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Birding Watching:  Feeders, houses, attracting, and more!

Feeders & Houses: Introduction

Bird feeders and houses are an important ingredient in creating your successful bird garden. When properly selected and placed they can greatly expand the number and types of birds that will visit your backyard.

Feeders: The placement of bird feeders is critical in two respects: First, they need to be located in or near the kinds of cover into which birds can escape should they be threatened by a neighborhood cat, dog, or winged predator such as a hawk or owl. Otherwise, the birds may not feel safe at the feeders, and may not use them.

The second consideration is to place feeders close to windows where you can have a good view of them. The reason for providing feeders and houses for wild birds is for the enjoyment of the bird gardener, not for the benefit of the birds, which can survive very well without any help from people.

Houses: When selecting birdhouses, it is important to consider the property you live on. If you live near a body of water, consider placing wood duck houses on the shoreline. Wren houses can be hung from fruit trees, or placed on posts at eye level around the yard, in or near cover. It would not be out of line to place at least three wren houses in the garden area, as the male will fill them all with sticks, and the female will then choose one for a family.

With the exception of wrens, birds do not tolerate swaying birdhouses. Birdhouses should be firmly anchored to a post, a tree, or the side of a building. All houses should be cleaned at least once a year. The smaller houses can be stored during the winter, but the larger houses can be left as possible winter roosting sites for any number of interesting birds.