Winter bird feeding is important if you want the birds to be more than passing callers. We must provide them with food as well as with lodging.
In preparing a bill-of-fare for our prospective bird guests, we must remember that among them are both insect and seed-eaters.
For the insect eaters we should have a never-failing supply of suet. This may be tied to the upright post of the garden stand between the troughs, and attached to the frame at the side of the window tray.
The Chickadee, Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy Woodpeckers and Brown Creeper are especially fond of this food and it will also be taken by the Jays and Starlings.
For the seed-eating Sparrows and Grosbeaks we should offer hemp, canary and sun-flower seed, millet, cracked corn and mixed chick-feed.
Unroasted peanuts and other nuts are eagerly eaten by birds of both classes.
Wherever we spread a table for the birds, the English Sparrows will probably be the first to come and the last to go. Even the pugnacious, noisy little Sparrows are better than no birds at all, but we do not want them when they crowd our native birds from the places we wish them to fill.
Since Sparrows are mainly ground feeders, you may try sprinkling a supply of grain on the ground near the feeding stand. The Sparrow will visit it and leave the Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Downy to enjoy their meals unmolested. We cannot hope to receive immediate acceptances when we invite the birds to dine with us. Windowsills are not places in which they have been accustomed to look for food, and the habit of visiting them is not to be acquired at once.
To hasten matters one bird host hung his table on a wire trolley some distance from the house, where the birds could easily see it. Soon after they found it, he drew it gradually toward his window and the birds followed it to its new position.
A window box will bring the birds even nearer to us. This is a three-sided glass box which is made to attach to the window-pane. Food is inserted through a lid at the top.
When you have a food-shelf to which the same Chickadees return day after day, it does not take long to make friends with them! Soon they will take a bit of nut from your hand and perch upon your head or shoulders to ask for more.
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