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Invite Birds To Your Yard

HOW TO MAKE A BIRDSEED WREATH

Invite the birds to your yard and bring song, color and life to your home. Bird watching is one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Their colorful and entertaining presence is fascinating to observe, especially through the long, dreary days of winter. It's always a delight to see the variety of birds that drop by for a nibble or a rest. Providing food for birds can make birds' lives easier too. Winter is a difficult time for birds and finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold. Here is a simple activity to make your own birdseed wreath to feed your backyard friends.

MATERIALS

  • Grapevine Wreath
  • Crisco
  • Birdseed
  • String or Twine
  • Berries

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Tie string or twine to the wreath making about a 4-inch loop.
  2. Spread Crisco on the wreath form.
  3. Sprinkle birdseed on the wreath as desired.
  4. Decorate with berries from your yard.
  5. Hang near a window so you can enjoy watching the birds!
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Backyard Birding

Invite the birds to your yard and bring song, color and life to your home.

  1. Plants as a food source. Birds are attracted to seeds, berries, fruits and nectar. A successful bird garden includes plants that bear these foods. Remember that a variety of plants attract the greatest diversity of bird species. Some plants to consider include black-eyed susans and sunflowers for their flowers and seeds; tubular-shaped, nectar-producing flowers to attract hummingbirds; trees and fruiting plants such as crabapples, dogwoods, serviceberries, sumacs, and viburnums.
  2. A Place for nesting and protection. A variety of bushy shrubs, canopy trees and groundcovers provide the nooks and crannies birds need to nest and find food. These plants provide shade from the sun and protection from wind and rain. Conifers such as pines and spruces provide cover, sap, seeds, and nesting sites; and deciduous trees such as oaks, chestnuts, and hickories provide nuts and good nesting locations.You can also provide man-made shelters like houses and roosting pockets as seen above.
  3. Water. Wild birds need a continuous supply of fresh clean water at all times of the year, for both drinking and bathing. During the colder months, fresh unfrozen water is just as important. A source of water can dramatically increase the number of wild birds you attract in your backyard.
  4. Supplemental Food. Plants may not always supply sufficient food for our fine feathered friends. By placing seed or suet in a feeder you can attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. Place your feeders in a quiet area where they are easy to see and convenient to refill. Place feeders close to natural cover, such as trees or shrubs, which offer refuge to birds as they wait their turn to feed. Evergreens are ideal, as they provide thick foliage that hides birds from predators and buffers winter winds.
  5. Groundcover. Many birds such as sparrows, thrashers and thrushes find their food among fallen leaves and groundcover. Low, spreading groundcovers that provide berries are good choices.
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For the Birds...

Bird has become one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy these fine-feathered friends. Surveys reveal that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds.

So what, you may ask, has made watching birds the fastest growing hobby in the country second only to gardening? The attraction is obvious ~ feeding birds brings them closer, so we can see them more easily. Their colorful and entertaining presence is fascinating to observe, especially through the long, dreary days of winter. Setting up a backyard bird feeder can make birds' lives easier too. Winter is a difficult time for birds, and finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold.



What should you serve your bird visitors for dinner? If you want to attract many different species of birds, you'll need to offer a variety of foods. In most areas, black-oil sunflower seed tends to attract the greatest variety of birds. It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and a high fat content. Since it is small and thin-shelled, it is easy for small birds, like the Tufted Titmouse, to handle and crack. Striped sunflower seeds, which are larger, have thicker seed coats.

Although sunflower seeds are the all-round favorite, especially for tree-dwelling birds, some birds prefer other types of food. Blackbirds enjoy corn, whereas many ground-feeding birds, like doves, prefer white millet or red milo.

Be wary of commercial seed mixes. They are often a mixture of sunflower seeds plus a high proportion of less appealing "fillers" such as millet, oats, wheat, flax, buckwheat seeds, and red milo. Birds tend to pick out the prized sunflower seeds and leave the rest. Instead, try making your own birdseed mix. Pour about 25 pounds of black-oil sunflower seed, 10-pounds of white proso millet, and 10 pounds of cracked corn into a clean trash can. Use a broom handle to mix it up.
 Be sure to store your bird food carefully. Keep seed in a dry, cool place, in a rodent-proof, metal can. Be sure to check the seed often for mold, and throw out any seed that is questionable.

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