Should I continue feeding birds during Summer?
Many people stop filling their bird feeders with the first sign of spring. The thought is that there is plenty of natural food available for the birds so it’s not necessary to continue to feed them. Others think that by continuing to feed the birds in the spring and summer that the birds get dependent on the feeders and lose the ability to find natural food for themselves. The truth is that feeding birds during Summer benefits both the birds and those who are feeding them. Although there is plenty of natural food available for birds in the spring and summer, it is also the time of giving birth and taking care of the hatchlings. This takes extra amounts of energy and birds that have easy access to high protein food, such as black sunflower seeds, have a much better chance of successfully seeing the babies leave the nest healthy and strong. Another benefit of feeding birds in the summer is you get to see them in their colorful summer plumage. The first time I saw a male gold finch in its beautiful golden summer color I was blown away. You also can see species of birds at the feeder in the summer that you don’t see in the fall and winter. I have found that if you sit rather quietly on your deck with a bird feeder close by, the birds will start coming and feeding even though you are close by. This give us a chance to see the birds much closer than we do in winter.
Safety tips for feeding birds during Summer
Keep your seed dry. Moldy bird feed can be dangerous. Some molds produce the byproduct aflatoxin. This can be fatal to birds. I store my bird feed in a metal garbage can with a firm lid. I also string a small chain threw the handles and the lid and secure it with a small clip. This not only keeps the bird feed dry, but keeps ALL unwanted guest out of the feed.
Put suet in the shade. Suet is a great way to feed birds any time of the year, but in the summer you have to watch out where you hang it. You can buy suet in no-melt varieties, but even these can spoil if in bright sun. If you want to feed the birds suet in the summer, keep it in the shade.
Keep the feeders clean. Washing your feeder about every two weeks will keep it looking great and healthy for your bird friends. To clean, take it apart and run it through the dishwasher on the hot setting or hand wash with soap and boiling water or diluted bleach solution. Rinse, and let dry before refilling.
What kind of feeders should I use?
If you are one of the very few who are not plagued by squirrels getting into your bird feeders, then feel free to use just about any type of feeder out there. A common type is one that looks like a little house with glass angled walls and a flat bottom. You fill the feeder by pulling the top up and poring feed into both sides. It’s attractive and efficient, as long as the squirrels don’t ravage it. Another very popular type is the tubular style. Many of these are made with a clear polycarbonate tube that holds about ¾ of a quart of feed. The preferred models have reinforced metal ports that squirrels can’t bite through and ruin the feeder. These feeders usually have six ports with metal perches beneath each port. Also, the better ones come with a metal cap that protects feed from rain and the pesky squirrel who want to bite the top off.
When do I feed the Humming birds?
Summer is the perfect time to feed humming birds. There are a large variety of Humming bird feeders on the market and most with do the job. Most have some part of them a bright red color. Red attracts the hummers. Many have a water reservoir on their tops to prevent ants from getting into the syrupy water.
What Do I Feed Hummingbirds?
To make a sugar water solution for Humming birds, combine a ¼ cup sugar with a cup of water. There is no reason to dye the water red. Don’t locate the feeder in direct sun. In the shade, your sugar water should last 2 to 3 days. During the 90 degree plus days we’ve seen this summer, it’s best to change the water daily. Mold can grow in the sugar water. It is recommended that you wash your humming bird feeder as frequently and in the same manner as your song bird feeder.
Here at Willow Ridge Garden Center we have a large variety of bird feeders, bird feed and birdbaths. We have what you need to keep feeding birds during Summer. We’d love to see you, so come on down or give us a call.