Summer bird feeding in your backyard is very satisfying, both for you and the wild birds.
Some people are of the opinion that it is not necessary to feed the wild birds during the summer.
The truth is that it is never necessary for us to feed wild birds at any time of year.
Birds have survived for thousands of years without our help.
It is only for our pleasure and curiosity that we lure them to our backyards for bird watching.
Summer feeding provides the potential of attracting a far greater variety of birds than in the winter bird feeding season.
Summer is the most heavily bird populated season for the northern United States and Canada.
If a bird feeder is only put out in the winter, the opportunity to observe the birds during their active spring and summer season will be missed.
Numerous wild birds return in the spring to nest and raise their baby birds.
This behaviour will repeat itself many times over the course of the summer as some species may raise two to four families in one season.
Summer bird feeding increases a bird watcher’s opportunity to witness these wonderful events.
The parent birds will bring their young to backyard bird feeders after the young have fledged from the bird nest.
This provides a fascinating occasion to see the parents feeding their young. They will be using the bird food from your feeder too!
These are moments that you will not want to miss and will be able to witness while summer bird feeding.
Some birds, such as the Goldfinch, will be dressed in their mating plumage for the summer season.
The male Goldfinch keeps his bright yellow colour most of the summer.
Then they begin to turn back to the yellowy green colour of the female during the autumn season.
To attract these beautiful birds for backyard bird watching, put out a
specially adapted feeder filled with nyjer, as this tiny black seed is
their favourite food.
The two outside nectar feeders featured below are fruit & jelly feeders as well, which Orioles love.
They also feature built-in ant motes around the post of the hanger.
Add a few drops of oil to the water to keep the water from evaporating and it keeps the ants from crawling out too.
The ants will not all go to waste either as even predominantly seed eating birds will have a few ants on the side to supplement their diet before they drop into their "watery" end.
The Opus Plus in the middle has bee guards built into the feeding ports if lots of bees are a problem in your area. (Although these days I hate to make it sound like having lots of bees is a problem.) :\
A good Oriole feeder is hard to find but these work well.
Syrup feeders for Hummingbirds and Orioles are exciting summer bird feeding venues.
We have had a pair of orioles using our feeder for a number of years.
The male always brings the young with him to the feeder when they are old enough.
As mentioned above some oriole feeders have bee guards built-into the feeding ports, which is a very fine feature for keeping bees alive and out of your syrup.
To keep the feeders less attractive to bees, It is helpful to keep your
feeders clean on the outside and not let the nectar drip when you are
hanging it back up. (One of the greatest causes of dripping nectar feeders is tightening them too far after filling them. Try to stop when you feel it catch. Resist the urge to give it one more turn to tighten it up a little more. Tightening too far can cause the threads to leak.)
Hummingbirds though sometimes find the bee guards on Oriole feeders difficult to push past to get into the syrup.
So if you want to purchase a nectar feeder for both types of birds to use then avoid one that has bee guards.
But better still purchase one feeder suitable for Hummingbirds and one for the Orioles.
There are special bee guards for Hummingbird feeders too.
That way the bees can be happy too and stick with flowers.
Sharing your morning breakfast jelly is a treat birds attracted to syrup feeders and fruit will also enjoy.
Grape jelly and apple jelly are two favourites but experimenting with other flavours can also be very rewarding.
Choose brands that do not have additives, as birds having such small bodies compared with ours, can be affected by chemical additives.
Orioles will especially be appreciative of this treat but many other birds will have a taste too.
Fruit feeders are also a simple way to attract different birds which do not frequent seed feeders.
Fresh fruit served up daily, such as oranges, grapes, bananas or apples will be a welcome wild bird food by many.
Some of the birds you may attract with a variety of fruit are Woodpeckers, Orioles, Gray Catbirds, Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Mockingbirds, Robins, Towhees, House Finches, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers.
Another type of delectable wild bird dish that can be added to the summer bird feeding buffet table is a mealworm feeder.
Who could possibly resist freeze-dried mealworms? Not Bluebirds...
At first thought this may not appeal to some bird watchers. But learning that Blue Birds, Warblers and other insect eating species will be the grateful diners, helps to take the distaste away for serving such a meal.
Don't miss out on this wonderful bird watching opportunity. Order mealworms right here on this page with an appropriate feeder.
Summer bird feeding with suet may sound like a paradoxical statement.
But it is an entertaining bird food.
This type of suet mixture is heated so that it resists melting during higher summer temperatures.
It should not contain preservatives.
It is best to hang it in shade where it will be a little cooler.
Parent birds of many species will feed suet to their young as an energy booster to their diet.
Chickadees and Nuthatches who are the birds we usually think of as suet
eaters, will appreciate the year round consistency of having this food
in the summer as well.
Quicker & easier than a bird feeder.
Bird baths are also an exciting venue for backyard bird watching. Wild birds require water like all living creatures. They need it for drinking, bathing and when all of their other needs are met, frolicking!
Bird baths will also attract birds which normally do not come to traditional bird feeders for seed. See more about bird baths here.
A few tips if you want to purchase from this page:
The only caution around summer bird feeding is the concern for cleaning feeders often enough to prevent bacteria build up.
Bacteria will grow more quickly in the heat of the summer of course so extra care must be taken.
If the food in a feeder is spoiling before it is eaten, put smaller amounts in the feeder.
Secondly, you may have to purchase a better quality seed with no fillers.
Poor quality mixed seed contains types of milo and sorghum, seed that wild birds don’t eat.
The result is the seed sits and rots, either in the feeder or on the ground where the birds have tossed it, causing the perfect environment for disease.
Wash your seed feeders once a month depending on the number of birds you have visiting your feeders and the temperature.
Wood, metal or plastic perches and feeding portals, can be wiped off more frequently with a weak bleach solution, to help prevent the spread of salmonella during summer bird feeding or use the wipes recommended on this page.
Cleaning feeders such as syrup, fruit and suet feeders will have to be carried out more frequently in warm weather, ranging from once per week to everyday.
The same concern for bacterial growth and spread of disease applies to bird baths.
But for some parts of North America in particular, there is the threat of West Nile Disease.
This disease is carried by the mosquito which breeds in still water. It is necessary to empty bird baths daily for this reason and refill them with fresh water.
Every third day they should be given a
thorough cleaning with a small amount of detergent and disinfectant.
Then rinsed very well.
One Last Thing
Do not take feeders of any type down to force the finish of the summer bird feeding season.
This can cause wild birds undo hardship in the autumn months, as they are stocking up on body fat for their migration journey.
Wait until no birds have been observed at the feeder for two weeks.
Keep them fresh and clean as usual. (For further information why this is so important read the page on “Autumn Wild Bird Feeding”.)
The pleasures and excitement of summer bird feeding will far out way the trouble!
(And don’t forget there is no snow to shovel or wade through to fill your feeder if you live in snow country!)
Patience with new bird feeders and baths is mandatory! It takes time for wild birds to adjust to any changes in a backyard.
It is best to place new feeders at least ten feet away from existing feeders until visitors are frequenting the new addition. It can then be moved if desired.
So deck your backyard with a good variety of bird feeders, baths and houses and watch the avian highway grow!