It doesn't take a lot of money and supplies to feed birds successfully. However, there are some basic things you can do to entice desirable species to your back door. The three basic requirements of backyard wildlife are food, cover, and water. All of these are important but the food you supply through planting or feeders will be the best attraction for birds. The simplest feeding strategy is to spread sunflower seeds or other grains on the ground or snow. Many of our native sparrow species love to scratch and feed on the ground. Probably the most popular feeding tactic is to put black-oil sunflower seeds in a hopper style feeder on a wooden or steel post at about eye level. Depending on business, you may have to fill the feeder once every two to three days.
There are several ways to discourage pesky squirrels if you don?t want them around. Isolating your bird feeder from trees may help. You may need to put protective shields above or below your feeder.
Sunflower seeds can be purchased in bulk and are excellent for a wide variety of birds. You may want to provide mixes of cracked corn and sunflower seeds with some millet and thistle. Try to avoid milo unless you want to attract house sparrows. Put out suet to attract chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers.
Hummingbirds can be found in many parts of the state and many migrate through Kansas in the spring and fall. Feeding solutions of one-part sugar dissolved in four-parts clear water is recommended. Most hummingbird feeders have red features so you do not have to color the solution red.
You may put out seed for birds all year long. During stress periods of blizzards and extended snow cover, your feeding may be important to local populations. You need not worry about stopping your feeding during normal and mild weather as birds will be able to find alternate food sources.
Feeding birds can be a lot of fun and very educational. It can take the blues away from dreary winter weather and put sparkles in the eyes of children and adults, alike. Try your luck at bringing the birds to dinner.