CT Audubon gives summer bird feeding tips

Summer is an ideal time to feed birds, not only because birds are raising their families, giving birders the opportunity to watch adults feed their young at feeders, but also because there is a much greater variety of birds around in the summer months that can be attracted to feeders, such as hummingbirds and orioles, for example.

Milan Bull, Senior Director Science and Conservation at Connecticut Audubon Society offers some summer bird feeding tips:

Best Summer Bird Foods

Seed: All seeds are good for feeding in the summer, but sunflower seeds of all types will attract the greatest variety of birds. Nyger is especially attractive to the brilliant summer-plumaged American Goldfinches.

Fruit: Many songbirds, such as orioles, finches, and catbirds can be attracted to cut up fruit. Apple pieces, banana slices and orange halves are great additions to your summer feeding station. Sweet fruit in the form of jelly will also attract different species. It can be fun to experiment and see what works best.

Nectar: Besides the ever-popular hummingbirds, nectar will also attract other species such as woodpeckers and orioles. You can make your own by using a mixture of one part sugar to five parts water.

Mealworms: Backyard birders have discovered that they can attract insectivorous birds that avoid seed by offering mealworms at their feeding station. Bluebirds, warblers, wrens and many other species become regular visitors when offered a supply of lively mealworms.

Peanuts: Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice and Chickadees are especially fond of whole or shelled peanuts offered on platforms or peanut feeders.

Suet: True beef suet (as opposed to beef fat) will last longer in the summer months and is favored by woodpeckers. Be sure to get the pure suet or the no-melt suet mix for your feeder.

Birdbath: Add a birdbath with sloping sides. Keep your birdbath low to the ground near some cover for best usage. You will be amazed at the numbers and variety of birds that will thank you for doing this!

·  Avoid: Bird Junk Food (bread, cooked rice, table scraps) especially during the summer, as young birds need a healthy diet during their important growing period.

 

Summer is a great time to feed birds, but keep in mind that it can also attract the unwanted. Raccoons, opossums, mice and deer may turn up at your feeder looking for an easy meal, and bird food can spoil more quickly in the summer heat. Here are some “must do’s” to keep yourself and the birds happy and healthy:

·  Put a tray underneath your feeder to keep spilled seed from reaching the ground.

 

·  Only put enough food in the feeder that will be consumed in a day or two at the most.

 

·  Check the seed regularly for moisture, clumps and mold and keep you birdfeeder clean.

 

·  Keep your feeders in the shade.

 

Summer is really for the birds! With a little thought and experimentation at your feeders you will enjoy a wide variety of colorful birds right in your own backyard.

Visit the Nature Store at Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Fairfield on Burr Street for a large selection of bird seed and bird feeders. Knowledgeable staff are always available to help with the selection process.

For more information call 203-259-6305, ext. 109.

Female and male American Goldfinches. Photo by Twan Leenders.

Female and male American Goldfinches. Photo by Twan Leenders.

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