Summer Bird Feeding

Learn how to care for the birds this summer.

Written by our own bird specialist Nancy Schofield, who helps people find the perfect bird feeder in our retail store, learn about some of the more frequently asked questions about bird feeding during the summer. And discover what you can do to help our feathered friends transition successfully from summer to fall. While it may be a little early to think about feeding birds during the fall, these tips are helpful any time of the year. 

We hear a lot about the dog-days of August, but how about the bird-days?! Many people ask about feeding birds in summer—whether it is necessary, whether it is harmful or beneficial, and what is the best way to provide for our feathered summer visitors. The answer is easy: if you love birds and love watching them year-round, provide for them in all seasons!

It’s not too late to attract hummingbirds. In a few short weeks they will begin their long journey south, and they need a daily, high-calorie diet. They get a lot of their nutrition from nectar and insects, but the solution we put in hummingbird feeders gives them extra energy to fly around hunting for those sources.

Keep your nectar fresh and out of direct sun when the weather is hot. A dome specifically designed for hummingbird feeders will provide some shade and protection from the weather for both the nectar and the hummingbirds. If you’re having problems with pesky ants or wasps, we have solutions for them too!

Many customers are complaining about starlings and grackles invading their feeders and wiping out their seed and suet. Other than chasing them away, try putting safflower in your feeders until they move on. Most songbirds like safflower, but starlings, grackles, and squirrels are not fans. I find that once a flock is deterred, they move on to someone else’s yard…at least for a while!

Our advice is to get a good squirrel “proof” feeder. Use a squirrel baffle, either on your pole, or hanging above your feeder, and use safflower seed exclusively for a time. We also find that most squirrels hate hot pepper, and we sell seed, suet and solution that contains habañero chili pepper oil. The birds can’t detect it, but the squirrels hate it!

And for our customers who love their squirrels (and believe it or not, they exist!) we have feeders and specialty foods to feed the rascals!

Birds need water, too! Don’t forget that birds need water for drinking and bathing. Bathing keeps the birds’ feathers in prime condition for everyday flying and for preparing them for migration. Providing birds with fresh water prevents them from drinking from puddles that might contain runoff and contaminants.

Suet isn’t just for winter! Hang one of our “no-melt” suet cakes and enjoy watching beautiful woodpeckers year-round.

Finally, use these last lazy days of summer to enjoy, observe and get to know the birds at your feeders. To help you identify your visitors, pick up a field guide in our retail shop, or try Merlin, a free app from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

For the ultimate relaxing experience, pick up one of our Hum-Buttons, a mini, hand-held hummingbird feeder, and experience the delight of having a hummingbird light on your hand!

As always, we are here to answer your questions and provide you with great feeders, seed and much more. Come visit us as Duncraft Retail Store on 102 Fisherville Road in Concord, NH from Monday-Saturday, 9-5 PM. We look forward to seeing you. Happy Birding!

— Written by Nancy Schofield

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