Many people enjoy bird watching, but if your dad isn’t having much luck getting birds to visit his yard, spring is a good time to make some changes that can have songbirds flocking to the yard. By making some simple improvements, you can increase the chances that birds will visit and attract a wider variety of birds. Once birds are visiting, your dad will enjoy watching them, consulting a bird book to find out which species are visiting, and chatting about the birds with friends, family, and caregivers.
Try using a variety of birdfeeders since different birds like different feeding situations. Gravity feeders are usually shaped like little houses with clear sides. The feed is put in through the top and falls out the openings in the bottom. Open shelf feeders are simply small platforms that attach to trees or poles. Some birds prefer these because they can see if danger approaches. Other birds like to eat on the ground, so you can either place a platform feeder on the ground or scatter seeds in the grass. You may also wish to leave some dead leaves on the ground since some birds like to search through them for food. You can also hang suet feeders, which are usually mesh bags or wire baskets that contain suet for birds to peck at through the holes.
The kinds of seeds you make available to the birds will influence which species visit the yard. Here’s a quick guide to seed types and the birds they attract:
- Sunflowers: There are two kinds of sunflowers, each with its own benefits. Black-oil seeds are thin shelled and easy for most birds, including house sparrows and blackbirds, to open. Striped sunflower seeds have harder shells, so they can be used to discourage certain birds from feeding. Sunflowers also attract squirrels, so if you would prefer not to have squirrels at your feeders, you may wish to avoid birdfeed that contains sunflowers.
- White millet: White millet attracts ground feeders, like quails, cardinals, juncos, and doves.
- Thistle: Thistle attracts finches.
- Corn: Spreading corn on tray feeders could bring pheasants, turkeys, grouse, cardinals, grosbeaks, and jays to the yard.
- Safflower: Including safflower seeds in your birdfeeders may draw chickadees, doves, and grosbeaks.
- Nectar: If you want to draw hummingbirds, provide a nectar feeder containing sugar water that is colored, usually red.
Birds also like water, so having a bird bath will make your dad’s yard more attractive. The National Wildlife Federation suggests that fountains, drippers, and other methods of delivering water that make noise will bring more birds to the yard because they can hear the water. Birds also like bushes and trees, so planting a few things for the birds to perch in will help. And, of course, bird houses will give the birds safe places to live, keeping them in the yard. Bird feeders may give your dad the opportunity to watch some baby birds grow up as well.
Feeding and watching birds can give your dad something to do both on his own and with caregivers. People who enjoy nature usually enjoy filling birdfeeders and ensuring that their feathered friends are happy and well-fed.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN PINEVILLE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.