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Feeding Wild Birds

Clean and well-maintained feeders not only attract more birds, they will also reduce the risk of disease. This guide is about feeding wild birds.
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January 26, 2016

I don't have any inside pets so I feel that the birds are my pets. They know when it's time to be fed and during the cold months, when I get out of bed, they are sitting there waiting for me to come. I enjoy watching them from the kitchen window.

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With the sleet, freezing rain, and a little topping of snow that we have just had here in the eastern part of the US, there have been so many birds at the feeders to watch.

In this photo, which I snapped from the kitchen window, of the butterfly bush located next to the bird feeders, I see 6 birds in the bush and one on the birdbath post. How many do you see?

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By 5 found this helpful
February 22, 2011

This is a seasonal tip that I used last week, and hope that it will be a while before I use it again. But when there is heavy snow falling for hours, the feed that I put out for the birds (and the squirrels) disappears under the snow. I use large trays to feed the birds on the ground. When they fill up with snow, just dump the snow and any bird seed left in the trays and set the tray down in a new spot. Put additional seed out on the bare ground where the tray was and also refill the tray. Any seed that you have dumped in the snow will be there for the birds when the snow melts and they still have something to eat. They need the food to generate body heat to keep warm in the cold temperatures.

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By Harlean from Hot Springs, AR

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December 12, 2016

There is an annual feast at my place. Sometimes, it continues for weeks. From inside my home, I know it has begun, yet again. I hear a cacophony of shrill shrieks and continuous 'caw caws'. I go outside to investigate the clamor.

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It's hard to put my foot down anywhere without stepping on pecans. How can this be? My pecan tree is a hundred feet from my house. I look skyward and see a huge flock of crows. They are in a frenzy at the prospect of plentiful and free, food. They alight on my pecan tree, still laden with nuts after my having gathered several five gallon buckets full from the ground, below.

Most nuts they seize are cracked open on a tree limb and the nut meat devoured, then and there. Quite often though, the birds select a nut they can't open on a limb. They attempt to carry the nut elsewhere for cracking, only to find it's just a little too large to accommodate their beaks. Whether intentional or not, the birds drop the nuts. That accounts for the hundreds and hundreds of pecans littering my lawn.

There are several pecan trees close by. The pictures I took are of crows visiting a neighbor's tree. I put my camera's 50x zoom to the test. I'm sorry to say the results are only mediocre. But, you get the picture (pun intended).

I feel rather generous. I have given away all the five gallon buckets of nuts I gathered, and the crows are quite welcome to all they care to eat. I do want one cup full of nut meats for myself. I intend to make cookies with them. I'll use a recipe I found on an oatmeal box sixty years ago.

The recipe is for simple oatmeal cookies, but when I add chopped pecans, chopped candied cherries, fresh grated coconut and a few raisins; they will be a complex, connoisseur's delight. I haven't made them in fifty years. This Holiday season I will treat myself. Yes!

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By 0 found this helpful
January 10, 2007

With so much snow everywhere, this is a timely tip to make sure the birds have a source of food. Place a few old cookie sheets or other shallow pans around the area where you feed the birds. Scatter feed on the pans during snowy weather. If the snow covers the feed, just empty them on the ground and refill them. When the snow melts, they will find the seed that you have dumped. In the meantime, they will be able to find food. I use large shallow trays and pans year round, but it is especially important in the Winter.

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October 13, 20050 found this helpful

Many of us enjoy to feed in the spring and summer birds. Making these cakes is a great way to feed them during the winter months too.

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July 5, 20050 found this helpful

Don't throw away stale cat food; use it to feed the birds! Mix leftover wet cat food with birdseed and place in suet feeders or on a log or flat rock if you live in a rural area. Nothing edible goes to waste in the great outdoors.

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October 1, 20170 found this helpful

Song birds definitely enjoy a suet cake in their feeder during the winter months. It is the perfect food for winter, as long as it doesn't get too wet or freeze. This is a guide about feeding wild birds suet.

A Downy woodpecker eating suet.

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July 6, 20140 found this helpful

This is a guide about filling birdhouses and feeders. Filling your bird feeder without spilling seeds everywhere is easier if you use some simple tools, many of with you already have around the house.

Bird at a Feeder

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 19, 20130 found this helpful

Why do male yellow finches gorge for days? I have a male on the feeder gorging on seed and now. He's so fat he can't fly. This happened about 2 years ago as well and that finch was there for weeks until one day he was gone.

By Marianne

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By 0 found this helpful
May 23, 2012

Can I feed leftover nonalcoholic fruitcake to wild birds in the yard?

By Judy

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Photos

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February 4, 2014

Photo Description
I love feeding the wild birds during the cold months. I spend a lot of time standing at my kitchen window watching them.

Every morning, I go out and put fresh seed and suet in the feeders. When I raise the blinds at the kitchen window, they see me and know I'll be coming soon. They are like a bunch of chickens waiting to be fed but when I go out, they take off and return only when they know I'm not close by.

We have a variety of beautiful birds that visit our yard: Bluebirds, Doves, Cardinals, Gold Finches, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Juncos, House Finches, Woodpeckers, Brown Thrashers, Cedar Waxwings, Carolina Wrens, Sparrows, Mockingbirds, Northern Flickers, Robins and Bluejays. I have probably missed naming some but it's a lot. I keep "An Audubon Handbook of Eastern Birds" handy so I can identify them.

There are 14 birds in this picture. Can you find all of them? One is in flight and blurred.

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