepid migrants—they can travel thousands ofmiles each year. To accomplish these remarkable feats,they rely on the abundant supply of nectar usuallyfound within flowers that have co-evolved with nectareaters over thousands of years. Although hummingbirdsare the tiniest of vertebrates, they have the largest brainand greatest appetite of all birds their size. Hummingbirds must eat once every 10 to 15 minutes and visitbetween 1,000 and 2,000 flowers per day to sustaintheir supercharged metabolisms.Like other migrants, nectar-drinking birds are also vulnerable to extreme weather, disease, and predators. Inaddition, climate change and development are causinghabitat loss, and the birds are threatened by collisionswith windows and cell towers.Backyard gardens, large and small, provide sanctuaryfor resident and migrating nectar-eating birds. Sugarwater feeders provide nourishment, but they are mosthelpful as a supplement to the natural nectar obtainedfrom flowers. It’s best to create gardens that providereal flower nectar as part of a complete habitat thatoffers shelter, nesting places, and water.It may take weeks after you’ve set out flowers andfeeders before nectar-loving birds discover your newgarden. But if you’re lucky, they’ll show up much faster—sometimes within moments!
BIRD FEEDING BASICSCreating a hummingbirdand oriole-friendly yardCHOOSE PLANTS WITH RED, PINK, OR ORANGEFLOWERS, AND WITH A TUBULAR SHAPETubular flowers contain nectar at the bottom, which encourages these long-beaked birds to probe for their sweet meal.In general, flowers that rely on fragrance to attract insectpollinators are not good nectar sources, as most birds have apoor sense of smell.Flowers, feeders, perches, insects, and water are thekey ingredients to a healthy yard that will attract theseamazing jewels. Since hummingbirds and orioles naturallyfrequent openings in the forest and forest edges, they arereadily drawn to suburban and rural gardens that offera mix of tall trees, shrubs, meadow, and lawn. Duringmigration, they frequent parks and urban yards plantedwith bright flowers.S O F T L I N I N G S A R E I M P O R TA N THummingbirds usually line their nests with soft plant fibers,so grow cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), which hasfuzzy stems, and pussy willow (Salix discolor), which hasfuzzy flowers. If your yard contains thistle (Cirsium spp.) anddandelion (Taraxacum officinale), allow some to remain—their fluffy seeds provide nesting material.S TA R T W I T H A S K E T C H O F Y O U R YA R DIndicate the location of your home and outbuildings.Include trees, shrubs, flower beds, and other features thatmay benefit hummingbirds and orioles. Use your sketchto determine the best location for your nectar gardens.Hummingbird gardens need not be large—even a windowbox or hanging planter will do.S E L E C T P L A N T S T H AT B LO O M AT D I F F E R E N T T I M E SThis provides nectar throughout the growing season. Thisis especially important in early spring when migrants firstreturn, exhausted from their long travels.P L A N T PAT C H E S O F T H R E E O R M O R E I N D I V I D U A LPLANTS OF THE SAME SPECIEST H I N K V E R T I C A L LYGrow a cascade of nectar-rich plants by securing a trellisto your house and planting trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicerasempervirens) beneath it. Trees and garden sheds can alsosupport sturdy trellises for trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Layer herbaceous or lower-growing plants (see plantselections, opposite) in front of vines. Then add windowboxes, tubs, or ceramic pots to create a terraced effect andprovide growing places for a variety of nectar plants likeHamelia patens, cigar plant (Cuphea spp.), and justicias.P R OV I D E A WAT E R F E AT U R ELike most birds, hummingbirds frequently bathe inshallow water, and may preen or flit through the dropletsgenerated by garden misters, drip systems, and smallpump-fed waterfalls. Orioles also prefer shallow water—no more than two inches deep.PROVIDE TREES AND SHRUBSHummingbirds and orioles use trees for perching andnesting. Large tree trunks may also provide a source oflichens, which many hummingbirds attach to the outsidesof their nests with spider silk for camouflage. Hummingbirds usually nest in the forks of small, stiff tree branches;orioles favor the drooping branches of maples, poplars,willows, and conifers. If your garden does not include treesor shrubs, a dead branch with small perching twigs makes agood substitute. Locate these perches near your garden orsugar water feeders.L E A R N W H E N TO E X P E C T YO U R LO C A L H U M M I N G B I R D SThis will help you select plants that bloom when hummingbirds are most likely to visit and determine when toput out hummingbird feeders. Don’t worry that leavingfeeders up too long will prevent hummingbirds frommigrating on time; migration is triggered mainly by daylength rather than food availability. In regions where winter freezes are rare, some hummingbirds and orioles maystay through winter.FAVO R N AT I V E P L A N T SLearn which native plants hummingbirds feed on in nearbynatural areas, and include these in your garden. Native plantsand nectar-eating birds have a long association.This will provide larger quantities of nectar. Also, prune thetips of flowering plants to encourage more flowers.AVO I D P E S T I C I D E SNectar eaters also benefit from eating protein-rich insects.Birds can ingest poisons when they eat contaminatedinsects, and systemic herbicides can make their way intoflower nectar. Let birds be your natural insect control.Using feedersThis will help attract the birds until your garden flowers areflourishing and lure birds up close for better viewing. To preparea sugar water solution, mix one part white sugar with four partswater. Bring the mixture to a boil to sterilize it and dissolve allof the sugar. Store any unused mixture in a refrigerator. Cleanfeeders every two or three days under hot running tap water,scrubbing them with a bottlebrush to eliminate fungus. Likewise, do not use honey in feeders, as this can grow mold. Alsoavoid red food coloring—it is unnecessary.To help attract hummingbirds to new feeders, tie a cluster ofplastic red flowers over the feeder entrance. Lure orioles andtanagers up close by offering halved oranges on spikes orgrape jelly in special feeders or small bowls.Nectar plants fornorthern gardensBearded Tongue (Penstemon spp.): perennialBee Balm (Monarda fistulosa, Monarda didyma):perennial with purple, pink, or red flowersCardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): perennial;requires moist soil, partial shadeColumbine (Aquilegia canadensis): perennial withorange-yellow flowersCoral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea): compact perennialwith small red flowersJewelweeds (Impatiens spp.): annualMadrone (Arbutus menziesii): northwestern treeManzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.): low shrubs andgroundcoversPaintbrushes (Castilleja spp.): annuals and perennialsHyssops (Agastache spp): perennial herbaceousSalvias (Salvia spp): perennials and annualsSolomon’s-seal (Polygonatum biflorum): perennialTrumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens): wellbehaved vine with orange flowersTrumpet Vine (Campsis radicans): orange or yellowflowers on large vine requiring substantial supportTwinberry (Lonicera involucrata): low-growing,shrubby vineNectar plants forsouthern gardens*Coral Bean (Erythrina herbacea): southern shrub orsmall treeFairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla): southwesternshrub, blooms year-roundFire Pink (Silene virginica): bright red floweredperennialIndian Pink (Spigelia marilandica): bright redflowered perennialRed Buckeye (Aesculus pavia): small southeasternnative tree with bright red flowersStanding Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra): southernbiennial or perennial*Check with local nurseries to determine tolerance for temperature extremes.
BIRD FEEDING BASICSBird feeders are anexcellent way to attracta bevy of birds to yourproperty. There are avariety of feeders toaccommodate specifictypes of birds and theirdiets. Birds usually feedat different heights, andhaving multiple feederswill not only attract avariety of species, it willalso help avoid feedercongestion. When placingfeeders close to windowsso that you can enjoy theaction, be aware that largepicture windows mayresult in collisions. Here areAudubon’s picks for sixfeeders, and a little adviceon where to hang them.About AudubonThe National Audubon Society saves birds and theirhabitats throughout the Americas using science,advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters,and partners have an unparalleled wingspan thatreaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire,and unite diverse communities in conservation action.Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world inwhich people and wildlife thrive.Visit Audubon online formore information and tips oncreating a bird-friendly yard.www.audubon.org225 Varick StreetNew York, NY 10014844.428.3826Written by Stephen W. Kress, PhDPhotography by Mike Fernandez/AudubonAudubon Guideto Bird Feeders
BIRD FEEDING BASICSSix bird feeders every home should haveGROUND FEEDERSThese simple screenbottomed trays typically sitseveral inches off the groundor your deck and help tokeep grain or seeds and birddroppings from coming incontact with each other.Some feeders have coversto keep out snow; othershave wire mesh to keep outsquirrels and large birdslike crows. Ground feedingtables should be placed inopen areas at least 10 feetfrom the nearest tree orshrub to give birds a chanceto flee predators. Doves,juncos, sparrows, towhees,goldfinches, and cardinalsare all likely to visit groundfeeders. Avoid using groundfeeders if cats are apt topounce from nearby shrubs.SUNFLOWER SEEDTUBE FEEDERSIf you are going to put outjust one feeder, this is yourbest choice. Be sure toselect a model with metalports around the seeddispensers to protect thefeeder from House Sparrowsand nibbling squirrels. Hangthe feeder at least five feetoff the ground and try toposition it near a windowwhere you can enjoy thevisitors, which are likely toinclude chickadees, titmice,nuthatches, goldfinches,siskins, and Purple andHouse Finches. Reduce therisk of bird collisions byplacing the feeder less thanthree feet from a windowor more than 30 feet away.SUET FEEDERSHOPPER FEEDERSSuet is popular with titmice,chickadees, nuthatches,and woodpeckers. Wrens,creepers, and warblers willalso occasionally peck atsuet. While you can hangsuet chunks in a mesh onionbag, you can also purchasecage feeders. Some peoplelike to make their own suet“puddings” by grindingthe suet and adding seeds,and create homemade suetfeeders by packing themixture into the crevicesof large pine cones. Suetfeeders can be hung fromtrees, from poles near otherfeeders, or from a wirestretched between trees.Also available for warmweather suet feeding are“no melt” suet cakes.Hopper feeders will keepseveral pounds of mixedseed dry and ready forhungry birds. Birds hoppingon the feeder trigger therelease of the seeds. Hopperfeeders should be positionedon a pole about five feetoff the ground, or hungfrom a tree branch. Theywill draw all the speciesthat tube feeders attract,along with larger birds likejays, grackles, Red-wingedBlackbirds, and cardinals.N YJ E R ( T H I S T L E )FEEDERSN E C TA R A N D F R U I TFEEDERSEspecially designed todispense Nyjer seed, alsoknown as thistle seed, thesefeeders have tiny holes thatmake the seed available onlyto small-beaked finches suchas goldfinches, redpolls, andPine Siskins. Thistle-seeddispensing bags are notrecommended, since squirrelscan easily tear holes in themand waste this expensiveseed. Hang your thistlefeeder from a tree or placeit on a five-foot pole nearother feeders, taking care toprotect it from squirrels witha special baffle.Nectar feeders will helpattract hummingbirds,orioles, and other nectareating birds to your gardenuntil your garden flowersare flourishing. To prepare asugar water solution, mix onepart white sugar with fourparts water. Bring the mixtureto a boil to sterilize it anddissolve all of the sugar. Cleanfeeders every two or threedays under hot running tapwater, scrubbing them witha bottlebrush to eliminatemolds or fungus. Tie a clusterof plastic red flowers overthe feeder entrance to helpattract hummingbirds tonew feeders. Lure oriolesand tanagers by skeweringhalved oranges onto a spike.
BIRD FEEDING BASICSAbout AudubonThe National Audubon Society saves birds and theirhabitats throughout the Americas using science,advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters,and partners have an unparalleled wingspan thatreaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire,and unite diverse communities in conservation action.Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world inwhich people and wildlife thrive.Visit Audubon online formore information and tips oncreating a bird-friendly yard.www.audubon.org225 Varick StreetNew York, NY 10014844.428.3826Written by Stephen W. Kress, PhDCover, clockwise from top left: CamillaCerea/Audubon; Northern Cardinal.Photo: chas53/Adobe Stock; MikeFernandez/Audubon; Camilla Cerea/Audubon; Mike Fernandez/Audubon;Tufted Titmouse. Photo: chas53/AdobeStock. Inside: Tufted Titmouse. Photo:Steve Byland/Adobe StockAudubon Guideto Bird FeedingWhile most wild birdsrely on wild foods for thebulk of their meals, morethan 100 North Americanspecies supplement naturalfoods with birdseed, suet,fruit, and nectar obtainedfrom feeders. Bird feedingcan benefit birds whilealso providing pleasurefor people throughout theyear. Feeders benefit birdsmost during the winter,when natural food suppliesare scarce. However,additional species visitfeeders during spring andfall migrations, and somenesting birds utilize feedersduring the summer.QUICK TIPSHow to attract birds toyour feedersL I K E U S , B I R D S N E E D F O O D , WAT E R ,A N D S H E LT E RTo keep birds coming back to your feeders, providethem with three essential elements: the right variety ofquality seed, a source of fresh water for drinking andbathing, and ample cover, preferably provided by nativeplants. Native plants also provide potential nesting sitesand a source of natural food. Bird feeders can presentsome risks, potentially increasing the chances of window collisions, predation, and exposure to disease.LO C AT E F E E D E R S AT D I F F E R E N T L E V E L SSparrows, juncos, and towhees usually feed on theground, while finches and cardinals feed in shrubs, andchickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers feed in trees. Toavoid crowding and to attract the greatest variety ofspecies, provide table-like feeders for ground-feedingbirds, hopper or tube feeders for shrub and treetopfeeders, and suet feeders well off the ground for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees.OFFER DIFFERENT SEEDS IN DIFFERENT FEEDERSA variety of seeds will attract the greatest variety of birds.To avoid waste, offer different seeds in different feeders.Black-oil sunflower seed appeals to the greatest numberof birds. Offer sunflower seeds, Nyjer (thistle) seeds, andpeanuts in separate feeders. When using blends, choosemixtures containing sunflower seeds, millet, and crackedcorn—the three most popular types of birdseed. Birdsthat are sunflower specialists will readily eat the sunflower seed and toss the millet and corn to the ground,to be eaten by ground-feeding birds such as sparrowsand juncos. Mixtures of peanuts, nuts, and dried fruitare attractive to woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice.Relatively few species prefer milo, wheat, and oats, whichare featured in less expensive blends.
BIRD FEEDING BASICSHomemade recipes toadd to your bird feedersSuet (beef fat) attracts insect-eating birds such aswoodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice.Place the suet in special feeders or net onion bags atleast five feet above the ground to keep it out of thereach of dogs, squirrels, etc. Although suet is particularlyhelpful during cold weather and migration, when birdsneed extra fat reserves, “no melt” suet cakes are nowavailable for use in warmer weather.Fruit specialists such as robins, waxwings, bluebirds,and mockingbirds rarely eat birdseed. To attract thesebirds, soak raisins and currants in water overnight, thenplace them on a table feeder, or purchase blends witha dried fruit mixture. To attract orioles and tanagers,skewer halved oranges onto a spike near other feeders,or provide nectar feeders.P R OV I D E N E C TA R F O R H U M M I N G B I R D SMake a sugar solution of one part white sugar to fourparts water. Boil briefly to sterilize and dissolve sugarcrystals (no need to add red food coloring). Feeders mustbe washed every few days with very hot water and keptscrupulously clean to prevent the growth of mold.LO C AT E F E E D E R S T O R E D U C E W I N D O W C O L L I S I O N SDOES FEEDING BIRDS PREVENT THEM FROMM I G R AT I N G O N T I M E ?DISCOURAGE SQUIRRELS FROM CONSUMINGFEEDER FOODSMIX PEANUT BUTTER AND CORNMEALP R OV I D E F R U I T F O R B E R R Y- E AT I N G B I R D SBird feeding FAQsIn the United States, approximately one billion birds diefrom flying into windows each year. Reduce the risk of birdcollisions by placing feeders less than three feet from awindow or more than 30 feet away. Mobiles, opaque decorations, and fruit tree netting outside windows also helps todeflect birds from the glass.SUET FEEDINGPeanut butter is a good substitute for suet in the summer.Mix one part peanut butter with five parts cornmeal andstuff the mixture into holes drilled in a hanging log or intothe crevices of a large pine cone. This all-season mixtureattracts woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, and occasionally warblers.Keep feathered visitors safeStoring seed and cleaningyour feedersS T O R E S E E D I N S E C U R E M E TA L C O N TA I N E R SStore seed in metal garbage cans with secure lids to protect it from squirrels and mice. Keep the cans in a cool, drylocation; avoid storing in the heat. Damp seeds may growmold that can be fatal to birds. Overheating can destroy thenutrition and taste of sunflower seeds. For these reasons,it’s best not to keep seed from one winter to the next.CLEAN FEEDERS, COLLECT SPILLED GRAIN AND HULLSUneaten seed can become soggy and grow mold. Empty andclean feeders tw
BIRD FEEDING BASICS About Audubon The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire,
Audubon Guide to Birdseed More than 100 North American bird species supplement their natural diets with birdseed, suet, fruit, and nectar obtained from feeders. Bird feeding can benefit birds and also provides great birdwatching in your own backyard. Different birds are attracted by different kinds of seed, so try offering a variety
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Wingbars is the official newsletter of Atlanta Audubon Society and is published 10 times a year. We feature news, upcoming events, meetings, field trips, and projects. We hope you will join us. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect polices of Atlanta Audubon Society. Atlanta Audubon Receives Grant
Wingbars is the official newsletter of Atlanta Audubon Society and is published 10 times a year. We feature news, upcoming events, meetings, field trips, and projects. We hope you will join us. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect polices of Atlanta Audubon Society. Atlanta, Meet Your Newest Chimney Swift Tower
Bird Care Tips Keep the bird in a warm room. Feed your bird food it is used to eating. Give your bird twelve hours of quiet and darkness each day. Do not handle your bird for the first few weeks. Except during playtime, keep the bird in its cage. Avoid loud noises around your bird.
to flush feeding tube 4. Flushes Feeding tube before and after medication 5.Closes roller clamp on feeding tube . 6. Pours formula into feeding bag : head 8. Set pump . 9. Opens roller clamp; primes tube : 10. Connects feed bag to feeding tube;