GardenSMART :: Simple Ways to Bring Birds to Your Backyard
Simple Ways to Bring Birds to Your Backyard
By Cole's Wild Bird Products, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Cole's Wild Bird Products, Inc.
It's a myth that continues to persist: Feeding birds in spring and summer will spoil them. But birds are like babies – it's impossible to spoil them. Contrary to the myth, well fed birds won't get too lazy to search for food; they'll just get healthy and happy. And the better the food you feed them, the more likely they'll continue to come back, bringing their colorful plumage and welcome song to your backyard.
Myths aside, wooing beautiful backyard birds to your outdoor environment can be as simple as offering them a reliable, high-quality food source. Birds, like most wild animals, are survivalists and they'll take advantage of any food source they find – whether it's in your yard or your neighbor's. To entice them to your yard and garden, set out these preferred foods recommended by the bird-feeding experts at Cole's Wild Bird Products:
* Suet – Made from the fat of cattle, sheep, or even vegetables, suet may sound icky to us, but for birds it's a gourmet delight that helps them stay healthy, energized and build vital fat reserves. Served in a cage or log, suet has the consistency of soft wax and can be kept for a long time. Chickadees, titmice, catbirds, bluebirds, robins, jays, warblers, thrashers, nuthatches and all species of woodpeckers relish suet and will feed on it all year round, even in warm months.
If your suet gets too soft in the warm summer months, switch to a no-melt, cornmeal-based suet. Suets offer a variety of enhancements including seeds, pecans and peanut butter. Since not all wild birds favor seed, serving up suet ensures the attention of beautiful non-seed-eating birds as well. Seed-eater or not, all your backyard buddies benefit from the essential calories and burst of energy these unique products provide!
* Seed – Not all birdseed is created equal. Opt for blends without cheap filler seeds that are all-natural, that way, the birds get more nutrition and you keep a cleaner feeder; the less filler, the less leftovers birds will kick out and leave behind. All-natural feeds are more appealing to birds; they know that natural just tastes better. Look at the label on the bird feed you buy, a good rule of thumb is "if you can't read it, don't feed it!"
It's important to remember that all birdseed is perishable. Be sure and store any open product in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent the seed from drying out and little critters from finding it. Cole's seed is offered in nitrogen-purged barrier packaging to ensure seed freshness. They use the same packaging technology employed by potato chip makers and fresh vegetable farmers to keep their products fresher longer.
If unwelcome squirrels raid your bird feeder, opt for a seed blend like Cole's Blazing Hot Blend. By combining a patented habanero chili oil formula with the seeds most preferred by backyard birds you can attract woodpeckers, grosbeaks, buntings, cardinals, chickadees, bluebirds, goldfinches and more. Squirrels don't like the hot, spicy flavor, but birds love Blazing Hot Blend!
* Insects and worms – A healthy, lush lawn is one of the best ways to feed birds that prefer insects and worms. A good lawn will attract the species of insects that birds enjoy. You can also supplement their diet by serving Dried Mealworms in a packaged variety that's easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms, and birds love them. These energy-packed morsels are Mother Nature's perfect treat for all your insect-loving songbirds.
* Garden favorites – Feeding birds doesn't just have to happen at the feeder. Thoughtful planting in your garden can help entice wild birds to forage there. Offer a birdbath for water and berry-producing trees and shrubs. Plant annuals and perennials that birds like, such as sunflowers, marigolds, petunias, sweet William, nasturtium and blueberries. Climbing vines like morning glories, coral honeysuckle, muscadine grape and trumpet creeper are also favorites.
By serving wild birds their favorite foods throughout the summer, you can boost and build their stamina and reserves for the long winter ahead. All the while you'll enjoy a birds-eye view of a multitude of species bringing bright color and cheerful song to you throughout the warm months.
By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants
Temperatures are rising and high heat can wreak havoc in the vegetable garden. When temps climb to the upper 80's and sometimes soar into the 90's and 100's, plants need some assistance in fending off the Fahrenheit.
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!