Today is National Bird Day! I know I'm not the only one who likes to pretend the birds that come visit my windowsills are like my pets, so I've rounded up eight types of feeders, treats, and the types of feathered friends each will attract. See my high-flying suggestions to give back in your own backyard when you start this slideshow.
Back in 1984, a designer by the name of Norman Earl created the aptly-named Soda Bottle Bird Feeder ($15). The cast zinc contraption seen on the right is an eco-tastic solution — simply fill any two-liter plastic jug with seed to feed chickadees, robins, and other birds that favor hanging feeders. Better yet, it solidly screws on to keep those unwanted four-legged
pests guests like squirrels out of the flutter's dining establishment.
Designs of all kinds were unleashed over the weekend at the Dwell on Design Expo in LA. Although I wasn't able to make it down to SoCal for the event, I have seen a ton of interesting pics, but sadly not many that cater to our four-legged pals. Not to fear – one of the companies that has me excited to see what else they can come up with is HOM, whose designs are definitely meant to remind you of nature, but possess a cool, modern flair. While looking over their website, the first thing that caught my eye was this beautiful bird house! Not only is it a cool design, it's made from environmentally safe and non-toxic materials, as not to harm those wild birdies you'd be feeding!
I remember going to ponds and lakes near my hometown with a bag of bread in one hand and my mom gripping the other. We were going to feed the ducks our leftover stale bread, a common practice back in the day. But a new study suggests that feeding the birds your bread may not be helping them stay as healthy as we once thought.
While white bread does its job of filling up the tummies of the ducks, geese, swans, and other birds seen around lakes, it doesn't do a good job of giving them any nutritional assistance. Birds quickly get full from the bread, so they can't eat anything else that may contain the nutritional value they need to breed and raise their young. Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK, said: “There are many other household foods that would be much better for them."
To see what kind of foods, just read more
Chickadee is one of my favorite words to say. Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee! So I know these birds (along with woodpeckers, goldfinches, thrushes, bluebirds, and wrens) like peanut butter suet . . . the problem, what in the heck is suet?! After consulting a dear friend (read: google), I learned that it's raw beef or sheep fat. I eat neither beef, nor sheep, so I was at a standstill about where to find such a thing – and whether or not I'd even want to touch it.
Imagine my delight when I found a recipe for peanut butter suet – sounds a lot less scary, and OMG, I've got tons of PB. To see how to make this treat in plastic containers, little balls, or even rolled in wire mesh for birds to come pecking, read more
There are many birdies that like fruit . . . and not just smoothies! To offer up this treat in your backyard choose a feeder with spikes for actual fruit, trays for jelly and, if you're brave with the squirmies, a spot for mealworms. I like this feeder ($24.95) because once again you can see feathered friends from any treeless home — all you need is a window!
To find out which fruit to use – and who will come to dinner – when you read more
If you offer sweet sips of nectar, they will come! Hummingbirds usually move too quickly for a solid look but, as a child, they were a fave at our nectar feeder . . . essentially the only time they were still enough for me to get a good glimpse. Now I'll bet not only hummingbirds and other syrupy lovers will adore the design of this Dew Drop Feeder ($34.99), you will too. Each one is hand-blown of beautiful, recycled glass in Mexico and comes in red, blue, or green. Just add water to a "nectar" mix like Nectar Magic ($4.49 for three) or Ultimate Blend Hummingbird Nectar ($5.99 for a two-pound bag) and find out which feathery friends may stop by when you read more
We're still feeding the birds here on PetSugar and it's now onto the thistle treats. I love this feeder ($21) because the prickly seeds are popular with many lovely songbirds that are welcome to chirp at my windowsill anytime! Some of the pricier foods, thistle runs about $16 for five pounds but, trust me, it's worth it – see who'll come to feed when you read more
Although there are many types of sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds ($4.99 for five pounds) are the most popular for wild birds. These are a great source of high quality protein and oil during cooler months that (unfortunately) don't immediately end on the first day of Spring. Just add them to a pretty tube feeder like this one ($41) or use a flexible alternative that attaches right to a window! I'm sure even your kitties would love it . . . but likely scare the birdies away by their peeking.
By themselves, the black oil sunflower seeds will attract goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, redpolls, and pine siskins. The soft outer shell makes them easy for smaller wild birds to nibble – by adding a tray to the tube feeder, you'll attract a different set of flutters. Find out and read more
As much as North and I love peanut butter, the real thing, not so much. Still, peanuts aren't just for the lil critters, many wild birds enjoy them, too! You can pick up a bag of unsalted shelled or unshelled peanuts at any local store and add them to a feeder in your backyard to call out a bunch of new flutterers.
To see what kind of birds this nut-filled tube feeder attracts, read more