When lovely birds visit your garden you feel thrilled and happy. One way to get birds to visit your home on a regular basis is to put out food for them in the backyard. Bird feeding is helpful for the birds in your area, especially in winter when food is scarce. You can either buy or make your own bird feeder at home. The best food for bird feeders can be found right in your kitchen. So there won’t be any added expense to you, and the birds will know they have food to survive:
Before going on to the food you should feed, take a look at the foods which you should not feed birds, whatever be the reason:
Foods you should NOT feed birds
Chocolate: It is toxic for all birds (and cats and dogs as well) as it has theobromine.
Table scraps: Most table scraps are unhealthy for birds. Besides, table scraps attract rats or mice, vermin which you do not want in your garden.
Bread: Never offer stale bread, as moldy bread can actually harm birds. Fresh bread does not have nutrition, unless you combine it with other food.
Salted foods: Birds do not need salt at all, so avoid giving them any food which contains salt.
Best food for bird feeders from your kitchen
1. Shelled peanuts
One of the best food for bird feeders is peanuts which are dry roasted and unsalted. They are high in both fat and protein content which is what birds require, in winter and in summer. You can buy a bird feeder which is tubular in shape and the right feeder for peanuts.
Chicadees, titmice, nuthatches, jays and woodpeckers love peanuts and which you can serve easily from the kitchen. Other birds like finches and cardinals will also eat peanuts. Whole peanuts (in their shells), attract bigger birds.
2. Peanut butter
Another version of peanuts which is there on your kitchen shelf and you can make homemade bird feed using peanut feeder to feed the birds. You can spread some peanut butter (unsalted and without any trans fats) on a feeder and spread some barley seeds on it. The birds will love this delicious recipe!
3. Sunflower seeds (black-oil, striped and hulled)
Birds love sunflower seeds, especially the black-oil variety. Birds which cannot crack the seeds will pick up pieces under the feeder. Though birds eat both striped and black-oil sunflower seeds, black-oil seeds are easier to eat, and also have a high fat content.
Hulled seeds, i.e. seeds which do not have the outer shells, or better known as sunflower hearts can be a mess-free option. Sunflower seeds, whatever the form, are one of the best food for bird feeders you have in your small garden.
Birds need fat to gain energy, and suet is a good source of fat. You will find suet in shops which sell birdseed. Or if you’re in the habit of making suet pudding, you will have it at home. You can chop raw suet blocks for birds, but it can turn rancid quite soon, faster than the commercial blocks. Or melt suet in the microwave or stovetop. Remove and throw the bits which do not melt and allow the suet to harden.
To make a delicious food for your winged guests, here’s the recipe:
You will need:
2 cups of rolled oats, 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs, ½ cup each of chopped nuts and sunflower seeds, 1 cup raisins and 1 pound of suet.
First, cook the oats in water. Crumble bread, and add the cooked oats, seeds, nuts and raisins. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
Next, melt suet in a saucepan till it is soft.
Mix the suet and the dry mix well.
Allow this mix /paste to cool, and then form it into balls.
Tie a string around the balls and hang the balls from trees, or put them in your bird feeder.
This homemade bird feed will provide the birds with proteins and healthy fats, and the birds will flock to eat the food you made so lovingly for them.
Fruits are an important part of our diet, and they are important for birds too. Fruits are the easiest home food that you can set out in your small garden to attract birds. Cut citrus fruits into small pieces, slice apples, bananas, melon rinds etc and put them in your bird feeder. Birds enjoy all these fruits, as well as grapes, so include grapes as part of the fruit food for birds.
6. Mixed seeds
A mixture of seeds which you make at home is best food for bird feeders. Birds like sunflower seeds, cracked corn, peanut chips, dry fruits and sunflower hearts. Buy the sunflower seeds and hearts, and the rest you can get from the kitchen. Pound the dry fruits, corn and peanuts etc and break them down.
Then mix this with the sunflowers hearts/seeds and your homemade bird feed is ready in no time. Make a good quantity of this mix, and since its dry, it won’t go bad easily, and you can feed the birds even if you are in a hurry.
Where should you place your bird feeder?
Most birds will eat from the bird feeders at any level, but there are certain birds which do have some height preferences. So if you want to attract a particular kind of bird, here are some tips:
Ground level: Sparrows, Mourning doves, juncos and towhees prefer ground-level feeders
Hanging feeders: Hanging feeders are best for goldfinches, chickadees and titmice.
Table feeders: Jays, finches and cardinals like to feed at this height.
Tree trunks: Wrens, nuthatches and woodpeckers love to feed from tree trunks.
Birdfeeders in your garden provide birds with much needed food, as their food in nature is decreasing due to human development activities. You would be helping to save the birds and add to the beauty of your garden. Watching birds is delightful and relaxing for you and your family, and will make you feel a part of nature.