BIRD FEEDING FAQ
Q: When is the best time to start feeding birds?
A: There is no best or worst time. Feeding during fall and winter provides a ready source of food when
natural sources may be hard to find. Spring and summer feeding provides extra sustenance during the
mating and nesting seasons, and for young birds after they leave the nest.
Q: What if I stop feeding? Will birds become dependent on my feeder?
A: No. A bird's natural instinct is to feed from many different sources. The birds that frequent your
feeders are also making the rounds to your neighbors' feeders, as well as natural sources in the area.
The only danger in interrupting feeding is that it may take a while to attract the birds back when you
Q: How do I attract the greatest variety of birds?
A: Offer a variety of different foods, from appropriately placed feeders. For more on kinds of birdseed
and how to offer them, click here. Also consider adding water for birds to bathe in. A birdbath is great;
one equipped with a dripper or mister is even better. Birds are drawn to moving water.
Q: I've heard that bird feeders can be sources of disease. How can I ensure my feeder is safe
A: Keep feeders and the area around them clean. If the seed becomes wet or moldy, replace it
immediately. Feeders should be washed once a month in a 10:1 solution of water and bleach. Make
sure they dry completely before refilling. Also, clean up droppings and seed hulls under the feeding
station regularly. Empty fouled birdbath water and refill with clean water.
Q: How do I keep starlings off my suet feeders?
A: Try hanging the wire suet basket horizontally, with a piece of wood over the top side. Starlings aren't
quite as adept at hanging upside-down to feed as many other suet-eating birds.
Q: How do I keep squirrels away from my bird feeders?
A: Unfortunately there is no single sure-fire method. You're up against one of the most devious and
determined opponents in the animal kingdom. Many options exist to try, including plastic domes that go
over feeders to prevent access from above, pole-mounted baffles to block intrusions from below,
weight-sensitive feeders that close when a too-heavy creature alights on the perch, and feeders inside
cages of metal mesh too small for squirrels to squeeze through. If all else fails, your only recourse may
be to give the squirrels their own feeding station. Make it more easily accessible than your bird feeders,
and serve peanuts, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, or whole corn.
Q: How do I stop birds from wasting so much seed?
A: Birds can be very picky eaters. Think of young children pawing through a candy bowl in search of
their favorite treats, and you're not too far off the mark. The best way to keep birds from digging through
a seed mix and tossing out what they don't like is to feed a single seed in each feeder rather than a mix.
Either the birds like what's in it, or they don't and leave it alone. We recommend feeding black oil
sunflower seed or sunflower chips in hanging feeders, and millet, cracked corn, and seed mixes in
ground-level tray feeders, so that they'll be available to the bird species that like them best.