Backyard Birdfeeding: How to Get Started

by Mary Ellen K. on February 25, 2011

Kids enjoy birdfeeding, too!

Kids enjoy birdfeeding, too!

As product merchandiser for Drs. Foster & Smith’s Wild Bird catalog, I often get asked: “What birdfeeder should I buy? What bird seed do I use?” or “I have a birdfeeder and seed…. but no birds. What am I doing wrong?”

If you are just starting out or you can’t get birds to come to your feeder, go back to birding basics. Start with a tube birdfeeder and Black Oil Sunflower Seed.

Onyx Clever Clean Birdfeeder

Onyx Clever Clean Birdfeeder

A tube feeder, like Droll Yankee’s Onyx Clever Clean Birdfeeder, filled with Black Oil Sunflower Seed will give you the broadest attraction. The tube feeder should be hung at least 5 feet off the ground. Black Oil Sunflower Seed is an inexpensive and nutritional way to attract Chickadees, Nuthatches, Finches, Cardinals, Siskin and more.

Once you are attracting birds to your backyard, you might consider adding birdfeeders and food to attract specific species:

  • Suet cakes in a basic suet cage feeder (like the Weather Guard Suet Feeder) — especially served in the winter– will attract birds, like Woodpeckers, that favor this energy-packed meal.
Invite backyard birds with the lure of bathing and splashing!

Invite backyard birds with the lure of bathing and splashing!

  • Water is essential and easily served in a feeder (like the Bird Waterer and Birdbath) or in a birdbath (the EZ Tilt Birdbath that comes in a heated version to supply a winter water source). Birds need water for drinking and bathing but they are also attracted to moving water or mists.

Always keep your birdfeeders and birdbaths clean to ensure your new backyard friends keep coming back.

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Mary Ellen and her husband have two children and Jager, a lab/husky mix adopted from a local rescue organization. Mary Ellen did not grow up in a household with any pets, but it took only a few months working at Drs. Foster and Smith to make her realize she had to have one. She is a merchandising manager here and holds a BS in Business Administration and Marketing from Marquette University.

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Blackbirds & Cowbirds Raiding Bird Feeders!
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Darlene June 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Just a word of caution about those shepherd’s hook hangers for birdfeeders, etc.: The notch, or “vee” where the two sides branch out can trap birds’ legs. I had mine up for less than two days when a sparrow caught her leg in this minute space. When I approached to free her, I saw that the bone(s) in her leg were completely severed by the stress of hanging there and flapping to free herself. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture her when freed; she flew away to certain slow death. My next step was to close this narrow space with putty so that it could not happen here again. I hope that sharing this will prevent this happening to other birds.

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