Birdfeeders are not at all popular in this part of the world. Can it be because they attract the wrong species of birds? Birds that are not colourful and species that are so common that birdwatchers label them as “trash birds”? With the right birdfeeder and food, we may yet attract colourful birds to our urban gardens. And whether these birds are common or rare, there are much we can do to observe their behaviour. After all, we may know the names of a few hundred birds but how much do we know about the habits of sparrows, mynas, crows, etc. that most birdwatchers will not give a second glance?
This guest post on attracting Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) using birdfeeders applies to North America but we in tropical Southeast Asia can learn much from it.
“The beautiful Northern Cardinal is one of the favorites of many birders. The fact is, this beautiful bird not only is vibrant in color but also is also very animated in the way that it moves its head and navigates its world. If you would like to see more of these birds in your area, choose the right elements to add to your garden. Using birdfeeders wisely, for example, is the perfect way to get more birds into your garden.
Locate It Properly
“One of the first mistakes people make is placing birdfeeders for the cardinal too close to people or in an open area. While this may make it easier for you to see the birds, it does not improve your chances of attracting them. In fact, the northern cardinal is very defensive of its territory. Rather, position the birdfeeders near shrubs and trees. These provide the bird some shelter. The bird will watch the birdfeeder for several minutes before even using it. You may even see numerous birds watching the birdfeeder.
Fill It Well
“Next, choose the right mixture of bird food for your birdfeeders. There are several options available to you and none of it has to be very expensive. Consider the following as these are the options northern cardinals like best:
• Black Oil Sunflower
• Seeds from dogwood
• Wild grape
“These birds also eat insects including beetles, leafhoppers, butterflies, moths, flies and others.
Choose the Right Feeder
“Besides being able to provide your birds with the right type of bird food, you also want to consider the right bird feeders based on what the cardinal is interested in. For birdfeeders for the northern cardinal, choose one that is located near or at the ground level or choose one that offers a platform. Platform birdfeeders are often the best choice since this keeps the pests out of the bird food.
“If you find that the cardinals are shy or are unwilling to come to the birdfeeders you have correctly positioned, try to spray a handful of the bird food out over the surrounding area. You do not need much but pull this circle in closer and closer to the feeder each time. That way, you coach them in closer to the bird feeder. Most birds will do this because they are worried about the surrounding area (pets and too much human traffic will deter them.)
“Keep in mind that the Northern Cardinal is one bird you may need to coax a bit to get into your garden but in most cases this is easy enough to do with the right bird food in the right birdfeeders. Once there, these birds will likely remain all year, especially if you keep feeding them.”
24th September 2010