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DieselPlower

Got a bird feeder... Wow lots of birds. General discussion and advice.

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Hello bird people! So I decided to take my pond environment to the next level and add a bird feeder. I had noticed that the pond attracted birds who seemed to enjoy drinking and bathing in my mini bog filters. I would not call myself a big bird fan or whatever but they are really growing on me. I like the colorful ones most... Gold finches, cardinals etc. So I have been wondering, does providing food all year round actually harm the birds in any way? We don't feed fish below 55* water temperature. Anything like that for birds? I'm guessing no. I also am sure I could Google it, but hey, I'm looking for conversation and advice from trusted friends here. I would say the amount of birds visiting the pond is about 20 times as many as before the bird feeder. Too many at times I think. Anyone care to share favorite types of food etc? I am in Michigan and am not sure how many birds stick around all winter. Guess I will find out soon. Here is a brief video. Sorry the quality isn't very good. I had to use the zoom on my camera phone....

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We LOVE birds!!  Colin could identify a rose breasted grosbeak in first grade!!  :rofl

 

We feed them year round and have 5 feeders--suet, oriole feeder (not year round), thistle, black oil sunflower, and a wild bird seed feeder.  A few years ago we added a heated bird bath to the fun.  :lol2

 

If birds are gonna fly south, they are gonna fly south.  They aren't going to stick around for food at a feeder.  If/when we have especially hard winters like the past couple, it's especially important to feed the birds as they have a very hard time finding food in the wild when it's covered in 4 feet of snow.  :o  So feed away.

 

I got this book for Colin when he was like 6 or 7 and we still use it today.  I highly recommend it.  It's not for die hard, I know a lot about birds already people but for us it works great.  The sections are by color.  So if you see a red bird, you go to the red bird section and then they are in order from smallest to largest.  I always try and compare if the bird I saw was closer to a finch size or a robin and go from there.  :D

 

http://www.amazon.com/Birds-Michigan-Field-Second-Edition/dp/159193043X

 

 

Happy birding!!  :nana

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I would add that once you start feeding in the winter, keep it up. It's not as important in the summer since there are many other food sources, but they can become more dependent in the winter. The cheap wild bird food will attract a lot of the unwanted birds like sparrows and starlings and the like. I try to use black oil sunflower and thistle as they attract the birds you want at your feeders. Tractor Supply, if you have any around,  has very good prices and good sales for the seed.

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I feed the one's that stay here during the winter. When we have a ton of snow i feel bad for them, so they get fed. My neighbors do it year round also.

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Black oil sunflower seeds is normally what i use. Thistle for the smaller birds

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If you don't plan to feed in the winter you  need to stop before fall so they get the idea and go look for other food sources for the winter.  I feed all year long. More in the winter time then summer time.

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We feed all year long at my parents' place as well. :) All sorts of birds come, as well as squirrels and chipmunks. If you don't want the furry critters to raid your feeder, be sure to look for ways to protect it from them. Of course, the squirrels are my stepdad's favorite, so we let them have at it if they want.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will continue to feed all winter.

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My favorite bird I've seen so far is the indigo bunting.  I've only seen one twice in all these years of looking.  :teehee

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My favorite bird I've seen so far is the indigo bunting.  I've only seen one twice in all these years of looking.  :teehee

Those are my favorite tooooo! They are the most incredible color blue :thud

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I feed year round, but I put more variety of foods out during winter. Along with the bird seed mix and sunflower seed that I feed during summer, I also put out unsalted peanuts which the blue jays and a variety of woodpeckers love, safflower seed (which Cardinals enjoy and squirrels mostly hate) and I have a recipe to make my own peanut butter suet cakes which tons of birds flock to! Cheaper than the store bought kind for sure.

 

You may start to attract squirrels to your feeder before long and may try to get into your feeders. I just put up a squirrel baffle on my feeder pole, and one of my feeders is squirrel proof :lol2  

 

Several bird species will stick around during winter and some will fly south. But during migration you will have new kinds of birds visiting your feeder from Autumn thru Winter. Some may just stay a few days and then continue south while other types will come down from Canada to stay till spring. It is great to see the different types of birds come during the different seasons. :happydance

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