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Captain B.R.K

Getting More Birds

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This summer is a first for me with feeding and enjoying watching the many birds in our area.

I'm wondering what I need to do more to get more birds to my area? My feeders consist of a thistle, saflower and a peanut feeder. I also have a hummingbird feeder too (in a different location).

So far I see gold finches and house finches, that is it!

Is there anything more I can do to attract more birds to my feeders? I'll try to get some pictures of my yard and the area neighborhood.

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A water source might help. I gave up years ago and decided to just keep the squirrels fat and sassy. Now I have them coming up my deck and to my door, begging. A couple have actually taken a peanut right out of my hand.

However, I would prefer birds. Unfortunately, I live on just 2/3 of a lot, just a couple blocks from downtown. There is nothing here to attract them. Just a couple blocks down, the Redwood River runs thru and a lady there attracts a decent number, so I just set up in her backyard at times, to get some photos.

My retirement home will be next to a river or pond.

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I'll be interested to see the yard pics, BRK, because sometimes feeder positioning is a key. Glad to see you came into the world of feeding birds. It's a pretty cool pastime.

You've got a good selection of seed there, but the key bird seed is missing. That's black oil sunflower. While many birds have different preferences (siskins, redpolls and goldfinches like niger (thistle) seed best, blue jays like peanuts, etc), all seed eating birds except a few will take black oil sunflower.

I only feed sunflower, with some cracked corn/millet scattered on the ground in spring and fall for migrating sparrows/juncos, which are ground feeders and prefer those seeds. I've been feeding birds this way since 1973. So even though, for example, I don't feed niger seed, I get tons of goldfinches and redpolls and siskins, as well as blue jays and cardinals and many, many others. I also include suet for those birds that want it, and have a nectar feeder for hummers.

I like to keep things as simple as possible while still offering what the birds need.

I do put the sunflower in different types of feeders, though. I have a large open tray feeder for the general population and a tube feeder for birds that like that better, and of course ground-loving birds dig into the stuff that gets knocked into the grass.

Water doesn't hurt, as XT mentioned.

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I post my feeders close to my trees. And post Water. I have Suet for the wood peckers, Black Oil Sunflowers, a shellless mixture for song birds, some saflower to keep the stupid black birds away, hummingbird feeders (which I took down due to inactivity). I use 3-4 different types of seed mixtures to keep a variety of birds. I took a while for the birds to find me. But once they figured out I was a generous fat guy who loves food, they keep coming. I have 9 feeders now with plans to add 3 more this year in the back yard and few in the front.

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icewoman, grackles, starlings, blackbirds and squirrels generally don't like safflower, while most other birds like it as well as they like black oil sunflower. I don't believe it actually acts as a repellent, however.

Studies show that cardinals in particular prefer safflower over sunflower, though I've had no trouble attracting them with sunflower. In most places, safflower is a bit more expensive than black oil sunflower.

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Safflwoer is more expensive, about $12.00 for a 10 lb bag. But Grackles dont like it. So I have been putting some out in small feeders next to the big feeders, and even mixing it in with the sunflowers mix's. Works good.

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