Wild Bird Feeding Questions
Wild Bird Feeding Questions

Wild Bird Feeding Questions

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

You recently started feeding the birds. Do not be surprised if you do not see birds immediately. It may take several weeks before birds will find a new feeder setup. Be sure to provide the appropriate set-up when starting. Include several different feeder options in your set-up and a variety of seeds to attract different types of birds. Also make sure that your yard provides a bird friendly habitat. If you have few trees or shrubs in the area of your feeder, they may not be attracted to it. Trees and shrubbery provide protective cover to birds in case of predators. 

  It may be the wrong season. Typically in the late summer and early fall you will tend to notice a decrease in activity at your feeder. During this time period, there is generally an abundance of weed seeds, berries and insects in nature that birds will eat. Once it turns cold and nature cannot provide them with food, they will return to your feeders. The number of birds seen at feeders may also be hindered by the breeding season in spring and early summer. Birds form pairs and scatter over the breeding season but tend to be more social in winter months and may come to your feeder in flocks.     The seed in your feeder is not fresh. Birds will not eat from a feeder that contains old or moldy seed. Make sure to clean provide fresh seed and clean your feeders regularly.     Predators. If you have cats in your yard or if squirrels are taking over your feeders, birds may feel threatened and avoid your feeders.     Your neighbors may have put up a feeder. Sometimes you will notice that birds are no longer at your feeder and it may be due to your neighbor. Birds will migrate next door especially if the feeder set up is more appropriate and they are offering more desirable seeds.

I purchased a bag of bird food in early spring. Over the summer I first noticed
worms, than moths. What can I do to prevent this?

Answer: It is natural for moths to lay their eggs in seeds. The eggs lay dormant as long as the seeds are stored in a cool, dry place. In the summer months when it gets hot, the eggs will hatch and you will notice worms. The best way to avoid this issue is to buy seeds in smaller quantities, especially in the warm summer months. Also make sure to store your seed in a cool, dry place.

How do I keep birdseed from sprouting under my feeder?

Answer: The bird feeding industry is constantly trying to find cost effective way to prevent sprouting of seeds that fall onto the ground. At this time, the Nyjer® industry is the only one that heat sterilizes its seed to prevent a majority of sprouting. Options that are available for the other seeds that will sprout include:

  Rake up any old seed or hulls before they have a chance to sprout. Try to place feeders in areas clear of grass or where there is mulch to provide easier clean-up.  Feed sunflower meats or a no-waste bird seed. By doing this the birds are more likely to consume all of the seed and there will be no hulls left to sprout.  Purchase a tray to place under your feeders to catch some of the excess hulls.

How do I keep squirrels from taking over my feeders?


  Try to place feeders at least 12 feet from any surface that squirrels can jump from.  If you are using a pole mounted feeder, make sure to place it at least 5’ off the ground and attach a squirrel baffle below the feeder. If you are hanging the feeder from a tree, place a dome shaped baffle above the feeder.  Purchase a squirrel proof feeder. Many manufactures offer different types of squirrel proof feeders. Some feeders are tube feeders that are enclosed in metal cages which prevent the squirrels from getting to the seed. Others have weighted platforms that cause doors to close over the feeding ports when the heavy squirrel lands on the platform.  Feed safflower in your feeders. Squirrels generally do not like the taste of safflower and will leave your feeder alone.  If you can’t beat them, than feed them. Try diverting squirrels away from your feeders by providing them with their own feed in an area away from your feeders.

How do I keep birds from pecking on my windows?

Answer: Occasionally in spring or summer people may find birds either pecking at their window. This is mainly due to the fact that birds become quite territorial during the breeding season and when they see the reflection in the window, they think it is another bird and respond aggressively. To eliminate this behavior try to remove the reflection they see by putting up a screen, make the glass cloudy or by applying a decal to your window.

What is the recipe for Hummingbird nectar?

Answer: Although there are many brands of commercial hummingbird nectar available for your convenience, it is easy to make a sugar solution to attract hummingbirds. To make the sugar solution, combine 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water. Boil for 1-2 minutes and let cool. Store unused solution in your refrigerator.

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Catherine Tobsing

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