Monday, January 31, 2011
Bringing Wildlife to Your Home & Garden
Feeding wild birds is one of my favorite hobbies. It is also a hobby that, when indulged, can add warmth and interest to a home, both inside and out. By carefully placing a bird feeder, birdhouse, and/or birdbath on your property, you will not only draw the wildlife within viewing distance of a window, but you will add interest to your landscape design and exterior décor.
If you are new to bird feeding, I would suggest you start by purchasing a “tube” birdfeeder. You can use this type of feeder all year long and it feeds a variety of birds. You may want to consider a squirrel proof feeder if you have the happy little creatures in your yard or you can try what I’ve done for years and fill it strictly with Safflower seeds. This doesn’t work for everyone, in every part of the country, but it works like a charm for me. The squirrels won’t go near the stuff.
During the winter months, the birds enjoy a suet feeder. Suet offers an excellent source of the high protein the birds need to keep their energy up during the cold weather season. In the summer be sure and add a hummingbird feeder. You will be delighted the first time one of these tiny, little creatures comes to visit. Place all of these bird feeders on a mounting pole on your deck or near a window and they will not only bring the birds where they will be easy to see, it will make the feeders easier to fill.
As you become more involved in this wonderful hobby you will want to add a platform feeder, a thistle seed feeder and a bird bath. Birds need water even in the winter so if you may want to purchase a heating element to keep the bird bath water from freezing. Lastly, add a birdhouse and you will be off and running.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attracting wild birds to your home and gardens. Next time I will give you a few suggestions for incorporating bird feeders, etc. into your landscape design. In the meantime, you might want to begin shopping for the basics. You will be delighted to discover that there is a plethora of products available both online and off. In these days of budget constraints, I prefer to buy my feeders and birdhouses online. I have discovered that the small, local bird supply stores, should you be lucky enough to have one near you, carry top quality merchandise, but at premium prices. The other alternative is likely a home improvement big box store that offers a lower priced selection, but also lower quality. For me, shopping online is the perfect alternative.