How Does Your Garden Grow?
Expert Tips from The Mill
Many people enjoy feeding wild birds during the winter months and often continue feeding all year round. Not only does this bring a variety of pleasant colors and sounds to a yard, but placing feeders and planting native plants also provide a valuable service to the local ecosystem. Wild birds do a great job controlling insects in the spring and summer. Douglas Tallamy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, has observed that chickadees raising a brood of chicks will use 350 to 750 caterpillars every day to feed their young. Additionally, adult robins will eat a variety of insects during the day, including grasshoppers and spiders and can eat up to 14 feet of earthworms in a single day! Thus, attracting wild birds to your yard will go a long way toward pest management in your neighborhood.
As the temperatures start to drop with the approach of winter and plants begin to go dormant, wild birds feel the pressure of fewer food options. This is a great time to attract wild birds. Wild birds like a variety of seed, nut and fruit options, and picking birdseed with a blend of items will attract many different species of birds. Not only does this provide you with fun visual entertainment, but having a variety of wild birds is great for your yard as spring approaches. Different species of birds enjoy eating a variety of insects!
In addition to providing a variety of seeds, it is good to provide multiple feeder types. Different birds prefer certain styles of feeding. Cardinals, for example, enjoy feeding on flat surfaces. Often you will see them eating on the ground underneath a bird feeder, cleaning up what other birds may have discarded. Nuthatches are one of the few birds that can hop headfirst down a tree and enjoy tubular feeders with peanut splits or other nuts in them that encourage this natural behavior. Wild birds are a great and easy way to keep your lawn and local ecosystem in balance.