Garden Photo of the Day

Just a little bit of color

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Photo/Illustration: Kerry Ann Moore

It’s amazing what just a little bit of color and structure will do to make winter oh-so-much-more attractive. This rustic birdhouse, besides attracting feathered friends to this garden, turns a shrub in the snow into a charming little vignette. (Try my favorite trick: Gaze at this photo and imagine what it would look like without the birdhouse. Not even close to as interesting, eh?)

2 WAYS TO ENLARGE!Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
Photo/Illustration: Kerry Ann Moore

Speaking of feathered friends, are you feeding the birds this winter? I want to, but don’t know where to start. Any suggestions for a bird-feeding novice?

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  1. JulieBW 12/08/2011

    If you have squirrels, the Squirrel Buster feeder is 100% effective for me. Google it, there are many sources. I hang mine from a rope over a branch, then tied around the trunk of the tree. This is so deer can't reach it, and I can lower it to fill. I use hulless sunflower seed, which doesn't make a mess on the ground. Pricey, but well worth it.

  2. wwross 12/08/2011

    Is that Squirrel Buster comment a commercial? Doesn't seem appropriate.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/08/2011

    It is certainly true for me that my eyes are drawn to the inanimate elements in the garden during the winter as their form and shapes really stand out.
    For the past several years, I have used a metal pan feeder with drainage holes that I have attached to a porch railing outside my kitchen table window. I purchased it at Lowes. I use a commercial Scotts Songbird/Colorful Bird Blend product and it attracts cardinals, chickadees, mockingbirds, etc. Sometimes I'll spread a piece of bread with peanut butter and lay it on the pan. That seems quite popular also. This feeder arrangement brings the birds quite close to my view and, fortunately, I don't have them flying into my windows so I don't feel guilty

  4. elizk 12/08/2011

    I used to buy the cheapest (cheepest!) bird seed I could get and I got a reasonable amount of birds, so I thought I was OK. This year I bought some Northeast blend that was a little more expensive but apparently has much yummier stuff in it. I've been getting lots of WONDERFUL birds, colorful and fun to watch. So my suggestion is to be a bit more selective about what you feed. Apparently, it really does matter! (P.S. flying squirrels like it, too.)

  5. user-7006902 12/08/2011

    Black oil sunflower seed and suet. Depending on where you live you may want to invest in a caged suet feeder to deter larger birds as well as squirrels - mainly aggressive Starlings. A shepards hook with baffle works great for me in keeping the squirrels out of my sunflower feeders. I like feeders with a screen mesh rather than plastic tube. They air the seed and prevent it from becoming water-logged if you live in an area with humidity, rain, snow. Project Feeder Watch offers great bird feeding advice on their website:

  6. coffeemom 12/08/2011

    Love this birdhouse. Is there a plan for it? I would like to add something like it to my garden.

    Re: feeding the birds. I use a "deluxe" mix of black oil sunflower seed and other small seed for ground feeders. I put striped sunflower seeds in my feeders. And, I plant to grow natural sources of food as well as cover. The wider variety of food types you use the greater the variety of birds.

  7. tractor1 12/08/2011

    It has great aesthetic value but I wonder if birds actually use that, it appears too near the ground and very climbable, looks more like a cat feeder. I've seen ferral cats attempt to leap up to snatch the birds from my feeder but it's placed a little too high (6') I've been feeding wild birds for many years and just recently bought a new high capacity feeder and retired my small feeders (got tired of refilling them especially in inclement weather... and plastic feeders dont last long where I live, they shatter at the -20 temps. I bought the all metal Heritage Farms seeds n' more in red, from Amazon (best price), it holds 15 pounds of seed. The pole is hand wrought iron, made in USA by The Hookery, I got one with double adjustable hooks, bought from the same place I buy seed, a local farm feed company. I buy seed in 40# sacks, I like the Fancy Flight brand ultimate birdmix. I also buy 50# sacks of cracked corn that I keep to feed wild turkeys and other critters but also blend some into the bird seed. I never put any edible scraps into my trash, I toss it out into my backyard where it quickly disappears, from apple cores to this years turkey frame (broke it up some and the crows flew off with it before I closed the door behind me). I don't suggest placing bird feeders attached to your eaves or too near your house or the woodpeckers will soon begin destroying your house. I placed my new feeder where I can see it from where I sit at my computer, right near my new Acer griseum.

  8. LitaS 12/08/2011

    Listening to all this advice will send you over the top. Go to the pros: National Birdfeeding Society at http://www.birdfeeding. org. I've found them very helpful.
    Good luck and enjoy!

  9. sheilaschultz 12/09/2011

    I miss feeding 99% of the birds but since I don't have grass anymore, I can't do it. Too many seedlings grow, too little time to weed the extras. I settle for feeding my sweet hummingbirds and butterflies with my gardens.

  10. DreamGardener 12/09/2011

    Plant natives in the garden with an eye toward providing for the birds! Mourning doves need White Pine in order to nest; Chickadees Love Hemlock cones; native Viburnums (too numerous to list!) provide berries and cover; Echinacea seed heads, left intact or cut & put in a 'bunch' where you can see 'em from the house, will make Many of the little birds happy... National Wildlife Federation and Audubon are two good info sources. Enjoy!

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