steppinthrax
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What types of bird cages/bird food attract beneficial bird

I see they have Suet cages, bird baths etc... What attract beneficial birds. What type of food should I use???

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

If you put out thistle seed and black oiler sunflower seed you will attract a pretty wide variety of nice birds and limit the undesireables.

Don't use the wild bird mixes you see in stores. It's got a bunch of stuff that no one eats and then it has corn in it that attracts starlings and grackles and all kinds of birds you really don't want.

Get an upside down thistle feeder

https://www.thebirdshed.com/pp-399.html

It has the holes below the perches instead of the other way around, so they have to hang upside down to feed. The birds you don't want (including house finches which will come in flocks and crowd everyone else out) can't do that but gold finches, pine siskins and others can.


If you have squirrels on your property, look for a sunflower seed feeder with a cage around it to block them from it, or you will only be feeding squirrels:

https://www.backyardbird.com/squirblockselect.html

If you are going to feed suet, which does attract some birds that don't tend to come to the seed feeders, hang the suet cage upside down too. Keeps the starlings and grackles away from it. We just got a regular wire cage for the suet and then fastened it to a somewhat larger board. Hang the board from a branch, suet side down. Best not to feed suet in the heat of summer; it gets rancid pretty fast.

Instead you can make a peanut butter log and feed peanut butter:

Orioles and some other birds are only attracted to fruits and sweets, like fruit jelly.

I'm giving you hard learned experience! When we first started bird feeding we attracted such hordes of starlings, grackles and other undesirables, we were going to quit again until we figured some of this out.

Don't over do the seeds, focus on growing things the birds like, with the feeders as just an extra treat to help lure them in...
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Kisal
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Location: Oregon

Start with a bird bath. If possible and within your budget, get one with a little fountain or spray. You already have food available for them in the form of insects, so offer them water, which is very often in short supply during the warm months of the year. Birds love moving water, which is why the fountain or spray is a good addition.

I find that black oil sunflower seed attracts a wider variety of birds than the thistle seed. (In my area, the thistle seed attracts only finches and Pine siskins.) I put out both, though, and I also sprinkle cracked corn and red millet around on the ground.

I don't mind what species of birds come to my property. They all feed their babies insects, so they're all welcome at my place. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

:lol: RBG, as I was reading your reply, I was formulating my comment: "Ah, you've done this before, I see... 8) " but you beat me to the clever remark :lol: All true!

I hand mix BOSS, thistle, and safflower, which attracts cardinals, left over Chinese fried wanton appetizers, and home grown striped sunflower seeds.

A separate finch feeder ALWAYS brings in the beautiful Goldfinches. If I haven't seen them in a while, I just have to top up the feeder with thistle seeds and they come zeroing in.

Bird feeders provide the harried adults a quick fast-food stop, while the babies keep up the constant "backseat" clamor. (Sound familiar?)

A water feature withe some kind of trickling sound definitely attracts the birds. But robins will bath in anything, even turned over metal trashcan lid... or a rice paddy. :wink:

I plant a lot of berry-bearing trees and shrubs to attract the berry feeders that won't come to a seed feeder (Robins, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, which also occasionally nets me a glimpse of orioles and bluebirds, though there are specialty feeders designed to attract them) The small acorns of the Willow Oak brings the Blue Jays -- they're excluded from the wire caged seed feeder. Nuthatches, Titmouse, and Chickadees, Downy Woodpecker, and Red Bellied Woodpeckers are other birds that nest in the woods behind my property and come to the feeder, though Chickadees will occasionally nest in one of the bird houses.

Other rarer but occasionally seen birds include Kinglets and Warblers.

Setting out bird houses usually brings in wrens. Though not as desirable, house sparrows will also almost always occupy a nest box.

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