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Set Out a Feast for Your Feathered Friends
February is "Feed the Birds" month in much of North America. And what great timing! If you're going through a cold winter, you can help the wintering birds that are going through it with you. If you live further south, you'll have not only year-round feathered friends to feed, but also an influx of migrating visitors from colder climates.
If you grow native plants in your garden, chances are good you already have quite a few feathered visitors already. If you'd like to supplement that, or if nothing in your garden attracts birds, here are some tips for successful birdfeeder use.
There are three main factors to consider when you choose where to place a feeder:
The first priority with the seed in a feeder is to keep it dry. Seed will spoil quickly when it gets damp or wet and can breed diseases like salmonella.
Birds are notoriously picky eaters and they will methodically discard most of the seeds in a seed mix to get to their favorite. Seeds that wind up on the ground are likely to be contaminated by dampness and bird droppings and will be unappetizing to the birds. If you leave the debris there, you will most likely attract rodents.
To prevent a great deal of waste, choose only the types of food that will attract the birds you want. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recommends putting out separate feeders for each food. Why not give these a try?
There is no research to indicate that backyard bird feeding has a negative effect on wild bird populations. In fact, it may help in many situations, such as when natural food sources are scarce or birds are migrating. Once you start feeding though, you should keep it up throughout the year. And don't let the feeders get empty before re-filling, or the birds will look for food elsewhere and may take a while to find you again. What specific birds you attract and feed will vary depending on your location and the treats you offer. You can look in a bird field guide to determine which species are likely to be in your area and then look up what foods are their favorites. So get out there and feed the birds!
About The Author
Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space". Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Noted English clergyman Sydney Smith (1771-1845) is quoted as saying, "Economy in the estimation of common minds means the absence of all taste and comfort." But finding thrifty ways to decorate your outdoor living space doesn't mean you have to sacrifice either of those things. Here are some ideas to help you:
Starting a Shade Garden...
The shade garden can be exploding with color and texture. No matter how much shade is in your landscape, the right flowers, plants, bushes and bulbs will grow in this area when given a chance. As there are various types of shade, you will need to choose the plants that are 'right' for the type of shade you have: partial, dense, full, or filtered shade. In starting a shade garden, one of the easiest shade gardens will be the filtered shade garden. What you need to do first is look at the trees or bushes that are making this area a filtered shade garden. Pruning off the lower branches on taller bushes and on the tree will allow additional light into your garden. Because you are planning a filtered shade garden, you do want some amount of sunlight in that garden below the tree.
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