John Sterling Poole
New Year, New Feeders!
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful celebration with friends and family. We are just getting through the holiday season, and my guess is that some of you might have gotten something new for your bird. So, it doesn’t matter if you have been a birder for decades or you just got your new feeder, I’m going to talk about what to expect and do with something new for your birds.
First things first, I would go ahead and wash off those feeders, houses, poles, and really anything other than food off. It is just best to make sure they don’t have any residues from being handle by x number of people. I will make the shameless plug that our EcoClean Feeders are anti-microbial and will be fairly clean when you put them out. You also don’t have to clean them as often (please note that I didn’t say you should never clean the feeder).
Second, things take a minute for the birds to get used to. Do not be discouraged if you do not see any birdies on your feeder for the first four weeks. That’s right. It could take a whole month. Now that is the extreme. Usually it takes a week or two before the birds figure out the new feeder. This can be frustrating at times and it can make us question several things like the freshness of our foods, the cleanliness of our feeders, the quality of our new feeder, and location of our stations. Don’t start to doubt. Have faith. Have patience. After the four week mark, that is when things should be changed up.
If it has been a month and there is no activity at all, you can start to look into your seed/feed. I feel like a broken record typing this, but seed can become stale. It has a shelf-life of about 3 months. You can extend this by putting in the freezer. Anyway, if you got new seed along with the new feeder, the new seed just might be bad. The risk of some seeds if that you don’t know how old the seed is. Some larger stores warehouse their seed and no one knows how long they sit in those warehouses. Suet typically last forever. Sometimes it can get moldy though, which means you can just shave off that moldy side. I would put different seed/feed in your new feeder after a month of inactivity and then give it two more weeks.
Another thing to consider is that you already have enough feeders! No one likes to hear that, but if your birds are full from feeder #1, why would they eat on the foreign feeder #2? This is why the trick to bird feeding is variety. Variety in both feed and feeders. If you have two different suet cages, get cakes that are completely opposite of each other. Put out a fruity cake along with an insect rich cake. This variation is what draws in different birds and gets your the biggest count in your Backyard Bird Count! Get different seed blends to draw in different birds too. In terms of feeders, consider size of perches. Smaller perches encourage small birds while larger ones draw in bigger birds. Look at your feeders and figure out what variety is needed in your yard.
I’m going to make a quick note about two popular gifts that birders receive this time of the year: birdbaths and houses. Some people think that birds only need birdbaths in hotter months. That is far from the truth. Birdbaths are popular year-round! Houses will not be used for building nests during winter, but they will be used for shelter when the temperatures get rough and weather gets intense. Birds find refuge in houses, so put them up as soon as you can. This can also help during nesting season because the birds will be familiar with the house location before nesting season.
Hopefully I have prepared you and your yards for a new year of birding with new birding equipment! If you have any questions, don’t ever hesitate to ask any of our sales associates for help! Once again, happy New Year!