Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society
What birds will you attract?
In Summer, those marked * stay in our area and, if you feed sunflower seeds, they may be joined by
More unusual birds include
Sunflower and white millet are the basic seeds typically used.
Pre-mixed seed varieties include these as well as other specialty seeds or filler.
Filler seeds (red millet, corn, sorghum, etc) reduce the cost of the mixture but don’t improve the number or kinds of birds that come to feed.
Specialty seeds can include peanuts, other nuts, and thistle/niger.
Feeding Niger is the best way to attract finches to your yard. Since it is expensive, special feeders have very small holes; some feeders have the feeding ports below the perches. This attracts goldfinches and keeps the more greedy House Finches away. (They get to eat what the goldfinches drop.) Keep a close eye on those feeders because sometimes Pine Siskin or Common Redpolls are seen.
Using a variety of feeders should give you the best results.
Placement of feeders is important. Provide a combination of space around the feeder so that:
Cleaning feeders is a big part of being a responsible bird feeder.
Never let wet seed remain in a feeder. It will mold and may become toxic to the birds you are trying to benefit. Toss out the dregs every once in a while.
It is wise to rinse the feeders
with a mild
bleach solution when they look grimy.
Let them fully dry before refilling with fresh seed.
Providing water year round can be just as important as your choice of seeds or feeders. Water may bring in birds that typically do not eat bird seed.
A shallow dish (clean regularly to prevent mosquitoes) can work as well as more expensive bird baths. Adding a source of dripping water seems to attract more birds.
Hummingbirds migrate through the Tri-Cities from early April through early June, then again late July through mid-September.
Three species migrate (pictured left to right):
Hummingbird photographs courtesty of Jane Abel; to view these and other photos full-size, register and visit LCBirds2 Photo Gallery.
Making hummingbird nectar:
Boil water. Mix ¼ c of white sugar (NOT honey or artificial sweeteners!!) per cup of water. Adding food coloring is NOT necessary – if there is no red on your feeder, add some red string or ribbon.
Hummingbirds usually feed in the early morning or evening. If the nectar is going down and there is no obvious puddle on the ground, you probably have hummers even if you haven’t seen them yet.
Cleanliness is very important when feeding hummingbirds.
The nectar MUST be changed every 3 to 4 days, especially when it is warm. If the nectar becomes cloudy or black, this can be toxic to the birds. Do not use soap. If the feeders have not spoiled, you can rinse them out with hot water. If there is a filmy residue, use a mild beach solution and rinse well. If the feeder is still hard to clean and too narrow to use a brush, try adding a small amount of uncooked rice and shake hard. No kidding!!Nectar sources for hummingbirds are provided by vines and perennials.
Hummingbird Mint or Sunset Hyssop ( Agastache rupestris, A. cana, A. aurantica)
Red Salvia (Salvia greggii)
Penstemon (red, pink, and purple flowering types)
Texas Red Yucca
Red Hot Poker
A variety of plants chosen for home landscaping can be beneficial to birds in several ways:
Although not recommended as new plantings, existing stands of Russian Olive and Mulberry provide fruit to a wide range of birds.
Below are lists of recommended species for new tree and shrub plantings:
Links to General Bird Feeding information on other websites (not specific to our area)
Feeding Birds - Cornell University website
Project Feeder Watch