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Backyard Bird Feeding in North Dakota

Q. SHOULD I FEED BIRDS ONLY DURING THE WINTER?
A. No. You can feed birds year-round and, during the summer, may attract birds such as orioles and grosbeaks.

Q. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR BIRDS TO FIND MY FEEDER?
A. It can take a while, maybe even a couple of weeks, to get bird activity. But birds are excellent communicators and as soon as one finds it, others won't be far behind.

Q. MY FEEDER IS FULL OF SEEDS AND I HAVEN'T HAD BIRDS FOR DAYS. WHAT'S WRONG?
A. During the summer months, activity may slow because birds are finding natural food sources or are busy attending nests or young. You may also want to check your seed to make sure it is not wet or moldy. Winter sends many of our summer residents south, thus you will see a decrease in activity at your feeders. If winter residents do not show up at your feeder, it could be because of one of two reasons. If the winter is extremely harsh, year-round residents like chickadees and nuthatches may migrate south. If the winter is mild, such as during an El Niño year, many winter residents will find food in the wild.

Q. HOUSE SPARROWS HAVE OVERRUN MY FEEDER. HOW CAN I GET RID OF THEM?
A. If you are feeding bread, millet, or basic mix, STOP! House sparrows will flock to feeders that offer any of these types of food. Empty your feeder and wait about three or four days until filling again with recommended seed such as black oil sunflower. If this does not help, there are house sparrow traps that are commercially made. Contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for information.

Q. THE HOUSE FINCHES AT MY FEEDER APPEAR SICK AND THEIR EYES ARE CRUSTED SHUT. WHAT'S WRONG?
A. House finches can become inflicted with a bacteria known as Mycoplasma gallisepticum. To a lesser degree, chickadees, nuthatches, and pine siskins are also susceptible to the disease. The disease does not affect humans. The bacteria is spread from bird to bird by contact at feeders. You can greatly reduce the chance of this bacteria spreading by cleaning your feeders twice during the winter and once a month during the summer. Use a solution of 10 parts water to one part bleach. Make sure the feeder is completely dry before filling with seed.


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