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General Tips

The basic feeding types are suet and seed holding feeders. These two types will often be enough to attract the birds we normally get here. You can use the ground for sprinkling seeds and fruit or offer the same food higher on a tray mounted on a post. This type of feeding allows many birds space to eat at the same time. Do NOT feed bread!

In winter, peanuts and suet provide much needed fat and protein to sustain many species, and seeds offered in hanging feeders or on the ground with take care of the rest. Water is a huge advantage, especially in winter when natural sources of water are frozen. Birdbaths or shallow dishes can be provided and de-icing birdbath heaters can be used to have a water supply at all times.

In Nova Scotia, black oil sunflower seeds seem to attract the most species but mixed seed will keep the sparrows and juncos in the area. Thistle or Niger seeds are also popular for finches, but special hanging feeders are needed.

Bird feeding stations can be simple with a single place for birds to find food, or you can have many types to attract a variety of birds. One thing is for sure though, the more you have, the more birds will fill your yard.

Setup and Safety

Having feeders close to shrubs and trees allows the birds to quickly escape from hawks and outdoor cats, so planting suitable cover allows birds to feel secure when visiting your yard. Try to think about placing the feeders either very far away from windows or very close to them to avoid birds getting injured or dying from window strikes. There are excellent bird collision deterrents available at wildlife supply stores or available on the internet.

For hummingbirds, it is suggested that you change the nectar once a week at minimum and clean the container each time it is changed. There is no need to buy the prepared red liquid that stores sell. It is is healthier for the hummers to use a simple mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part white sugar. The best practice is to boil the water, mix in the sugar and cool down to room temperature before re-filling the feeders. Keeping a supply in the refrigerator is fine but it too will go bad after 1 week to 10 days if not used.


Feeders should be maintained for cleanliness to prevent bird diseases from spreading. Cleaning a feeder every two weeks should be enough but if your feeders are very busy and there has been wet weather, it may be necessary to clean them more often. Wear rubber gloves, wash in a mild dish soap, and dry them before putting them out again.