Can I feed only in the summer months?
Authorities report that birds are dependent on your feeder being full year around.
What about water?
It is important to have water available throughout the year.
How do I keep squirrels out of my bird feeder?
That is a real challenge, but in most cases it is a fun challenge. You will likely find that the squirrel is a very innovative creature. As soon as you think you have outwitted the squirrel, you are likely to be surprised. There are feeders on the market designed to be squirrel resistant and there are bird foods available that contain a harmless repellent that will discourage the squirrel from feeding.
I find that sunflower shells or hulls are messy that kills the grass around my feeder. How do I avoid that?
It is important to periodically clean up those hulls.
How do I attract a particular bird species into my feeder that I find desirable?
First of all, determine what that species prefers to eat. You can quickly review the material in this site summarized from the Geis Study. Next you may want to visit with other bird feeders or other experts in your area for their experience.
I have cats that spend part or all of the day outside. Is that a problem if I am feeding birds in my backyard?
Yes. Keep your cats inside. Even well fed cats with bells on the their collars kill birds. According to a University of Wisconsin study, it is estimated that 39 million birds are killed each year in the state of Wisconsin by rural free-ranging domestic cats.
How do I keep larger and aggressive birds, such as blackbirds, out of my feeder?
There are specific kinds of feeders designed to keep larger birds from obtaining the food. These involve using small meshed wire that allow small birds to enter the feeder but discourage entry by larger birds. It will be important to clean up dropped feed regularly to reduce the incentive for blackbirds to enter your feeding area.