Bird feeders are mutually beneficial—they provide food for the birds and the enjoyment of watching wildlife to you. If you want to feed birds, provide them with three essential elements: the right variety of quality seed, fresh water for drinking and bathing, and safe cover, preferably provided by native plants.
Your bird feeder can be designed to attract either a variety of species, or just one. Select a tube, nectar, fruit, or hopper feeder, depending on the type of birds you're interested in seeing.
The type of food you choose will also determine which birds visit. To attract orioles, thrashers, and bluebirds, put out fruit. Cardinals, titmice, and chickadees prefer sunflower seeds and safflower seeds.
Put your bird feeder in a spot where you'll have a good view of all the activity. Place it at least 10 to 15 feet away from trees to help keep squirrels at bay, and be sure to clean your feeder often to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Attracting Backyard Birds: Bird Feeder Selection
- Attracting Birds to Your Landscape (PDF)
- The Joy of Feeding Birds (PDF)
- Holiday for the Birds (PDF)
Also on Gardening in a Minute
- Bird Foods
- Bird Monitoring
- Birdwatching Basics
- Gardening for Birds
- About Birds and Bird Feeding--Project Feeder Watch
- Backyard Bird Feeders--Rutgers Cooperative Extension (PDF)
- Bird Feeding Basics--Audubon Society
- A Bird in the Hand--Clemson (SC) Cooperative Extension
- Feeding Birds During Summer--Clemson (SC) Cooperative Extension (PDF)
- Feeding Wild Birds--Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Unclean Bird Feeders Can Attract Rodents and Wild Animals--eXtension.org