SPRING BIRD FEEDING BASICS

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By Joan Cassanova

May 4, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Bird feeding is soaring in backyards everywhere, as people spend so much of their time at home, due to the pandemic. Basic tips can help enhance and entice more birds to backyards and increase bird watching enjoyment.

As you know, in view of all the constraints we’ve lived under and through in 2020, the vast majority of us turned to our own backyards-nature, in particular, for hope, solace, wonder and even entertainment. Nature demonstrated to us that regardless of the crisis we all faced and continue to live through, nature’s normalcy remains intact; flowers continue to bloom, bees continue to pollinate and birds continue to fly, as per usual, despite the Corona Virus. Nature gives us hope and to a large degree, provides us with a sense of  normalcy, a respite that’s nearly impossible to find, elsewhere.

Feeding the birds is not only enjoyable for any age group, it provides much needed stress relief for all who partake. A fascinating 2017 University of Exeter study, focused on nature’s impact on humans in suburban/urban areas, found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people see in an afternoon, at home. Turns out, the benefits of birdwatching come from seeing lots and lots of birds. Quantity not ‘quality’ is what soothes our souls. The number of birds people might see was directly associated with better mental health. “Birds around the home and nature in general, show great promise in preventive health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live,” says lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cox from the University of Exeter.

As coronavirus restrictions persist, 2020 data shows sales of bird feed, feeders, nesting boxes and bird houses spiked as interest in backyard birds soared, while we all spent more time at home than ever before.   The birds have always been there, and they surely don’t know we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, as they’ continue to build nests, migrate, lay eggs and searching food sources- the primary difference is more of us are watching. The human world got quieter; and birds got heard.

People “felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their garden,” researchers say. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard, they add. For millions working and schooling from home, this stress reduction is an unintended bonus to the basic delight of feeding the birds.

Interest in birding isn’t slowing down; if you haven’t tried attracting birds to your backyard, now is a great time to start and for those who are reaping the rewards of watching the birds from home, the experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products, Co. offer bird feed and feeder basics to attract more birds to your backyard. Spring is a busy season when birds expend lots of energy. Offering quality feed invite 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 bird feeder types placed at different heights will always attract more birds than one feeder featuring 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 protects from rain.

Traditional tube feeders are an all-purpose feeder and a must-have for bird feeding, especially for small birds that cling. The Terrific Tube Feeder is made with state-of- the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration; but the best feature is the quick clean removable base that makes cleaning fast and easy.  Just push a button and the bottom of the feeder pops off for super 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 and you’re done.  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.

Most Popular Foods for Spring:

1. 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 safe and more appealing to birds.  Top seed picks for springtime are all-natural Black-oil sunflower, Cole’s “Hot Meats” (sunflower meats 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, this blend 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. Check out all feed options here.

2. * Insects and worms – A healthy, lush lawn is one of the best ways to feed birds who prefer insects and worms. A good lawn will attract the species of insects that birds enjoy. You can also supplement their diet by serving Dried Mealworms in a packaged variety that’s easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms, and birds love them. Mealworms are energy packed, have essential nutrients, fat and protein that are Mother Nature’s perfect treat for insect loving songbirds.

They’re full of energy, easy to feed, and there’s no “ick” factor experienced with live worms.

3. Fresh Fruit: Apple, orange halves and bananas are favored fruits.  

4. Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, high-fat food provides abundant calories and rich nutrition. Try Cole’s “no-melt” suet which can be served all year long. Suet is a favorite high-energy treat.

* Add water- Although natural sources of water will be available, 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 don’t need travel 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 bringing much-needed stress relief and ongoing enjoyment. For more information on attracting specific species of birds, hot products to keep squirrels out of the feeder -naturally, please visit https://coleswildbird.com/ and see all products offered-and for a brief, interesting  history of  the Cole’s family business, please visit (https://coleswildbird.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ColesHistory2019.pdf )