Natural and Man-Made Butterfly and Bird Feeders

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Butterfly and bird feeders provide a service to wild creatures by offering them a steady food source. Food sources are important both for birds who nest in your area, and for those who migrate through on their way somewhere else. A benefit for you, of course, is watching beautiful creatures right in your own yard. Your primary ways of supplying food are with flowers, the natural feeders, and with man-made bird feeders.

Flowers can attract both butterflies and hummingbirds. If you want to try planting a butterfly and hummingbird garden, check into some of the following plants: sage, thyme, lavender, butterfly bush, bee balm, phlox, purple coneflower, and sedum. These are only a few of numerous good choices. Depending on the area you want to commit to this flower garden, you may wish to check into even more varieties of flowering plants. Check with your local plant nursery to see which flowers they suggest.

In addition to flowers, hummingbirds also like hummingbird feeders. These are special feeders designed so that the birds can drink sugar water from it. Preparing the sugar water is simple. Mix one part sugar to four parts water. Boil the mixture and cool it completely before filling the feeder. Some people add red food coloring because they think it will attract the hummingbirds more strongly. But the coloring is not necessary, and some experts actually discourage it. Most hummingbird feeders have red parts anyway.

Regular cleaning is very important, at least once every week. Clean a hummingbird feeder by washing it with hot, soapy water and rinsing it with boiling water. Prepare a fresh batch of sugar water and refill the feeder. Using old sugar water can harm the birds. If you find they aren�t drinking much, don�t fill the feeders as high.

For songbirds, tube feeders and platform feeders work well. Place bird feeders a few feet away from shrubbery or trees, as they give birds a place to hide from predators. Cats and squirrels can scare birds away from a feeding area. Also, pay attention to the winds. Whatever direction the winds typically come from, place the bird feeders on the opposite side of the building. Your home will help to break the wind. Birds enjoy a calmer area for feeding.

Popular choices for bird feed include millet, mixed seed, sunflower seed, corn, and suet. You can attract different species, depending on which food you place in your bird feeders. If you prefer to keep things simple, black-oil sunflower seeds attract the largest variety of birds. You might see chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, and more. Another popular feed is mixed seed. Sprinkle it on the ground, or use it to fill a platform feeder. Fruits such as apples, bananas, and raisins can also attract several varieties of songbirds.

Plant appropriate flowers and use bird feeders. Place the feeders in locations that will attract birds, and choose your feed based on the types of birds you would like to attract. Clean the feeders regularly to keep them safe and sanitary.

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Rachel Dawson is a freelance writer who likes to watch interesting animals. She writes about bird feeders and outdoor relaxation for

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