URBANA – Birdseed, and firewood are two common topics that show up every fall. Both take some planning to be successful.
“Feeding the birds means starting earlier than later,” says Richard Hentschel, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator serving DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties. “Birds need to know early on that there will be something to eat on a regular basis if you want them to hang around in your yard.”
With the recent outbreak of songbird deaths, Illinois officials are not currently recommending removing feeders, but stress cleaning and sanitizing feeders every two weeks and hummingbird feeders weekly.
Buying birdseed that has a little bit of everything for every bird can add up to a lot of wasted seed on the ground. Consider putting out seed that will attract only your favorite birds. This can be more cost-effective as the unwanted seed will feed four-legged critters, not to mention make a mess on the patio or in the lawn.
The type of birdseed chosen will also help determine the kind of feeder needed. Typically, feeders are designed for the size of seed being distributed — thistle versus sunflower, for example.
“You may end up with several feeders catering to a variety of your favorite birds,” Hentschel says.
Birdseed can be a feeding source for pantry pests such as the Indian Meal Moth, so keep seed securely covered and consider storage in a cool garage.