Welcome your Feathered Family with a Four Star Bird Feeding Set-up
Few things are more enjoyable than waking up in the morning, sipping your coffee, and looking through your kitchen window at the color and excitement of fabulous feathered friends. It’s a year-round show and the best entertainment in town.
Watch beautiful Cardinals land on your feeder and see the male delicately pass a seed to the female as part of courtship. Enjoy cheerful Chickadees, who look alike Little League players with their black caps, lining up and taking turns at the feeder. Delight in bright yellow American Goldfinches as they descend in a flock and serenade you with their canary-like songs.
Bird feeding is fun, entertaining, stress-reducing, nurturing for the soul, and makes one feel closer to nature. It is educational for the whole family – even your kids can identify the birds, learn about their lives, and keep a list of new feathered visitors.
To welcome the birds and keep them coming, you need to know the ABC’s of a successful bird feeding program. We are bird experts who have written 30 books on birds and nature and, for over 25 years, have been teaching the public how to attract, enjoy, and appreciate birds. We have designed the Stokes Select brand of quality bird feeding products to help you become successful and innovated in this enjoyable hobby. Here is our recipe for successful bird feeding.
A Four Star Program
- Use a Seed Tube, or Hopper Feeder, with Sunflower or Sunflower mixes.
See tube feeders, or hopper feeders, appeal to a wide variety of feeder birds. Our Stokes Select® Seed Tube Feeder has individual perches that attract small birds, like Chickadees, who perch on branches to feed in the wild. We also have the Stokes Select® Large Hopper Feeder with Suet Holders with wide ledges that appeal to large birds that need more room, like Cardinals and Jays.
Fill either of theses feeders with Stokes Select® Premium Black Oil Sunflower, or quality mixes such as Stokes Select® Cardinal Songbird or Stokes Select® Gourmet which contain Black Oil Sunflower. Tests have shown that Black Oil Sunflower is the #1 choice of feeder species. Its high oil content provides much-needed energy and its thin shell is easy to crack open. If you use a mix that has sunflower plus other sees, the Chickadees may eat the sunflower and toss out the millet and cracked corn onto the ground. This is good for the birds that like to feed on the ground, such as Mourning Doves, Juncos, and White-throated Sparrows. They relish those seeds.
If you want less seed on the ground, try Stokes Select® No Waste which tends to get mostly eaten at the feeder. Stokes Select® Premium Sunflower Chips have the sunflower shells removed and birds eat all of it at the feeder - a great choice if you have feeders over a garden area where shells are not wanted.
You may also put additional types of mixes in hopper or tube feeders. Stokes Select® Nut & Fruit is full of sunflower, nutmeats, and fruits, so it appeals to their species like Woodpecker, who relish on the nutmeats, or even fruit-eaters like Mockingbirds and Bluebirds.
Place your tube, or hopper, feeder off the ground. The best way is to mount it on the Stokes Select® Bird Feeder Pole in a spot that is visible from the windows you most often look out. A kitchen window is ideal.
For very close-up views of birds, use our Stokes Select® Multi-Position Wall Bracket and hang the feeder right outside the window. You can open the window, reach out, and swing the arm near to fill the feeder.
- Provide a Finch Tube Feeder filled with Nyjer or Finches Mixes.
The Stokes Select® Finch Tube Feeders with its smaller holes is perfect for containing the small seeds that Finches enjoy. American Goldfinches love Nyjer (sometimes called thistle, an imported seed not to be confused with the thistle wildflower.) Make your Goldfinches happy with Stokes Select® Nyjer seed. Better yet, give them the best of two worlds and feed them Stokes Select® Nyjer Plus, a blend for finches’ “two favorite seeds”, Nyjer and Sunflower Chips. For a more economical choice, use Stokes Select® Finch mix which contains Nyjer, Sunflower, and other small sees which appeal to Finches, such as canary seed and millet.
Here’s a great tip to attract even more Finches - use two Stokes Select® Finch Tubes at once. Finches like to stay in flocks and will sit together on feeders chowing down. The more seats (perches) available at your bird feeding restaurant, the more Finches can feed at once.
- Suet Feeder
Suet is a type of beef fat that is rendered (heated and cooled) into suet cakes. Other ingredients, like berries, nuts, or sunflower seeds are added to the cakes. This calorie-rich food is loved by Woodpeckers and others, such as Chickadees and Titmice. Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpecker will flock to your yard, for Suet. Our Stokes Select ® Suet Cakes come in a variety of appealing flavors, such as Blueberry, Apple, Peanut, and Sunflower. Stokes Suet comes in a special no mess wrapper that is easy to tear open at the top. Try out Stokes Select® Double Suet Feeder, which has room for two suet cakes (and two different flavors), one on each side and a roof overhead to keep the suet dry. Woodpeckers will consider it quite a banquet.
Be sure to offer water in a bird bath, it can work wonders in drawing colorful birds to your yard. All birds need water for drinking and bathing, so providing it can attract additional species, such as Orioles, Warblers, Thrushes, Bluebirds, and Tanagers.
Feather maintenance and cleanliness is extremely important to birds, since the feathers they are wearing are their only clothes! It’s fun to watch birds bathe; they get down in the water, dip their head under, then flutter their winds, driving the water through their feathers. Sometimes they really get into it, creating a frenzy of splashes.
It is important to have a bird bath that is secure and not too deep or slippery. Our Stokes Select® Clamp-on Bird Bath is an ideal way to provide water on your deck or porch. The bath has a non0skid surface and a shallow, as well as deeper, end to accommodate both small and large birds. Be sure to keep your bird bath clean by frequently rinsing it out and adding fresh water.
What about Squirrels?
Any feeding station is bound to attract busy-tailed bandits.
The best way to keep squirrels off your bird feeders is to mount them on the Stokes Select® bird Feeder Pole with the Stokes Select® Squirrel Baffle attached beneath the feeder.
This will prevent squirrels from climbing the pole.
Remember to place the pole at least 12 feet or more from any spot from which a squirrel can jump, like a tree trunk or deck.
Another ideal way to keep squirrels out, and reserve the seed for the birds, is to use the Stokes Select® Squirrel-Proof Cage Feeder. This is a tube feeder surrounded by a cage that smaller birds, like Chickadees and Goldfinches, can easily enter, but which prevents squirrels from reaching the seed. “You can use this feeder on a deck, attached with the Stokes Select® Clamp-on Deck Hook and enjoy the birds (and not squirrels) up-close.
Of course, squirrels can be fun too, so give them their own playground. Use our Stokes Select® Squirrel Feeder filled with Stokes Select® Critter Mix it’s great for squirrels. Watch them figure out how to lift the lid of the feeder to get a seed inside.
If you follow this Four Star Plan; 1. Seed tube or hopper with sunflower or sunflower mixes, 2. Finch tube with finch mixes, 3. Suet and 4. Water- we guarantee you will be surrounded by wonderful wild birds that will bring you and your family tremendous fun and enjoyment. Don’t wait, you can start any time, the birds need your help all year!