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Feeding Wild Birds

If you have a bird feeder in your backyard, you're in good company. Bird watching is one of America's fastest-growing hobbies, and surveys show that nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds.

The appeal is obvious—by feeding birds we bring them close so we can see them more easily. Their colorful, lively company brightens up our lives, especially through the dreary days of winter.

Setting up a backyard bird feeder can make birds' lives easier, too. In much of North America, winter is a difficult time for birds. Finding food can be especially challenging during periods of extreme cold.

What should you serve your bird visitors for dinner? And how should you serve it? The shelves of supermarkets, home and garden stores, and speciality bird-feeding stores are stocked with bags, buckets, and cakes of many food types, as well as numerous different feeders. You may find the task of selecting the best foods and feeders a bit daunting.

We'll describe the basic feeder types, their pluses and minuses, and the types of birds they attract. We'll help you choose foods that the birds you want to attract enjoy the most. You'll find out where in your yard to position your feeder, and how to look after it, for the health and safety of your birds. Finally we offer suggestions about dealing with unwanted feeder visitors.

Follow the links below for details. And then sit back and enjoy the birds!

Feeder Types
Choose the feeder that's right for the birds you want to attract.

Choosing Bird Food
The best foods for the birds you want to invite to dinner.

Feeder Location
Where to put your bird feeder for the best results.

Feeder Maintenance

Taking care of your feeder.

Feeder Pests and Predators
How to deal with unwanted feeder visitors.

BirdNotes--Winter Bird Feeding
Download this popular tip sheet (PDF reader required.)