About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 important bird feeding facts

Working at Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store I hear a lot of people quoting misinformation that has been passed down for generations. Today I’ve highlighted five popular fall bird feeding myths that have been proven false.

Myth  1: You should stop feeding birds in the fall to make them migrate
Truth 1: It’s best for hummingbirds, year-round birds and migrating birds if you continue to feed in the fall
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DO NOT take your hummingbird feeders down on Labor Day. In mid-Michigan, you should leave your hummingbird feeder up until you haven’t seen hummingbirds feeding for two weeks, usually mid-October. Birds that are born late in the season are vulnerable. Leaving your feeders up may provide a critical opportunity for these hummingbirds to build reserves and “catch up.”
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Birds that are in mid-Michigan year-round like the Northern Cardinal will appreciate high protein foods at feeders in the fall to supplement their natural diet to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation for the upcoming winter.
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Activity at feeders signals to migrating birds that your yard is a safe rest stop. Feeding birds in the fall allows migrating birds a place to rest and refuel for their journey south and gives you a treat to see birds that may only fly over twice a year.
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Myth  2: I never have to clean my feeder. I just buy a new one every year.
Truth 2: It’s super important to clean your feeders regularly.
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To help reduce the possibility of disease transmission in birds, clean feeders and feeding areas at least once a month. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned every three to five days, or every other day in warm weather. You can purchase professional cleaners like Scoot at Wild Birds Unlimited, or use a mild one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to disinfect all of your feeders.
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Keep seed and foods dry by adding Feeder Fresh; discard food that is wet or looks moldy.
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Birdbaths also need to be scrubbed with a brush and water should be replaced every three to days to discourage mosquito reproduction.
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Myth  3: I can’t feed the birds because they will starve when I leave at Christmas
Truth 3: Birds eat about 20% of their meals at feeders & won't starve if you go on vacation or down south for the winter.
 
Some people believe that once you start bird feeding, it should be continued. Or that feeding your birds in the summer will make them too lazy, too dependent or keep them from migrating at the appropriate time. All of these old myths have been dispelled by modern research and observation. 
Bird feeding is a fun and educational hobby. Birds appreciate the food but never become dependent on your feeder unless there is a severe storm that prevents them from foraging for natural sources.
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Myth  4: I can use last year’s seed this year
Truth 4: Birdseed can go bad. Don't buy more than can be used in a few weeks.

In warm weather or if you store your seed inside buy no more than 2-3 weeks supply of seed at a time. And never pour old seed on top on new. During the winter, foods will generally be fine for at least 3 months if stored properly in a cool, dry place. Birds look for the very best seeds. Fresh and heavy seeds full of oil are always chosen over the dried up older seeds.
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Myth  5: The cheapest bird food is good enough for my birds
Truth 5: The best bird foods do not include cheap filler grains that aren't eaten by the birds in Michigan.
At Wild Birds Unlimited you will get the very freshest seed, blended regionally for your backyard birds, with no filler grains.
Fillers such as milo, wheat and oats, are ingredients not preferred by most birds and are generally, left uneaten and found in a moldy pile on the ground or attract rodents. These fillers add bulk to the bag and lower the price, but they are undesired by the birds, and a waste of your money.

By offering your birds Wild Birds Unlimited bird food, you are providing the highest quality calories and making sure that every penny that you spend is going towards feeding the hungry friends outside your windows.

Related Articles: 
- What Month Do You Stop Feeding The Birds? http://goo.gl/wuKbTI
- Keep your feeders clean http://goo.gl/UGfVGT
- Would the birds starve to death if I stopped feeding them? http://bit.ly/xOFgb9
- How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://goo.gl/AdJPBO
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/vsBxVs
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/rTCbHB