Find answers to backyard mysteries and feeder problems. How do you discourage starlings and squirrels? Why do birds stop visiting a feeder? Find out!
An e-newsletter brought to you by the publishers of Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. Proudly sponored by Swarovski Optik.

Why Did Birds Suddenly Stop Visiting My Feeder?

"Why did the birds suddenly stop visting my feeder?" "I'm going on vacation. Will birds starve if I'm not here to feed them?" Here at Bird Watcher's Digest, these are among the most common questions we hear this time of year. In this issue of BirdWire we tackle your most pressing questions about backyard feeding. Check out answers to ten of the most common backyard questions!
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Readers Ask: How Do I Discourage "Feeder Hogs" Like Starlings or Sparrows?
Bird feeding provides enjoyment to millions of North Americans each year. However, this hobby we all enjoy comes with its own challenges. There are two things to consider when you wish to discourage a certain group of birds at your feeders: food and feeder. Stop offering the food that the pest birds seem to consume most eagerly. Here are solutions to common problems that plague backyard feeders.
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Keeping Squirrels Off Your Feeders
People often go to extremes to keep their feeding stations squirrel-free. Some go to such expense and spend so much time inventing new repelling techniques that they fail to notice their yard beginning to look more like a workshop than a wildlife haven. Here are some squirrel-excluder devices. The success of most anti-squirrel efforts depends in part on the physical layout of your property and the voracity of your squirrels. However, there are some particularly effective feeders and baffles that seem to work most of the time.
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Saucer vs. Vacuum? Flowers vs. Ports? Tips for Choosing the Best Hummingbird Feeder
There are hundreds of varieties of hummingbird feeders, but all of them fall into one of two design categories: vacuum or saucer. Learn the pros and cons of both types, and factors to take into consideration when you're looking to add a hummingbird feeder to your backyard feeding station.
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#BirdsOnTheBrain
ATTENTION, BIRDWIRE SUBSCRIBERS: We want to hear from you! Each issue of our birdy newsletter includes a poll question for our audience. Visit our website to offer your input and see results from fellow readers!
Today's poll question: Which of the following do you actively discourage from visiting your feeder? Check all that apply:
• Pigeons
• Starlings
• Grackles
• House sparrows
• Squirrels
• House finches
RESULTS OF OUR LAST POLL: In our last poll we asked how many hummingbirds you've seen so far this year. A lucky 20% say their feeders are positively swarming with hummingbirds! The majority—64%—have seen a few. 14% haven't seen any hummingbirds yet, but they're watching! Only 2% haven't been watching at all. Thanks to all who participated!



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Calendar of Birding Events
While many birding festivals have been canceled this year, don't despair: There are festivals (including virtual, in-person, and a hybrid of the two) still being held that you won't want to miss. Check out our list of upcoming birding festivals, and register for one today!
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Out There with the Birds Episode #93: An Interview with Mark Garland

Host Dawn Hewitt chats with Mark Garland, a naturalist who has been sharing his enthusiasm for nature with others professionally for over 40 years. Readers of BWD know him as the author of Birders Question Mark, a column in which he answers questions on birdy topics far and wide. In March 2019 he was awarded the Paul Bartsch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Natural History from the Audubon Naturalist Society. A popular, highly demanded, full-time professional birding and nature guide based in Cape May, New Jersey, he has led tours in Alaska, Central America, and beyond. In this episode, Dawn chats with Mark about how he launched his career as a naturalist, how his life changed during the COVID era, how he became involved with the Thompson family and Bird Watcher’s Digest, and much more!

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On Newsstands Now:
Watching Backyard Birds: June 2021
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If you love backyard birds, then you should be reading Watching Backyard Birds. It's the ONLY North American magazine devoted exclusively to backyard birds and the people who watch and enjoy them. Created by the friendly staff at Bird Watcher's Digest, every issue of Watching Backyard Birds is full of engaging, entertaining, and enlightening content and images.
  • Get one year (6 bimonthly issues) only $16.00*
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* Canadian and international shipping apply. Orders shipping to Ohio are subject to sales tax.
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COVER SPECIES
Common Nighthawk
If you live near bright lights, flat roofs, or trees, listen for the beard call of the common nighthawk feeding on the wing above your backyard on warm evenings.
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WATCHER AT THE WINDOW
Friendly Abductions
There's something about a fledgling that makes people want to rescue it, but columnist Julie Zickefoose urges folks to resist the temptation to carry out a well-intentioned abduction.
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ASK BIRDSQUATCH
Backyard Mysteries
Our hairiest columnist answers reader questions about bald cardinals, Nyjer's short shelf life, easy-to-clean feeders, and when to prune your trees.


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