Top 10 Frequently Asked Backyard Questions
by Bill Thompson, III

How can I keep squirrels from cleaning out my bird feeders? The best solution is to prevent these clever critters from getting to your feeders in the first place. A quality pole-mounted baffle, suspended below your feeder, should prevent invasion from the ground. A smooth metal or plastic baffle placed above the feeder should prevent assault from the air, but you must make sure that your feeders are placed far from any object from which the squirrels can launch themselves. A squirrel leaping from a tree to your feeder will put the Flying Wallendas to shame. Last resort? Offer whole ears of feed corn or whole kernels in a squirrel-friendly feeder far from your bird feeders. You may lure them away with this, their favorite food.

Why aren’t there any birds at my feeder?
Birds are seasonal creatures of habit. Some species that eat seed at your feeder all winter switch to insects or fruit during spring and summer. And most birds take the bulk of their diet from natural sources of food, rather than at our feeders. So the goldfinches that stayed around until May may be off eating weed and flower seeds in nearby meadows. A healthy natural crop of seeds, berries, fruits, and insects is most likely the answer. Be patient, and the birds will return to your feeders once the natural food stores begin to dwindle. One final possibility: A predator may be stalking around your feeder, forcing the birds into hiding. Look for a cat or hawk in your yard if your birds disappear all of a sudden.

Read more at Bird Watcher’s