2013-10-30 / Columns

Purdue Extension Corner

by Jenna Smith
Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator (Clay & Owen Counties)

Time To Feed The Birds

The weather has shifted and it’s getting colder. We no longer see hummingbirds flying around needing sugar water; instead we will need to start attracting other birds to our yards by providing them with birdseed.

In order to attract birds to your yard, you will need to purchase a bird feeder. There are several different types of feeders. A few of the different types include: gravity feeders, open-shelf feeders, ground feeders, and suet feeders. Gravity feeders usually have a roof and glass or plastic sides so that the bird can see the feed inside it. Oftentimes they are shaped like little houses or barns.

Open-shelf feeders may or may not have roofs and usually do not have sides except for a small rim that keeps the seed from falling out. This type of feeder allows the bird to see all around them. This helps them protect themselves from predators.

Ground feeders simply allow the food to be scattered on a clear patch of ground. Some birds do prefer this type of feeder over others since they are hesitant to trust a man-made feeder.

Suet feeders are wire baskets that you can either hang from a post or attach to the side of a building that will hold suet. In addition to the four types of feeders mentioned here, there are numerous specialty feeders available on the market. A few examples include: birdseed logs, pine cones dipped in fat, and thistle socks.

Just like the different types of feeders on the market, there are many types of feed available. Birds often have a preference for specific feed which is why it is generally best to decide what type of bird you want to attract to your yard before purchasing your seed. Cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and finches all like black “oil-type” sunflower seeds. Millets are commonly used to attract cardinals, chickadees, and woodpeckers. In comparison thistle seed is often used to feed goldfinches and other finches. If you would elect to purchase a premix feed from a store, realize that you can supplement that mix by adding any other ingredient you would like in order to help attract a specific type of bird.

Once you have purchased your feed and feeder, realize that your work does not end. Instead, you will have to spend a great deal of time throughout the winter months refilling the feeder. At least once a month, you should clean and disinfect the feeder. By doing this, you help reduce the risk of disease. This is especially important if you choose to feed birds throughout the summer months when mold can easily grow.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 812-448-9041 in Clay County, or 829-5020 in Owen County. You can also reach me directly via email at smith535@purdue.edu. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/ equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

•October 31 – Clay County Junior Leaders Trick-or-Treat for Can Goods, 6-9 p.m. in Clay County.

•November 8 – Reservations due for Forage Management for Beef Producers, 6:00-8:30 p.m., Clay Fairgrounds’ County Exhibit Hall. Cost is $5 per family.

•November 11 – Forage Management for Beef Producers, 6:00-8:30 p.m., Clay Fairgrounds’ County Exhibit Hall. Cost is $5 per family.

•November 11 – Extension Office closed for Veterans Day.

Forage Management For Beef Producers

Do you wonder how to get your beef herd through the winter utilizing best forage management practices? Do you have questions about the nutritional quality of your forages? To answer these questions and more, Purdue Extension is offering a Forage Management for Beef Producers program. Dr. Ron Lemenager, Purdue Professor of Animal Sciences, and Purdue Area V Extension Educators will discuss forage evaluation and testing, utilizing forage test results, and purchasing forages. This program will help beef producers fine-tune nutritional and management regimens to be considered for optimal performance.

The Forage Management for Beef Producers program will take place on Monday, November 11, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Clay County Fairgrounds, 6656 North State Road 59, in Brazil. The cost of the program is $5 per family and RSVP is requested by November 8 to Purdue Extension Clay County at 812-448-9041.

For more information about this event, or if you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program please contact the Purdue Extension Office in Clay County at 812-448-9041.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

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