Birding Basics




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Ants can frequently show up at Hummingbird feeders. You can install an ant moat with a light coating of cooking oil above the feeder to prevent them from crawling into the feeders.

Baby Bird Rescue. If you find a baby bird without feathers, look up, find the nest and gently put it back in the nest. If the bird is fully feathered and hopping around, keep your pets away and let the parents care for the fledgling. The parents will not abandon the baby. If the bird appears injured or in danger, call the Wildlife Rescue in San Mateo (650) 340-7000 x 314 or Palo Alto (650) 494-7283.

Cleaning Feeders is essential to healthy bird feeding. Tube feeders can be cleaned by emptying out any remaining seed, removing the parts of the tube and soaking everything in a very mild solution of ¼ cup bleach to 1 gallon water solution. Using a feeder brush, scrub the inside of the tube, rinse well with a mild white vinegar and water solution, and dry well before refilling with fresh seed. Wooden feeders are cleaned with a stiff brush and water and a white bleach solution. Disassemble the feeder as much as possible, soak the clear panels in a mild dish soap and water solution, scrub the wooden sides, top and bottom, and rinse all with plenty of clear water. Let dry in the sun, and when completely dry, reassemble and refill with fresh seed. Always remember to protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves. Birder's Garden offers a cleaning and repair service of bird feeders for a nominal fee.

Empty Feeders. Not only do empty feeders serve no purpose, but they may actually deteriorate or become damaged. If you are leaving for vacation and expecting your feeders to be emptied, or if your feeders are currently empty, remove them to avoid deterioration and damage from wildlife.

Filling Feeders. Feeders should be easily reached eliminating the need for a ladder, stool or chair. Feeders should be hang 5 – 6 feet above the ground, patio or deck using a hook, chain or pulley system.

Got weeds? If you have weeds under your feeders, consider switching to our Sunflower Chips or No-Mess Mixes. Seeds without shells will not germinate.

Hummingbird Feeders should be placed in an easy to see location, 5 feet above the ground but not in the hot afternoon sun. Feeders should be cleaned and refilled every
5-6 days. In hot weather (90+), feeders should be cleaned and refilled every 2-3 days.


Hummingbird Nectar. Making Hummingbird nectar is easy and just requires adding one part table sugar to 4 parts boiled water. Avoid using red food coloring as this is unnecessary and can be harmful to the birds. Hummingbird nectar can also be offered to Orioles. Hummingbird nectar, which simply needs to be mixed with tap water, is available at the Birder’s Garden.

Nesting Materials come in many natural forms including leaves, twigs, mud, feathers, reeds, and grass. You can add to these materials by offering pet hair, sting and yarn. Dryer lint is not a useful option as it loses its integrity when wet.

Seed Storage is most successful in a galvanized can with locking lid. To prevent moisture from building up, line the can with a plastic garbage bag. You can also place fresh Bay Leaf in the seed to help prevent seed moths from forming.

Securing Hanging Feeders. Use a locking swivel hook to prevent hanging feeders from being knocked to the ground.

Sticky Seed. Under some conditions, non-shelled seed can become sticky and clump together in the feeder. Feeder Freshor white dry rice can help alleviate this problem.

Tree Trimming. Prior to shrubbery trimming or tree limb cutting, check for the possibility of nesting birds.

Homemade Suet Recipe
1 cup chucky Peanut Butter
2 cups Vegetable Shortening
1 cup Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Coarse Corn Meal
1 cup Sunflower Chips