Press Release


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How to Feed Wild Birds

With serious winter weather blanketing the state, many Idahoans have begun feeding wild birds.

Feeding wild birds is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the U.S.

Feeding birds provides an enchanting opportunity to enjoy wildlife in your own yard, and Idaho Fish and Game encourages bird enthusiasts to keep a few things in mind to help assure successful bird feeding.

The location of the feeder and the food offered are important for attracting birds. To attract a variety of birds, use a variety of feeders and foods in several locations.

The following are additional suggestions for successful bird feeding:

  • Place feeders near trees or shrubs to protect feeding birds from weather and predators, such as free-roaming cats. Move feeders if you notice birds striking windows.
  • Birds can be particular about what and where they eat. Sparrows, juncos, and doves typically feed on the ground or on a flat platform, while other birds prefer an elevated feeder. Some ground-feeding birds prefer corn, milo, or millet, but sunflower seeds are also a popular food. Adding finch or thistle seed can attract pine siskins, goldfinches, and house finches. Insect-eating birds, such as woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches feed on suet or peanut butter mixtures.
  • If possible, provide water nearby. Specially designed heaters are available to prevent freezing. Once water and food are offered, try to continue through the winter, but don't be concerned if you miss a few days, since feeding birds are mobile and are probably visiting other feeding stations besides yours.
  • Keep feeders and feeding areas clean. Clean feeders regularly by scrubbing with soapy water, followed by a quick rinse in water diluted with a small amount of bleach. Store seed in tight, waterproof containers to prevent moldy conditions and to deter rodents.