(Family Features) - While it is common practice to feed birds during the winter, many people taper off this practice as the days grow longer and warmer. However, spring migration is an ideal time to keep that feeder full.
Migrating birds are traveling long distances and need nourishment to keep their energy levels high. Natural food sources may be in limited supply, so augmenting with a feeder is an excellent idea.
If you need added incentive, remember that backyard birds' antics are especially entertaining during the mating and nesting season each spring.
Before ushering in a new flock of guests, take some time with these tips to freshen up your feeders and create a welcoming environment for your feathered friends.
- Use a coarse brush and warm soapy water to scrub wooden feeders, or a mild bleach solution for tube-style feeders.
- For hummingbird feeders or other uniquely styled feeders, scrub the feeding ports thoroughly, then place a mixture of uncooked rice and a vinegar-water solution (one part vinegar to four parts water) inside and shake vigorously.
- Allow all feeders to dry thoroughly before refilling.
- Ensure that seed is free of mold and insects. Energy-rich suet also is an excellent choice during the spring.
- The more feeders and diverse options (seed, suet, nectar, etc.) that you offer, the wider the variety of birds you will attract. Make note of which offerings your favorite species prefer, and adjust your menu accordingly.
- Rinse and de-scale the birdbath using warm soapy water and vinegar as needed. An adequate source of water for drinking and bathing is essential for creating a backyard bird haven.
Check birdhouses to ensure they are clean, pest-free and intact. A little preparation will go a long way toward encouraging backyard birds in the spring, and the effort will pay dividends when they return year after year.