Watching, Attracting and Feeding Birds in New York
with Sam Crowe
There are several steps you can take to attract a greater diversity of birds.
The most effective approach is to develop the habitat in your yard. Plant a variety of flowers, shrubs, vines and trees. Leave the seed heads of fall-blooming flowers to remain in place through the fall and early winter, they are a good nature source of food for the birds. Visit the Gardening section of this site for a list of plants.
Provide a variety of feeders and food choices:
Variety is the spice of life. Black oil sunflower is the best all-around choice but you can spice things up by offering Nyjer (A favorite of finches), Suet (popular with nuthatches, woodpeckers and many other species) and mealworms (bluebirds love 'em). You can even offer grape jelly for orioles if they are in your area.
Just Add Water:
Adding a birdbath is one of the best ways to attract a variety of species. Species that do not normally visit feeders will visit birdbaths.
We'll cover birdbaths next week.
We invite you to come back often. The home page is updated every week.
Are birds not showing up at your new feeder?
Patience is the key, the birds will come.
It may take several days to 2 weeks or more for birds to locate your feeder and start coming to it regularly. You may find it more difficult to attract birds to your feeder if you start in the late spring or early summer when the wild food supply is at its peak.
It is normal to see fewer birds during parts of the year. If it appears they have abandoned you, just be patient, they will return.
Many people feed birds only in the winter but feeding all year round can be helpful to the birds. This is especially true during the nesting season when an extra source of food is always welcome. It may take the birds longer to find a new feeder in the spring and summer.
White-breasted Nuthatches are popular at feeders. They will feed on peanuts, sunflower and suet.