Six months ago, for the first time in my life, I started a backyard Bird Sanctuary. I put out a few Feeders and waited. NOTHING. Not a single Bird showed up for the first few weeks. But the,,,,,all of a sudden…..I guess the word got out, and the Birds & critters started arriving.
Now, some months later, we have over 30 different kinds of Birds stopping in each day for a visit. We moved up to some 10 Feeders, a Salt lick and Gravel pile, as well as two different Watering pools. This also attracted the local Fox, Red squirrels and Chipmunks. The Rabbits and Possums come in after dark. It is a very important addition to your Feeders to have Watering holes, Salt licks and a Gravel pile as part of your Feeders. The Birds need the water with their feed, and the gravel is part of the way that most birds help to digest their food.
To try and separate some of this feedings, we set up one specific Tree with a Corn feeder and open Nut Feeders for the critters. Otherwise they would come in and Bully the Birds for all the food. This has worked for the most part. BUT…….the Squirrels still come into the Bird feeding areas and chase away everyone, from time to time.
I have learned more in these last 6 months about Birds, then I have learned from a lifetime out on the Trails. Interactions, Feeding habits, how the weather affects the actions of the Birds. I realize that this set up Feeding center is not a copy of wild food feeding for these Birds. But it has given me great insight into Bird actions, songs and food habits.
I started out by asking the members of Hiking Michigan, for advice. This was a great place to start, because I received many, many helpful tips on what to feed the various Birds and what kind of Feeders to use. I also used a wonderful book called the “Backyard Bird Feeders Bible”. An outstanding book on almost everything you could think of about Bird Feeding.
But the most interesting thing I noticed, was that Birds act differently, depending on what other species are around, and what kind of feed is out for them. These preferences and interactions seem to vary. One Book may tell you one thing, and the actions observed in your particular Sanctuary, may be something completely different.
It is good to get all the advice from experienced Birders that you can get, and also read as much about the different Birds in YOUR part of the world. But the fine tuning of your feeders and Sanctuary, the feed YOU use, and where things are located, will come from YOUR observations of YOUR Sanctuary.
I would like to Thank all the Hiking Michigan members who helped me get this going. It is one the most rewarding things I have done at my Home. It is so very relaxing watching the Birds & Critters come and visit each day, right here in my own backyard.