Bird Feeding Dos and Don’ts

You like feeding birds.  Who doesn’t?

A winter landscape without the color and animation birds bring is just a still life. Different seed types attract different species, each one a dab of paint on your winter canvas.  Of course you’ll want cardinals.  This big showy sparrow is a favorite of yours and your bird feeding neighbors, too.

To insure that your neighborhood cardinal spends the lion’s share of it’s time in your yard put up a large hopper feeder with lots of perch space.  Cardinals have big feet and feeders with chickadee sized perches are generally shunned. Black Oil Sunflower is a favorite of cardinals and many other species.  Mixed seed with lots of millet works for most sparrows but cardinals like larger seeds.  Blue Jays?  Love peanuts.

Goldfinch?  Try thistle.  Siskins, which are here in abundance this year are addicted to thistle, too.  The nylon socks work fine so long as your yard is free of squirrels.  If you are plagued by furry-tailed tree rats, you’ll need a plastic tube style thistle feeder.

Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers are all great fans of suet cake.

The more feeders and the more feed types you offer, the more birds you’ll attract. Don’t forget to p-lace feeders close to cover.  Rose bushes off concealment and protection as birds wait their turn. Also be sure to keep feeders away from windows and glass doors.  Window strikes kill half off all birds that impact glass.  Or put feeders right up against the glass, so birds can’t build up speed before impact.

Above all keep your cat indoors.  Even the most pampered overweight tabby is a bird killing machine.  Keep them on your side of the window where they can watch but not touch.


Our visitor centers carry a large selection of bird seed – give them a call today to see what is available for pick-up or what is recommended for your feeders

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary

Cape May
Cape May Bird Observatory
Nature Center of Cape May

Franklin Lakes

Plainsboro Preserve




Pete Dunne
NJ Audubon Birding Ambassador
Author Birds of Prey and coauthor Hawks in Flight