Please see Part I of this article for information on feeding winter residents, hummingbirds, and other summer visitors. Today we’ll take a look at bird baths, birding opportunities and luring bats and other small mammals.
Warm weather bird-feeding usually results in spectacular bird watching opportunities…driven to catch hundreds of insects daily, raise several broods and keep themselves fed as well, parent birds are far less cautious than at other times of the year.
Give our Audubon Bird Call Whistle a try. My first, received from my grandfather nearly half a decade ago, drew the attention of nearly every furred and feathered visitor to my childhood feeders. The Backyard Bird Tracker will help you to identify the birds you see and provides interesting life history details and a place for recording your observations.
Other Steps You Can Take
Setting out bird baths within easy reach of your feeders will increase visitation, including by bird species that might not be interested in the foods you provide. For example, robins, which in most areas are earthworm specialists, will readily make use of bird baths.
A well-thought out garden (please see below) will encourage reluctant feeder-visitors to remain and forage upon insects, buds and other treats.
Mammals: Flying Squirrels, Gray Squirrels and Bats
Don’t forget your mammalian friends. Gray squirrels newly emerged from the nest are clumsy and even more entertaining than are adults. By providing squirrel feeders, corn logs and peanuts, you can limit competition with avian visitors and provide yourself with quite a show.
If flying squirrels are resident in your area, by all means install some indirect lighting and take a look at your feeders after dark. These adorable, nocturnal acrobats are quite fearless feeder users…trust me, you will not regret the effort. Resident even in the heart of NYC, flying squirrels do not reveal themselves in the daytime. A call to your local zoo or nature center should provide you with information concerning local populations.
While we’re on nocturnal mammals, let me not forget some of my favorites, the bats. I have rehabilitated a number of injured bats, and never tire of watching their nighttime hunting forays. A surprising variety of species inhabits the USA, even within most cities…try putting up a bat house and see what happens.
For information on planting a garden that will both attract wild visitors and provide nutritious food for your pets, please see my article Gardening for Birds.
A unique video showing northern flying squirrels using a backyard feeder is posted at:
Oriole Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Badjoby.
Dendroica petechia image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Mdf.