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Attracting Spring Birds

With Spring just around the corner, now is a great time start thinking about how to attract birds returning from their winter vacation.

  1. Put out mealworms for a great source of protein and way to attract birds that don’t typically eat seed, such as orioles, warblers, phoebes and vireos.
  2. If you aren’t having a lot of bird activity, check out your feeders. Are they clean? After a storm, seed can get moldy and keep birds away. Also, dirty feeders spread disease such as salmonella. Use a mild solution of bleach and water or anti-bacterial soap to clean out your feeders and make sure they dry thoroughly before you refill them with seed.
  3. Make sure your birdhouses are in good working order before birds use them. Some might need minor repairs after a harsh winter or may have unexpected occupants such as mice. Tighten up any loose screws or nails and make sure the inside of the box is cleaned out.
  4. If you are inundated with red-winged blackbirds or grackles, offer straight safflower seed in one of your feeders. Blackbirds prefer the taste of other seeds and this will give cardinals, chickadee, nuthatches, titmice and house finches a place to eat in peace.
  5. If you are putting up a wood duck box, keep in mind that just because a wood duck will nest 50 feet up, doesn’t mean they have to. A wood duck box mounted on a six foot four by four post with a good raccoon baffle is just as attractive to wood ducks and are ten times easier for you to clean out in the fall.
  6. In wet spring, make sure to clean up excess seed hulls from under your bird feeder. This will go along way to protect the birds from spread disease and make migration much easier on them.
  7. Scrub out birdbaths with white vinegar or a mild solution of bleach and water. Water is very attractive to waxwings and robins!
  8. Put out fruit for early migrants. Try apple chunks, orange halves, chopped grapes, and raisins.
  9. If you don’t want sprouts growing under your feeders this summer, switch to seed mixes out of the shell that won’t germinate. The most popular flavor with the birds is sunflower hearts.
  10. An unexpected spring cold snap can keep insects from coming out that are important to migrants such as warblers, orioles and tanagers. If this happens these birds will look for other sources of
    protein such as sunflower seeds out of the shell and suet. Keep an eye out for these colorful birds. You can also offer mealworms for them, too.
  11. Many birds are attracted by colors. For example, if you have no takers on your jelly and nectar feeder, place red ribbon or fake red flowers on your feeder. Bright colors get hummingbird and oriole’s
    attention. This helps when they arrive early and not all the leaves are out yet.
  12. Put out nesting material for birds. It can be put in a cleaned out suet feeder or on trays. Safe items include pet hair, cotton fibers and yarn that is no longer than six inches in length so the birds
    won’t get tangled.
  13. In spring, a little white millet on the ground can bring in chipping sparrows, white-throated sparrows and indigo buntings.