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Birdy in the Window
Looking for a pet that does not need
to be housebroken, groomed or trained? How about a flock of
consider making the front or back yard a haven for wild
birds. With very little effort, one can enjoy the sights and
sounds of these feathered friends all year long.
The best way to attract birds to a
yard is by providing plenty of food and water.
commercial feeders will work fine as long as they are sturdy, easy
to clean, and have adequate drainage," advised Dr. Ian Tizard,
director of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at the College of
Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M
says where the feeder is placed is more important than what type of
feeder it is.
wants to take the risk of getting ambushed. Feeders should be
near enough to foliage that birds might use it to flee from
predators," said Tizard.
birds will be wary of feeders and baths placed too close to bushes
since predators can easily spring from nearby foliage in a surprise
be placed in a way that mimics the location of the birds' natural
habitat," Tizard explained.
many types of feeders that are available, there are at least as
many kinds of birdseed. Tizard recommends sunflower seed for
attracting the widest variety and most colorful birds, including
cardinals and finches.
are designed to attract only certain birds, so consult the package
labeling for this information.
Keeping birdfeeders, baths, and
houses clean is also crucial to keeping healthy, happy birds
visiting the yard.
feeders and houses will keep harmful mold from growing in
them. Wood feeders, which can be difficult to clean, are not
usually recommended," said Tizard.
"Supplying birdfeeders and baths
causes more birds to congregate than would under normal
circumstances," explained Tizard. "For this reason, disease may
spread more quickly, but keeping feeders and baths clean can
minimize the spread of disease."
suggests using a solution of one part household bleach to two or
three parts water for effectively cleaning feeders and baths.
At the very least, they should be cleaned once a year, but may
require cleaning more often where exposure to the elements has
fouled the seed and/or water. Birdhouses are usually vacated
during the winter months, so you'll want to clean them out then to
prepare for spring's new tenants.
require special considerations.
According to Tizard the best way to
attract hummingbirds is to design a garden full of colorful,
okay to provide hummingbird feeders with homemade nectar as a
supplement, but be aware that the males can be territorial," Tizard
explained. "Providing more than one feeder will ease the aggression
associated with hummingbird males who will claim one as his
homemade nectar can spoil, it is important to keep a fresh supply
in clean feeders.
Also, it is important to note that
feeders placed too close to windows may actually be more harmful
than helpful. Birds are often injured or killed flying into
windows when the birds mistake the reflection in the glass for
sky. You can reduce the chances of window injuries by placing
stickers or other reflection-marring materials on your
bird stickers can often be purchased where birdseed is sold.
These window stickers intimidate smaller birds, keeping them from
flying into a window.
relatively inexpensive to create an environment that will attract
wild birds. By simply seeing to their needs, a yard can
become a playground that is literally for the birds.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk.
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