How do you combat the winter doldrums while adding life and music to your yard? By creating a birdfeeding habitat with a birdfeeder, water and some tasty seeds or mealworms.
Colorado's environment is so varied that we have around 400 species of birds. Some pass through in the fall, and others are year-round residents.
The first step is to decide what kind of birds you'd like to attract. Different species require different styles of feeders. All feeders should be placed so that you can see them from the window, but not so close that your visitors will fly into the glass. Locate your feeder near bushes or trees for protection from predators, and make it easy to fill and clean. The National Bird-Feeding Society has a chart that shows feeder preferences for the Western United States.
If you're feeling creative and thrifty, try making a backyard bird feeder from a 1-liter soda bottle (pictured above).
Did you know that woodpeckers like suet? Just like people, birds have their favorite foods. Consult this food preferences chart for menu planning.
Water is essential for birds for drinking and bathing. The easiest way to provide this is with a curved birdbath that has a rough bottom for traction and no more than 3" of water. A birdbath heater can be used to keep it from freezing during the winter.
Hand-Feeding Backyard Birds: A Step by Step Guide by Hugh Wiberg
Ortho's All About Attracting Birds by Michael D. McKinley
The FeederWatcher's Guide to Bird Feeding by Margaret A. Barker
Backyard Bird Feeding for Beginners by Mathew Tekulsky
My Recipes are For the Birds by Irene Cosgrove
Next: Home, sweet home: cozy birdhouses, nesting boxes, landscaping and keeping out the riffraff.
Very nice and there's more to come - hooray!
Wonderful blog--I've been enjoying backyard birds for years & I didn't realize how important it is for the bird bath to have rough bottom & edges--makes sense (to give the birds better traction on a slippery surface)! Thanks for the great tip!
Also, folks can learn a lot from joining our local chapter of the National Audubon Society: Audubon Society of Greater Denver http://www.denveraudubon.org/
Really enjoy all your blogs--keep up the great work :-)
Some great ideas here. Love the soda bottle idea!
I am going to try some different mixtures of seed and see who shows up and how the birds review the meal...is there a Yelp for songbirds?
Thanks for your input, Blue J. No Yelp as far as I know, but you can see the actual inside of a birdhouse on this video: