Bird Buffet

One in five Americans (48 million of us) are backyard bird-watchers, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Now that’s something to tweet about! What’s the best way to bring in the birds? Provide the food they love. Human handouts help sustain birds during winter months when natural sources are scarce. Here’s how to start catering to avian appetites this fall.

1 PICK A FEEDER Tray, hopper, tube, above, and suet feeders attract different types of birds. Choose one that appeals to your favorites. To attract the greatest array, select one of each.
2   FILL IT UP A birdseed blend that contains hulled sunflower seeds, white proso millet, and niger (Nyjer) appeals to most birds. A suet feeder will satisfy the rest.
3 HANG IT IN VIEW Place feeders a  foot or two from a window. Not only does it make good viewing, it’s safer for birds—if startled, a low-speed run-in with the glass won’t harm them.

4 KEEP IT CLEAN Wash feeders every week or two in hot, soapy water. (Moldy or decomposing seeds can make birds sick.) Dry thoroughly before refilling with fresh seed.