This One is for The Birds (and their human admirers)
The guest list at your bird feeder can grow the longest during the spring and fall seasons. That's because Missouri is visited by an ever-changing variety of migrating birds. Here are some feeding tips:
- Sunflower and thistle seeds are appealing to birds in summer as well as winter.
- Try leaving orange halves on open platforms to attract orioles, catbirds, mockingbirds and wax-wings. Try wild plums, cherries, blackberries or mulberries too.
- Meal worms, placed in feeders designed to accommodate them, may attract bluebirds and other small insect-eating birds.
- In warmer weather, be sure to keep feeders and the ground beneath them clean. Diseases are more likely transmitted between birds that regularly congregate near heavily used, dirty areas.
- Remember that suet spoils quickly in warm weather.
- Keep your bird bath full of water, and clean it periodically. Be sure your bird bath has a shallow area about an inch deep where birds can stand to drink, bathe or wash their food.
For publications about attracting and feeding birds, write:
Missouri Department of Conservation,
Natural History Division,
P.O. Box 180,
Jefferson City, Missouri
Aric Wasson, Sedalia: Coconut Bird Feeder
"This was real neat to make because we got to eat the coconut and drink the milk," says Aric Wasson. "You can leave the coconut in and let the birds eat it." Aric is a fourth grader at Green Ridge School in the city of Green Ridge. Last year, he joined Cub Scout Pack 59. As a bear member of the pack, Aric made his bird feeder out of a coconut.
He used a basic wood saw to cut the opening and a drill to make holes for the wire hanger. "You can put any kind of food in it, and you don't have to worry about the birds getting wet food. It's hanging from a coat hanger out in the cedar tree, and we fill it about once a week."
Glen Osborn, Ferguson: Baseball Bat Bird Feeder
You've probably heard of baseball bats packed with cork, but how about with peanut butter and suet? Glen Osborn won't be hitting home runs with his bat, but the birds in his yard sure have scored on the sacrifice. "I had a couple of old bats lying around, and the idea just came to me," explains Osborn, who is retired from the accounting department of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
"They usually break down near the handle, so a bird feeder is about all they're good for."