If you enjoy the outdoors, bird feeding may be the perfect new hobby. Spring is a great time to set up a new feeder and watch the birds flock to your yard.

You need to have the right habitat for birds, so assess your habitat and see what kind of birds you have. Most birds that are attracted to feeders live in trees or areas of mixed trees and shrubs. These include chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, finches and woodpeckers. If you have trees and woods nearby, you will be more successful at attracting these birds than if you live in a city or open farmland. Birds also need to find you, see the bird seed and get used to coming to your feeders.

Buy feeders that have quality construction. Examine them to see if they are easy to open, fill and clean.

Stokes Select large easy fill plastic lantern
Stokes Select Large Easy Fill Plastic Lantern

Choose the right kind of seed and feeders to attract the right birds. To attract the greatest variety of birds, use a variety of feeders. Choose from hopper, tube, finch and suet feeders.

and platform feeders will attract a wide variety, including larger birds such as cardinals, because they have ledges and larger areas for large birds to land. Fill hopper or platform feeders with a quality mixed seed that contains a good quantity of black oil sunflower seed. Sunflower is the number one choice of feeder birds.

Tube feeders are usually attractive to medium and smaller-sized songbirds such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and finches. Fill tube feeders with sunflower or hulled sunflowerFinch tube feeders are just for finches. Fill finch feeders with Nyjer (also called thistle, but this is not the same as the wildflower thistle) seed. You should only use Nyjer in finch feeders because this is a tiny seed that fits through the tiny holes in a finch feeder. You cannot use sunflower in a finch feeder; the seed is too big to fit through the holes.

Stokes Select double suet feeder
Stokes Select Double Suet Feeder

Use Stokes Select® suet feeders and fill with Stokes Select® suet. Suet is rendered beef fat mixed with bird seed. This is a favorite of woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches.

Mount feeders on the Stokes Select® Bird Feeder Pole. Place your bird feeder pole at least 12 to 15 feet or more from any place a squirrel can jump from because squirrels like bird seed and will try to get to your feeders. It is helpful if trees are somewhat nearby because birds live in the trees and like a place to rest and eat the seeds from the feeder. Place the Squirrel-X® Squirrel Baffle on the pole below the feeder and this will prevent a squirrel from climbing the pole.

If you are unable to use a pole for mounting bird feeders because you cannot place it far enough away from any place a squirrel can jump from, then use our Squirrel-X® squirrel-proof caged feeders. Squirrels cannot enter but small feeder birds will. You could place this anywhere. Fill with sunflower seed.

Store seed in a cool, dry place, such as a covered can. Clean feeders frequently and fill with fresh seed. Rake up old seed off the ground.

Add a bird bath or water feeder and refill with fresh water frequently. Add more trees and shrubs to your yard, get a bird identification guide and binoculars, and you will create a bird Eden to enjoy!

© Don & Lillian Stokes, 2014