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Feeding Birds


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Beginning Bird Identification

Bird Feeding Instructions

Feeding Hummingbirds


Kern River Valley Birds Checklist

Kern Valley Spring Nature Festival Birds

Audubon Kern River Preserve Winter Birding Guide

Audubon Kern River Preserve Spring Bird Arrival Guide

Audubon Kern River Preserve Summer Birding Guide

Audubon Kern River Preserve Fall Birding Guide


Canebrake Ecological Reserve

Birding on the Kern River Preserve and South Fork Kern River

KRV Hummingbird Finding Guide

Visitor and Travel Information Page


Summer Tanagers on the Kern River

Tricolored Blackbird - May 2008


Bird Banding on the Kern River Preserve and South Fork Kern River

Kern River Valley Turkey Vulture Community Watch


America's birdiest inland county 2010

Kern County 2008, America's birdiest inland county!

Kern County, America's birdiest inland county in 2007

Kern River Valley Christmas Bird Count History

Schedule of KRV Christmas Bird Counts


Planting for year round yard birds

Knowing which birds are likely to visit your backyard is key to beginning to know what type of feed to put out. Read bird checklists for your region to find out which species and what time of year they might visit your area. Woodpeckers are for the most part found year-round in central California, but they do migrate, so in spring and fall expect to see more of them. Many species of woodpeckers enjoy acorns, but many years there are few acorns so supplemental feed of suet and nuts make actually save woodpecker lives. Planting oaks and willows are great ways to attract woodpeckers to your yard.

Hummingbirds enjoy many flowering plants especially the red varieties. Fuchsia, penstemon, and gilia are three that come to mind immediately. These are native to the southern Sierra region and grow with little care or fuss. Try to find plants native to your region for ease of growing. Anna’s Hummingbirds live in the Kern River Valley year-round.

In central California, there are fewer species of sparrows in summer so the bulk of their foods should be grown for fall through spring feeding. Growing different types of flowers from the aster family are best as many flower in fall.

Setting up your Bird Feeders

Place your feeders in an area where you can see them safely from the house and you will add hours of pleasure to your daily life. There are two things to remember, that birds need someplace to escape to and that if your backyard is full of cats, no place may be safe. Use areas that have some type of cover or perches; a bush, tree, or a woodpile. Create a brush pile near your feeder to attract shy birds.

One of the easiest ways to attract birds is to have running water available. Even in the dead of winter this is one of the most important aspects to becoming a magnet for birds. Make sure you keep water stations clean, in summer many types of bacteria can foul the water and in winter small amounts of bacteria or mold can kill cold stressed birds.

Locally, we don't have to worry too much about mold build-up in bird baths or feeders as long as they are cleaned frequently, but areas that have abundant rainfall are more prone to rapid mildew. One thing to remember when buying feeders or bird baths is how easily mildew can be removed from them. Mold can kill our feathered friends.

Make it easy on yourself; place your feeders in locations near hoses and your feed bins. If it becomes a chore dragging hoses or spreading seed then you might neglect to refill and clean your feeders properly.


Tips for a healthy bird bath

Put bird baths where droppings cannot fall into them. Don't place them under feeders or perches.

Rinse and scrub your birdbaths as often as possible. Clean out bird droppings immediately.

Once a month, scrub with a light bleach solution (1/4 cup of bleach in 2 gallons of water), rinse thoroughly and refill.

Types of supplemental feed

• Sparrows - Wild bird seed with millet and sunflower on platform feeders or scattered on dry ground.

• Finches - Thistle seed in sock or tube feeders and regular wild bird seed on platform feeders or scattered on dry ground.

• Most birds - Black-oil sunflower seed in tube, hopper or platform feeders.

• Nuthatches, jays, chickadees, titmice, and grosbeaks - thick-shelled gray-striped sunflower seed and shelled whole nuts.

• Hummingbirds - 4 cups of water to one cup of sugar - boiled then cooled. No dye is ever necessary.

• Orioles - 4 cups of water to one cup of sugar - boiled then cooled. Slices of fresh fruit.

• Woodpeckers - Commercial suet in suet cages - peanut suet is the favorite of my yard birds. Raw unsalted peanuts or shelled whole nuts in peanut feeders.

Store your seed in a clean, dry, air-tight container, such as a metal or plastic garbage can. Hot weather can make suet rancid and unhealthy for birds so store all suet in the refrigerator until ready to use. Store clean boiled sugar solution in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Tips for a healthy feeding station

Disinfect feeders every few weeks or sooner if needed (if they get wet or moldy). Scrub with a weak bleach solution (1/4 cup of bleach to 2 gallons of warm water). Rinse and allow feeders to dry before refilling.

Use hummingbird feeders that are easy to clean. Wash hummingbird feeders thoroughly with hot, soapy water, and rinse completely, every time you refill them. [Every day in hot weather and every three days in cooler weather. ]

Get some spatulas and brushes and keep them with your bird supplies for easier cleaning.
Shake your seed feeders to loosen compacted seed before you refill them. Dump out wet or moldy seed then clean the feeder before refilling.

Clean all hulls off platform feeders and out of seed trays daily.

Move your feeding station when the ground beneath it becomes covered with seed hulls and droppings.

Rake, sweep or wash the old site to remove hulls. Turn up the soil to refresh the area.

If you provide suet, reduce the amount you offer in hot weather. Runny suet can stick to birds' feathers. Use rendered suet or heat-resilient suet blocks that are available commercially.

Don't use petroleum-based products on your feeder poles or wires to hinder squirrels, ants, or other feeder-marauding creatures. Petroleum (jelly, oil, grease) is impossible for birds to preen or wash out. Squirrel baffles and non-poisonous ant guards are available commercially.

If you see a sick or dead bird at your feeders, stop your feeding for a few weeks to keep healthy birds from being infected. Remove and discard in the trash any dead birds unless you suspect it may have died of West Nile Virus: wrap and refrigerate the bird and call: 1-800-WNV-BIRD

Spring Birding Notes    Summer Birding Notes    Fall Birding Notes    Winter Birding Notes

KRV birding guide...Bob Barnes local area guide to bird locations and seasons.

Venture Out into the Wilds with local volunteer researchers

Bird Banding on the Kern River Preserve and South Fork Kern River

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This site was created on October 21, 1998. Please Email to make comments or offer suggestions.