Our Tips and Tricks - How To Attract More Birds

Tips to Attract Certain Species

Attracting Cardinals – Cardinals are naturally ground feeding birds. In order to attract them onto a feeder, make sure to get one with large perches. Or better yet, get one of our platform or hopper style feeders that have large ledges for cardinals to land on with ease. Cardinals will rarely land on stick type perches or perches that force them to turn sideways to eat seed.

Another trick for maximizing your chances of getting cardinals is to have a dedicated safflower feeder, preferably a hopper or platform feeder as mentioned above. Since fewer birds eat safflower, there is less competition for this seed. Cardinals love it, and with fewer birds to deal with they are more likely to visit your feeder.

Attracting Hummingbirds – Seeing these amazing birds up close is an incredible experience, but many people struggle to attract them. They are in our area from early May through mid-October. We carry a variety of feeders that our specially designed to attract them. The most important thing to do is to make sure you keep your nectar fresh. Native plants are constantly producing fresh nectar, so you have competition. How often you change the nectar depends on how hot it is outside, but the general rule of thumb is:

  • 80+ degrees: Every 2 days
  • 65-80 degrees: Every 3 days
  • 50-65 degrees: Every 4 days

We also carry a natural preservative that will approximately double these times. We carry premade nectar as well, but you can also make your own. Nectar is simply 4 parts water to one part sugar. Use regular table sugar; not cane or any other types. We recommend making 1 quart at once (4 cups water and 1 cup sugar). Heat it up so that all the sugar dissolves. By making this amount, you are not having to constantly make it every few days when you need to change out the nectar in the feeder. Keep it in a container in your refrigerator – it will stay fresh for about 2 weeks.

Be persistent and follow some of our wild bird feeding tips. Once you attract hummingbirds for the first time your odds of getting them in the future increase. They have excellent memories and will often visit the same feeders and even use the same nests in subsequent years.

Finally, if you feel like giving up, make one last attempt in mid-August through the end of September. This is when hummingbirds most often visit nectar feeders. They are migrating back south and this requires lots of energy. Help them migrate and enjoy them in your yard!

Attracting Baltimore Orioles – One of our favorite birds, it is in our logo after all! Orioles love grape jelly and oranges. We carry a variety of feeders to attract this gorgeous bird, as well as a specially formulated jelly that is similar to their natural diet.

Make sure you have your oriole feeder out on May 1st. From May 1st through mid-June is when they are most active on feeders. They become less common after this once they start breeding, as they feed their young a diet of almost exclusively insects. We recommend keeping the feeders out during this time, but if you are not getting any activity for a few weeks you can take them down. But make sure to try again from mid-August through September when they are migrating back south. They are generally not as active during this time as in spring, but your odds of getting them are still good, especially if you were successful in spring.

To increase your odds of success, make sure your oriole feeder is out in the open. These birds fly high overhead scouting for food. If your feeder is under an overhang or tree, it is less likely that they will find it. You can also try cutting oranges in half and spiking them on your fence or other objects throughout your yard. This will help to get their attention as they fly overhead, letting them know that your yard is a great place to dine!

Attracting Goldfinches – One of the most beautiful and brightly colored birds that you are almost guaranteed to get if you put out the right things. The most important thing is to provide fresh Nyjer (thistle). We get our seed deliveries weekly to ensure you have access to the freshest seed possible. We recommend only buying in quantities that you can go through within 3-4 months of purchase. In addition, once the seed is in the feeder and exposed to the elements, it will only stay fresh for about 1 month. For this reason, we recommend only filling feeder about half way, at least until your goldfinch activity is sufficient enough to empty the feeder in under a month.

There are two general types of goldfinch feeders; enclosed tube feeders with small holes and mesh feeders. We highly recommend the mesh type feeders. They are more natural for the goldfinch to cling to, are less likely to clog, can dry out it if it rains, and can accommodate more goldfinch. In addition, we strongly suggest a weather dome on top of your finch feeder. It will help keep the seed fresher by keeping away moisture, saving you money in the long run. In addition, you are more likely to get activity when it is raining or snowing so the goldfinch can keep dry at the feeder.

Blue Jays – One of the most strikingly colored birds in the area. Their favorite snack is peanuts in the shell. Our recommended feeder is the peanut wreath, which is simple and affordable. Get one today and enjoy these beautiful birds!

Attracting Woodpeckers and Nuthatches – Woodpeckers and nuthatches will eat sunflower, peanuts, mixed tree nuts, and suet. To maximize your chances of success, we recommend having both a dedicated suet feeder and a dedicated shelled peanut or mixed tree nut feeder. Make sure to get a suet feeder with a tail prop. Woodpeckers use their tails to stabilize and support themselves as they drill, so having a suet feeder with a tail prop makes it easier for them to eat and raises your chances of attracting them, especially the larger species like hairy, red-bellies, and northern flickers. We also recommend having a mesh feeder with mixed tree nuts. The larger nuts make it difficult for sparrows and other birds to pull them out of the feeder, but it is easy for woodpeckers and nuthatches as they have bills better suited for the task.

Attracting House Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, and Tree Swallows – These birds don’t eat seed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t attract them to your yard! These birds will readily use bird houses. Wren houses should have a 1 1/8” opening and bluebird and swallow houses should have a 1 ½” opening. We carry houses that are specifically designed to accommodate these birds! Make sure to get a predator guard to prevent squirrels and other birds from widening the hole.

You can also try putting out mealworms, especially for wrens and bluebirds. We carry freeze dried mealworms, and better yet, live mealworms.  Bluebirds prefer open areas like meadows, fields, and golf courses. Trees swallows are more common near wetlands like marshes and swamps which produce lots of insects for them to eat.

Once you know how to attract wild birds, you’ll love watching them return to your yard. It might take time to find what works, but it’s worth it!

Tips to Combat Pesky Critters

Having trouble with squirrels? The arch nemesis of bird feeders everywhere. But not to worry, we have solutions that we guarantee will work!

  • Hot pepper products. Squirrels have taste buds like we do and birds do not, and therefore cannot sense how spicy the food is. But don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe for them to eat and the squirrels will stay away.
  • Squirrel proof feeders. These feeders are weight sensitive so that when a squirrel jumps on them, their weight closes access to the food ports. Because birds are so much lighter, they have no effect and can continue to eat from the feeders.
  • A pole with a baffle. This is the best way to keep squirrels away since you are not limited in what type of feeders or seed you can use. We recommend the large cylindrical baffles since they are the most full-proof at foiling the squirrels. The top of the baffle needs to be at least 5 feet off the ground. In addition, the pole itself needs to be 8-10 feet away from anything of similar height to prevent the squirrel from leaping horizontally over the baffle.

Having trouble with Raccoons? These animals can sometimes cause a lot of damage if not kept in check. They are excellent climbers, great problem solvers, and have good dexterity which allows them to lift and sometimes throw feeders onto the ground. To keep them at bay, get one of our pole systems with a raccoon baffle. We guarantee they will not get around them!

Having trouble with deer? Deer will often find seed feeders and empty them in no time at all. In addition to hot pepper products, try building our customized pole system to keep them away. In order for a feeder to be deer proof, the part of the feeder where the seed comes out needs to be at least 6 feet off the ground. We have ways to meet these requirements while still making it easy to refill your feeders. 

Having trouble with skunks and possums? These animals love to eat the seeds that fall to the ground from your feeders, but they can often be a nuisance, especially if you have a dog. Here are a few ways to cut down on their presence.

  • Minimize the amount of seeds that fall to the ground. The best way to do this is by offering straight seed instead of a blend. Whenever you offer food with multiple ingredients, birds will sort though it to find the seed they want the most, throwing the other seeds to the ground. By offering a straight seed, you eliminate the need for the birds to this. Offer a straight shell-free seed like sunflower chips to be as clean as possible, leaving no left-over shells to attract animals. Add one of our large trays beneath the feeder to catch what little does fall for the cleanest possible setup.
  • Try our new super spicy seed cylinders! Skunks, possums, raccoons, squirrels, and deer have taste buds like ours, but birds do not and can’t sense how spicy the food is. What seed does fall to the ground will not be attractive to these animals.

Tips to Combat Nuisance Birds

Having trouble with Grackles and Starlings? These birds often travel in huge flocks, descending on the feeders in your yard and scaring all your other birds away. There are a few ways to help cut back on these pesky birds eating all your seed. Try one of these wild bird feeding tips or a combination to find what works best for you.

  • Switch to safflower seed. These birds don’t like safflower and have a difficult time breaking open its tough shell. Cardinals, chickadees, house finch, house sparrow, and rose-breasted grosbeaks love it. The only down side is woodpeckers and blue jays don’t like it, and it is not the favorite of nuthatches.
  • Get an upside-down suet feeder. Grackles and starlings have a difficult time hanging upside down, while woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees can do so with ease. We carry several upside-down suet feeders to keep these trouble makers at bay.
  • Get a cage for your tube feeders. We only recommend this as a last resort, as a cage that keeps out grackles and starlings will also keep out cardinals, blue jays, and larger woodpeckers. However, it is a full proof solution. If you already have several feeders, think about adding one of our tube feeder with a cage so that your smaller birds have a feeder that’s exclusively for them. This increases the odds that they will visit you since they don’t have to compete with larger birds to obtain food.

Woodpeckers damaging your house? While we certainly enjoy seeing woodpeckers in our yard, they can sometimes do a lot of damage to the wood siding on your house. There are 3 reasons that woodpeckers will peck on siding. 

  1. They are looking for food. Make sure that you don’t have a bug infestation problem in your siding. Once you have confirmed that is not the case, think about putting out a suet or peanut feeder, as this can reduce the temptation for them to seek food in your siding. It is a misconception that feeding them increases the chance that they will damage your home. In fact, studies have show the opposite. Regardless of whether you put out food, woodpeckers are living around your property.
  2. They are attempting to make a cavity. Woodpeckers are one of a few species of birds that actually spend their nights in cavities for protection and warmth, in addition to breeding. Try putting out one of our woodpecker houses to lure them away from yours.
  3. They are making noise to establish territory. This reason is the trickiest to prevent. You can try putting out our scare tape, which reflects light and scares birds away. However they will often move to other areas, and covering your whole house in scare tape is impractical. 

As a last resort, you can contact animal removal services if the damage to your home is becoming severe. Companies such as ABC wildlife will apply for the necessary permits to come to your home and remove the woodpecker.

Have birds colliding with your windows? Try our UV window decals to break up the reflection without making your windows unsightly! Birds see deeper into the UV spectrum then we do which helps them locate berries and other food. Our UV coated decals don’t stand out to our eyes but create a very noticeable warning for the birds.

Have birds attacking their reflection in the window? Once again, try the UV decals mentioned above. If that fails, you will have to totally eliminate the reflection by placing something in front of the entire length of the window.

Overwhelmed with house sparrows? Sometimes these birds can take over your feeders and prevent other birds from visiting. This is an odd trick, and no one really knows exactly why it works, but it has proven fairly effective at discouraging them while not effecting other birds. Get regular monofilament fishing line and cut it in strains. Attach the strains to the top of the feeder or dome and have them run the full length of the feeder and a few inches past the bottom. Don’t anchor them, just have them blow loosely in the wind. Start off with four strands evenly spaced apart. If that doesn’t work, increase the number to eight. This trick works better if you attach the fishing line to a dome, so that it hangs several inches away from the feeder instead of right next to it.

Other Tips

Feeder location – Remember that birds are constantly having to deal with the threat of predators, especially hawks. You will have less success and it will take birds longer to get used to a feeder that is in a location where they feel trapped. In between two houses that are close together or in an inset area is not the best place. If a hawk comes from the opposite direction, it leaves the birds with no place to flee, making your feeders a less attractive destination. If an area like this is your only option for putting up feeders, then you can help offset this probably my providing cover like bushes and shrubs.

Providing Cover – As mentioned above, birds are constantly thinking about predation from hawks. By providing them cover you can help alleviate this concern and increase your chances of attracting a variety of species. Choose bushes or shrubs that stay green year-round so birds can always take advantage of the cover they provide.

Plant Native Plants and Shrubs – Many birds don’t eat seed, but by planting the right things you can raise your chances of seeing many other species. Cedar & bohemian waxwings, many types of warblers, baltimore & orchard orioles, and many other birds love berries. We are currently working on compiling the best advice to create a backyard bird sanctuary using plants, so stop back again soon. However, one thing to keep in mind is to have plants that go to yield at different times throughout the year so that there is a consistent source of food for these birds.

Providing Houses – In addition to having the right seed and feeders, providing birds with houses can also increase your chances of success. See the tips above under “attracting house wrens, eastern bluebirds, and tree swallows”. Make sure that you place your houses away from feeders. In addition, no two houses should be closer than 10 feet.

Be Patient – It often takes birds weeks and sometimes even a month to get used to a new feeder. They are creatures of habit, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see them eating from your new feeder right away. Hawk activity can also result in periods of little to no bird activity. Just be patient and wait for the hawk to move on and your activity should resume shortly.

Be Consistent – This is very important if you want to know how to attract wild birds. Making sure your feeders are never empty will raise your odds of success. Birds will find other sources of food if your feeders are empty, so don’t tempt them elsewhere by running out of seed.