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Honey Do List: Bird feeders

Nothing is prettier than a red cardinal sitting on a tree branch in a fresh snow. Soon we may be treated to sights like these as we head into our traditionally winter-weather months. Here are a few tips from www.truevalue.com on what to put in those bird feeders to promote visits from different species.

Creating a bird-friendly habitat in your yard all year-round is essential for bird watching. It is especially important during winter. It can also be a little tricky, since birds are attracted to natural, dense growth, a lot of which has probably died off for the cold months. Evergreens can provide year-long shelter from the elements and predators.

Consider planting more evergreens in your yard, whether shrubbery or individual trees, in a location near where you will also place bird houses, feeders and a birdbath. Or create your habitat close to existing evergreens. Shelter from wind is important. Placed near structures like your house or garage, feeders and birdhouses are protected from strong winter winds and can give great vantage points from an inside window.

What you put in your feeders is important. Particular bird species prefer specific types of food. Grains (seeds) and suet (seeds and fruits imbedded in fat) are popular with a wide variety of bird species. Seeds include sunflower seeds, corn and millet. Black sunflower seeds and millet, in particular, are very popular among many common types of birds, such as cardinals, finches, blue jays and goldfinches. Blue jays, sparrows and starlings enjoy corn.

Suet is a nutritious, high-energy “cake” that attracts woodpeckers and other birds. Installing a few bird feeders, each stocked with different types of food, is the best way to attract the greatest variety of bird types.

Note that feeding birds won’t prevent those who migrate from leaving your area. This is instinctual and has nothing to do with whether or not there is food available. For those birds that do stay throughout the winter, remember that once you start feeding them, you must continue to do so or they will leave to find food elsewhere. Often, they will not come back.

Stay warm, enjoy the season and remember, help is just around the corner at your local hardware store.

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