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How to Create a Bird Friendly Garden

The Joy of Feeding Birds

There is a lot of joy to be had, by the simple act of feeding birds.
You have the pleasure of viewing these varied and beautiful creatures. A second benefit is the good feeling you get from knowing that you've helped one of God's little creatures survive the rigors of winter.

Attracting Birds to your Garden

Depending on your circumstance and environment, you may want to feed your birds year round. If you live in an urban area with little or no native vegetation, the birds won't be able to find their natural food. Without a reliable source of food, the birds will soon leave, in search of berries and seed elsewhere. When you first start putting seed out for the birds, you will probably only get a few visiting sparrows or wrens. They will come back, and bring a friend or two. Passing birds will take notice and drop in for a snack. Soon you will find yourself enjoying birds which you have never seen before, and you will be hooked.....
Once you decide to set up a feeding program, your local birds will become dependent on you. Don't feed them when it is convenient for yourself, and then decide to discontinue your hobby when the weather turns bad, or you have a little snow on the ground. This is when your birds will need you the most.
In suburban and rural environments, natural food is more plentiful during the summer months. The birds will stay around, enjoying their favorite snacks. It is not nearly as important to put seed out at this time of the year.
Jovn the Garden Gnome
Different species of birds seek different foods. You will have periods when a certain type of bird is very prevelant, but suddenly just disappear.... and a different species shows up. This normally coincides either with their mating season, or the ripening of certain, different fruits etc. Remember that as soon as your birds have run out of natural feed, they will leave unless you provide them with a good reason to stick around.
You will want to begin feeding your birds before they run out of natural feed, or they will have no choice but to leave, in search of a new source of food. If you set up your feeders early and keep them filled with food, you will attract many wintering birds that will become accustomed to visiting before cold weather begins. Once you have started to feed, don't stop until you are sure that the winter is over. A late and unexpected snowfall covers much of songbird's natural food, leaving them to starve without your help.
Whether you live in the city or the country, one way to be sure of year round birds is to feed them year around.
There is no more wonderful sight in late spring and summer than to watch a mother bird take food from your feeder to her nest to nourish the next generation, or when she first brings her young to the feeder.
If your garden is frequented by particular types of birds, use the following chart to find out what their favorite types of foods are.

Seeds to Feed Different Birds

Species of Bird Foods they like
Blue Jay Black striped sunflower, peanut kernels, black oil sunflower
Stellars's Jay Black striped sunflower, peanut kernels, black oil sunflower
Northern Cardinal Black striped sunflower, safflower seeds, black oil sunflower, cracked corn, millet, other seeds, unsalted nutmeats, raisins
Northern Oriole Hummingbird nectar, grape jelly
Northern Mockingbird Orange halves, sliced raw apple, raisins, suet, corn bread
American Goldfinch Thistle (niger), black oil sunflower, hulled sunflower seeds
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Hummingbird Nectar
House Finch Thistle (niger), black oil sunflower, hulled sunflower seeds
Mourning Dove Oil-type sunflower seeds, white and red proso millet, safflower, cracked corn, wheat, milo, other seeds
Downy Woodpecker Suet, corn bread, peanut butter, unsalted nutmeats, sunflower seeds, cracked corn
White Breasted Nuthatch Black stiped sunflower
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Sunflower seeds of all types, safflower, cracked corn
Clark's Nutcracker Whole and shelled peanuts, suet, black stiped sunflower, black oil sunflower
Tufted Titmouse Black striped sunflower, peanut kernels
Gray Catbird grape jelly
Dark-Eyed Junco White proso and red proso millet, finely cracked corn, oil-type sunflower seed, unsalted nutmeats, canary seeds
Gray Jay Raisins, suet, cat food
Evening Grosbeak Black striped sunflower, black oil sunflower
Black-Capped Chickadee Suet, black striped sunflower, peanut kernels, black oil sunflower, cracked unsalted nutmeats, safflower
Carolina Chickadee Suet, black striped sunflower, peanut kernels, black oil sunflower
Native Sparrows Red or white proso millet, oil-type sunflower seeds, cracked corn, some safflower.