|The long pointed beaks of starlings mean they can dig up grubs|
and flip mulch over for bugs. Grackles are bigger and even more powerful.
Both species love water and need to use it often.
Yesterday we had blue skies, a baking hot sun, and plenty of birds in the yard, front and back.
I suggested that our doctor get a lot of shallow clay dishes and keep them full of water for the birds in his yard, because he was getting June bugs.
These are steps to take, in order of the most effective and least costly, without using poisons, which are counter-productive:
- Water is primary, because birds must bathe and drink in dry weather. I use the clay dishes meant to go under flower pots, from Lowe's. They are heavy and easy to clean. Kiddie pools are on sale at Walmart. The sides need to be cut down to keep the water shallow and non-threatening for birds. I clean and fill our pans and community pool twice a day.
- Suet is the best overall food, because fat-eating birds also eat bugs. Suet is easy to buy in meat stores and hang in big wire baskets on trees or bushes. Our birds go through five pounds of suet in a few weeks. Woodpeckers, grackles, and starlings love bugs and suet.
- Berry plants will feed birds all summer long. I have strawberries, wild strawberries all over the backyard, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries in two locations, beautyberries, and plans for more.
- Sunflowers grow all around the yard, so they shelter and feed beneficial insects while providiin birds with their seed.
- Mulch has been called the largest bird-feeder in the yard, because mulch is alive with creatures that feed birds and improve the soil.
- When squirrels dominate on the edge of a forest, most bird food will be scarfed down by the greedy little rodents. They happily destroy feeders and bins to get at the food. In grassier areas, finch food is not appealing to squirrels and brings the small birds almost exclusively - finches, chickadees, and sparrows.
- Purchased seed works best but costs more with a big variety of food. Black oil sunflower seed alone is priced favorably. When the seed includes nuts and fruit, more species will come to the food.
|A bag of earthworms looks like this, but with more sawdust.|