Shane Reynolds, Outdoor Recreation Director & Outfitter
Bird watching can be a joyful experience. The sounds of birds frolicking outside your Cordillera Ranch home can be a great addition to your garden and landscape. Bird feeders are the quickest and easiest way to attract our winged friends to your yard. If you have ever visited the Outfitter Center at Cordillera Ranch, you’ll have no doubt about how much I enjoy feeding birds and having them around the entire year.
Before I get into information on feeders, here is some information to get you started:
Birds of the Texas Hill Country — by Mark W. Lockwood, Terry Maxwell, Clemente Guzman (Illustrator)
I strongly suggest this book on the birds you may begin to see around your home once you get your feeders set up.
A Little Nature Store — 106 E. Theissen, just off Main Street in Boerne; 830.249.2281
This a great little shop with lots of bird feeders and friendly information.
Guadalupe State Park — visit the park, just three miles east on Hwy 46, and pick up these two FREE publications by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
• Birds of the Edwards Plateau
• Providing for Backyard Wildlife
Local Birds of Central Texas — an easy foldout of bird pictures and descriptions. Find it in the isle of HEB.
Bird feeders come in a dazzling variety of shapes and sizes. Many designs are based on careful research to attract birds with spectacular efficiency. More than ever, anyone can quickly learn the basics of bird feeding and choose a feeder that will lure a wide variety of birds throughout the winter months.
Choosing a Feeder
There are five types of bird feeders: hopper, platform, tube, nectar and suet. Variations of each type number in the hundreds. Many species of birds will visit hopper and platform feeders filled with seed mixes. Tube feeders are designed for finches, but will attract other kinds of birds, especially if a bottom tray is attached. Woodpeckers are attracted to suet feeders.
Buying a Feeder
Before buying a feeder, decide how many feeding stations you want and where you’ll place them. A feeding station is a single feeder or a group of feeders in one location. Be practical at first. Check out seed prices and decide if you have the time and energy to fill several feeders weekly. When shopping for a feeder, consider the quality of its materials and construction, its ease of filling and cleaning, and how much seed it can handle. Try to imagine the feeder after a heavy rain or after strong winds. Are the seeds soaked? Is the seed tray filled with water? The best feeders include covers and built-in drainage systems. The king of all bird feeders is made by All Seasons Feeders and it’s called the Wild Bird Feeder. It holds 20 pounds of seed and is powder coated.
Where to Place Feeders
The location of your feeding station is important in two respects: Birds need the cover of trees or shrubs nearby to feel safe and welcome, and the feeder should be close enough to your window or porch so that you can enjoy their theatrics.
A Basic Feeding Station
Start with a single platform, hopper or large tube feeder. Each accommodates large and small birds and can be hung from a tree or hoisted on a pole. Fill any of these feeders with black oil sunflower seeds and you’re certain to get visitors, usually within days. Remember to position the feeders where you can see them clearly. Provide a birdbath filled with fresh water. Keep your feeders filled with dry seeds. If jays, cowbirds and other large birds are crowding out smaller birds, switch to a feeder that discriminates or blocks them, but not the smaller, more desirable birds.
Have fun exploring the many types of bird feeders on the market. Attracting birds to your yard and around your home will greatly enhance the sights and sounds found in Cordillera Ranch. If you keep your feeders full of seed and food year-round, you’ll be amazed at the number of our feathered friends that will visit your home.
Shane Reynolds is the Outdoor Recreation Director & Outfitter at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at email@example.com or 210.616.6051.