Presentation and the type of feed used are important depending on the species. Birds like quail and sparrows often prefer grains spread out on the ground. Moving the feeding site often can help avoid the spread of disease. (JIM WARD photo)
A few simple guidelines to correctly ease bird feeding
Once the first snows hit, Northeast Oregon residents respond according to their interests. Skiers wax and tune up their equipment. Snowmobilers gas up and roll out their vehicles. If you’re a birdwatcher, now is the time to dust off your bird feeders and stock them with seed — unless you feed all year-round.
Feeding birds can be as simple as spreading a little chicken scratch along the edge of the driveway or as hardcore as erecting high-tech, stainless steel cylinders and cedar trays, and filling them with gourmet seeds and exotic nibbles. It has a lot to do with how far you want to stretch your wallet.
Two hundred words simply won’t detail all the aspects of feeding birds, but there are some simple guidelines. First off, a good bird identification guide can be useful. Knowing what species are in your neighborhood can dictate what kind of seed you want to offer. All birds don’t eat the same foods. Birds that normally feed on the ground like quail, sparrows and doves usually enjoy millet, cracked corn or wheat. Birds that move in the trees such as finches, chickadees and blackbirds, like sunflower seeds. Woodpeckers relish suet.
Presentation is very important. Some birds including quail and sparrows like eating on the ground. Finches and chickadees like their food up off the ground in a feeder.
There’s always a bully at the feeding station – jays, squirrels and magpies. To help address that issue, adding a separate feeder and stocking it with larger morsels such as cat or dog food, whole corn or suet chunks can address their needs and decrease their time at the station.
There’s a lot of information available regarding the subject of feeding birds. The Internet and the public library are good sources. Talking to others who share your interest can be helpful.
Certainly, the gloomy winter can be a little depressing at times. But, looking out the window and watching the fluttering of colorful wings can be a great stress reliever. And you likely won’t hear any complaints from the critters.