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Energy & Environment

Biologist Gives Tips On Best Bird Feeding Practices

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A recent federal outdoor recreation survey found the number of wildlife watchers has increased 20 percent from 2011 to 2016. The survey found the largest percentage in the increase were birdwatchers. 86 million adults report watching wildlife in 2016 and spent nearly $86 billion nationally to do so.

DNR conservation biologist Ryan Brady gives some winter bird feeding tips. He says having a mix of different food will attract different birds...

"...Black oil sunflower seed is probably the single best seed you could offer for a wide variety of species. It has a high fat content. It does well for birds during the winter months. You can offer thistle for things like goldfinches, or Siskens or Red Poles. Put some of the white millet out for some of the sparrows that linger around or the doves. A really good source this time of year is suet and chunks of peanuts for woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches...."

Brady is also the monitoring coordinator for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. He says providing water will also attract birds.

Audubon's 119th Christmas Bird Count is held locally one day between December 14th and early January, along with Project Feederwatch.

If you live in a CWD-affected county, some bird feeding restrictions are in place. Feeding restrictions for birds and small mammals include feeders being placed in structures at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer and the feeders are within 50 yards of house. Other rules also apply.

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