I always enjoy watching the variety of birds that gather and feast outside my window.
One of the easiest and most beautiful ways to observe and appreciate wildlife is by feeding the wild birds. Setting up a feeder on your property allows you to see avian visitors up close, and to understand the types of birds that frequent your neighborhood.
I have a number of feeders at my Bedford, New York farm, and all the birds love to come by and dine on the seed I provide. Feeding the birds is important - it helps to sustain local wild bird populations, especially during the cold, harsh winters and challenging migration periods. I hope these photos inspire you to take a closer look at the birds in your own yard - they are stunning animals. Enjoy…
In winter, my bird feeders are refilled every morning. It’s important to keep feeders full as birds often seek out reliable food sources to help them survive the colder months.
Feeders should be set up where they are easy to see and convenient to fill. They should be placed where seed-hungry squirrels and bird-hungry cats cannot reach them, and if near a window, no more than three feet from the glass to prevent possible collisions.
This group of feeders is located on the back side of my carport.
While some birds enjoy eating from the ground, others prefer tube feeders – hollow cylinders with multiple feeding ports and perches. Tube feeders attract small perching birds such as finches, goldfinches, titmice, and chickadees.
Using a pole with a hook on the end, each feeder is carefully removed from its hanging location.
This birdseed came from Wellwood Pigeon Store in Lindenhurst, New York. The shop was recommended to me by my neighbor and bird fancier, Frank Bua. http://www.wellwoodpigeon.com
Nyjer is a great seed to offer birds, especially in winter because it contains more oil, and a higher calorie content, so birds can store fat to survive the season.
This is a mixed seed mix.
This seed mix includes white millet, black oil sunflower seeds, striped sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
When it’s time for filling the feeders, Phurba fills two galvanized metal cans with seed.
And then fills each feeder behind the carport – each tube holds about three quart-sized containers of seed.
Once each feeder is filled to the top, it is carefully returned to its spot – all ready for hungry birds to feast. It doesn’t take long before they start arriving.
Some birds patiently wait for the seed to be replenished.
Even if your bird visitors are not entirely dependent on your food supply, try not to leave them without food. If you plan to be away, fill extra feeders, or ask a willing neighbor to continue feeding your birds until you return.
These tube feeders allow the seed to flow only when birds peck at it, which helps keep any spillage to a minimum.
Sparrows are primarily seed eaters, but also enjoy eating small insects. Though they are not flashy in color, and may often be overlooked or considered common, the sparrow is a very melodious bird.
Phurba fills all the bird feeders around the same time every day – he finds some of them completely empty, while others are still quite full.
On the other side of the carriage road, under my clematis pergola, are several more feeders that need refilling.
Phurba begins at one end and brings down each bird feeder.
Before refilling the feeder with new seed, Phurba gives the feeder a shake to dislodge any that were compacted.
Phurba fills this feeder with mixed seed. And then carefully returns it to its spot for the hungry birds.
Look closely and you can see this bird is holding a seed – there is always something amazing to see when watching and feeding our wild avian friends.
Phurba fills this feeder with Nyjer seed.
Nyjer seeds are favored by goldfinches, chickadees, doves, and other small birds.
When looking for bird feeders, consider the type of feeder and the size of its holes to know what kind of food would work best.
The house finch is commonly found in North America, and is an adaptable, colorful and cheery voiced bird.
When starting to feed birds, it may take time for new feeders to be discovered. Don’t be surprised if the feeding station doesn’t get visitors right away. As long as feeders are clean and filled with fresh seed, the birds will find them.
Phurba enjoys learning about all the different birds that come to the farm.
This is a black-capped chickadee. These birds are highly curious about everything, including humans. Its black cap and bib, white cheeks and gray back, wings and tail make it an easy bird to distinguish and identify.
Here’s another chickadee sitting in one of the trees nearby.
I have many bird feeders hanging at the farm, and it is quite a commitment to keep them filled all year long, but it is comforting to know I am helping our wild bird populations survive the cold season.
Phurba will store the rest of the seed in closed containers, away from other critters – until tomorrow, when he feeds the wild birds again. What birds do you see out your window? Share your observations in the comments section below.