Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Get Ready For Bird Feeding

Summer is over and for many of our friends, winter has already begun.  Have you read about the early snow in many parts of our country?  It's time to prepare for fall and winter bird feeding.  Here is a checklist to get your yard ready for your migrating friends.
  • Clean your bird feeders thoroughly with a mixture of water and dish soap, or a solution of water and bleach.  Bleach helps to prevent mold that is encouraged by moisture.
  • Make any necessary repairs.  Perches, hangers and seed-catchers that have become unstable should be replaced.
  • Invest in a few new feeders.  You may need to purchase some of different types to add to your collection.  More species will visit if you provide a smorgasbord of delights.
  • Migratory birds need quick energy boosts, and so do those which have recently molted.  Suet provides that.  Suet cages are easily attached to many existing feeders, boards and posts.
  • Place a salt block in your bird-feeding area.  It attracts many species of migratory birds.
  • Don't forget to clean your seed storage bins.  Washing them with a bleach solution will help to discourage insects.
  • Keep plenty of fresh seed and suet on hand.  When the feeding season gets into full swing, the food disappears quickly.  Don't run out.
  • Spread some wood mulch under your feeders.  It helps to prevent seed sprouting.  It's a good idea to use material that is native to your area; it costs less.
  • Fall is a great time for planting, so add some small trees and shrubs to enhance your bird habitat.  Plants that provide food and shelter will be much appreciated.
  • Dump the water from your birdbath and clean it of debris.  Scrubbing it with bleach will help to remove and prevent algae build-up.
  • Install a small heater in your birdbath before the temperature drops to freezing.  Birds need to bathe and get a sip of water in winter, too.
  • Provide for the squirrels.  Okay, we know they can be pesky at times.  A good way to keep them off of your bird feeders is to give them some food that's more attractive.  Corn on the cob is excellent.  Buy a bag of deer corn at your local sporting goods or feed store.  You can pitch a few ears on the ground, or present them in squirrel feeders.  You may enjoy watching them as much as you do the birds!
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