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Spring bird feeding basics


This bluebird is shown enjoying mealworms. Photo courtesy of Cole’s Wild Bird Products Co.

During the global pandemic, sales of bird feeders and bird feed continue to skyrocket as people flock to the avian world right outside their windows.
Interest in birding isn’t slowing down. For those reaping the rewards of watching birds from home, the experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products Co. offer information on bird feed and feeder basics to attract more birds to your backyard.
Spring is a busy season, when birds expend lots of energy claiming territory, seeking out mates, building nests, laying and incubating eggs and raising their young. Offering quality feed invites birds to your backyard and provides a reliable food source, which can have a positive impact on bird’s reproductive success and the survival of their young.
Feeders
A variety of feeder types placed at different heights will always attract more birds than one feeder featuring just one type of seed. Start with two feeder types that will accommodate most feed options.
Bowl feeders are great for serving not only seeds, but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet in either cake or kibble form. Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder comes with an adjustable dome cover that you can raise or lower to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to the food, and it also helps protect from rain.

Traditional tube feeders are a basic, all-purpose feeder and a must-have for bird feeding, especially for finches, nuthatches and other small birds that cling. The Terrific Tube Feeder is made with state-of- the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration, but it also has a quick clean removable base for easy access to the inside. Rinse the feeder well with soapy water, dunk it into a nine-to-one water-bleach solution, rinse and dry. Then just pop the bottom back on. Regular cleaning of feeders is essential, preventing mold, germs and disease. It’s important to be good stewards when feeding birds by providing safe and clean feeders.
Popular foods
• Birdseed: Not all birdseed is created equal. Look for quality blends without cheap filler seeds, like red millet and oats. All-natural seed, containing no chemicals or mineral oil, are safer and more appealing to birds. Top seed picks for springtime are all-natural black-oil sunflower, Cole’s “Hot Meats” (just sunflower meats, no shell, infused with Habanero chili peppers that birds love and squirrels dislike), or try Special Feeder blend, packed with favorites including black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, black striped sunflower, raw peanuts, safflower and pecans, which attracts the greatest number of wild birds. Cole’s offers a wide variety of feed, researched and specifically formulated to attract certain bird species, as well as the largest number of birds and the greatest variety of birds.
• Dried mealworms: Full of energy, essential nutrients, fats and proteins, mealworms are a preferred food for adult insect-loving songbirds. Plus, in early spring if the ground is still hard, birds may struggle to extract insects and worms from soil, so providing them with a supply of mealworms can help them get the protein and energy they need. Dried mealworms are easy to feed, less messy and there’s no “ick” factor experienced with live worms.
• Fresh fruit: Apple and orange halves and chunks of banana are favorites for orioles and tanagers.
• Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, high-fat food provides abundant calories and rich nutrition. Some believe suet should only be offered in winter months due to possible melting, but Cole’s no-melt suet can be served all year long. Suet is a favorite of woodpeckers all year, but in spring, tanagers, warblers and bluebirds love this high-energy treat.
Although natural sources of water will be much more abundant, it’s still a good idea to provide a fresh water supply, particularly if birds are nesting in your backyard. Providing a nearby water source means birds do not need to go too far from the nest to drink and bathe, which could leave their eggs or hatchlings vulnerable to predators.
Using the right feeders and high-quality feed will enhance and entice more birds to your backyard for your ongoing enjoyment.

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