Nature Bulletin No. 92 November 16, 1946
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
BIRD -FEEDING BOARD
If you want some fun, set up a feeding place to attract the song birds
which live here all winter. Now is the time. The simplest device is a
board or a piece of plywood nailed on a window sill. It should be at
least 12 inches wide and 24 inches long, set endwise, with a strip of
moulding around the edge to keep the feed from being knocked off. If
there are any trees close by, the birds will soon find it and, all winter
long, you will have the thrill of watching them at close range. You may
even photograph or sketch them.
In residential sections where there are many trees and shrubs, and
particularly near parks and cemeteries, you may expect to have titmice,
chickadees, juncoes, nuthatches, blue jays and sparrows flitting to and
from your feeding board. You may even have a cardinal, a robin, a
downy woodpecker or a hairy woodpecker. Each kind of bird behaves
and feeds differently, and among each kind are individuals quite
different from the others. Some become quite tame, others are nervous
and wary. Some are gold and greedy; others are shy and dainty.
need proteins and fats to keep them warm in cold weather. They
like fat-rich seeds: particularly sunflower, hemp, millet, and cracked
nuts or corn. Scatter a cupful of such seeds on your board as often as
needed. At one corner place a lump of suet the size of your fist,
fastened down with a nail to keep the blue jays from carrying it away.
This will also attract the woodpeckers although they prefer it on the
trunk of a tree where it should be enclosed in a container of hald-inch
wire netting to foil the blue jays and squirrels.
Make a stiff dough of uncooked oatmeal and cornmeal mixed with a
cup of heated fat drippings. Mold this into a ball and press it firmly
onto another corner of your board. All birds seem to relish this and will
peck at it vigorously. In very cold weather try a lump of unseasoned
raw hamburger. Experiment. You will learn many interesting things.
Keep a bird diary.
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Update: June 2012