Switch Up Your Bird Feeding Habits

Try something different in your backyard, and you'll be surprised what you see! Trade your bird feeding habits for something new and see what happens.

If you’ve had the same bird feeding habits for years, now’s the time to mix it up and try something new. Here are five different ways to bring all the birds to your yard.

Bird Feeding Habits
Switch sunflower for safflower – birds enjoy it but squirrels seem to avoid it.

Play with dough. Most bird feeding folks have a suet feeder or two in their yards to attract woodpeckers. But suet has come a long way in recent years. Go beyond the bulky blocks in cage feeders and try the new suet doughs on the market. These can be spread directly on trees or other surfaces, upping your feeder space without adding more feeders. Try a suet dough that contains insects or berries to attract a wider variety of birds. Try: Choice Nutty Spreadable Suet from Duncraft.

Switch safflower for sunflower. Tired of squirrels stealing all your sunflower seed before the birds even find it? You might want to try safflower instead. Most backyard birders find that squirrels don’t seem to like it. Safflower may cut down on the variety of birds you see at your feeders, so try mixing it with sunflower seed, or change out just one of your seed feeders.

Spend your bread on corn instead. Love feeding stale bread to ducks at your local pond? While it’s a fun bird feeding activity, it turns out bread may not be that healthy for these floating fliers. Instead, mimic their natural diet with cracked corn. They’ll enjoy it just as much, and it provides nutrition they actually need.

Down to the ground. Ducks aren’t the only birds that feed on the ground. Many other birds, like cardinals and grosbeaks, also prefer to dine down below. You can sprinkle seeds directly on the ground – try it after a fresh snowfall and watch the flocks appear. Bird feeders made especially for ground use are available too. If you worry about predators attacking ground-feeding birds, try installing platform feeders on poles instead. These will attract many of the same birds.

Treat them to fruit and nuts. Want to see a feeding frenzy? Try offering dried fruit and nuts from time to time throughout the winter. Birds that don’t usually visit feeders will make exceptions for these yummy tidbits. Peanuts in the shell are favorites for blue jays (and can keep them away from other feeders), and waxwings and flickers love dried cranberries.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.