Offer several different types of food. In winter, for example, black oil sunflower seed, a wild bird mix, Nyjer thistle seed, and suet are the four basic food types that should be offered. We at Alsip Home & Nursery have been offering our own private labeled brand of Wild Bird Feed for over 25 years now and our customers have come to rely on the special blend that we are famous for.
Select feeders that your birds will like. Many birds, such as finches and chickadees, don’t mind the motion of a hanging feeder, but cardinals prefer a stationary place to sit and eat. Birds such as sparrows like to eat off the ground.
Position feeders so that you can watch them, but also so that birds feel safe using them. Birds need trees and shrubbery to perch on, and to escape into. Place ground-type feeders and large feeding stations at a distance of 6-10 feet from conifers and dense shrubs. This gives birds a place to sit, protection from the wind, and keeps them out of reach of a predator that might be hiding in the bushes.
Keep seed in your feeders, especially the day before and the day after bad weather is expected. But don’t waste seed either. Even in winter, feeding activity may slow down in your yard if the weather is warm and there is enough natural food available. Better to fill your feeder every day than to have the seed in it go bad and not be eaten.
Having water available will enhance the number of visitors to your yard. Birds need water to drink and bathe in to keep their feathers clean. And don’t worry, birds are smart enough not to freeze to death. Alsip Home & Nursery has a good selection of heated bird baths and bird bath heaters to help you provide this necessary element for survival.