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Contents: Basics | Squirrel-Proofing | Types of food

Bird Feeding Basics:

  • Variety of quality seed.
  • Fresh water for drinking and bathing.
  • Ample cover, preferably provided by native plants. Native plants also provide potential nesting sites and a source of natural food.
Bird Feeding Basics at Audubon

Squirrel-Proofing Your Bird Feeders:


Food:
  • Woodpeckers love suet
  • Chickadees and Titmice will eat almost anything from any feeder
  • Finches prefer sunflower seed from a hopper, tube or platform feeder and Nyjer® (thistle) from a tube
  • Cardinals love sunflower and safflower from a hopper, tube or platform feeder
  • Wrens will eat suet when the mood strikes them
  • Mourning Doves will eat safflower, thistle or sunflower from a hopper or platform feeder or scattered on the patio
  • American Goldfinches will eat thistle or hulled sunflower seed from a tube or window feeder.

Source: Wild Bird Feeding Industry (WBFI) - Chart
Milo is the commercial name for sorghum. Millet is a variety of grains from small-seeded grasses, Nyjer® is thistle.

Food Feeder Birds
Nyjer® (Thistle), millet and sunflower chips small hole or mesh tube feeder. Finches, Chickadees and Titmice
sunflower and safflower seeds large port tube feeder Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Jays, Junco, Indigo Bunting, Mourning Doves
Birds that prefer sunflower seed will just empty a tube feeder to get at the sunflower seeds, throwing the other seed types in the mix on the ground. It is best to offer one type of seed in a tube feeder.
See: Tube Bird Feeders

How To Attract the Seven Most Desired Wild Birds
Small Songbirds - finches, chickadees, titmice, pine siskins, ...
Larger birds - Cardinals, Doves, Jays

Food Preference from Project Wildbird:
Black Oil Sunflower (BOS), Cracked Corn (CC) , Fine Sunflower Chips (FSC), Medium Sunflower Chips (MSC) , Nyjer® (N), Red Milo (RM) , Safflower (S), Striped Sunflower (SS) , Whole Peanuts (WP), White Proso Millet (WPM)
 

MOST PREFERRED FOOD TYPE
SPECIES Black Oil Sunflower Striped Sunflower Safflower Sunflower Chips White Millet Nyjer Thistle Cracked Corn Whole Peanuts Shelled Peanuts Suet Mealworms Insects Fruit Nectar
Bluebirds                          
Bushtits                      
Cardinals                      
Chickadees                        
Doves                        
Finches                      
Flickers                      
Goldfinches                        
Grosbeaks                        
Hummingbirds                          
Jays                        
Juncos                        
Kinglets                        
Nuthatches                      
Orioles                        
Siskin, Pine                        
Sparrows                          
Titmouse                          
Towhees                          
Woodpeckers                    
Wrens                      
Number 7 2 2 3 4 3 1 3 3 5 2 5 1 2
Most Preferred
Food Type
See: Wild Bird Seed Comparison Chart at Doctors Foster and Smith for specific food and feeder recommendations.

Avoid budget seed mixtures from grocery stores. They contain fillers birds won't eat.
Black oil Sunflower is the best seed with 21% fat and 14% protein, coupled with a relatively thin shell. A good mix will have 50% of black oil.

Selecting Seeds at Audubon
Homemade Bird Treats

Homemade Suet:
Suet is raw beef or mutton fat. Often it is the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys, and is about 94% fat, largely saturated fat. You should note that it melts at about 21C (70F).
To make bird food, the suet is usually prepared in a block about the size of a tupperware sandwich container, and most of the time as it cools and thickens, other ingredients like chopped peanuts, sunflower seeds, and bird seed is added. This results in a block of high energy food that will survive well in the wintertime. Above 70 F it can become rancid as the suet starts to melt.

  • Melt 1 cup shortening (or lard or fresh ground suet) in a saucepan on very low heat.
  • Add 1 cup peanut butter and stir until melted.
  • To this add 1 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups plain cornmeal. Mix thoroughly.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup birdseed or sunflower chips
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins
  • The final consistency will be putty-like.
  • Pour into a disposable 8 inch by 8 inch aluminum pan and allow to cool.
  • Slice into quarters; each one should fit nicely into a suet cage, available at most garden centers.
  • Store remaining squares in the refrigerator.
How to Make Homemade Bird Suet at WalterReeves.com/
Suet Recipes at BaltimoreBirdClub.org

Stores:
Agway
Wild Birds Unlimited
Petco
Wild Bird Habitat Store
Backyard Wild Birds - Quality Bird Feeding Solutions
BestNest.com

Links:
Bird Watching in hobbies
Bird Feeding Basics at Audubon
† The Autum/Winter 2008-09 New Jersey Audubon magazine is devoted to bird feeding. Project Wildbird
Wild Bird Feeding Industry (WBFI)
Backyard-Birdz.com
Bird pictures:
NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey:
Ecobirder
FeedingBirdsInYourYard.blogspot.com
Birds at BeGardenChic.comx Feeders:
See Stores and links above also.
The Zen Birdfeeder at WildBirdsUnlimited
Creating a Backyard Bird Habitat: 4 Basic Steps to Attracting Avian Visitors | Suite101.com
Feeding Birds at WildBirdGuide.com
Suet Bird Feeders (work well in Winter)
www.bird-house-bath.com
www.birdWatchersDigest.com
Bird Watching
Squirrel Proofing:
Anti-Squirrel Safeguards at Audubon
Squirrel-resistant bird feeder from Chickadee Farm
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders - defend your bird feeders against squirrels
Stokes Tips - Squirrel-Proofing Your Bird Feeders at agway.com
Baffle-Style Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Squirrel examples
Erva Cylinder Squirrel Baffle (For 4 X 4 Wood Posts)
Other:
Bird control products at AbsoluteBirdControl

last updated 12 Sept 2008