iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2012
Wed, 07-31-2013 - 8:55am

It is so strange how a bike ride through the neighborhood can change your entire perspective on wildlife. I never noticed it before I saw that woodpecker and now I find myself very interested in wildlife. I am thinking of some kind of decorative feeder in my back yard but not sure if it is a good idea or how I want to proceed with it. Any ideas?

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
In reply to: owaitress
Wed, 07-31-2013 - 2:07pm

I always had a large bird feeder in my yard when I lived in NJ....and I also had a suet feeder.  I soon learned that my lab, ^Valentine^ would lick at the suet when it fell to the ground, and almost got pancreatitis!  So I never put out suet feeders in the Summer, only the Fall/Winter.

As for my birdfeeders, I call them my "squirrel buffet"....LOL...  I think they all watch and wait until I fill them and then go crazy.  But I get lots of birds too...of all kinds.

I don't know where you live, but if you have a Wild Birds Unlimited store close by, you might want to visit there.  The jpeople there know all about local birds and have lots of feeders and different birdseed.

I feed the birds year round...and have a birdbath close by.  I've always loved feeding the birds...and the squirrels too....LOL....

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
In reply to: owaitress
Fri, 08-02-2013 - 1:33pm

Feeders have pros and cons... Depending on the kind of feeder, you can attact different kinds of birds - some like the ones that dispense thistle seed - very small openings (goldfinches, for example), others prefer the ones that dispense sunflower seeds (cardinals, jays, just about any large bird AND squirrels and racoons and...). Suet blocks bring in the woodpeckers and nuthatches. Seed on the ground will bring in sparrows, doves, etc. (and those aforementioned squirrels!). Nectar feeders like hummingbirds have their own kind of feeder as do fruit eaters like orioles. Here's a good resoruce: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1178#.Ufk1DRY5v8s, and here is another: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/FeederTypes.htm and another: http://www.birdfeeding.org/best-backyard-bird-feeding-practices/bird-feeders.html

You can end up with a yard full of feeders so read up on the kinds of birds you want to see and be prepared to be filling feeders daily!

When installing feeders (we have one nailed to a tree stump, another hanging on shepherd crook stakes), make sure they aren't reachable to cats. Put them where there is tall vegetation where the birds can sit and wait before coming to the feeder (they check out the place to make sure it's safe ---). It's nice if there is water nearby as well (a bird bath?). 

Cons --- once you start, you really need to keep feeding as birds become accoustomed to a full supply of food year-round. Keeping the feeders full in summer is less important as it is in winter through. And those squirrels can eat a feeder out in a day --- and racoons can really destroy feeders at night (especially fond of suet feeders - they rip our's off the tree and carry them down to the lake to wash them!).