There’s something to be said about eating like a bird, especially if that food is scientifically designed to provide birds with the healthiest possible diet. That’s the intent behind these two exclusive birdseed blends from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Designed by Canada’s foremost wildlife nutritionist for the ecological conditions and nutritional needs of birds in Canada, these blends contain no low quality feeds like wheat, milo and corn. Instead, you get a high quality mix containing seeds rich in the unsaturated fats and fatty acids birds seek. Attract the songbirds you love with the food they’ll love. Look for CWF birdseed at participating LEE VALLEY locations.
Feed the Birds Guidebook
Feed the Birds is designed as a resource for beginners and experienced birdwatchers alike. Covering 196 bird species that are attracted to backyard bird feeders, this book helps the reader not only attract and identify birds but also understand their behavior and adaptations to the environment. A wide variety of feeders and seed types are presented with helpful tips on how to attract the largest variety of birds.
Each profile for the 196 featured species includes a variety of photographs, an identification guide, a range map, information on bird seed and natural food preferences, and behavior.
The book also contains information on how to choose the right seeds; the importance of ensuring all windows are bird-safe (with links to organizations that work to reduce bird-window collision); cat-friendly deterrents; and citizen science activities like the annual Christmas Bird Count and Project Feederwatch. Feed the Birds is a complete guide that should be near every bird enthusiast's window.
Endorsed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. CWF has a long history of fostering bird habitat, conservation and recognition.
Available at book stores and online now!
Spreading some seed on the ground is a simple way to start! Just be sure to place the seed far away from places where cats can hide.
Most birds will use a platform feeder so installing one will help attract many different birds. Birds that like to feed on the ground, like juncos and sparrows, will also use platform feeders that allow better protection from predators. These feeders are easy to make but leave seeds open to the elements. Bird droppings or rain can cover the seed in soil. Be sure to clean the platform regularly and replace your seed every couple of days.
Hopper feeders are generally box-shaped and dispense seeds by gravity. They keep seed clean, dry and readily available even in a snowstorm. Features to look for are visibility of seed level, ability to hold a good quantity of seed, ease of mounting and ease of access for cleaning. If you’re looking for a hopper feeder made of wood, weather-resistant cedar is a good choice. Hopper feeders can hold a lot of seed, which is convenient. They do, however, provide easy access for squirrels.
There are many styles available. These tubes keep seed dry, prevent bird droppings in the seed and reduce squirrels from getting the seed. The perches are usually small and so attract small birds like finches and chickadees but discourage larger birds. Before filling a tube feeder be sure to empty uneaten seed at the bottom.
Where to Place my Feeder and Other Related Tips
- Place bird feeders near trees or shrubs – preferably evergreen – to provide birds with shelter.
- Consider year-round access for refilling.
- Keep feeders away from decks as spilled seeds can attract rodents.
- Use feeders with large trays to prevent spills and clean up seeds that do spill.
- Place feeders in locations visible from your windows so you can enjoy the visitors you attract but remember to leave four metres and to use reflectors, stickers, drapes, paper or foil streamers to reduce collisions
- To attract a diversity of birds put out a variety of feeders.
- Separate food types and feeders to help give smaller birds a chance to eat without being scared away by larger birds.
Suet is a high energy food for chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds that appreciate a source of animal fat in winter. You can either buy commercially made suet or make your own.
- Coated wire suet holders can be placed in a variety of locations and birds will not get caught in them.
- If you are buying suet, look for one with high sunflower and niger seeds to balance the saturated and unsaturated fats birds need.
- To make your own suet, buy raw beef fat or suet from the butcher, grind it up and mix it with seeds or dried fruit. Store it in the freezer.
- You can use a wide variety of treats when making suet, including acorns, chopped nuts, seeds and fresh chopped fruit. Experiment to see what your birds like the most.
- You should remove old suet from feeders in warm weather to prevent it from going rancid.
- Hang the suet feeder from a branch or on a dead tree. Placing it on the trunk of a live tree can invite invasions by tree-damaging insects and fungi.
- Suet should not be tied with string as birds can get their feet tangled up.
- In the summer commercially prepared suet should be placed in the shade, cleaned frequently and returned to the fridge overnight.
Bird Feeder Pests
Feeders can also attract some less welcome species. Examine your feeding strategy and consider adjustments based on what is attracting the problem.
- Avoid mixes with a high proportion of hulled oats, rice, peanut hearts, corn, millet or wheat that can attract pigeons, racoons or squirrels.
- Use specially adapted feeders – weight sensitive or with a metal cage – that allow smaller birds to feed but keep out most large birds and squirrels.
- Place feeders on posts with a baffle underneath. A baffle is a disc or cone designed to keep squirrels from climbing the pole.
- Use metal feeders to prevent squirrels from chewing and damaging your feeder.
- Don’t place feeders on decks where spilled seed can attract rodents.
- Store seed in rodent-proof containers.
- Use feeders with large trays or higher edges to keep feed from falling to the ground. Clean spilled seed from underneath feeders.
- Keep cats indoors. Domestic cats are predators that hunt instinctively even when not hungry. Free-roaming cats have a serious impact on bird populations and often take advantage of bird feeding areas.
- Place feeders and bird baths farther than pouncing distance from dense shrubbery or other places where cats can hide. Provide shelter beyond this distance to help birds hide from predators.
- Stop feeding birds for a while if you have serious problems with pests. Realize that limiting access for problem species may also hinder desirable species with similar feeding habits.